Recording of pig neuronal activity in the comparative context of the awake human brain

Aksharkumar Dobariya, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Levi B Good, Ana G. Hernandez-Reynoso, Vikram Jakkamsetti, Ronnie Brown, Misha Dunbar, Kan Ding, Jesus Luna, Raja Reddy Kallem, William C. Putnam, John M. Shelton, Bret M. Evers, Amirhossein Azami, Negar Geramifard, Stuart F. Cogan, Bruce Mickey, Juan M Pascual

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gyriform mammals display neurophysiological and neural network activity that other species exhibit only in rudimentary or dissimilar form. However, neural recordings from large mammals such as the pig can be anatomically hindered and pharmacologically suppressed by anesthetics. This curtails comparative inferences. To mitigate these limitations, we set out to modify electrocorticography, intracerebral depth and intracortical recording methods to study the anesthetized pig. In the process, we found that common forms of infused anesthesia such as pentobarbital or midazolam can be neurophysiologic suppressants acting in dose-independent fashion relative to anesthetic dose or brain concentration. Further, we corroborated that standard laboratory conditions may impose electrical interference with specific neural signals. We thus aimed to safeguard neural network integrity and recording fidelity by developing surgical, anesthesia and noise reduction methods and by working inside a newly designed Faraday cage, and evaluated this from the point of view of neurophysiological power spectral density and coherence analyses. We also utilized novel silicon carbide electrodes to minimize mechanical disruption of single-neuron activity. These methods allowed for the preservation of native neurophysiological activity for several hours. Pig electrocorticography recordings were essentially indistinguishable from awake human recordings except for the small segment of electrical activity associated with vision in conscious persons. In addition, single-neuron and paired-pulse stimulation recordings were feasible simultaneously with electrocorticography and depth electrode recordings. The spontaneous and stimulus-elicited neuronal activities thus surveyed can be recorded with a degree of precision similar to that achievable in rodent or any other animal studies and prove as informative as unperturbed human electrocorticography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15503
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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