July 2019
Volume 60, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2019
Effect of chronic electrical stimulation with a fully implantable electrode on photoreceptor survival in a retinal degeneration model
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carla J Abbott
    Centre for Eye Research Australia, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • David AX Nayagam
    Bionics Institute, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne, St. Vincent's Hospital, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
  • Owen Burns
    Bionics Institute, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Helen Feng
    Bionics Institute, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Ceara McGowan
    Bionics Institute, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Robyn H Guymer
    Centre for Eye Research Australia, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Chris E Williams
    Bionics Institute, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Medical Bionics Department, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Penelope J Allen
    Centre for Eye Research Australia, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Chi D Luu
    Centre for Eye Research Australia, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Carla Abbott, Bionic Vision Technologies Pty. Ltd. (F); David Nayagam, Bionics Institute (P), Bionic Vision Technologies Pty. Ltd. (F); Owen Burns, Bionics Institute (P), Bionic Vision Technologies Pty. Ltd. (F); Helen Feng, Bionic Vision Technologies Pty. Ltd. (F); Ceara McGowan, Bionic Vision Technologies Pty. Ltd. (F); Robyn Guymer, None; Chris Williams, Bionics Institute (P); Penelope Allen, Bionic Vision Techologies Pty. Ltd. (F), CERA (P); Chi Luu, Bionic Vision Technologies Pty. Ltd. (F), CERA (P)
  • Footnotes
    Support  ARC Special Research Initiative in Bionic Vision Science and Technology grant to Bionic Vision Australia; Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia grant; University of Melbourne Early Career Research Fellowship; Victorian Government Operational Infrastructure Support
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2019, Vol.60, 4992. doi:https://doi.org/
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    • Get Citation

      Carla J Abbott, David AX Nayagam, Owen Burns, Helen Feng, Ceara McGowan, Robyn H Guymer, Chris E Williams, Penelope J Allen, Chi D Luu; Effect of chronic electrical stimulation with a fully implantable electrode on photoreceptor survival in a retinal degeneration model. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):4992. doi: https://doi.org/.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : Chronic electrical stimulation is known to have a neuroprotective effect on retinal cells. Most previous studies have used a transcorneal stimulation approach, requiring electrodes to be positioned on the cornea, which may affect patient compliance and can cause dry eye and corneal irritation. As an alternative solution, retinal prosthesis research has shown that implantable electrode arrays are safe and stable over time. The aim was to determine if chronic low-level electrical stimulation with a fully-implantable electrode preserves retinal function in a transgenic model of retinal degeneration.

Methods : P23H-3 retinal degeneration rats were divided into 3 groups of control (n = 6), passive (n = 6) and active stimulation (n = 7). Animals in the passive and active stimulation groups had a platinum electrode implanted in one eye of each animal at 7 weeks of age. Animals in the passive group did not receive the stimulation. Animals in the active stimulation group received 1 hour of chronic micro-electrical stimulation (100μA, 1Hz) twice per week for 4 weeks. Full-field electroretinography (ERG) was performed at 6- (baseline) and 12- (post-treatment) weeks of age as a surrogate measure of photoreceptor survival. The ERG responses of the 3 study groups were compared to determine the effect of electrical stimulation on photoreceptor survival.

Results : In the active stimulation group, the ERG a-wave response amplitude at 12 weeks of age was slightly reduced in the stimulated eyes (83.8 ± 38.1, p=0.413) but markedly reduced in the non-stimulated fellow eyes (33.7 ± 19.7, p<0.001), compared to the baseline value at 6 weeks of age (100.3 ± 29.9). The ERG a-wave amplitude of both eyes in the control and passive groups were markedly reduced at 12 weeks of age compared to the baseline value (p<0.001). Furthermore, the magnitude of ERG a-wave amplitude reduction in the control and passive groups was similar to that of the non-stimulated fellow eyes of the active stimulation group.

Conclusions : Chronic low-level electrical stimulation using a fully implanted electrode preserved photoreceptor function in the P23H-3 rat model of retinal degeneration. A fully implantable electrode has the potential to improve compliance and reduce side effects of the transcorneal stimulation approach and should be investigated further.

This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.

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