May 18, 2021

Multifunctional optrode for opsin delivery, optical stimulation, and electrophysiological recordings in freely moving rats

<p>Objective: Optogenetics involves delivery of light-sensitive opsins to the target brain region, as well as introduction of optical and electrical devices to manipulate and record neural activity, respectively, from the targeted neural population. Combining these functionalities in a single implantable device is of great importance for a precise investigation of neural networks while minimizing tissue damage. Approach: We report on the development, characterization, and in vivo validation of a multifunctional optrode that combines a silicon-based neural probe with an integrated microfluidic channel, and an optical glass fiber in a compact assembly. The silicon probe comprises an 11-m-wide fluidic channel and 32 recording electrodes (diameter 30 m) on a tapered probe shank with a length, thickness, and maximum width of 7.5 mm, 50 m, and 150 m, respectively. The size and position of fluidic channels, electrodes, and optical fiber can be precisely tuned according to the in vivo application. Main results: With a total system weight of 0.97 g, our multifunctional optrode is suitable for chronic in vivo experiments requiring simultaneous drug delivery, optical stimulation, and neural recording. We demonstrate the utility of our device in optogenetics by injecting a viral vector carrying a ChR2-construct in the prefrontal cortex and subsequent photostimulation of the transfected neurons while recording neural activity from both the target and adjacent regions in a freely moving rat. Additionally, we demonstrate a pharmacological application of our device by injecting GABA antagonist bicuculline in an anesthetized rat brain and simultaneously recording the electrophysiological response. Significance: Our triple-modality device enables a single-step optogenetic surgery. In comparison to conventional multi-step surgeries, our approach achieves higher spatial specificity while minimizing tissue damage.</p>
<p> bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience</p>
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