Electrophysiological and histological studies of chronically implanted intrapapillary microelectrodes in rabbit eyes

Xiaoyun Fang, Hirokazu Sakaguchi, Takashi Fujikado, Makoto Osanai, Yasushi Ikuno, Motohiro Kamei, Masahito Ohji, Tetsuya Yagi, Yasuo Tano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To determine the safety and efficacy of transsclerally placed intrapapillary wire microelectrodes implanted chronically into the optic nerve head of rabbit eyes. Methods: Four platinum wire microelectrodes were passed through the sclera and implanted into the optic nerve head of five rabbit eyes for 4-6 months. Color fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, electroretinograms (ERGs), and visually evoked potentials (VEPs) were used to monitor the retina. Electrically evoked potentials (EEPs) were elicited by bipolar electrical stimulation of the optic nerve axons by different combinations of the four electrodes immediately after the implantation and at 1-month intervals thereafter. The effects of the chronic implantation of the electrodes on the morphology of the optic nerve were evaluated by histological and immunohistochemical examinations at 4 and 6 months after the implantation. Results: All of the electrodes remained stable in the implanted sites throughout the post-implantation period, except for one electrode that had pulled out of the optic nerve head at 1 month after implantation. No intraocular infection, inflammation, or vitreoretinal proliferation was observed in any eye. EEPs could be elicited from each pair of electrodes at all testing times. The mean threshold currents (charge densities) to evoke EEPs increased from 19.3±9.2 μA (6.0±2.9 μC/ cm2) on the implantation day to 78.8±31.9 μA (24.6±10.0 μC/cm2) at 1 month after implantation, but did not change significantly thereafter. The implicit time and amplitude of the a- and b-waves of the ERGs and of P1 of the VEPs did not change significantly throughout the post-implantation period. Histological evaluation of the optic nerve head revealed slight tissue encapsulations surrounding the electrode and increased expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein near the surface of the optic nerve. Conclusions: Implantation of transscleral intrapapillary microelectrodes appears to be safe and effective. These findings indicate that the implantation of microelectrodes in the optic nerve head should be considered for an optic nerve-based prosthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-375
Number of pages12
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrical stimulation
  • Electrically evoked potential
  • Electrode
  • Histology
  • Optic nerve head
  • Visual prosthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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