Selectivity of optical stimulation in the auditory system

Agnella D. Izzo, Jyoti Pathria, Eul Suh, Joseph T. Walsh, Donna S. Whitlon, E. Duco Jansen, Claus Peter Richter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


It is known that electrical current injected from cochlear implant contacts spreads within the cochlea, causing overlapping stimulation fields and possibly limiting the performance of cochlear implant users. We have investigated an alternative mechanism to stimulate auditory neurons in the gerbil cochlea using a laser, rather than electrical current. With the laser, it is possible to direct the light to a selected, known volume of tissue that is smaller than the electrically stimulated population of cells. In the present experiments, a transiently expressed transcription factor. c-FOS, was used to stain activated nerve cells. Immunohistochemical staining for c-FOS in the cochlea shows a small area of optical stimulation, which occurs directly opposite to the optical fiber. Additionally, masking data indicate that the laser can stimulate a small population of cells similar to an acoustic toneburst. Smaller populations of stimulated cells could reduce the amount of overlap in stimulation fields and allow more stimulation contacts in a neuroprothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
StatePublished - May 8 2006
EventPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics II - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 21 2006Jan 24 2006

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics II
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA


  • Cochlear implant
  • Laser
  • Neural stimulation
  • Neuroprosthesis
  • Spatial selectivity
  • Spiral ganglion cell
  • c-FOS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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    Izzo, A. D., Pathria, J., Suh, E., Walsh, J. T., Whitlon, D. S., Duco Jansen, E., & Richter, C. P. (2006). Selectivity of optical stimulation in the auditory system. In Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE [60781P] (Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE; Vol. 6078).