Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurophysiol. 2013 Apr;109(7):1979-88. doi: 10.1152/jn.00852.2012. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Imaging the response of the retina to electrical stimulation with genetically encoded calcium indicators.

Author information

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Epiretinal implants for the blind are designed to stimulate surviving retinal neurons, thus bypassing the diseased photoreceptor layer. Single-unit or multielectrode recordings from isolated animal retina are commonly used to inform the design of these implants. However, such electrical recordings provide limited information about the spatial patterns of retinal activation. Calcium imaging overcomes this limitation, as imaging enables high spatial resolution mapping of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) activity as well as simultaneous recording from hundreds of RGCs. Prior experiments in amphibian retina have demonstrated proof of principle, yet experiments in mammalian retina have been hindered by the inability to load calcium indicators into mature mammalian RGCs. Here, we report a method for labeling the majority of ganglion cells in adult rat retina with genetically encoded calcium indicators, specifically GCaMP3 and GCaMP5G. Intravitreal injection of an adeno-associated viral vector targets ∼85% of ganglion cells with high specificity. Because of the large fluorescence signals provided by the GCaMP sensors, we can now for the first time visualize the response of the retina to electrical stimulation in real-time. Imaging transduced retinas mounted on multielectrode arrays reveals how stimulus pulse shape can dramatically affect the spatial extent of RGC activation, which has clear implications in prosthetic applications. Our method can be easily adapted to work with other fluorescent indicator proteins in both wild-type and transgenic mammals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center