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Mol Neurobiol. 2013 Feb;47(1):172-85. doi: 10.1007/s12035-012-8361-y. Epub 2012 Oct 14.

Recent developments in optical neuromodulation technologies.

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Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, 6525 EZ, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The emergence of optogenetics technology facilitated widespread applications for interrogation of complex neural networks, such as activation of specific axonal pathways, previously found impossible with electrical stimulation. Consequently, within the short period of its application in neuroscience research, optogenetics has led to findings of significant importance both during normal brain function as well as in disease. Moreover, the optimization of optogenetics for in vivo studies has allowed the control of certain behavioral responses such as motility, reflex, and sensory responses, as well as more complex emotional and cognitive behaviors such as decision-making, reward seeking, and social behavior in freely moving animals. These studies have produced a wide variety of animal models that have resulted in fundamental findings and enhanced our understanding of the neural networks associated with behavior. The increasing number of opsins available for this technique enabled even broader regulation of neuronal activity. These advancements highlight the potential of this technique for future treatment of human diseases. Here, we provide an overview of the recent developments in the field of optogenetics technology that are relevant for a better understanding of several neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and may pave the way for future therapeutic interventions.

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