Optogenetics in Brain Research: From a Strategy to Investigate Physiological Function to a Therapeutic Tool

Year: 2019

Authors: Montagni E., Resta F., Allegra Mascaro AL., Pavone FS.

Autors Affiliation: Univ Florence, European Lab Nonlinear Spect, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy; CNR, Neurosci Inst, I-56121 Pisa, Italy; CNR, Natl Inst Opt, I-50125 Florence, Italy; Univ Florence, Dept Phys & Astron, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy

Abstract: Dissecting the functional roles of neuronal circuits and their interaction is a crucial step in basic neuroscience and in all the biomedical field. Optogenetics is well-suited to this purpose since it allows us to study the functionality of neuronal networks on multiple scales in living organisms. This tool was recently used in a plethora of studies to investigate physiological neuronal circuit function in addition to dysfunctional or pathological conditions. Moreover, optogenetics is emerging as a crucial technique to develop new rehabilitative and therapeutic strategies for many neurodegenerative diseases in pre-clinical models. In this review, we discuss recent applications of optogenetics, starting from fundamental research to pre-clinical applications. Firstly, we described the fundamental components of optogenetics, from light-activated proteins to light delivery systems. Secondly, we showed its applications to study neuronal circuits in physiological or pathological conditions at the cortical and subcortical level, in vivo. Furthermore, the interesting findings achieved using optogenetics as a therapeutic and rehabilitative tool highlighted the potential of this technique for understanding and treating neurological diseases in pre-clinical models. Finally, we showed encouraging results recently obtained by applying optogenetics in human neuronal cells in-vitro.

Journal/Review: PHOTONICS

Volume: 6 (3)      Pages from: 92-1  to: 92-19

More Information: This project has received funding from the H2020 EXCELLENT SCIENCE-European Research Council (ERC) under grant agreement ID n. 692943 BrainBIT””. In addition, it was supported by the European Union?s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreements No. 785907 (SGA2) Human Brain Project.
KeyWords: light-delivery systems; in vivo; channelrhodopsin; rehabilitation; stimulation; neurons; neurodegenerative disease
DOI: 10.3390/photonics6030092

Citations: 21
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