Authors: Nasim W. Vahidi, Srihita Rudraraju, Elisa Castagnola, Claudia Cea, Surabhi Nimbalkar, Rita Hanna, René Arvizu, Shadi A. Dayeh, Timothy Q. Gentner, Sam Kassegne
Publication: Journal of Neural Engineering
Date: July 2020
Objective: In this study, we demonstrate practical applications of a novel 3-dimensional neural probe for simultaneous electrophysiological recordings from the surface of the brain as well as deep intra-cortical tissue. We used this 3D probe to investigate signal propagation mechanisms between neuronal cells and their responses to stimuli in a 3D fashion. Approach: This novel probe leverage 2D thin-film microfabrication technique to combine an epi-cortical (surface) and an intra-cortical (depth) microelectrode arrays (Epi-Intra), that unfold into an origami 3D-like probe during brain implantation. The flexible epi-cortical component conforms to the brain surface while the intra-cortical array is reinforced with stiffer durimide polymer layer for ease of tissue penetration. The microelectrodes are made of glassy carbon material that is biocompatible and has low electrochemical impedance that is important for high fidelity neuronal recordings. These recordings were performed on the auditory region of anesthetized European starling songbirds during playback of conspecific songs as auditory stimuli. Main results. The Epi-Intra probe recorded broadband activity including local field potentials (LFPs) signals as well as single-unit activity and multi-unit activity from both surface and deep brain. The majority of recorded cellular activities were stimulus-locked and exhibited low noise. Notably, while LFPs recorded on surface and depth electrodes did not exhibit strong correlation, composite receptive fields (CRFs)—extracted from individual neuron cells through a non-linear model and that are cell-dependent—were correlated. Significance. These findings demonstrate that CRFs extracted from Epi-Intra recordings are excellent candidates for neural coding and for understanding the relationship between sensory neuronal responses and their stimuli (stimulus encoding). Beyond CRFs, this novel neural probe may enable new spatiotemporal 3D volumetric mapping to address, with cellular resolution, how the brain coordinates function.