Visualization of the intact interface between neural tissue and implanted microelectrode arrays

Matthew M. Holecko, Justin C. Williams, Stephen Massia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This research presents immunohistochemical strategies for assessing the interactions at the immediate interface between micro-scale implanted devices and the surrounding brain tissue during inflammatory astrogliotic reactions. This includes preparation, microscopy and analysis techniques for obtaining images of the intimate contact between neural cells and the surface of implantable micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) devices. The ability to visualize the intact interface between an implant and the surrounding tissue allows researchers to examine tissue that is unchanged from its native implanted state. Conversely, current popular techniques involve removing the implant. This tends to cause damage to the tissue immediately surrounding the implant and can hinder one's ability to differentiate inflammatory responses to the implant versus physical damage occurring from removal of the implant from the tissue. Due to advances in microscopy and staining techniques, it is now possible to visualize the intact tissue-implant interface. This paper presents the development of imaging techniques for visualizing the intact interface between neural tissue and implanted devices. This is particularly important for understanding both the acute and chronic neuroinflammatory responses to devices intended for long-term use in a prosthetic system. Non-functional, unbonded devices were imaged in vitro and in vivo at different times post-implantation via a range of techniques. Using these techniques, detailed interactions could be seen between delicate cellular processes and the electrode surface, which would have been destroyed using conventional histology processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-102
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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