Measuring surface potential components necessary for transmembrane current computation using microfabricated arrays

Academic Article


  • This study was designed to test the feasibility of using microfabricated electrodes to record surface potentials with sufficiently fine spatial resolution to measure the potential gradients necessary for improved computation of transmembrane current density. To assess that feasibility, we recorded unipolar electrograms from perfused rabbit right ventricular free wall epicardium (n = 6) using electrode arrays that included 25-μm sensors fabricated onto a flexible substrate with 75-μm interelectrode spacing. Electrode spacing was therefore on the size scale of an individual myocyte. Signal conditioning adjacent to the sensors to control lead noise was achieved by routing traces from the electrodes to the back side of the substrate where buffer amplifiers were located. For comparison, recordings were also made using arrays built from chloridized silver wire electrodes of either 50-μm (fine wire) or 250-μm (coarse wire) diameters. Electrode separations were necessarily wider than with microfabricated arrays. Comparable signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) of 21.2 ± 2.2, 32.5 ± 4.1, and 22.9 ± 0.7 for electrograms recorded using microfabricated sensors (n = 78), fine wires (n = 78), and coarse wires (n = 78), respectively, were found. High SNRs were maintained in bipolar electrograms assembled using spatial combinations of the unipolar electrograms necessary for the potential gradient measurements and in second-difference electrograms assembled using spatial combinations of the bipolar electrograms necessary for surface Laplacian (SL) measurements. Simulations incorporating a bidomain representation of tissue structure and a two-dimensional network of guinea pig myocytes prescribed following the Luo and Rudy dynamic membrane equations were completed using 12.5-μm spatial resolution to assess contributions of electrode spacing to the potential gradient and SL measurements. In those simulations, increases in electrode separation from 12.5 to 75.0, 237.5, and 875.0 μm, which were separations comparable to the finest available with our microfabricated, fine wire, and coarse wire arrays, led to 10%, 42%, and 81% reductions in maximum potential gradients and 33%, 76%, and 96% reductions in peak-to-peak SLs. Maintenance of comparable SNRs for source electrograms was therefore important because microfabrication provides a highly attractive methods to achieve spatial resolutions necessary for improved computation of transmembrane current density. Copyright © 2005 the American Physiological Society.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wiley JJ; Ideker RE; Smith WM; Pollard AE
  • Volume

  • 289
  • Issue

  • 6 58-6