A microfluidic brain slice perfusion chamber for multisite recording using penetrating electrodes

Alexander J. Blake, Frank C. Rodgers, Anna Bassuener, Joseph A. Hippensteel, Thomas M. Pearce, Timothy R. Pearce, Ewa D. Zarnowska, Robert A. Pearce, Justin C. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


To analyze the spatiotemporal dynamics of network activity in a brain tissue slice, it is useful to record simultaneously from multiple locations. When obtained from laminar structures such as the hippocampus or neocortex, multisite recordings also yield information about subcellular current distributions via current source density analysis. Multisite probes developed for in vivo recordings could serve these purposes in vitro, allowing recordings to be obtained from brain slices at sites deeper within the tissue than currently available surface recording methods permit. However, existing recording chambers do not allow for the insertion of lamina-spanning probes that enter through the edges of brain slices. Here, we present a novel brain slice recording chamber design that accomplishes this goal. The device provides a stable microfluidic perfusion environment in which tissue health is optimized by superfusing both surfaces of the slice. Multichannel electrodes can be inserted parallel to the surface of the slice, at any depth relative to the surface. Access is also provided from above for the insertion of additional recording or stimulating electrodes. We illustrate the utility of this recording configuration by measuring current sources and sinks during theta burst stimuli that lead to the induction of long-term potentiation in hippocampal slices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Luke Bassuener for providing the drawing in Fig. 1 C, and Mark Perkins for excellent technical assistance. This research was supported by National Institutes of Health grants P01-GM47818 and R01-NS56411 to R.A. Pearce and by National Institutes of Health grants KL2-RR025012 and R21-NS051580 to J.C. Williams.


  • Action potential
  • Current source density (CSD)
  • Field potentials
  • Hippocampus
  • Long-term potentiation (LTP)
  • Microfluidics
  • Multisite recording electrodes

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