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Representative Results






Implantation and Recording of Wireless Electroretinogram and Visual Evoked Potential in Conscious Rats

Published: June 29th, 2016



1Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, University of Melbourne, 2Pfizer Neusentis

We show surgical implantation and Recording procedures to measure visual electrophysiological signals from the eye (electroretinogram) and brain (visual evoked potential) in conscious rats, which is more analogous to the human condition where recordings are conducted without anesthesia confounds.

The full-field electroretinogram (ERG) and visual evoked potential (VEP) are useful tools to assess retinal and visual pathway integrity in both laboratory and clinical settings. Currently, preclinical ERG and VEP measurements are performed with anesthesia to ensure stable electrode placements. However, the very presence of anesthesia has been shown to contaminate normal physiological responses. To overcome these anesthesia confounds, we develop a novel platform to assay ERG and VEP in conscious rats. Electrodes are surgically implanted sub-conjunctivally on the eye to assay the ERG and epidurally over the visual cortex to measure the VEP. A range of amplitude and sensitivity/timing parameters are assayed for both the ERG and VEP at increasing luminous energies. The ERG and VEP signals are shown to be stable and repeatable for at least 4 weeks post surgical implantation. This ability to record ERG and VEP signals without anesthesia confounds in the preclinical setting should provide superior translation to clinical data.

The ERG and VEP are minimally invasive in vivo tools to assess the integrity of retinal and visual pathways respectively in both the laboratory and clinic. The full-field ERG yields a characteristic waveform which can be broken down into different components, with each element representing different cell classes of the retinal pathway1,2. The classic full-field ERG waveform consists of an initial negative slope (a-wave), which has been shown to represent photoreceptor activity post light exposure2-4. The a-wave is followed by a substantial positive waveform (b-wave) which reflects electrical activity of middle retina, predominantly the O....

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Ethics statement: Animal experiments were conducted in accordance with the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (2013). Animal ethics approval was obtained from the Animal Ethics Committee, University of Melbourne. The materials herein are for laboratory experiments only, and not intended for medical or veterinary use.

1. Preparing Electrodes

Note: A three channel transmitter is used for surgical implantation which enables 2 ERG and 1 VEP recording to b.......

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The photoreceptor response is analyzed by fitting a delayed Gaussian to the leading edge of the initial descending limb of the ERG response at the top 2 luminous energies (1.20, 1.52 log c.s.m-2) for each animal, based on the model of Lamb and Pugh22, formulated by Hood and Birch23. This formula returns an amplitude and a sensitivity parameter, (Figure 1C and 1D, respectively). A hyperbolic function was fitted to the lumin.......

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Due to the minimally invasive nature of visual electrophysiology, ERG and VEP recordings in human patients are conducted under conscious conditions and only require the use of topical anesthetics for electrode placement. In contrast, visual electrophysiology in animal models is conventionally conducted under general anesthesia to enable stable electrode placement by eliminating voluntary eye and body movements. However, commonly used general anesthetics alter the ERG and VEP responses as shown by our previous publication.......

