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TitleTargeted Stimulation Using Differences in Activation Probability across the Strength–Duration Space
AuthorMichelle L. Kuykendal 1,2,3, Steve M. Potter 2,3, Martha A. Grover 4 and Stephen P. DeWeerth 1,2,3
Affiliation(s)1 School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA 2 Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA 3 Laboratory for Neuroengineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA 4 School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
PublishedProcesses 2017, 5(2), 14; doi:10.3390/pr5020014
Keywordextracellular electrical stimulation; closed-loop; strength–duration; micro-electrode array (MEA); dissociated culture; activation curve; optical recording
Snippet 
AbstractElectrical stimulation is ubiquitous as a method for activating neuronal tissue, but there is still significant room for advancement in the ability of these electrical devices to implement smart stimulus waveform design to more selectively target populations of neurons. The capability of a device to encode more complicated and precise messages to a neuronal network greatly increases if the stimulus input space is broadened to include variable shaped waveforms and multiple stimulating electrodes. The relationship between a stimulating electrode and the activated population is unknown; a priori. For that reason, the population of excitable neurons must be characterized in real-time and for every combination of stimulating electrodes and neuronal populations. Our automated experimental system allows investigation into the stimulus-evoked neuronal response to a current pulse using dissociated neuronal cultures grown atop microelectrode arrays (MEAs). The studies presented here demonstrate that differential activation is achievable between two neurons using either multiple stimulating electrodes or variable waveform shapes. By changing the aspect ratio of a rectangular current pulse; the stimulus activated neurons in the strength–duration (SD) waveform space with differing probabilities. Additionally, in the case when two neuronal activation curves intersect each other in the SD space; one neuron can be selectively activated with short-pulse-width; high-current stimuli while the other can be selectively activated with long-pulse-width; low-current stimuli. Exploring the capabilities and limitations of electrical stimulation allows for improvements to the delivery of stimulus pulses to activate neuronal populations. Many state-of-the-art research and clinical stimulation solutions, including those using a single microelectrode, can benefit from waveform design methods to improve stimulus efficacy. These findings have even greater import into multi-electrode systems because spatially distributed electrodes further enhance accessibility to differential neuronal activation.

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