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Visualizing the lipid dynamics role in infrared neural stimulation using stimulated Raman scattering


Adams WRWilson R , Gautam RRekha , Locke AAndrea , Masson LELaura E , Borrachero-Conejo AIAna I , Dollinger BRBryan R , Throckmorton GAGraham A , Duvall CCraig , Jansen EDE Duco , Mahadevan-Jansen AAnita . Biophysical journal. 2022 3 8; 121(8). 1525-1540


Infrared neural stimulation (INS) uses pulsed infrared light to yield label-free neural stimulation with broad experimental and translational utility. Despite its robust demonstration, INS’s mechanistic and biophysical underpinnings have been the subject of debate for more than a decade. The role of lipid membrane thermodynamics appears to play an important role in how fast IR-mediated heating nonspecifically drives action potential generation. Direct observation of lipid membrane dynamics during INS remains to be shown in a live neural model system. We used hyperspectral stimulated Raman scattering microscopy to study biochemical signatures of high-speed vibrational dynamics underlying INS in a live neural cell culture model. The findings suggest that lipid bilayer structural changes occur during INS in┬ávitro in NG108-15 neuroglioma cells. Lipid-specific signatures of cell stimulated Raman scattering spectra varied with stimulation energy and radiation exposure. The spectroscopic observations agree with high-speed ratiometric fluorescence imaging of a conventional lipophilic membrane structure reporter, 4-(2-(6-(dibutylamino)-2-naphthalenyl)ethenyl)-1-(3-sulfopropyl)pyridinium hydroxide. The findings support the hypothesis that INS causes changes in the lipid membrane of neural cells by changing the lipid membrane packing order. This work highlights the potential of hyperspectral stimulated Raman scattering as a method to safely study biophysical and biochemical dynamics in live cells.