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Dextran as a Resorbable Coating Material for Flexible Neural Probes

ESAT-MICAS, KU Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
Laboratory for Biological Psychology, Brain & Cognition, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Experimental Neurosurgery and Neuroanatomy, UZ Herestraat 49 box 7003, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2019, 10(1), 61;
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 27 December 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2019 / Published: 17 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neural Microelectrodes: Design and Applications)
PDF [3563 KB, uploaded 17 January 2019]


In the quest for chronically reliable and bio-tolerable brain interfaces there has been a steady evolution towards the use of highly flexible, polymer-based electrode arrays. The reduced mechanical mismatch between implant and brain tissue has shown to reduce the evoked immune response, which in turn has a positive effect on signal stability and noise. Unfortunately, the low stiffness of the implants also has practical repercussions, making surgical insertion extremely difficult. In this work we explore the use of dextran as a coating material that temporarily stiffens the implant, preventing buckling during insertion. The mechanical properties of dextran coated neural probes are characterized, as well as the different parameters which influence the dissolution rate. Tuning parameters, such as coating thickness and molecular weight of the used dextran, allows customization of the stiffness and dissolution time to precisely match the user’s needs. Finally, the immunological response to the coated electrodes was analyzed by performing a histological examination after four months of in vivo testing. The results indicated that a very limited amount of glial scar tissue was formed. Neurons have also infiltrated the area that was initially occupied by the dissolving dextran coating. There was no noticeable drop in neuron density around the site of implantation, confirming the suitability of the coating as a temporary aid during implantation of highly flexible polymer-based neural probes. View Full-Text
Keywords: dextran; neural probe; microfabrication; foreign body reaction; immunohistochemistry; polymer; chronic dextran; neural probe; microfabrication; foreign body reaction; immunohistochemistry; polymer; chronic

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Kil, D.; Bovet Carmona, M.; Ceyssens, F.; Deprez, M.; Brancato, L.; Nuttin, B.; Balschun, D.; Puers, R. Dextran as a Resorbable Coating Material for Flexible Neural Probes. Micromachines 2019, 10, 61.

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