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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00819

Flexible and lightweight devices for wireless multi-color optogenetic experiments controllable via commercial cell phones

 Philipp Mayer1, Nandhini Sivakumar2, Michael Pritz1, Matjia Varga3, Andreas Mehmann3, Seunghyun Lee4, Alfredo Salvatore5, Michele Magno6,  Matt Pharr4, Gerhard Throester3,  Hanns Ulrich Zeilhofer2 and  Giovanni Antonio Salvatore6*
  • 1Institute for Integrated Circuits, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3Electronics Laboratory, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
  • 4Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, United States
  • 5Other, Italy
  • 6ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Optogenetics provide a potential alternative approach to the treatment of chronic pain, in which complex pathology often hampers efficacy of standard pharmacological approaches. Technological advancements in the development of thin, wireless, and mechanically flexible optoelectronic implants offer new routes to control the activity of subsets of neurons and nerve fibers in-vivo. This study reports a novel and advanced design of battery-free, flexible, and lightweight devices equipped with one or two miniaturized LEDs, which can be individually controlled in real time. Two proof-of-concept experiments in mice demonstrate the feasibility of these devices. First, we show that blue-light devices implanted on top of the lumbar spinal cord can excite channelrhodopsin expressing nociceptors to induce place aversion. Second, we show that nocifensive withdrawal responses can be suppressed by green-light optogenetic (Archaeorhodopsin-mediated) inhibition of action potential propagation along the sciatic nerve. One salient feature of these devices is that they can be operated via modern tablets and smartphones without bulky and complex lab instrumentation. In addition to the optical stimulation, the design enables the simultaneously wireless recording of the temperature in proximity of the stimulation area. As such, these devices are primed for translation to human patients with implications in the treatment of neurological and psychiatric conditions far beyond chronic pain syndromes.

Keywords: optogenetics, In vivo experiment, Channelrhodopsin (ChR2), Nociception, Wireless & mobile technology, Archaerhodopsin (ar), Flexible elecronics

Received: 15 Apr 2019; Accepted: 23 Jul 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Mayer, Sivakumar, Pritz, Varga, Mehmann, Lee, Salvatore, Magno, Pharr, Throester, Zeilhofer and Salvatore. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Giovanni Antonio Salvatore, ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland,