Stimulation strategies for selective activation of retinal ganglion cell soma and threshold reduction.


OBJECTIVE:Retinal prosthetic implants restore partial vision to patients blinded due to outer retinal degeneration, using a camera-guided multielectrode array (MEA) that electrically stimulates surviving retinal neurons. Commercial epi-retinal prostheses use millisecond-scale charge-balanced, symmetric, cathodic-first biphasic pulses to depolarize retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and bipolar cells (BCs), frequently creating oblong perceptions of light related to axonal activation of RGCs. Stimulation strategies that avoid axonal stimulation and decrease the threshold of targeted neurons may significantly improve prosthetic vision in terms of spatial resolution and power efficiency. APPROACH:We developed a virus-transduced genetically encoded calcium indicator (GECI) GCaMP6f and microscopy platform for calcium imaging to record the neural activity from RGCs at single-cell resolution in wholemount retinas. Multiple stimulation paradigms were applied through a microelectrode array (MEA) with transparent indium tin oxide electrodes. The evoked neuronal activities were converted to corresponding 2D calcium imaging transient pattern and spatial threshold map to identify the ideal focal response which corresponds to optimal percept in patient. MAIN RESULTS:The proposed optical system with GCaMP6f is capable of recording from population of mouse RGCs in real time during electrical stimulation with precise location information relative to the stimulation sites. Optimal duration and phase order of pulse were identified to avoid axonal stimulation and selectively activate targeted RGC somas, without requiring a significant increase in stimulation charge. Additionally, we show that reduced stimulus threshold can be achieved with the special design of asymmetric anodic-first pulse. SIGNIFICANCE:Our findings support the possibility of manipulating the responses of RGCs through varying the stimulation waveform. Focal response can be achieved with relative short duration (⩽120 μs) pulses, and can be improved by reversing the standard phase order. The RGCs threshold can be significantly reduced by 33.3%-50% in terms of charge through applying hyperpolarizing pre-pulses with a 20:1 ratio (pre-pulse:stimulus pulse). The results support the future retinal prosthesis design that potentially forms more ideal shape perception with higher spatial resolution and power efficiency.


J Neural Eng


Chang YC,Haji Ghaffari D,Chow RH,Weiland JD




Has Abstract


2019-04-01 00:00:00












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