A cranial window imaging method for monitoring vascular growth around chronically implanted micro-ECoG devices

Amelia A. Schendel, Sanitta Thongpang, Sarah K. Brodnick, Thomas J. Richner, Bradley D B Lindevig, Lisa Krugner-Higby, Justin C. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Implantable neural micro-electrode arrays have the potential to restore lost sensory or motor function to many different areas of the body. However, the invasiveness of these implants often results in scar tissue formation, which can have detrimental effects on recorded signal quality and longevity. Traditional histological techniques can be employed to study the tissue reaction to implanted micro-electrode arrays, but these techniques require removal of the brain from the skull, often causing damage to the meninges and cortical surface. This is especially unfavorable when studying the tissue response to electrode arrays such as the micro-electrocorticography (micro-ECoG) device, which sits on the surface of the cerebral cortex. In order to better understand the biological changes occurring around these types of devices, a cranial window implantation scheme has been developed, through which the tissue response can be studied in vivo over the entire implantation period.Rats were implanted with epidural micro-ECoG arrays, over which glass coverslips were placed and sealed to the skull, creating cranial windows. Vascular growth around the devices was monitored for one month after implantation. It was found that blood vessels grew through holes in the micro-ECoG substrate, spreading over the top of the device. Micro-hematomas were observed at varying time points after device implantation in every animal, and tissue growth between the micro-ECoG array and the window occurred in several cases. Use of the cranial window imaging technique with these devices enabled the observation of tissue changes that would normally go unnoticed with a standard device implantation scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-130
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 5 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office (MTO), under the auspices of Dr. Jack W. Judy (jack.judy@darpa.mil) as part of the Reliable Neural Technology Program, through the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Systems Center (SSC) Pacific grants No. N66001-11-1-4013 and No. N66001-12-C-4025. As well as by the National Institutes of Health (NIH NIBIB 1R01EB009103-01, NIH NIBIB 2R01EB000856-06, and NIH NIBIB 1T32EB011434-01A1).


  • Brain computer interfacing
  • Cranial window
  • Micro-electrocorticography
  • Neural electrode
  • Tissue response
  • Vasculature


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