Journal of biomedical optics

Ultrafast laser-assisted spatially targeted optoporation into cortical axons and retinal cells in the eye.

PMID 28662241


Visualization and assessment of the cellular structure and function require localized delivery of the molecules into specific cells in restricted spatial regions of the tissue and may necessitate subcellular delivery and localization. Earlier, we have shown ultrafast near-infrared laser beam-assisted optoporation of actin-staining molecules into cortical neurons with single-cell resolution and high efficiency. However, diffusion of optoporated molecules in soma degrades toward the growth cone, leading to difficulties in visualization of the actin network in the growth cone in cases of long axons. Here, we demonstrate optoporation of impermeable molecules to functional cortical neurons by precise laser subaxotomy near the growth cone, leading to visualization of the actin network in the growth cone. Further, we demonstrate patterned delivery of impermeable molecules into targeted retinal cells in the rat eye. The development of optoporation as a minimally invasive approach to reliably deliver exogenous molecules into targeted axons and soma of retinal neurons in vivo will enable enhanced visualization of the structure and function of the retina.