Opto nongenetics inhibition of neuronal firing

The European Journal of Neuroscience
Karima Ait OuaresNicola Kuczewski


Optogenetics is based on the selective expression of exogenous opsins by neurons allowing experimental control of their electrical activity using visible light. The interpretation of the results of optogenetic experiments is based on the assumption that light stimulation selectively acts on those neurons expressing the exogenous opsins without perturbing the activity of naive ones. Here, we report that light stimulation, of wavelengths and power in the range of those normally used in optogenetic experiments, consistently reduces the firing activity of naive Mitral Cells (MCs) and Tufted Neurons in the olfactory bulb as well as in Medium Spiny Neurons (MSNs) in the striatum. No such effect was observed for cerebellar Purkinje and hippocampal CA1 neurons. The effects on MC firing appear to be mainly due to a light-induced increase in tissue temperature, between 0.1 and 0.4°C, associated with the generation of a hyperpolarizing current and a modification of action potential (AP) shape. Therefore, light in the visible range can affect neuronal physiology in a cell-specific manner. Beside the implications for optogenetic studies, our results pave the way to investigating the use of visible light for therapeutic purposes in pathologi...Continue Reading


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