Chronic transcranial electrical stimulation and intracortical recording in rats

Transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) is a powerful and relatively simple approach to diffusely influence brain activity either randomly or in a closed-loop event-triggered manner. Although many studies are focusing on the possible benefits and side-effects of TES in healthy and pathologic brains, there are still many fundamental open questions regarding the mechanism of action of the stimulation. Therefore, there is a clear need for a robust and reproducible method to test the acute and the chronic effects of TES in rodents. TES can be combined with regular behavioral, electrophysiological, and imaging techniques to investigate neuronal networks in vivo. The implantation of transcranial stimulation electrodes does not impose extra constraints on the experimental design while it offers a versatile, flexible tool to manipulate brain activity. Here we provide a detailed, step-by-step protocol to fabricate and implant transcranial stimulation electrodes to influence brain activity in a temporally constrained manner for months.