Special Section on Photonics in the Auditory System

Selectivity of neural stimulation in the auditory system: a comparison of optic and electric stimuli

[+] Author Affiliations
Agnella D. Izzo

Northwestern University, Biomedical Engineering, 2145 Sheridan Road, Tech E310, Evanston, Illinois 60208

Eul Suh, Jyoti Pathria

Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Chicago, Illinois 60611

Joseph T. Walsh

Northwestern University, Biomedical Engineering, 2145 Sheridan Road, Tech E310, Evanston, Illinois 60208

Donna S. Whitlon

Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Chicago, Illinois 60611 and Northwestern University, Institute for Neuroscience, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3520

Claus-Peter Richter

Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Chicago, Illinois 60611

J. Biomed. Opt. 12(2), 021008 (March 12, 2007). doi:10.1117/1.2714296
History: Received May 26, 2006; Revised July 12, 2006; Accepted August 07, 2006; Published March 12, 2007
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Pulsed, mid-infrared lasers were recently investigated as a method to stimulate neural activity. There are significant benefits of optically stimulating nerves over electrically stimulating, in particular the application of more spatially confined neural stimulation. We report results from experiments in which the gerbil auditory system was stimulated by optical radiation, acoustic tones, or electric current. Immunohistochemical staining for the protein c-FOS revealed the spread of excitation. We demonstrate a spatially selective activation of neurons using a laser; only neurons in the direct optical path are stimulated. This pattern of c-FOS labeling is in contrast to that after electrical stimulation. Electrical stimulation leads to a large, more spatially extended population of labeled, activated neurons. In the auditory system, optical stimulation of nerves could have a significant impact on the performance of cochlear implants, which can be limited by the electric current spread.

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© 2007 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Agnella D. Izzo ; Eul Suh ; Jyoti Pathria ; Joseph T. Walsh, Jr. ; Donna S. Whitlon, et al.
"Selectivity of neural stimulation in the auditory system: a comparison of optic and electric stimuli", J. Biomed. Opt. 12(2), 021008 (March 12, 2007). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.2714296


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