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MEA Measurements of Neurons

A planar microelectrode array (MEA) has become a popular experimental platform for electrophysiological studies of neural networks for in vitro models. By providing high-quality and customized solutions and services, Creative Biolabs provides tailored neuroscience assay services for neuroscience research.

Different developmental processes like neurogenesis, cellular differentiation, migration, and programmed cell death can be affected by neuronal activity. Therefore, spontaneous electrophysiological activity in neuronal networks of a cell population during development can be used to understand the structural and functional formation of neuronal circuits and their implication in-network plasticity and adaptability. MEAs are widely used tools for recording and stimulating extracellular neuronal activity to solve the problem. The MEA was first introduced in 1972 as a new platform for studying cultured cardiac myocytes. Since this time, a lot of progress has been achieved in the domain.

Working Principles

The MEA enables the detection of spontaneous cellular network activity, which can be utilized to characterize a neuronal culture. The MEA consists of an etched pattern of micron-scale metal electrodes with insulated leads deposited on a glass slide. Neurons are cultured atop the array and adhere to the surface of an MEA and make direct contact with microelectrodes. MEAs record extracellular action potentials from the neuron's active membranes, and microelectrodes can also be used to deliver electrical charges to stimulate neurons. The cell culture surface of an MEA plate is composed of multiple extracellular electrodes per well, allowing the detection of local field potentials displayed as spikes (arising from single action potentials) and burst activity (arising from groups of action potentials) at different positions within a neuronal network.

MEA design. Fig.1 MEA design. (Soscia, 2017)

Applications of MEA

The MEA technology is a neurophysiological method that provides recordings of spontaneous electrical activity from neuronal cultures in vitro. By this method, proper development of the neuronal activity of a culture can be investigated. Besides, this technology can determine the effects of various neuromodulators on a human neuronal network. Moreover, MEA is one of the most promising tools for several studies of pharmacological and toxicological responses. It provides a functional and neuronal-specific endpoint that has been used mainly to detect acute neurotoxicity.

The primary advantage of the MEA technique is that it is non-destructive. Electrical activity can be recorded and stimulated without harming the nearby neurons to track cultures over timescales as long as months. These microelectrodes have active tip dimensions similar in size to neurons because they penetrate the nervous system and provide selective access to these cells (within a few microns). In summary, MEAs are used for various purposes, including neurophysiology, neurotoxicology, and pharmacological studies in dissociated neuronal networks, fundamental research aiming at better understanding the functioning of neuronal networks, drug screening, and neural prostheses studies.

Services at Creative Biolabs

The electrophysiological characteristics of neural networks have long been studied to unravel the function of the brain and the underlying mechanisms of the brain, such as synaptic plasticity. The studies have been applied to various fields of neural engineering, including neural prostheses and neurological disorder treatments. MEA is a versatile neural interface platform for in vitro neural tissues, which provides neural recording, electrical stimulation, and chemical stimulation, contributing to the progress of network neuroscience. Creative Biolabs has been long-term devoted to the basic neuroscience assay aimed at developing an in vitro central nervous system (CNS) model, often contain integrated sensing capabilities, such as MEAs, to measure the electrophysiology of neurons. Our team of scientists will work with you to tailor timely, high-quality services based on your specific needs.

Creative Biolabs offers a custom MEA service for your scientific research. Please feel free to contact us for more information. We look forward to discussing your inquiry and finding the best solution for your needs.


  1. Soscia, D.; et al. Controlled placement of multiple CNS cell populations to create complex neuronal cultures. PLoS One. 2017, 12(11), e0188146.

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.