The latest Neuropixels probe can track neurons over weeks

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A new generation of miniature recording probes can track the same neurons in the brain of small mice for weeks and even months.

The new tool was released in 2017 and builds on the success of the original Neuropixels probe currently used in over 400 labs. Neuropixels 2.0 is much smaller, about one-third the size of its predecessor. They are designed to record electrical activity from more individual neurons and have the unique ability to track this activity over time. This is especially useful for studying long-term phenomena such as learning and memory of small animals such as mice, says Tim Harris, senior fellow at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus, who led the project.Harris and his colleagues describe progress in a treatise published online on April 15 in the journal. Science..

Harris says the advances in Neuropixels 2.0 have come from several key innovations. Janelia scientists and engineers have developed new ways to process data. By strategically changing the layout of the probe, we were able to make the probe more suitable for a particular task. In addition, engineers at imec, a non-profit nanoelectronics center that manufactures probes, designed, developed, and manufactured probes using imec’s unique technology.

“This unique platform allowed us to design a small probe with high recording site density and long-term stability,” said Barun Dutta, chief scientist at imec.

Harris says that tracking the same neurons over time is a continuous task, as the brain moves a little each time the animal moves. Each Neuropixels probe contains multiple recording sites (spots that pick up nerve signals). The latest version includes more of these sites and is closer together. Similar to placing many microphones around a crowded room, a design change is likely to cause neurons to be picked up by adjacent recording sites even if they sway out of the reach of one recording site. Become. Anna Lebedeva, a student at Matteo Calandini’s lab at the University College London, has collected data demonstrating this effect. And Janelia Group Leader Marius Pachitariu has developed software for tracking neurons.

The original Neuropixels probe has only one narrow piece of metal that enters the brain, but the new version has four. This means that the recording sites are spread over a wider area, enabling more efficient recording in many important brain areas, especially in the thin layers of the brain.

In experiments with mice, the team found that two probes could be used to pick up electrical signals from over 6,000 different sites, said Nick Steinmetz, a researcher at UCL and the University of Washington. say.

The latest version of the prototype is currently being tested by neuroscientists in laboratories around the world and is fine-tuned and fine-tuned according to the user’s experience. Harris and his colleagues hope that this product will be ready for widespread distribution during 2022.

Ready to release Neuropixels technology

For more information:
NA Steinmetz et al. , “Neuropixels 2.0: Miniaturized High Density Probe for Stable Long-Term Brain Recording” Science (2021).… 1126 / science.abf4588

Provided by Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Quote: The latest Neuropixels probe was taken from on April 15, 2021 for several weeks (April 2021). You can track neurons over 15 days).

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The latest Neuropixels probe can track neurons over weeks

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