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Activation and inhibition of retinal ganglion cells in response to epiretinal electrical stimulation: a computational modelling study
Journal of Neural Engineering (2015)

Objective. Retinal prosthetic devices aim to restore sight in visually impaired people by means of electrical stimulation of surviving retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). This modelling study aims to demonstrate that RGC inhibition caused by high-intensity cathodic pulses greatly influences their responses to epiretinal electrical stimulation and to investigate the impact of this inhibition on spatial activation profiles as well as their implications for retinal prosthetic device design. Another aim is to take advantage of this inhibition to reduce axonal activation in the nerve fibre layer. Approach. A three-dimensional finite-element model of epiretinal electrical stimulation was utilized to obtain RGC activation and inhibition threshold profiles for a range of parameters. Main results. RGC activation and inhibition thresholds were highly dependent on cell and stimulus parameters. Activation thresholds were 1.5, 3.4 and 11.3 mu A for monopolar electrodes with 5, 20 and 50 mu m radii, respectively. Inhibition to activation threshold ratios were mostly within the range 2-10. Inhibition significantly altered spatial patterns of RGC activation. With concentric electrodes and appropriately high levels of stimulus amplitudes, activation of passing axons was greatly reduced. Significance. RGC inhibition significantly impacts their spatial activation profiles, and therefore it most likely influences patterns of perceived phosphenes induced by retinal prosthetic devices. Thus this inhibition should be taken into account in future studies concerning retinal prosthesis development. It might be possible to utilize this inhibitory effect to bypass activation of passing axons and selectively stimulate RGCs near their somas and dendrites to achieve more localized phosphenes. Link to Full-Text Articles :

  • epiretinal electrical stimulation,
  • computational modelling,
  • retinal ganglion cells,
  • retinal prosthesis
Publication Date
February, 2015
Publisher Statement
Abramian, Miganoosh Lovell, Nigel H Morley, John W Suaning, Gregg J Dokos, Socrates eng Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't England 2014/11/27 06:00 J Neural Eng. 2015 Feb;12(1):016002. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/12/1/016002. Epub 2014 Nov 26.
Citation Information
"Activation and inhibition of retinal ganglion cells in response to epiretinal electrical stimulation: a computational modelling study" Journal of Neural Engineering Vol. 12 Iss. 1 (2015)
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