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Sensorimotor Learning/Plasticity

開催日 2014/9/13
時間 11:00 - 12:00
会場 Poster / Exhibition(Event Hall B)

Visual Cortical Prosthesis with a Geomagnetic Compass Restores Spatial Navigation in Blind Rats

  • P3-109
  • 乗本 裕明 / Hiroaki Norimoto:1 池谷 裕二 / Yuji Ikegaya:1,2 
  • 1:東京大学 / Lab.of Chem. Pharmacol., Grad.Sch.of Pharm.Sci., The Univ.of Tokyo 2:脳情報通信融合研究センター / Centre for Information and Neural Networks 

Thirty-nine million people worldwide suffer from blindness, and 246 million people exhibit severe low vision, mainly because of a deficit of peripheral eye function. To restore vision, intraocular lenses and artificial retinas have been developed, yet the clinical trials of these prostheses have not shown complete success, and the majority of patients are still obliged to use white canes or guide dogs for independent locomotion. Here, we propose a novel neurofeedback approach for establishing spatial perception in blind rodents. Head-mountable microstimulators coupled with a digital geomagnetic compass were bilaterally implanted in the primary visual cortex of adult rats whose eyelids had been sutured. These 'blind' rats were trained to seek food pellets in a T-shaped maze or a more complicated maze. Within tens of trials, they learned to use the geomagnetic information source to solve the mazes. Their performance level was nearly identical to that of normally sighted, intact rats. Without the geomagnetic neuroprosthesis, blind rats could find pellets only at the chance level; however, importantly, once the blind rats had explored a maze using the geomagnetic sensors, they were able to forage for pellets in the maze without the devices. Hence, blind rats can acquire spatial cognitive maps, which are otherwise visually obtained, through non-inherent, geomagnetic sensation and thereby innovate a new exploratory strategy.

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