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J Neural Eng. 2009 Jun;6(3):035004. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/6/3/035004. Epub 2009 May 20.

Activation of ganglion cells in wild-type and rd1 mouse retinas with monophasic and biphasic current pulses.

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The Center for Innovative Visual Rehabilitation, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA 02130, USA.


We and other research groups are designing an electronic retinal prosthesis to provide vision for patients who are blind due to photoreceptor degeneration. In this study, we examined the effect of stimulus waveform on the amount of current needed to activate retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) when the retinal neural network is stimulated. Isolated retinas of wild-type and rd1 mice were stimulated with cathodal and anodal monophasic current pulses of 1 ms duration and symmetric biphasic current pulses (1 ms per phase) delivered through an electrode that was located subretinally. For both wild-type and rd1 mouse retinas, cathodal current pulses were least effective in activating most RGCs. The median threshold current for a cathodal current pulse was 2.0-4.4 fold higher than the median threshold current for either an anodal or a biphasic current pulse. In wild-type mouse retinas, the median threshold current for activating RGCs with anodal current pulses was 23% lower than that with biphasic current pulses. In rd1 mouse retinas, the median threshold currents for anodal and biphasic current pulses were about the same. However, the variance in thresholds of rd1 RGCs for biphasic pulse stimulation was much smaller than for anodal pulse stimulation. Thus, a symmetric biphasic current pulse may be the best stimulus for activating the greatest number of RGCs in retinas devoid of photoreceptors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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