PURPOSE. The electrophysiological properties of degenerated retinas responding to amplitude-modulated electrical pulse trains were investigated to provide a guideline for the development of a stimulation strategy for retinal prostheses. METHODS. The activities of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in response to amplitude-modulated pulse trains were recorded from an in vitro model of retinal prosthesis, which consisted of an rd1 mouse retinal patch attached to a planar multielectrode array. The ability of the population activities of RGCs to effectively represent, or encode, the information on the visual intensity time series, when the intensity of visual input is transformed to pulse amplitudes, was investigated. RESULTS. An optimal pulse amplitude range was selected so that RGC firing rates increased monotonically and linearly. An approximately 10-Hz rhythm was observed in the field potentials from degenerated retinas, which resulted in a rhythmic burst of spontaneous spikes. Multiple peaks were present in poststimulus time histograms, with interpeak intervals corresponding to the oscillation frequency of the field potentials. Phase resetting of the field potential oscillation by stimulation was consistently observed. Despite a prominent alteration of the properties of electrically evoked firing with respect to normal retinas, RGC response strengths could be modulated by pulse amplitude. Accordingly, the temporal information of stimulation could be faithfully represented in the RGC firing patterns by an amplitude-modulated pulse train. CONCLUSIONS. The results suggest that pulse amplitude modulation is a feasible means of implementing a stimulation strategy for retinal prostheses, despite the marked change in the physiological properties of RGCs in degenerated retinas.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience