An implantable multimodal sensor for oxygen, neurotransmitters, and electrophysiology during spreading depolarization in the deep brain
Brain tissue injury is often accompanied by spreading depolarization (SD) events, marked by widespread cellular depolarization and cessation of neuronal firing. SD recruits viable tissue into the lesion, making it a focus for intervention. During SD, drastic fluctuations occur in ion gradients, extracellular neurotransmitter concentrations, cellular metabolism, and cerebral blood flow. Measuring SD requires a multimodal approach to capture the array of changes. However, the use of multiple sensors can inflict tissue damage. Here, we use carbon-fiber microelectrodes to characterize several aspects of SD with a single, minimally invasive sensor in the deep brain region of the nucleus accumbens. Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry detects large changes in oxygen, which reflect the balance between cerebral blood flow and energy consumption, and also supraphysiological release of electroactive neurotransmitters (i.e., dopamine). We verify waves of SD with concurrent single-unit or DC potential electrophysiological recordings. The single-unit recordings reveal bursts of action potentials followed by inactivity. The DC potentials exhibit a slow negative voltage shift in the extracellular space indicative of wide-spread cellular depolarization. Here, we characterize the multiple modalities of our sensor and demonstrate its utility for improved SD recordings.