Data_Sheet_2_Computational Simulation Expands Understanding of Electrotransfer-Based Gene Augmentation for Enhancement of Neural Interfaces.pdf (256.27 kB)
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Data_Sheet_2_Computational Simulation Expands Understanding of Electrotransfer-Based Gene Augmentation for Enhancement of Neural Interfaces.pdf

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posted on 06.08.2019, 04:22 authored by Amr Al Abed, Jeremy L. Pinyon, Evelyn Foster, Frederik Crous, Gary J. Cowin, Gary D. Housley, Nigel H. Lovell

The neural interface is a critical factor in governing efficient and safe charge transfer between a stimulating electrode and biological tissue. The interface plays a crucial role in the efficacy of electric stimulation in chronic implants and both electromechanical properties and biological properties shape this. In the case of cochlear implants, it has long been recognized that neurotrophins can stimulate growth of the target auditory nerve fibers into a favorable apposition with the electrode array, and recently such arrays have been re-purposed to enable electrotransfer (electroporation)-based neurotrophin gene augmentation to improve the “bionic ear.” For both this acute bionic array-directed electroporation and for chronic conventional cochlear implant arrays, the electric fields generated in target tissue during pulse delivery are central to efficacy, but are challenging to map. We present a computational model for predicting electric fields generated by array-driven DNA electrotransfer in the cochlea. The anatomically realistic model geometry was reconstructed from magnetic resonance images of the guinea pig cochlea and an eight-channel electrode array embedded within this geometry. The model incorporates a description of both Faradaic and non-Faradaic mechanisms occurring at the electrode-electrolyte interface with frequency dependency optimized to match experimental impedance spectrometry measurements. Our simulations predict that a tandem electrode configuration with four ganged cathodes and four ganged anodes produces three to fourfold larger area in target tissue where the electric field is within the range for successful gene transfer compared to an alternate paired anode-cathode electrode configuration. These findings matched in vivo transfection efficacy of a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter following array-driven electrotransfer of the reporter-encoding plasmid DNA. This confirms utility of the developed model as a tool to optimize the safety and efficacy of electrotransfer protocols for delivery of neurotrophin growth factors, with the ultimate aim of using gene augmentation approaches to improve the characteristics of the electrode-neural interfaces in chronically implanted neurostimulation devices.

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