Experts explain: What are micro-electrode arrays?


What are MEA’s?

Micro-electrode arrays, also called as MEA’s, are small arrays which are used for growing cells. Arrays have tiny micro-electrodes embedded in the bottom of the dish.  Diameter of the electrode is around 30 micrometers. It is possible to build less that 1 micrometer sized features. Building and testing MEA’s is mostly carefully done engineering and handwork.

In vitro arrays have typically 8 x 8 or 6 x 10 electrodes and they are composed of indium tin oxide or titanium.

What they are used for?

Micro-electrode arrays are used for growing cells and understanding how and what kind of cultures and connections cells build. With electrodes, cells can be manipulated with electrical, mechanical or chemical stimulation. Stimulation gives us information how cells react, or we can speed up some processes or give a cardiac cell a mechanical order to thump. Growing cells on MEA’s give valuable information on neuronal network and cardiac tissue dynamics.

MEA’s are especially used for studying and researching neuronal connectivity. Processes such as network dynamics, development, learning and memory, synaptic plasticity and neurodegeneration can be understood better with researching and testing them on micro-electrode arrays.

MEA production in Human Spare Parts program

Engineers in our Human Spare Parts program have done over 1500 different MEA models.