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J Vis Exp. 2014 Oct 8;(92):e52069. doi: 10.3791/52069.

Optogenetic stimulation of the auditory nerve.

Author information

1
InnerEarLab, Department of Otolaryngology, University Medical Center Goettingen; Bernstein Focus for Neurotechnology, University of Goettingen; Department of Chemical, Electronic, and Biomedical Engineering, University of Guanajuato.
2
InnerEarLab, Department of Otolaryngology, University Medical Center Goettingen; Auditory Systems Physiology Group, Department of Otolaryngology, University Medical Center Goettingen.
3
Auditory Systems Physiology Group, Department of Otolaryngology, University Medical Center Goettingen.
4
InnerEarLab, Department of Otolaryngology, University Medical Center Goettingen.
5
InnerEarLab, Department of Otolaryngology, University Medical Center Goettingen; Bernstein Focus for Neurotechnology, University of Goettingen; Center for Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain, University of Goettingen; tmoser@gwdg.de.

Abstract

Direct electrical stimulation of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) by cochlear implants (CIs) enables open speech comprehension in the majority of implanted deaf subjects(1-) (6). Nonetheless, sound coding with current CIs has poor frequency and intensity resolution due to broad current spread from each electrode contact activating a large number of SGNs along the tonotopic axis of the cochlea(7-) (9). Optical stimulation is proposed as an alternative to electrical stimulation that promises spatially more confined activation of SGNs and, hence, higher frequency resolution of coding. In recent years, direct infrared illumination of the cochlea has been used to evoke responses in the auditory nerve(10). Nevertheless it requires higher energies than electrical stimulation(10,11) and uncertainty remains as to the underlying mechanism(12). Here we describe a method based on optogenetics to stimulate SGNs with low intensity blue light, using transgenic mice with neuronal expression of channelrhodopsin 2 (ChR2)(13) or virus-mediated expression of the ChR2-variant CatCh(14). We used micro-light emitting diodes (┬ÁLEDs) and fiber-coupled lasers to stimulate ChR2-expressing SGNs through a small artificial opening (cochleostomy) or the round window. We assayed the responses by scalp recordings of light-evoked potentials (optogenetic auditory brainstem response: oABR) or by microelectrode recordings from the auditory pathway and compared them with acoustic and electrical stimulation.

PMID:
25350571
PMCID:
PMC4841303
DOI:
10.3791/52069
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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