Behavioral validation of a wireless low-power neurostimulation technology in a conditioned place preference task

Lisa Y. Maeng, Maria F. Murillo, Michelle Mu, Meng Chen Lo, Marjorie De La Rosa, Jonathan M. O'Brien, Daniel K. Freeman, Alik S. Widge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective. Neurostimulation technologies are important for studying neural circuits and the connections that underlie neurological and psychiatric disorders. However, current methods come with limitations such as the restraint on movement imposed by the wires delivering stimulation. The objective of this study was to assess whether the e-Particle (EP), a novel wireless neurostimulator, could sufficiently stimulate the brain to modify behavior without these limitations. Approach. Rats were implanted with the EP and a commercially available stimulating electrode. Animals received rewarding brain stimulation, and performance in a conditioned place preference (CPP) task was measured. To ensure stimulation-induced neuronal activation, immediate early gene c-fos expression was also measured. Main results. The EP was validated in a commonly used CPP task by demonstrating that (1) wireless stimulation via the EP induced preference behavior that was comparable to that induced by standard wired electrodes and (2) neuronal activation was observed in projection targets of the stimulation site. Significance. The EP may help achieve a better understanding of existing brain stimulation methods while overcoming their limitations. Validation of the EP in a behavioral model suggests that the benefits of this technology may extend to other areas of animal research and potentially to human clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number026022
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by funding from Draper Laboratory to D K Freeman and A S Widge, The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and the Harvard Brain Science Initiative Bipolar Disorder Seed Grant Program supported by Kent and Liz Dauten. Gregory R Wojtkiewicz of the Center for Systems Biology at MGH provided images produced by CT-MRI co-registration. This work was also conducted with support from Harvard Catalyst | The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health Award UL 1TR002541) and financial contributions from Harvard University and its affiliated academic healthcare centers. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of Harvard Catalyst, Harvard University and its affiliated academic healthcare centers, or the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • conditioned place preference
  • deep brain stimulation
  • e-Particle
  • medial forebrain bundle
  • neurostimulation
  • neurostimulator


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