Sung Il Park1,2,8, Daniel S Brenner3,8, Gunchul Shin1,2,8, Clinton D Morgan3,8, Bryan A Copits3, Ha Uk Chung1,2, Melanie Y Pullen3, Kyung Nim Noh1,2, Steve Davidson3, Soong Ju Oh1,4, Jangyeol Yoon1,2,5, Kyung-In Jang1,2, Vijay K Samineni3, Megan Norman3, Jose G Grajales-Reyes3, Sherri K Vogt3, Saranya S Sundaram3, Kellie M Wilson3, Jeong Sook Ha5, Renxiao Xu6, Taisong Pan6, Tae-il Kim7, Yonggang Huang6, Michael C Montana3, Judith P Golden3, Michael R Bruchas3, Robert W Gereau IV3 & John A Rogers1,2
1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA. 2Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA. 3Washington University Pain Center and Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. 4Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. 5Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. 6Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA. 7School of Chemical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Suwon, Republic of Korea. 8These authors contributed equally to this work.
Correspondence to : John A Rogers or Robert W Gereau IV
Optogenetics allows rapid, temporally specific control of neuronal activity by targeted expression and activation of light-sensitive proteins. Implementation typically requires remote light sources and fiber-optic delivery schemes that impose considerable physical constraints on natural behaviors. In this report we bypass these limitations using technologies that combine thin, mechanically soft neural interfaces with fully implantable, stretchable wireless radio power and control systems. The resulting devices achieve optogenetic modulation of the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. This is demonstrated with two form factors; stretchable film appliques that interface directly with peripheral nerves, and flexible filaments that insert into the narrow confines of the spinal epidural space. These soft, thin devices are minimally invasive, and histological tests suggest they can be used in chronic studies. We demonstrate the power of this technology by modulating peripheral and spinal pain circuitry, providing evidence for the potential widespread use of these devices in research and future clinical applications of optogenetics outside the brain.