Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2020, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (12): 1907033.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB201907033

Special Issue: Neural Interfaces

• ARTICLE • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Detection of Neuronal Activity in the Hippocampus of Sleep Deprived Rats Using Microelectrode Arrays

Zeying Lu1,2, Shengwei Xu1, Hao Wang1,2, Juntao Liu1, Fei Gao1,2, Yilin Song1, Jingyu Xie1,2, Guihua Xiao1,2, Yu Zhang1,2, Yuchuan Dai1,2, Yun Wang1,2, Lina Qu3,*(), Xinxia Cai1,2,*()   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Transducer Technology, Institute of Electronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. China
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, P. R. China
    3 State Key Laboratory of Space Medicine Fundamentals and Application, China Astronaut Research and Training Center, Beijing 100094, P. R. China
  • Received:2019-07-10 Accepted:2019-09-11 Published:2019-09-16
  • Contact: Lina Qu,Xinxia Cai;
  • Supported by:
    the National Key Research and Development Program of China(2017YFA0205902);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(61527815);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(61771452);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(61775216);the Key Research Programs of Frontier Sciences, CAS(QYZDJ-SSW-SYS015)


Sleep deprivation (SD) is the partial or complete loss of sleep and has long been used as a tool in sleep research to interfere with normal sleep cycles in rodents and humans. The progressively-accumulating sleep pressure induced by sleep deprivation can lead to a variety of physiological changes and even death. Compared to traditional detection methods, in vivo detection of neuronal activity using micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technology following sleep deprivation can help fully elucidate the effects of sleep deprivation at the cellular level. Herein, a computer-controlled rotary roller was used to completely deprive rats of sleep for 14 days and 16-channel microelectrode arrays (MEAs) were fabricated and implanted into the rat hippocampus to measure neural spikes and local field potentials (LFPs) in real-time. The hippocampus is involved in learning and memory and has been the focus of intensive research aimed at understanding the function of sleep. This study was performed to measure the changes in neuronal activity in the rat hippocampus induced by sleep deprivation as well as their overall impact on the brain. After sleep deprivation, both the pyramidal- and inter-neurons showed a higher amplitude and more intense firing patterns. The fast-firing pattern of the neurons after sleep deprivation indicated elevated excitability in the prolonged awake state. In addition, the LFP of the sleep deprived rats fluctuated more frequently. The power of the LFPs in the low-frequency band (0–50 Hz) was calculated, showing increased power of the delta, theta, alpha, and beta bands after sleep deprivation, especially for the delta band (0.1–4 Hz). Generally, LFPs are generated by all types of neural activity in the neural circuit, and the changes in the low frequency band power suggested decreased arousal and increased sleep pressure induced by sleep deprivation, which could further impair brain function. This study was mainly aimed at measuring electrophysiological changes induced by sleep deprivation in the rat brain. Typically, neuronal activity changes were accompanied by the alternation of specific neurotransmitters in the brain. In the future, it will be essential to focus on measuring the concurrent change of electrophysiological and neurochemical signals to better examine the impact of sleep deprivation on brain function.

Key words: Sleep deprivation, Neuronal activity, Microelectrode array, Spike, Local field potential