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

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.01023

Investigating the effects of mechanical stimulation on retinal ganglion cell spontaneous spiking activity

  • 1VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 2Italian Institute of Technology, Italy

Mechanical forces are increasingly recognized as major regulators of several physiological processes at both the molecular and cellular level; therefore, a deep understanding of the sensing of these forces and their conversion into electrical signals are essential for studying the mechanosensitive properties of soft biological tissues. To contribute to this field, we present a dual purpose device able to mechanically stimulate retinal tissue and to record the spiking activity of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). This new instrument relies on combining ferrule-top micro-indentation, which provides local measurements of viscoelasticity, with high-density multi-electrode array (HD-MEAs) to simultaneously record the spontaneous activity of the retina. In this paper, we introduce this instrument, describe its technical characteristics, and present a proof-of-concept experiment that shows how RGC spiking activity of explanted mice retinas respond to mechanical micro-stimulations of their photoreceptor layer. The data suggest that, under specific conditions of indentation, the retina perceive the mechanical stimulation as modulation of the visual input, besides the longer time-scale of activation, and the increase in spiking activity is not only localized under the indentation probe, but it propagates across the retinal tissue.

Keywords: mechanical stimulation, high-density electrophysiology, Retina, viscoelasticity, spontaneous activity, neural circuits

Received: 17 Jun 2019; Accepted: 09 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Marrese, Lonardoni, Boi, Van Hoorn, Maccione, Zordan, Iannuzzi and Berdondini. 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:
MD. Marica Marrese, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 1081 HV, Netherlands, m.marrese@vu.nl
Dr. Luca Berdondini, Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, 16163, Liguria, Italy, Luca.Berdondini@iit.it