Image of the Day: Imposter Neurons

Researchers have implanted electronic components that disguise themselves as nerve cells in the brains of rats.

Typical brain transplants with relatively large neurotransmitters can trigger an immune response, leading to inflammation and scar tissue that can affect the function of the electrodes. Now, researchers have developed sinuous sensors that mimic real neurons to study brain activity in a less forceful way, they reported on February 25 in Nature Materials.

Each of the head probes is similar in size to the body of the neuron, where the electrode is located, and the tail of the filament, a component of a cable enclosing a polymer envelope, resembles a neurite. Scientists have injected their fat neurons into the hippocampus in many mice and found that the investigations have integrated into the brain’s neural network and caused minimal immune responses, according to the authors.

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