Strength-frequency curve for micromagnetic neurostimulation through excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) on rat hippocampal neurons and numerical modeling of magnetic microcoil (μcoil)

Renata Saha, Sadegh Faramarzi Ganj Abad, Robert P Bloom, Onri J. Benally, Kai Wu, Arturo di Girolamo, Denis Tonini, Susan A. Keirstead, Walter C. Low, Theoden I. Netoff, Jianping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective. The objective of this study was to measure the effect of micromagnetic stimulation (μMS) on hippocampal neurons, by using single microcoil (μcoil) prototype, magnetic pen (MagPen). MagPen will be used to stimulate the CA3 region magnetically and excitatory post synaptic potential (EPSP) response measurements will be made from the CA1 region. The threshold for micromagnetic neurostimulation as a function of stimulation frequency of the current driving the μcoil will be demonstrated. Finally, the optimal stimulation frequency of the current driving the μcoil to minimize power will be estimated. Approach. A biocompatible, watertight, non-corrosive prototype, MagPen was built, and customized such that it is easy to adjust the orientation of the μcoil and its distance over the hippocampal tissue in an in vitro recording setting. Finite element modeling of the μcoil design was performed to estimate the spatial profiles of the magnetic flux density (in T) and the induced electric fields (in V m-1). The induced electric field profiles generated at different values of current applied to the μcoil can elicit a neuronal response, which was validated by numerical modeling. The modeling settings for the μcoil were replicated in experiments on rat hippocampal neurons. Main results. The preferred orientation of MagPen over the Schaffer Collateral fibers was demonstrated such that they elicit a neuron response. The recorded EPSPs from CA1 region due to μMS at CA3 region were validated by applying tetrodotoxin (TTX). Application of TTX to the hippocampal slice blocked the EPSPs from μMS while after prolonged TTX washout, a partial recovery of the EPSP from μMS was observed. Finally, it was interpreted through numerical analysis that increasing frequency of the current driving the μcoil, led to a decrease in the current amplitude threshold for micromagnetic neurostimulation. Significance. This work reports that micromagnetic neurostimulation can be used to evoke population EPSP responses in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. It demonstrates the strength-frequency curve for μMS and its unique features related to orientation dependence of the μcoils, spatial selectivity and stimulation threshold related to distance dependence. Finally, the challenges related to μMS experiments were studied including ways to overcome them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016018
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • excitatory post synaptic potential (EPSP)
  • hippocampus
  • microcoil
  • micromagnetic neurostimulation
  • spatial selectivity
  • strength-frequency curve
  • tetrodotoxin
  • Hippocampus/physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Neurons
  • Synapses/physiology
  • Rats
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Animals
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Magnetic Phenomena

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Strength-frequency curve for micromagnetic neurostimulation through excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) on rat hippocampal neurons and numerical modeling of magnetic microcoil (μcoil)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this