LSO:Ce Inorganic Scintillators are Biocompatible with Neuronal and Circuit Function

Academic Article


  • AbstractOptogenetics is widely used in neuroscience to control neural circuits. However, non-invasive methods for light delivery in brain are needed to avoid physical damage caused by current methods. One potential strategy could employ x-ray activation of radioluminescent particles (RPLs), enabling localized light generation within the brain. RPLs composed of inorganic scintillators can emit light at various wavelengths depending upon composition. Cerium doped lutetium oxyorthosilicate (LSO:Ce), an inorganic scintillator that emits blue light in response to x-ray or UV stimulation, could potentially be used to control neural circuits through activation of channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), a light-gated cation channel. Whether inorganic scintillators themselves negatively impact neuronal processes and synaptic function is unknown, and was investigated here using cellular, molecular, and electrophysiological approaches. As proof of principle, we applied UV stimulation to 4 μm LSO:Ce particles during whole-cell recording of CA1 pyramidal cells in acutely prepared hippocampal slices from mice that expressed ChR2 in glutamatergic neurons. We observed an increase in frequency and amplitude of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs), indicating UV activation of ChR2 and excitation of neurons. Importantly, we found that LSO:Ce particles have no effect on survival of primary mouse cortical neurons, even after 24 hours of exposure. In extracellular dendritic field potential recordings, we observed no change in strength of basal glutamatergic transmission up to 3 hours of exposure to LSO:Ce microparticles. However, there was a slight decrease in the frequency of spontaneous EPSCs in whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings from CA1 pyramidal cells, with no change in current amplitudes. No changes in the amplitude or frequency of spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) were observed. Finally, long term potentiation (LTP), a synaptic modification believed to underlie learning and memory and a robust measure of synaptic integrity, was successfully induced, although the magnitude was slightly reduced. Together, these results show LSO:Ce particles are biocompatible even though there are modest effects on baseline synaptic function and long-term synaptic plasticity. Importantly, we show that light emitted from LSO:Ce particles is able to activate ChR2 and modify synaptic function. Therefore, LSO:Ce inorganic scintillators are potentially viable for use as a new light delivery system for optogenetics.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 27106837
  • Author List

  • Bartley AF; Abiraman K; Stewart LT; Hossain MI; Gahan DM; Kamath AV; Burdette MK; Andrabe S; Foulger SH; McMahon LL