A long term functional and reliable coupling between neural tissue and implanted microelectrodes is the key issue in acquiring neural electrophysiological signals or therapeutically excite neural tissue. The currently often used rigid micro-electrodes are thought to cause a severe foreign body reaction resulting in a thick glial scar and consequently a poor tissue-electrode coupling in the chronic phase. We hypothesize, that this adverse effect might be remedied by probes compliant to the soft brain tissue, i.e. replacing rigid electrodes by flexible ones. Unfortunately, this flexibility comes at the price of a low stiffness, which makes targeted low trauma implantation very challenging. In this study, we demonstrate an adaptable and simple method to implant extremely flexible microprobes even to deep areas of rat's brain. Implantation of flexible probes is achieved by rod supported stereotactic insertion fostered by a hydrogel (2% agarose in PBS) cushion on the exposed skull. We were thus able to implant very flexible micro-probes in 70 rats as deep as the rodent's subthalamic nucleus. This work describes in detail the procedures and steps needed for minimal invasive, but reliable implantation of flexible probes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Neuroengineering
Issue numberJUL
Publication statusPublished - 02.07.2013


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