Analysis of deep brain stimulation electrode characteristics for neural recording.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Closed-loop deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems have the potential to optimize treatment of movement disorders by enabling automatic adjustment of stimulation parameters based on a feedback signal. Evoked compound action potentials (ECAPs) and local field potentials (LFPs) recorded from the DBS electrode may serve as suitable closed-loop control signals. The objective of this study was to understand better the factors that influence ECAP and LFP recording, including the physical presence of the electrode, the geometrical dimensions of the electrode, and changes in the composition of the peri-electrode space across recording conditions.


Coupled volume conductor-neuron models were used to calculate single-unit activity as well as ECAP responses and LFP activity from a population of model thalamic neurons.

Main results

Comparing ECAPs and LFPs measured with and without the presence of the highly conductive recording contacts, we found that the presence of these contacts had a negligible effect on the magnitude of single-unit recordings, ECAPs (7% RMS difference between waveforms), and LFPs (5% change in signal magnitude). Spatial averaging across the contact surface decreased the ECAP magnitude in a phase-dependent manner (74% RMS difference), resulting from a differential effect of the contact on the contribution from nearby or distant elements, and decreased the LFP magnitude (25% change). Reductions in the electrode diameter or recording contact length increased signal energy and increased spatial sensitivity of single neuron recordings. Moreover, smaller diameter electrodes (500 µm) were more selective for recording from local cells over passing axons, with the opposite true for larger diameters (1500 µm). Changes in electrode dimensions had phase-dependent effects on ECAP characteristics, and generally had small effects on the LFP magnitude. ECAP signal energy and LFP magnitude decreased with tighter contact spacing (100 µm), compared to the original dimensions (1500 µm), with the opposite effect on the ECAP at longer contact-to-contact distances (2000 µm). Finally, acute edema reduced the single neuron and population ECAP signal energy, as well as LFP magnitude, and glial encapsulation had the opposite effect, after accounting for loss of cells in the peri-electrode space.


This study determined recording conditions and electrode designs that influence ECAP and LFP recording fidelity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kent, AR; Grill, WM

Published Date

  • August 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 11 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 046010 -

PubMed ID

  • 24921984

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4108584

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1741-2552

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1741-2560

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1088/1741-2560/11/4/046010


  • eng