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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Alan Sokoloff, Ph.D., Department of Physiology, Emory University School of Medicine, 615 Michael St, Rm 605, Atlanta, GA 30322, asokolo@emory.edu.

Acknowledgments: The authors thank Emory University Division of Animal Resources staff Kelli Taylor, Hanson Acheampong, and Monique Pearce Bennett for assistance with husbandry and surgery and Dr. Marla Gearing and Ms. Deborah Cooper at the Emory Neuroscience NINDS Core Facilities Neuropathology

Disclosures: Animal studies approved by Emory University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

There are no conflicts of interests


Research Funding:

The authors thank Histochemistry Core (Grant number iP30 NS05507) for paraffin processing and histology assistance.

Supported by NIH Grant R21EB016662 to AJS and MG.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine
  • Tongue
  • Tongue drive system
  • Magnet
  • Spinal cord injury

Magnetic implants in the tongue for assistive technologies: Tests of migration; oromotor function; and tissue response in miniature pigs


Journal Title:

Archives of Oral Biology


Volume 81


, Pages 81-89

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Objective Uncertain biological consequences of titanium-magnet (Ti-mag) tongue implants constrain application of the Tongue Drive System (TDS), a brain-tongue-computer interface for individuals with severe physical impairment. Here we describe oromotor function and tongue tissue response following Ti-Mag implantation and explantation in the miniature pig, an animal model with a tongue similar in size to humans. Design A 1.8 × 6.2 mm Ti-mag tracer was implanted into the anterior tongue in five Yucatan minipigs. X-rays were taken immediately and >six days after implantation to evaluate tracer migration. In three minipigs, the tracer was explanted?>16 days after implantation. Twenty-five days post-explantation, tongue tissue was harvested and processed for histological and immunohistochemical (IHC) markers of healing. In two minipigs tissue markers of healing were evaluated post-mortem following >12 days implantation. Drink cycle rate (DCR) was characterized to determine the impact of procedures on oromotor function. Results Neither implantation (N = 5) nor explantation (N = 3) changed DCR. X-rays revealed minimal tracer migration (N = 4, 0–4 mm). By histology and IHC a robust capsule was present two weeks post-implantation with limited fibrosis. Explantation produced localized fibrosis and limited muscle remodeling. Conclusions These findings suggest the safety of Ti-mag anterior tongue implants for assistive technologies in humans.

Copyright information:

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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