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Miniature carrier with six independently moveable electrodes for recording of multiple single-units in the cerebellar cortex of awake rats.

BP Vos, M Wijnants, S Taeymans, E De Schutter

Laboratory Theoretical Neurobiology, Born-Bunge Foundation, University of Antwerp, Belgium. bart@bbf.uia.ac.be

Journal of neuroscience methods 94:19-26 (1999)

Abstract - Ensemble recording in cerebellar cortex of awake rats presents unique methodological challenges not encountered when recording from the cerebral cortex or from deep brain structures with more homogeneous cell populations. Compared to the cerebral cortex, removal of dura over the cerebellum evokes pronounced swelling, and insertion of multiple closely spaced electrodes in the cerebellar cortex causes considerable dimpling (Welsh JP, Schwartz C. Multielectrode recording from the cerebellum. In: Nicolelis MAL, editor. Methods for Neural Ensemble Recordings, CRC Methods in Neuroscience Series. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press LLC, 1999, pp. 79-100). Also, a repetitious and well-defined neural circuit characterizes the cerebellar cortex across its entire surface. With conventional multi-electrode methods, such as chronically implanted bundles or arrays of microwires, the risk of disrupting the cerebellar cytoarchitecture is high. In most conventional multi-electrode systems, electrodes have rather low impedance and cannot be moved independently after implantation. These limitations make proper unit isolation, necessary to identify each of the recorded cerebellar units, very difficult. We designed a lightweight (14 g), miniature (base plate: 19 x 23 mm; total height: 16 mm) multi-electrode system to allow for the chronic implantation of six independently moveable sharp electrodes with high impedance, in the cerebellar cortex. The six electrodes are arranged in a 2 x 3 matrix (inter-electrode distance: 0.6 mm). At any time after the implantation the vertical position of each individual electrode can be adjusted by screwing spring-loaded electrode heads up or down. The system preserves the integrity of the cerebellar cytoarchitecture, and enables easy isolation and identification of individual cerebellar units in awake, freely moving rats.

PMID: 10638812 [PubMed]