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Repeated voltage biasing improves unit recordings by reducing resistive tissue impedances

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3 Author(s)
Johnson, M.D. ; Biomed. Eng. Dept., Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Otto, K.J. ; Kipke, D.R.

Reactive tissue encapsulation of chronically implanted microelectrode probes can preclude long-term recording of extracellular action potentials. We investigated an intervention strategy for functionally encapsulated microelectrode sites. This method, known as "rejuvenation," involved applying a +1.5 V dc bias to an iridium site for 4 s. Previous studies have demonstrated that rejuvenation resulted in higher signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) by decreasing noise levels, and reduced 1-kHz site impedances by decreasing the tissue interface resistances. In this study, we have investigated: 1) the duration of a single-voltage bias session and 2) the efficacy of multiple sessions. These questions were addressed through electrophysiological recordings, cyclic voltammetry, and modeling the electrode-tissue interface via an equivalent circuit model fit to impedance spectroscopy data. In the six implants studied, we found SNRs improved for 1-7 days with a peak typically occurring within 24 h of the voltage bias. Root-mean square (RMS) noise of the extracellular recordings decreased for 1-2 days, which paralleled a similar decrease in the adsorbed tissue resistance (Ren) from the model. Implants whose SNR effects lasted more than a day showed stabilized reductions in the extracellular tissue resistance (Rex) and cellular membrane area (Am). Subsequent stimulus sessions were found to drop neural tissue parameters consistently to levels observed immediately after surgery. In most cases, these changes did parallel an improvement in SNR. These findings suggest that rejuvenation may be a useful intervention strategy to prolong the lifetime of chronically implanted microelectrodes.

Published in:

Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 2 )