To understand mechanisms of information processing, development and degeneration of the central nervous system, simultaneous multisite recording and stimulation have become extremely helpful. We have further developed the innovative approach to record from intact neural networks using planar microelectrode arrays (MEAs) with 60 substrate-integrated nano-columnar electrodes. To allow for long-term stimulation, mouse hippocampal tissue slices were immobilized onto MEAs and permanently moved between the gas and medium phase in a specifically designed tilting incubator that made it possible to electrically contact up to 90 MEAs with 5400 electrodes. After 2–3 weeks in vitro, histochemical staining, the intracellular microinjection of the fluorescent dye Alexa® and the recording of spontaneous activity revealed in vivo-like characteristics of the organotypically cultured tissue. The feasibility of long-term stimulation during culturing was demonstrated with a low frequency paradigm. 0.003 Hz stimulation over a 16 h period resulted in a significant decline of field potentials and population spikes in two identified hippocampal subregions. Control experiments revealed that this effect was not due to tissue detachment or to induced cell death. In summary, the novel technology promises to open a new avenue for analyzing regulatory interactions of neuronal activity, cell differentiation and gene expression during development and in diseases.
van Bergen, A., T. Papanikolaou, A. Schuker, A. Müller, B. Schlosshauer
Brain Research Protocols