Brain on chip: Nerve tissue interfaced with a computer chip

Jun 02, 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: Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Protein glue shows potential for use with biomaterials

Aug 28, 2014

Researchers at the University of Milan in Italy have shown that a synthetic protein called AGMA1 has the potential to promote the adhesion of brain cells in a laboratory setting. This could prove helpful ...

Recommended for you

Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

Sep 19, 2014

A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was ...

Scots' inventions are fuel for independence debate

Sep 17, 2014

What has Scotland ever done for us? Plenty, it turns out. The land that gave the world haggis and tartan has produced so much more, from golf and television to Dolly the Sheep and "Grand Theft Auto."

White House backs use of body cameras by police

Sep 16, 2014

Requiring police officers to wear body cameras is one potential solution for bridging deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public, the White House said, weighing in on a national debate sparked by the shooting of ...

Chinese city creates cellphone sidewalk lane

Sep 15, 2014

Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going.

Coroner: Bitcoin exchange CEO committed suicide

Sep 15, 2014

A Singapore Coroner's Court has found that the American CEO of a virtual currency exchange committed suicide earlier this year in Singapore because of work and personal issues.

User comments : 1

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