An integrated multi-electrode-optrode array for in vitro optogenetics

Marleen Welkenhuysen, Luis Hoffman, Welkenhuysen M, Zhengxiang Luo, Anabel De Proft, Chris Van den Haute, Veerle Baekelandt, Zeger Debyser, Georges Gielen, Robert Puers, Dries Braeken
Scientific Reports 6:20353, 2016

Modulation of a group of cells or tissue needs to be very precise in order to exercise effective control over the cell population under investigation.

Optogenetic tools have already demonstrated to be of great value in the study of neuronal circuits and in neuromodulation. Ideally, they should permit very accurate resolution, preferably down to the single cell level. Further, to address a spatially distributed sample, independently addressable multiple optical outputs should be present. In current techniques, at least one of these requirements is not fulfilled. In addition to this, it is interesting to directly monitor feedback of the modulation by electrical registration of the activity of the stimulated cells. Here, we present the fabrication and characterization of a fully integrated silicon-based multi-electrode-optrode array (MEOA) for in vitro optogenetics. We demonstrate that this device allows for artifact-free electrical recording. Moreover, the MEOA was used to reliably elicit spiking activity from ChR2-transduced neurons. Thanks to the single cell resolution stimulation capability, we could determine spatial and temporal activation patterns and spike latencies of the neuronal network. This integrated approach to multi-site combined optical stimulation and electrical recording significantly advances today’s tool set for neuroscientists in their search to unravel neuronal network dynamics.

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