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Exp Eye Res. 2006 Feb;82(2):332-40. Epub 2005 Aug 25.

Implantation and testing of subretinal film electrodes in domestic pigs.

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Applied Physics-NeuroPhysics Group, Department of Physics, Philipps University Marburg, Renthof 7, D-35032 Marburg, Germany.


By definition, an electronic subretinal visual prosthesis requires the implantation of stimulation electrodes in the subretinal space of the eye. Polyimide film electrodes with flat contacts were implanted subretinally and used for electrical stimulation in acute experiments in anaesthetised domestic pigs. In two pigs, the film electrode was inserted through a sclerostomy into the vitreous cavity and, subsequently, via a retinotomy into the subretinal space around the posterior pole (ab interno approach). In three other pigs the sclera and pigment epithelium were opened for combined ab interno and transscleral positioning of the subretinal electrode. In all cases, perfluorocarbon liquid (PFCL) was used to establish a close contact between the film electrode and the outer retina. After cranial preparations of three pigs for epidural recording of visual cortex responses, retinal stimulation was performed in one pig with a film electrode implanted ab interno and in two pigs with film electrodes implanted by the ab interno and transscleral procedure. The five subretinal implantations were carried out successfully and each polyimide film electrode tip was positioned beneath the outer retina of the posterior pole. The retina was attached to the stimulation electrode in all cases. Epidural cortical responses to light and electrical stimulation were recorded in three experiments. Initial cortical responses to Ganzfeld light and to electrical stimuli occurred about 40 and 20 ms, respectively, after stimulation onset. The stimulation threshold was approximately 100 microA and, like the cortical response amplitudes, depended both on the correspondence between retinal stimulation and cortical recording sites and on the number of stimulation electrodes used simultaneously. Our results in a domestic pig model demonstrate that polyimide film electrodes can be implanted subretinally and tested by recording cortical responses to electrical stimulation. These findings suggest that the domestic pig could be an appropriate animal model for basic testing of subretinal implants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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