Spinal cord bioelectronic interfaces: opportunities in neural recording and clinical challenges.
Bioelectronic stimulation of the spinal cord has demonstrated significant progress in restoration of motor function in spinal cord injury (SCI). The proximal, uninjured spinal cord presents a viable target for the recording and generation of control signals to drive targeted stimulation. Signals have been directly recorded from the spinal cord in behaving animals and correlated with limb kinematics. Advances in flexible materials, electrode impedance and signal analysis will allow SCR to be used in next-generation neuroprosthetics. In this review, we summarize the technological advances enabling progress in SCR and describe systematically the clinical challenges facing spinal cord bioelectronic interfaces and potential solutions, from device manufacture, surgical implantation to chronic effects of foreign body reaction and stress-strain mismatches between electrodes and neural tissue. Finally, we establish our vision of bi-directional closed-loop spinal cord bioelectronic bypass interfaces that enable the communication of disrupted sensory signals and restoration of motor function in SCI.