14 February 2018 Hydrogels for efficient light delivery in optogenetic applications
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Light-based therapies have been established for various indications, such as skin conditions, cancer or neonatal jaundice. Advances in the field of optogenetics open up new horizons for light-tissue interactions with an organism-wide impact. Excitable tissues, such as nerve and muscle tissues, can be controlled by light after the introduction of light-sensitive ion channels. Since these organs are generally not easily accessible to illumination in vivo, there is an increasing need for effective biocompatible waveguides for light delivery. These devices not only have to guide and distribute the light as desired with minimal losses, they should also mimic the mechanical properties of the surrounding tissue to ensure compatibility. In this project, we are tuning the properties of hydrogels from poly(ethylene glycol) derivatives to achieve compatibility with muscle tissue as well as optimal light guiding and distribution for optogenetic applications at the heart. The excitation light is coupled into the hydrogel with a biocompatible fiber. Properties of the hydrogel are mainly tuned by monomer length and concentration. Total reflection can be achieved by embedding a fiber-like hydrogel with a high refractive index into a second, low refractive index gel. Different geometries and scattering microparticles are used for light distribution in a flat gel patch. Targeted cell attachment can be achieved by introducing a protein layer to the otherwise bioinert gel. After optimization, the hydrogel may be used to deliver light for the excitation of genetically altered cardiomyocytes for controlled contraction.
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S. Johannsmeier, S. Johannsmeier, M. L. Torres, M. L. Torres, T. Ripken, T. Ripken, D. Heinemann, D. Heinemann, A. Heisterkamp, A. Heisterkamp, } "Hydrogels for efficient light delivery in optogenetic applications ", Proc. SPIE 10482, Optogenetics and Optical Manipulation 2018, 104820Q (14 February 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2289470; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2289470

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