Effects of tACS-Like Electrical Stimulation on Correlated Firing of Retinal Ganglion Cells: Part III

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) is a stimulation protocol used for learning enhancement and mitigation of cognitive dysfunction. Correlated firing has been postulated to be a meta-code that links neuronal spike responses associated with a single entity and may be an important component of high-level cognitive functions. Thus, changes in the covariance firing structure of CNS neurons such as retinal ganglion cells are one potential mechanism by which tACS can exert its effects. Materials and Methods: We used microelectrode arrays to record light-evoked spike responses of 24 retinal ganglion cells in 7 rabbit eyecup preparations and analyzed the covariance between 30 pairs of neighboring retinal ganglion cells before, during, and after 10-minute application of alternating currents of 1 microampere at 10 or 20 Hz. Results: tACS stimulation significantly changed the covariance structure of correlated firing in 60% of simultaneously recorded retinal ganglion cells. Application of tACS in the retinal preparation increased cross-covariance in 26% of cell pairs, an effect usually associated with increased light-evoked ganglion cell firing. tACS associated decreases in cross-covariance occurred in 37% of cell pairs. Increased covariance was more common in response to the first, 10-minute application of tACS in isolated retina preparation. Changes in covariance were rare after repeated stimulation, and more likely to result in decreased covariance. Conclusion: Retinal ganglion cell correlated firing is modulated by 1 microampere tACS currents showing that electrical stimulation can significantly and persistently change the structure of the correlated firing of simultaneously recorded rabbit retinal ganglion cells.
  • Published In

  • Eye and Brain  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Amthor FR; Strang CE
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 15
  • Volume

  • 14