Neural electrodes must work for time periods ranging from hours to years. When the electrodes are implanted, the brain first reacts to the acute injury with an inflammatory response. Then the brain settles into a wound-healing, or chronic, response.
It's during this secondary response that brain tissue starts to encapsulate the electrode, cutting it off from communication with surrounding neurons.
The new brain implants developed at U-M are coated with nanotubes made of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT), a biocompatible and electrically conductive polymer that has been shown to record neural signals better than conventional metal electrodes.
U-M researchers found that PEDOT nanotubes enhanced high-quality unit activity (signal-to-noise ratio >4) about 30 percent more than the uncoated sites. They also found that based on in vivo impedance data, PEDOT nanotubes might be used as a novel method for biosensing to indicate the transition between acute and chronic responses in brain tissue.
The results are featured in the cover article of the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Advanced Materials. The paper is titled, "Interfacing Conducting Polymer Nanotubes with the Central Nervous System: Chronic Neural Recording using Poly(3-4-ethylenedioxythiophene) Nanotubes."
"Microelectrodes implanted in the brain are increasingly being used to treat neurological disorders," said Mohammad Reza Abidian, a post-doctoral researcher working with Professor Daryl Kipke in the Neural Engineering Laboratory at the U-M Department of Biomedical Engineering.
"Moreover, these electrodes enable neuroprosthetic devices, which hold the promise to return functionality to individuals with spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases. However, robust and reliable chronic application of neural electrodes remains a challenge."
In the experiment, the researchers implanted two neural microelectrodes in the brains of three rats. PEDOT nanotubes were fabricated on the surface of every other recording site by using a nanofiber templating method. Over the course of seven weeks, researchers monitored the electrical impedance of the recording sites and measured the quality of recording signals.
PEDOT nanotubes in the coating enable the electrodes to operate with less electrical resistance than current metal electrode sites, which means they can communicate more clearly with individual neurons.
"Conducting polymers are biocompatible and have both electronic and ionic conductivity," Abidian said. "Therefore, these materials are good candidates for biomedical applications such as neural interfaces, biosensors and drug delivery systems."
In the experiments, the Michigan researchers applied PEDOT nanotubes to microelectrodes provided by the U-M Center for Neural Communication Technology. The PEDOT nanotube coatings were developed in the laboratory of David C. Martin, now an adjunct professor of materials science and engineering, macromolecular science and engineering, and biomedical engineering. Martin is currently the Karl W. Böer Professor and Chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Delaware.
Martin is also co-founder and chief scientific officer for Biotectix, a U-M spinoff company located in Ann Arbor. The company is working to commercialize conducting polymer-based coatings for a variety of biomedical devices
In previous experiments, Abidian and his colleagues have shown that PEDOT nanotubes could carry with them drugs to prevent encapsulation.
"This study paves the way for smart recording electrodes that can deliver drugs to alleviate the immune response of encapsulation," Abidian said.
The research is funded by the Army Research Office, Center for Neural Communication Technology and National Institutes of Health.
Full text of article: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122525755/PDFSTART
High-resolution illustration: http://umich.edu/news/index_nr.html?Releases/2009/Sep09/brain
Mohammad Reza Abidian: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mabidian/
The University of Michigan's College of Engineering is ranked among the top engineering schools in the country. At more than $130 million annually, its engineering research budget is one of the largest of any public university. Michigan Engineering is home to 11 academic departments and a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. The college plays a leading role in the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and hosts the world-class Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. Michigan Engineering's premier scholarship, international scale and multidisciplinary scope combine to create the Michigan Difference.
Byron Roberts | Newswise Science News
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences