Self-powered Flexible Neural Stimulator Designed for Bidirectional Modulation of Neural Plasticity (Neuroscience)

Recently, Dr. ZHAN Yang’s team and Dr. LI Guanglin’s team from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with the team from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, designed a self-powered flexible wearable neural stimulator to achieve bidirectional modulation of neural plasticity.

The study was published in Nano Energy on March 19.

Modulating neural plasticity is an effective means to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, drug addiction and stroke.

At present, common commercial neural stimulators usually require batteries or sockets to maintain power supply. The bulky system framework and inflexible component design limit the comprehensive application of the equipment.

In this study, the designed neural stimulator can induce the formation of long-term potentiation or depression through generating high-frequency and low-frequency pulses in two modes, thus achieving the bidirectional adjustment of neural plasticity.

It integrates an elastic self-powered nanogenerator, a signal modulation unit and a nerve stimulation electrode. Features of small size, lightweight, elasticity and portability allow it to convert the mechanical energy generated during exercise into a nerve stimulation signal and modulate the synaptic plasticity.

The researchers connected the device to the mouse brain, and found that the signal modulation module transmitted the collected energy into a dual-mode stimulation signal, which induced the formation of long-term potentiation and depression of the hippocampus without external energy supply.

The designed neural stimulator provides new ideas for the treatment of neurological diseases based on synaptic plasticity and bidirectional brain-computer interaction.

The study was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Institute of Brain Science, and the Sichuan Science and Technology Program.

Featured image: Self-powered flexible neural stimulator achieves bidirectional modulation of neural plasticity (Image by SIAT)

Reference: Tianming Zhao, Yechao Han, Liuni Qin, Hongye Guan, Lili Xing, Xiaojian Li, Xinyu Xue, Guanglin Li, Yang Zhan, Bidirectional modulation of neural plasticity by self-powered neural stimulation, Nano Energy, Volume 85, 2021, 106006, ISSN 2211-2855, (

Provided by Chinese Academy of Sciences

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