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A biohybrid system to interface peripheral nerves after traumatic lesions: Design of a high channel sieve electrode

: Stieglitz, T.; Ruf, H.H.; Gross, M.; Schuettler, M.; Meyer, J.-U.


Biosensors & bioelectronics 17 (2002), Nr.8, S.685-696
ISSN: 0956-5663
ISSN: 1873-4235
Fraunhofer IBMT ()
biohybrid system; peripheral nerve interfacing; traumatic lesion; high channel sieve electrode design; substrate-integrated ring electrode; distributed counter electrode; monolithic integration; neurosurgical suture; epineurium; autoclave; flaccid paralysis; nerve degeneration; functional electrical stimulation; paralyzed limb function restoration; chronic implantation; nerve sprouting through sieve hole; microprobe design development; electrochemical electrode property; fixation flap

Peripheral nerve lesions lead to nerve degeneration and flaccid paralysis. The first objective in functional rehabilitation of these diseases should be the preservation of the neuro-muscular junction by biological means and following functional electrical stimulation (FES) may restore some function of the paralyzed limb. The combination of biological cells and technical microdevices to biohybrid systems might become a new approach in neural prosthetics research to preserve skeletal muscle function. In this paper, a microdevice for a biohybrid system to interface peripheral nerves after traumatic lesions is presented. The development of the microprobe design and the fabrication technology is described and first experimental results are given and afterwards discussed. The technical microprobe is designed in a way that meets the most important technical requirements: adaptation to the distal nerve stump, suitability to combine the microstructure with a containment for cells, and integrated microelectrodes as information transducers for cell stimulation and monitoring. Micromachining technologies were applied to fabricate a polyimide-based sieve-like microprobe with 19 substrate-integrated ring electrodes and a distributed counter electrode. Monolithic integration of fixation flaps and a three-dimensional shaping technology led to a device that might be adapted to nerve stumps with neurosurgical sutures in the epineurium. First experimental results of the durability of the shaping technology and electrochemical electrode properties were investigated. The three-dimensional shape remained quite stable after sterilization in an autoclave and chronic implantation. Electrode impedance was below 200 k Omega at 1 kHz which ought to permit recording of signals from nerves sprouting through the sieve holes.