A Simple Method for Screening Photoelectric Dyes towards Their Use for Retinal Prostheses

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Photoelectric dyes absorb light and convert photon energy to electric potentials. To test whether these dyes could be used for retinal prostheses, a simple in vitro screening system was developed. Retinal neurons were cultured from the eyes of chick embryos at the 10-day embryonic stage, at which time no retinal photoreceptor cells have yet developed. Intracellular calcium elevation was observed with Fluo-4 in cultured retinal neurons before and after photoelectric dye was applied at varying concentrations to the culture medium. Five of 7 photoelectric dyes tested in this in vitro system induced intracellular calcium elevation in cultured chick retinal neurons. The intracellular calcium elevation generated by the 5 photoelectric dyes was blocked by extracellular calcium depletion in the case of all 5 dyes, and, except for one dye, by the presence of voltage-gated calcium channel blockers. The photoelectric dyes absorbed light under an inverted microscope and stimulated retinal neurons. This simple in vitro system allows the screening of photoelectric dyes which can be used for retinal prostheses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-260
Number of pages4
JournalActa medica Okayama
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003


  • Chick retinal neurons
  • Intracellular calcium
  • Photoelectric dye (pigment)
  • Retinal implant
  • Retinal prostheses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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