In vivo characterization of the electrophysiological and astrocytic responses to a silicon neuroprobe implanted in the mouse neocortex
Silicon neuroprobes hold great potential for studies of large-scale neural activity and brain computer interfaces, but data on brain response in chronic implants is limited. Here we explored with in vivo cellular imaging the response to multisite silicon probes for neural recordings. We tested a chronic implant for mice consisting of a CMOS-compatible silicon probe rigidly implanted in the cortex under a cranial imaging window. Multiunit recordings of cortical neurons with the implant showed no degradation of electrophysiological signals weeks after implantation (mean spike and noise amplitudes of 186 ± 42 µVpp and 16 ± 3.2 µVrms, respectively, n = 5 mice). Two-photon imaging through the cranial window allowed longitudinal monitoring of fluorescently-labeled astrocytes from the second week post implantation for 8 weeks (n = 3 mice). The imaging showed a local increase in astrocyte-related fluorescence that remained stable from the second to the tenth week post implantation. These results demonstrate that, in a standard electrophysiology protocol in mice, rigidly implanted silicon probes can provide good short to medium term chronic recording performance with a limited astrocyte inflammatory response. The precise factors influencing the response to silicon probe implants remain to be elucidated.