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    Objective.Our laboratory has proposed chemical stimulation of retinal neurons using exogenous glutamate as a biomimetic strategy for treating vision loss caused by photoreceptor (PR) degenerative diseases. Although our previousin-vitrostudies using pneumatic actuation indicate that chemical retinal stimulation is achievable, an actuation technology that is amenable to microfabrication, as needed for anin-vivoimplantable device, has yet to be realized. In this study, we sought to evaluate electroosmotic flow (EOF) as a mechanism for delivering small quantities of glutamate to the retina. EOF has great potential for miniaturization.Approach.An EOF device to dispense small quantities of glutamate was constructed and its ability to drive retinal output tested in anin-vitropreparation of PR degenerate rat retina.Main results.We built and tested an EOF microfluidic system, with 3D printed and off-the-shelf components, capable of injecting small volumes of glutamate in a pulsatile fashion when a low voltage control signal was applied. With this device, we produced excitatory and inhibitory spike rate responses in PR degenerate rat retinae. Glutamate evoked spike rate responses were also observed to be voltage-dependent and localized to the site of injection.Significance.The EOF device performed similarly to a previously tested conventional pneumatic microinjector as a means of chemically stimulating the retina while eliminating the moving plunger of the pneumatic microinjector that would be difficult to miniaturize and parallelize. Although not implantable, the prototype device presented here as a proof of concept indicates that a retinal prosthetic based on EOF-driven chemical stimulation is a viable and worthwhile goal. EOF should have similar advantages for controlled dispensing of charged neurochemicals at any neural interface. Creative Commons Attribution license.


    Sai Siva Kare, Corey M Rountree, John B Troy, John D Finan, Laxman Saggere. Neuromodulation using electroosmosis. Journal of neural engineering. 2021 Jun 02;18(4)

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    PMID: 33984848

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