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JC would like to acknowledge the David Hay Memorial Fund, The University of Melbourne for financial support in writing this manuscript. Funding for this project was provided by an ARC Linkage grant 100200129 (BVB, AJV, CTON).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Bioamplifier ADInstruments ML 135 Amplifies ERG and VEP signals
Carboxymethylcellulose sodium 1.0% Allergan CAS 0009000-11-7 Maintain corneal hydration during surgery
Carprofen 0.5% Pfizer Animal Health Group CAS 53716-49-7 Post-surgery analgesia, given with injectable saline for fluid replenishment
Chlorhexadine 0.5% Orion Laboratories 27411, 80085 Disinfection of surgical instrument
Cyanoacrylate gel activator RS components 473-439 Quickly dries cyanoacrylate gel
Cyanocrylate gel  RS components 473-423 Fix stainless screws to skull
Dental burr Storz Instruments, Bausch and Lomb E0824A Miniature drill head of ~0.7mm diameter for making a small hole in the skull over each hemisphere to implant VEP screws
Drill Bosch Dremel 300 series Automatic drill for trepanning
Enrofloxin Troy Laboratories Prophylactic antibiotic post surgey
Ganzfeld integrating sphere Photometric Solutions International Custom designed light stimulator: 36 mm diameter, 13 cm aperture size
Gauze swabs Multigate Medical Products Pty Ltd 57-100B Dries surgical incision and exposed skull surface during surgery
Isoflurane 99.9% Abbott Australasia Pty Ltd CAS 26675-46-7 Proprietory Name: Isoflo(TM) Inhalation anaaesthetic. Pharmaceutical-grade inhalation anesthetic mixed with oxygen gas for VEP electrode implant surgery
Kenacomb ointment Aspen Pharma Pty Ltd To reduce skin irritation and itching after surgery
Luxeon LEDs Phillips Lighting Co. For light stimulation, twenty 5 watt and one 1 watt LEDs, controlled by Scope software
Needle (macrosurgery) World Precision Instruments 501959 for suturing abdominal and head surgery, used with 3-0 suture, eye needle, cutting edge 5/16 circle Size 1, 15mm
Needle holder (macrosurgery) World Precision Instruments 500224 To hold needle during abdominal and head surgery
Needle holder (microsurgery) World Precision Instruments 555419NT To hold needle during ocular surgery
Optiva catheter Smiths Medical International LTD 16 or 21 G Guide corneal active electrodes from skull to conjunctiva
Povidone iodine 10% Sanofi-Aventis CAS 25655-41-8 Proprietory name: Betadine, Antiseptic to prepare the shaved skin for surgery 10%, 500 mL
Powerlab data acquisition system ADInstruments ML 785 Acquire signal from telemetry transmitter, paired to telemetry data converter
Proxymetacaine 0.5% Alcon Laboratories  CAS 5875-06-9 Topical ocular analgesia
Restrainer cutom made Front of the restrainer is tapered to minimize head movement, length can be adjusted to accommodate different rat length, overall diameter is 60 mm. 
Scapel blade R.G. Medical Supplies SNSM0206 For surgical incision
Scissors (macrosurgery) World Precision Instruments 501225 for cutting tissue on the abodmen and forhead
Scissors (microsurgery) World Precision Instruments 501232 To dissect the conjunctiva for electrode attachment
Scope Software ADInstruments version 3.7.6 Simultaneously triggers the stimulus via the ADI Powerlab system and collects data
Shaver Oster Golden A5 Shave fur from surgical areas
Stainless streel screws  MicroFasteners L001.003CS304 0.7 mm shaft diameter, 3 mm in length 
Stereotaxic frame David Kopf Model 900 A small animal stereotaxic instrument for locating the implantation landmarks on the skull
Surgical drape Vital Medical Supplies GM29-612EE Ensure sterile enviornment during surgery
Suture (macrosurgery) Ninbo medical needles 3-0 for suturing abdominal and head surgery, sterile silk braided, 60cm
Suture needle (microsurgery) Ninbo medical needles 8-0 or 9-0 for ocular surgery including, suturing electrode to sclera and closing conjunctival wound, nylon suture, 3/8 circle 1×5, 30cm
Telemetry data converter  DataSciences International R08 allows telemetry signal to interface with data collection software
Telemetry Data Exchange Matrix DataSciences International Gathers data from transmitters, pair with receiver
Telemetry data receiver DataSciences International RPC-1 Receives telemetry data from transmitter
Telemetry transmitter DataSciences International F50-EEE 3 channel telemetry transmitter
Tropicamide 0.5% Alcon Laboratories  Iris dilation
Tweezers (macrosurgery) World Precision Instruments 500092 Manipulate tissues during abdominal and head surgery
Tweezers (microsurgery) World Precision Instruments 500342 Manipulate tissues during ocular surgery

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