Action potential block in neurons by infrared light
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Short infrared laser pulses (SILP) have many physiological effects on cells, including the ability to stimulate action potentials (APs) in neurons. Here, we show that SILPs can also reversibly block APs. Reversible AP block in hippocampal neurons was observed following SILP (0.26 to [Formula: see text]; 1.37 to 5.01 ms; 1869 nm) with the block persisting for more than 1 s with exposures greater than [Formula: see text]. AP block was sustained for 30 s with SILPs pulsed at 1 to 7 Hz. Full recovery of neuronal activity was observed 5 to 30 s post SILP exposure. These results indicate that SILP can be used for noncontact, reversible AP block. Due to the high spatial precision and noncontact manner of infrared light delivery, AP block by SILP (infrared neural inhibition) has the potential to transform medical care for sustained pain inhibition and suppression of unwanted nerve activity.
author list (cited authors)
Walsh, A. J., Tolstykh, G. P., Martens, S., Ibey, B. L., & Beier, H. T.