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Tai-Chi Lin, Lei-Chi Wang, Lan Yue, Yi Zhang, Paulo Falabella, Danhong Zhu, David R. Hinton, Narsing A. Rao, David G. Birch, Rand Spencer, Jessy D. Dorn, Mark S. Humayun; Histopathologic Assessment of Optic Nerves and Retina From a Patient With Chronically Implanted Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2019;8(3):31. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.8.3.31.
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To characterize histologic changes in the optic nerve and the retina of an end-stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patient after long-term implantation with the Argus II retinal prosthesis system.
Serial cross sections from the patient's both eyes were collected postmortem 6 years after implantation. Optic nerve from both eyes were morphometrically analyzed and compared. Retina underneath and outside the array was analyzed and compared with corresponding regions in the fellow eye.
Although the optic nerve of the implant eye demonstrated significantly more overall atrophy than the fellow eye (P < 0.01), the temporal quadrant that retinotopically corresponded to the location of the array did not show additional damage. The total neuron count of the macular area was not significantly different between the two eyes, but the tack locations and their adjacent areas showed significantly fewer neurons than other perimacular areas. There was an increased expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) throughout the retina in the implant eye versus the fellow eye, but there was no significant difference in the cellular retinaldehyde-binding protein (CRALBP) expression. Except for the revision tack site, no significant increase of inflammatory reaction was detected in the implant eye.
Long-term implantation and electrical stimulation with an Argus II retinal prosthesis system did not result in significant tissue damage that could be detected by a morphometric analysis.
This study supports the long-term safety of the Argus II device and encourages further development of bioelectronics devices at the retina-machine interface.
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