For successful restoration of vision by retinal prostheses, the neural activity of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) evoked by electrical stimulation should represent the information of spatiotemporal patterns of visual input. We propose a method to evaluate the effectiveness of stimulation pulse trains so that the crucial temporal information of a visual input is accurately represented in the RGC responses as the amplitudes of pulse trains are modulated according to the light intensity. This was enabled by spike train decoding. The effectiveness of the stimulation was evaluated by the accuracy of decoding pulse amplitude from the RGC spike train, i.e., by the similarity between the original and the decoded pulse amplitude time series. When the parameters of stimulation were suitably determined, the RGC responses were reliably modulated by varying the amplitude of electrical pulses. Accordingly, the temporal pattern of pulse amplitudes could be successfully decoded from multiunit RGC spike trains. The range of pulse amplitude and the pulse rate were critical for accurate representation of input information in RGC responses. These results suggest that pulse amplitude modulation is a feasible means to encode temporal visual information by RGC spike trains and thus to implement stimulus encoding strategies for retinal prostheses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology