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Biomed Microdevices. 2006 Jun;8(2):141-50.

A model retinal interface based on directed neuronal growth for single cell stimulation.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, CA 94305, USA.


In this work, we use cell micropatterning technologies to direct neuronal growth to individual electrodes, and demonstrate that such an approach can achieve selective stimulation and lower stimulation thresholds than current field-effect based retinal prostheses. Rat retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) were purified through immunopanning techniques, and microcontact printing (microCP) was applied to align and pattern laminin on a microelectrode array, on which the RGCs were seeded and extended neurites along the pattern to individual electrodes. The stimulation threshold currents of RGCs micropatterned to electrodes were found to be significantly less than those of non-patterned RGCs over a wide range of electrode-soma distances, as determined with calcium imaging techniques. Moreover, the stimulation threshold for micropatterned cells was found to be independent of electrode-soma distance, and there was no significant effect of microCP on cell excitability. The effects of additional stimulation parameters, such as electrode size and pulse duration, on threshold currents were determined. The stimulation results quantitatively demonstrate the potential benefits of a retinal prosthetic interface based on directed neuronal growth.

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