We have designed a new type of retinal prosthesis using polyethylene films coupled with photoelectric dye molecules that absorb light and convert photon energy to electric potentials. An extruded-blown film of high-density polyethylene was used as the original polyethylene film. Recrystallized film was made by recrystallization from the melting of the original polyethylene film. A photoelectric dye,2-[2-[4-(dibutylamino)phenyl]ethenyl]-3- carboxymethylbenzothiazolium bromide, was coupled to the two types of polyethylene films through amide linkages. Samples of the original dye-coupled film, the dye-coupled recrystallized film, and the dye-uncoupled plain film were implanted in the subretinal space of normal adult rats. Frozen sections were cut from the eyes enucleated at 1 week or 1 month and were either stained with hematoxylin and eosin, stained immunohistochemically for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), or processed for in situ apoptosis detection. The results revealed that retinal tissue damage was negligible with no inflammatory cells and few apoptotic cells. GFAP was significantly up-regulated in retinal sites with the implantation of all types of polyethylene films at 1 week, compared with the adjacent retinal sites (P < 0.005, analysis of variance). The GFAP up-regulation was also present at 1 month for the plain film and dye-coupled recrystallized film (P < 0.05). Glial cell encirclement around the films increased significantly between 1 week and 1 month (P = 0.023, two-factor analysis of variance) but was not significantly different among the three types of polyethylene films (P = 0.4531). These results showed evidence of glial reactions to the photoelectric dye-coupled polyethylene films implanted into the subretinal space of rat eyes and also proved their basic biological safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Artificial Organs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • Photoelectric dye
  • Polyethylene film
  • Rat
  • Retinal prosthesis
  • Subretinal implantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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