Cochlear optical stimulation of the auditory pathway
Antoine Huet , Institut für Auditorische Neurowissenschaften, Universitätsmedizin Göttingen
Optical stimulation of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) in the ear for coding sound information provides an interesting alternative to electrical stimulation that is used in current cochlear implants for hearing restoration. As light can be conveniently confined in space, optical stimulation promises not only to increase the number of independent stimulation channels, but also potentially to restore temporal response of SGNs which are phase-locked to the periodicity of the sound. Sensitizing SGNs to light can be achieved either by optogenetic manipulation for expressing a light-sensitive protein, or by photopharmacological manipulation of receptors native to the cochlea.
Pioneering studies have established proof of principle of optical cochlear stimulation to restore hearing in rodent models of deafness (Hernandez et al, 2014; Wrobel, Dieter et al, 2018). More recent work from the last 2 years have demonstrated i) improvement of frequency selectivity in response to light-over electrical stimuli (Dieter et al, 2019), and ii) activation of the auditory pathway by faster opsins (i.e. shorter closing kinetics) which are more suitable for fast spiking SGNs (Mager, Lopez de la Morena et al, 2018, Keppeler et al, 2018). Finally, ongoing work, in collaboration with the team of Pau Gorostiza, is showing than a photopharmacological approach targeting AMPA receptors could be used to optically activate the auditory pathway with performance similar to current optogenetic tools.
Dr. Antoine Huet is a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Auditory Neuroscience (University Medical Center Göttingen) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Tobias Moser. Dr Huet received his BS degree in Audiology from the Institut libre Marie-Haps (Brussel, Belgium) and MS degree in Audiology and auditory neuroscience from the University of Montpellier 1 (Montpellier, France). He obtained his PhD degree in Chemical and biological science for Health from the University of Montpellier 1 (Montpellier, France). He worked as a Postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Pr. J-L. Puel and Jerome Bourien, PhD in the Institut des neurosciences de Montpellier (INSERM U1051, France) till May 2018. After, he joined the laboratory of Pr. Dr. Tobias Moser in the Institute for Auditory Neuroscience from the University Medical Center Göttingen (Germany). His current research interest include the development of viral transfer of suitable ChR variants into spiral ganglion neurons and of multichannel optical stimulation using cochlear implants with arrays of microscale light emitting diodes and waveguides, characterizing neuronal responses along the auditory pathway using physiological and behavioral methods. Thus, to finally compare optogenetic to acoustic and electric stimulation.
He has been invited to IBEC by Pau Gorostiza