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Neural Regen Res. 2017 Aug;12(8):1197-1209. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.213532.

Optogenetics and its application in neural degeneration and regeneration.

Ordaz JD1,2,3, Wu W1,2,3, Xu XM1,2,3,4.

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Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Group, Stark Neurosciences Research Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Department of Neurological Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.


Neural degeneration and regeneration are important topics in neurological diseases. There are limited options for therapeutic interventions in neurological diseases that provide simultaneous spatial and temporal control of neurons. This drawback increases side effects due to non-specific targeting. Optogenetics is a technology that allows precise spatial and temporal control of cells. Therefore, this technique has high potential as a therapeutic strategy for neurological diseases. Even though the application of optogenetics in understanding brain functional organization and complex behaviour states have been elaborated, reviews of its therapeutic potential especially in neurodegeneration and regeneration are still limited. This short review presents representative work in optogenetics in disease models such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. It is aimed to provide a broader perspective on optogenetic therapeutic potential in neurodegeneration and neural regeneration.


Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease; epilepsy; light-activated proteins; memory retrieval; multiple sclerosis; neural engineering; neural plasticity; neural regeneration; neuron activation; neuron inhibition; spinal cord injury

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