Blood brain barrier (BBB)-disruption in intracortical silicon microelectrode implants

Cassie Bennett, Malaroviyam Samikkannu, Farrah Mohammed, W. Dalton Dietrich, Suhrud M. Rajguru, Abhishek Prasad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Chronically implanted microelectrodes in the neural tissue elicit inflammatory responses that are time varying and have been shown to depend on multiple factors. Among these factors, blood brain barrier (BBB)-disruption has been hypothesized as one of the dominant factors resulting in electrode failure. A series of events that includes BBB and cell-membrane disruption occurs during electrode implantation that triggers multiple biochemical cascades responsible for microglial and astroglial activation, hemorrhage, edema, and release of pro-inflammatory neurotoxic cytokines that causes neuronal degeneration and dysfunction. Typically, microwire arrays and silicon probes are inserted slowly into the neural tissue whereas the silicon Utah MEAs (UMEA) are inserted at a high speed using a pneumatic inserter. In this work, we report the sequelae of electrode-implant induced cortical injury at various acute time points in UMEAs implanted in the brain tissue by quantifying the expression profile for key genes mediating the inflammatory response and tight junction (TJ) and adherens junction (AJ) proteins that form the BBB and are critical to the functioning of the BBB. Our results indicated upregulation of most pro-inflammatory genes relative to naïve controls for all time points. Expression levels for the genes that form the TJ and AJ were downregulated suggestive of BBB-dysfunction. Moreover, there was no significant difference between stab and implant groups suggesting the effects of UMEA insertion-related trauma in the brain tissue. Our results provide an insight into the physiological events related to neuroinflammation and BBB-disruption occurring at acute time-points following insertion of UMEAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Blood brain barrier (BBB) disruption
  • Electrode failure
  • Microelectrode array
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Utah arrays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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