Brain on chip: Nerve tissue interfaced with a computer chip

June 2, 2006
Brain on chip: Nerve tissue interfaced with a computer chip
A thin tissue slice of a rat hippocampus region (top) is cultivated on a semiconductor chip with 16.384 sensory transistors per square millimetre (center, dark coloured square). Following excitation the chip maps the electrical activity of the neurons (bottom), caused by activity of synapses (red: positive, blue: negative). Credit: Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry

Before informational input perceived by the mammalian brain is stored in the long-term memory, it is temporarily memorised in the hippocampus. Understanding the function of the hippocampus as an important player in the memory process is a major topic of current brain research. Thin slices of this brain region provide the appropriate material to study the intact neural network of the hippocampus.

Methods commonly used in neurophysiology are invasive, restricted to a small number of cells or suffer from low spatial resolution. The scientists in Martinsried developed a revolutionary non-invasive technique that enables them to record neural communication between thousands of nerve cells in the tissue of a brain slice with high spatial resolution.

This technique involves culturing razor-thin slices of the hippocampus region on semiconductor chips. These chips were developed in collaboration with Infineon Technologies AG and excel in their density of sensory transistors: 16384 transistors on an area of one square millimeter record the neural activity in the brain.

Recording the activity patterns of the united cell structure of an intact mammalian brain tissue represents a significant technological breakthrough. Employing the new technique, the biophysicists working under the direction of Peter Fromherz were able to visualize the influence of pharmaceutical compounds on the neural network. This makes the "brain-chip" from Martinsried a novel test system for brain and drug research.

As early as 1991, Peter Fromherz and his coworkers succeeded in interfacing single leech nerve cells with semiconductor chips. Subsequent research gave rise to bidirectional communication between chip and small networks of a few molluskan nerve cells.

In this project, it was possible to detect the signalling between cells via their synapses. The chips used in these studies were developed and produced by the scientists themselves. The production requirements of the chip described above made collaboration with industry indispensable. With the resulting novel hybrid system of neural tissue and semiconductor, the scientists take a great step forward towards neurochip prosthetics and neurocomputation.

Citation: M. Hutzler, et. al., High-resolution multi-transistor array recording of electrical field potentials in cultured brain slices. Journal of Neuropyhsiology. Preprint online (May 10, 2006). doi:10.1152/jn.00347.2006

Source: Max Planck Institute

Explore further: Stem cells have more reserves for DNA replication

Related Stories

Stem cells have more reserves for DNA replication

July 17, 2015

In cell division, nothing is as important as the precise replication of billions of genetic letters that make up DNA. Since this genomic integrity is so fundamental to survival, scientists had assumed that replication mechanisms ...

Recommended for you

Facebook ready to test giant drone for Internet service

July 30, 2015

Facebook says it will begin test flights later this year for a solar-powered drone with a wingspan as big as a Boeing 737, in the next stage of its campaign to deliver Internet connectivity to remote parts of the world.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

woody20000
not rated yet Jul 20, 2008
Mind control 1984-2008 in Shanghai,China.Not a joke!

%u6211%u7684%u535A%u5BA2%u4E0A%u53EA%u80FD4%u67081%u65E5%u611A%u4EBA%u8282%u53D1%u8FC7%u6587%u3002
http://chenyuhong...ex.shtml%uFF08%u7565%uFF09]http://chenyuhong...65%uFF09[/url]

20%u591A%u5E74%u524D%u4E2D%u56FD%u5927%u9646%u5C31%u6709mind control%u8FD9%u6837%u7684%u6280%u672F%u4E86.
%u6211%u662F%u4EB2%u5386%u8005.
http://bbs.tiexue...3_1.html (%u94C1%u8840%u8BBA%u575B%u7B2C%u4E09%u6B21%u53D1)
http://bbs.tiexue...8_1.html (%u73B0%u5728%u70B9%u51FB13000%u591A,%u8D44%u6DF1%u7528%u6237%u624D%u53EF%u770B%u8D34)
http://bbs.tiexue...2_1.html (%u70B9%u51FB4218%u540E%u88AB%u5220)

http://club.cn.ya..._pn.html %u5168%u9009%u9875%u9762(%u53F3%u952E)

http://www.tcmbbs...408.html



http://www.china9...tid=2133&extra=page=1&page=3


http://www.chubun..._id=2217]http://www.chubun..._id=2217[/url]]http://www.chubun..._id=2217[/url]&forum=14


http://www.fs2you...21f4662/



https://www.jubao...result=1&passwd=Ctm2dUq4237S7ysN
%u4FE1%u606F%u63D0%u4EA4%u6210%u529F%uFF0C%u67E5%u8BE2%u5BC6%u7801%u662FCtm2dUq4237S7ysN

%u8BF7%u8BB0%u4F4F%u67E5%u8BE2%u5BC6%u7801%uFF0C%u4F9B%u65E5%u540E%u67E5%u8BE2%u3002

%u6211%u7684%u4E00%u4E9B
%u535A%u5BA2%u7684%u7F51%u5740:

http://shanghaipi...ohu.com/

http://blog.sina....oody2000

http://hexun.com/...ult.html

http://chenyuhong...ex.shtml

http://woody2006....ex.shtml

http://hi.baidu.com/woody20000

http://my.mop.com/chenyuhong

http://i.cn.yahoo.com/matrix.china




google%u641Cwoody20000@gmail.com

http://www.google...hl=zh-CN&q=woody20000 gmail&btnG=Google 搜ç´%

A2&meta=&aq=o

http://www.chubun..._id=2217]http://www.chubun..._id=2217[/url]]http://www.chubun..._id=2217[/url]&start=0

http://www.chubun..._id=2217]http://www.chubun..._id=2217[/url]]http://www.chubun..._id=2217[/url]&start=30





Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.