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Miniature wireless recording and stimulation system for rodent behavioural testing

Pinnell, R C and Dempster, J and Pratt, J (2015) Miniature wireless recording and stimulation system for rodent behavioural testing. Journal of Neural Engineering, 12 (6). ISSN 1741-2552

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    OBJECTIVE: Elucidation of neural activity underpinning rodent behaviour has traditionally been hampered by the use of tethered systems and human involvement. Furthermore the combination of deep-brain stimulation (DBS) and various neural recording modalities can lead to complex and time-consuming laboratory setups. For studies of this type, novel tools are required to drive forward this research. APPROACH: A miniature wireless system weighing 8.5 g (including battery) was developed for rodent use that combined multichannel DBS and local-field potential (LFP) recordings. Its performance was verified in a working memory task that involved 4-channel fronto-hippocampal LFP recording and bilateral constant-current fimbria-fornix DBS. The system was synchronised with video-tracking for extraction of LFP at discrete task phases, and DBS was activated intermittently at discrete phases of the task. MAIN RESULTS: In addition to having a fast set-up time, the system could reliably transmit continuous LFP at over 8 hours across 3-5 m distances. During the working memory task, LFP pertaining to discrete task phases was extracted and compared with well-known neural correlates of active exploratory behaviour in rodents. DBS could be wirelessly activated/deactivated at any part of the experiment during EEG recording and transmission, allowing for a seamless integration of this modality. SIGNIFICANCE: The wireless system combines a small size with a level of robustness and versatility that can greatly simplify rodent behavioural experiments involving EEG recording and DBS. Designed for versatility and simplicity, the small size and low-cost of the system and its receiver allow for enhanced portability, fast experimental setup times, and pave the way for integration with more complex behaviour.