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Voltage pulses change neural interface properties and improve unit recordings with chronically implanted microelectrodes

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3 Author(s)
Otto, K.J. ; Kresge Hearing Res. Inst., Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Johnson, M.D. ; Kipke, D.R.

Current neuroprosthetic systems based on electrophysiological recording have an extended, yet finite working lifetime. Some posited lifetime-extension solutions involve improving device biocompatibility or suppressing host immune responses. Our objective was to test an alternative solution comprised of applying a voltage pulse to a microelectrode site, herein termed "rejuvenation." Previously, investigators have reported preliminary electrophysiological results by utilizing a similar voltage pulse. In this study we sought to further explore this phenomenon via two methods: 1) electrophysiology; 2) an equivalent circuit model applied to impedance spectroscopy data. The experiments were conducted via chronically implanted silicon-substrate iridium microelectrode arrays in the rat cortex. Rejuvenation voltages resulted in increased unit recording signal-to-noise ratios (10%±2%), with a maximal increase of 195% from 3.74 to 11.02. Rejuvenation also reduced the electrode site impedances at 1 kHz (67%±2%). Neither the impedance nor recording properties of the electrodes changed on neighboring microelectrode sites that were not rejuvenated. In the equivalent circuit model, we found a transient increase in conductivity, the majority of which corresponded to a decrease in the tissue resistance component (44%±7%). These findings suggest that rejuvenation may be an intervention strategy to prolong the functional lifetime of chronically implanted microelectrodes.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:53 ,  Issue: 2 )