Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroimage. 2011 Jul 1;57(1):155-66. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.03.084. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Pulsed infrared light alters neural activity in rat somatosensory cortex in vivo.

Author information

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.


Pulsed infrared light has shown promise as an alternative to electrical stimulation in applications where contact free or high spatial precision stimulation is desired. Infrared neural stimulation (INS) is well characterized in the peripheral nervous system; however, to date, research has been limited in the central nervous system. In this study, pulsed infrared light (λ=1.875 μm, pulse width=250 μs, radiant exposure=0.01-0.55 J/cm(2), fiber size=400 μm, repetition rate=50-200 Hz) was used to stimulate the somatosensory cortex of anesthetized rats, and its efficacy was assessed using intrinsic optical imaging and electrophysiology techniques. INS was found to evoke an intrinsic response of similar magnitude to that evoked by tactile stimulation (0.3-0.4% change in intrinsic signal magnitude). A maximum deflection in the intrinsic signal was measured to range from 0.05% to 0.4% in response to INS, and the activated region of cortex measured approximately 2mm in diameter. The intrinsic signal magnitude increased with faster laser repetition rates and increasing radiant exposures. Single unit recordings indicated a statistically significant decrease in neuronal firing that was observed at the onset of INS stimulation (0.5s stimulus) and continued up to 1s after stimulation onset. The pattern of neuronal firing differed from that observed during tactile stimulation, potentially due to a different spatial integration field of the pulsed infrared light compared to tactile stimulation. The results demonstrate that INS can be used safely and effectively to manipulate neuronal firing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center