Effects of tACS-Like Electrical Stimulation on Off-and On-Off Center Retinal Ganglion Cells: Part II

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) is used as a brain stimulation mechanism to enhance learning, ameliorate some psychiatric disorders, and modify behavior. This study assessed the effects of near threshold tACS-like currents on Off-center and On-Off retinal ganglion cell responsiveness in the rabbit retina eyecup preparation as a model for central nervous system effects. Materials and Methods: We made extracellular recordings in the isolated rabbit eyecup preparation using single electrodes and microelectrode arrays to measure light-evoked spike responses in different classes of Off-center and On-Off retinal ganglion cells before, during, and after brief applications of alternating currents of 1–2 microamperes, at frequencies of 10, 20, 30, and 40 Hz. Results: tACS application sculpted the light-evoked response profiles without directly driving spiking activity of the 20 Off-center and On-Off ganglion cells we recorded from. During tACS application, Off responses were significantly enhanced for 6 cells and significantly suppressed for 14 cells, but after tACS application, Off responses were significantly enhanced for 7 cells and suppressed for 12 cells. The Off responses of the remaining two cells returned to baseline. On responses were less affected during and after tACS. Conclusion: tACS sculpts Off-center and On-Off retinal ganglion cell responsiveness. The dissimilarity of effects in different cells within the same class and the differential effects on the On and Off components of the light response within the same cell are consistent with the hypothesis that tACS acts at threshold on amacrine cells in the inner plexiform layer.
  • Published In

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

    Author List

  • Strang CE; Amthor FR
  • Start Page

  • 17
  • End Page

  • 33
  • Volume

  • 14