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Normal Molecular Repair Mechanisms in Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interfaces Allow Recording of Early Spike Activity Despite Immature Myelination

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7 Author(s)
Seifert, J.L. ; Univ. of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA ; Desai, V. ; Watson, R.C. ; Musa, T.
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Clinical use of neurally controlled prosthetics has advanced in recent years, but limitations still remain, including lacking fine motor control and sensory feedback. Indwelling multi-electrode arrays, cuff electrodes, and regenerative sieve electrodes have been reported to serve as peripheral neural interfaces, though long-term stability of the nerve-electrode interface has remained a formidable challenge. We recently developed a regenerative multi-electrode interface (REMI) that is able to record neural activity as early as seven days post-implantation. While this activity might represent normal neural depolarization during axonal regrowth, it can also be the result of altered nerve regeneration around the REMI. This study evaluated high-throughput expression levels of 84 genes involved in nerve injury and repair, and the histological changes that occur in parallel to this early neural activity. Animals exhibiting spike activity increased from 29% to 57% from 7 to 14 days following REMI implantation with a corresponding increase in firing rate of 113%. Two weeks after implantation, numbers of neurofilament-positive axons in the control and REMI implanted nerves were comparable, and in both cases the number of myelinated axons was low. During this time, expression levels of genes related to nerve injury and repair were similar in regenerated nerves, both in the presence or absence of the electrode array. Together, these results indicate that the early neural activity is intrinsic to the regenerating axons, and not induced by the REMI neurointerface.

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Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 2 )