The functional consequences of chronic, physiologically effective intracortical microstimulation

Rebecca A. Parker, Tyler S. Davis, Paul A. House, Richard A. Normann, Bradley Greger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Many studies have demonstrated the ability of chronically implanted multielectrode arrays (MEAs) to extract information from the motor cortex of both humans and nonhuman primates. Similarly, many studies have shown the ability of intracortical microstimulation to impart information to the brain via a single or a few electrodes acutely implanted in sensory cortex of nonhuman primates, but relatively few microstimulation studies characterizing chronically implanted MEAs have been performed. Additionally, device and tissue damage have been reported at the levels of microstimulation used in these studies. Whether the damage resulting from microstimulation impairs the ability of MEAs to chronically produce physiological effects, however, has not been directly tested. In this study, we examined the functional consequences of multiple months of periodic microstimulation via chronically implanted MEAs at levels capable of evoking physiological responses, that is, electromyogram (EMG) activity. The functionality of the MEA and neural tissue was determined by measuring impedances, the ability of microstimulation to evoke EMG responses, and the recording of action potentials. We found that impedances and the number of recorded action potentials followed the previously reported trend of decreasing over time in both animals that received microstimulation and those which did not receive microstimulation. Despite these trends, the ability to evoke EMG responses and record action potentials was retained throughout the study. The results of this study suggest that intracortical microstimulation via MEAs did not cause functional failure, suggesting that MEA-based microstimulation is ready to transition into subchronic (< 30. days) human trials to determine whether complex spatiotemporal sensory percepts can be evoked by patterned microstimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-165
Number of pages21
JournalProgress in Brain Research
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Electromyogram
  • Feline
  • Impedance
  • Micro-electrode array
  • Microstimulation
  • Motor cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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