Chronic, Reusable, Multiday Neuropixels Recordings during Free-Moving Operant Behavior

Zhimin Song, Abigail Alpers, Kasey Warner, Francesca Iacobucci, Eric Hoskins, John F. Disterhoft, Joel L. Voss, Alik S. Widge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrophysiological recording is a powerful technique to examine neuronal substrates underlying cognition and behavior. Neuropixels probes provide a unique capacity to capture neuronal activity across many brain areas with high spatiotemporal resolution. Neuropixels are also expensive and optimized for acute, head-fixed use, both of which limit the types of behaviors and manipulations that can be studied. Recent advances have addressed the cost issue by showing chronic implant, ex-plant, and reuse of Neuropixels probes, but the methods were not optimized for use in free-moving behavior. There were specific needs for improvement in cabling/connection stability. Here, we extend that work to demonstrate chronic Neuropixels recording, explant, and reuse in a rat model during fully free-moving operant behavior. Similar to prior approaches, we house the probe and headstage within a 3D-printed housing that avoids direct fixation of the probe to the skull, enabling eventual explant. We demonstrate innovations to allow chronic headstage connection with protection against environmental factors and a more stable cabling setup to reduce the tension that can interrupt recording. We demonstrate this approach with rats performing two different behavioral tasks, in each case showing: (1) chronic single-or dual-probe recordings in free-moving rats in operant chambers and (2) reusability of Neuropixels 1.0 probes with continued good single-unit yield after retrieval and reimplant. We thus demonstrate the potential for Neuropixels recordings in a wider range of species and preparations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberENEURO.0245-23.2023
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Song et al.


  • cognitive flexibility
  • deep brain stimulation
  • paired associate learning
  • set shift

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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