Novel method of chronically blocking retinal activity

J Neurosci Methods. 1999 Feb 1;87(1):105-10. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0270(98)00172-1.


The ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer Elvax has been used as a vehicle to deliver bioactive substances to discrete areas of the nervous system. Here we report a novel use of Elvax to chronically block retinal activity. Small pieces of Elvax containing the sodium channel blocker tetrodotoxin (TTX) were surgically implanted into the vitreous humor of ferret eyes. Observations of the light-induced pupillary reflex combined with electrophysiological assays of vitreous humor confirmed that these implants completely blocked retinal activity for up to 25 days without apparent retinal damage. The advantages of this procedure over previous methods requiring multiple daily injections of TTX, and alternative experimental applications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Drug Implants
  • Electrophysiology
  • Female
  • Ferrets / physiology*
  • Male
  • Polyvinyls
  • Psychology, Experimental / methods*
  • Reflex, Pupillary / drug effects
  • Retina / drug effects
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Tetrodotoxin / administration & dosage
  • Tetrodotoxin / toxicity
  • Vitreous Body


  • Drug Implants
  • Polyvinyls
  • ethylenevinylacetate copolymer
  • Tetrodotoxin