Thin microelectrodes reduce GFAP expression in the implant site in rodent somatosensory cortex

Paula Stice, Aaron Gilletti, Alyssa Panitch, Jitendran Muthuswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that neural implants with reduced cross-sectional areas will have less glial scarring associated with implantation injury in long-term experiments. In this study, we implanted nine adult rats with two different implants of 12 νm (n = 6), and 25 νm (n = 6) diameters (cross-sectional areas of 68 νm2, 232 νm 2 respectively) and the expression of glial fibrilliary acidic protein (GFAP) was assessed after 2 weeks and 4 weeks of implantation. In order to facilitate implantation, the 12 νm diameter implants were coated with poly-glycolic acid (PGA), a biodegradable polymer that degraded within minutes of implantation. In n = 3 animals, 25 νm diameter implants also coated with PGA were implanted and assessed for GFAP expression at the end of 4 weeks of implantation. Statistical analysis of the GFAP expression around the different implants demonstrated that after 2 weeks of implantation there is no statistically significant difference in GFAP expression between the 12 νm and the 25 νm diameter implants. However, after 4 weeks of implantation the implant site of 12 νm diameter implants exhibited a statistically significant reduction in GFAP expression when compared to the implant sites of the 25 νm diameter implants (both with and without the PGA coating). We conclude that in neural implants that are tethered to the skull, implant cross-sectional areas of 68 νm2 and smaller could lead to a reduced glial scarring under chronic conditions. Future studies with longer implant durations can confirm if this observation remains consistent beyond 4 weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number005
Pages (from-to)42-53
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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