Authors: Richy Yun, Jonathan H. Mishler, Steve I. Perlmutter, Rajesh P.N. Rao and Eberhard E. Fetz
Date: April 10, 2023
Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) is commonly used in many experimental and clinical paradigms; however, its effects on the activation of neurons are still not completely understood. To document the responses of cortical neurons in awake nonhuman primates to stimulation, we recorded single-unit activity while delivering single-pulse stimulation via Utah arrays implanted in primary motor cortex (M1) of three macaque monkeys. Stimuli between 5 and 50 μA delivered to single channels reliably evoked spikes in neurons recorded throughout the array with delays of up to 12 ms. ICMS pulses also induced a period of inhibition lasting up to 150 ms that typically followed the initial excitatory response. Higher current amplitudes led to a greater probability of evoking a spike and extended the duration of inhibition. The likelihood of evoking a spike in a neuron was dependent on the spontaneous firing rate as well as the delay between its most recent spike time and stimulus onset. Tonic repetitive stimulation between 2 and 20 Hz often modulated both the probability of evoking spikes and the duration of inhibition; high-frequency stimulation was more likely to change both responses. On a trial-by-trial basis, whether a stimulus evoked a spike did not affect the subsequent inhibitory response; however, their changes over time were often positively or negatively correlated. Our results document the complex dynamics of cortical neural responses to electrical stimulation that need to be considered when using ICMS for scientific and clinical applications.