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Optogenetics generally refers to biotechnology, which uses light to regulate genetically modified neurons to express light-sensitive ion channels. As such, optogenetics is a neuromodulation method that uses a combination of techniques from optics and genetics to control the activity of individual neurons in living tissues — even in freely moving animals.

In some embodiments, optogenetics also refers to the optical monitoring of neuronal activity and regulation of biochemical pathways in non-neuronal cells, although this research activity precedes the use of photosensitive ion channels in neurons. Some authors use optogenetics to refer only to the optical control of the function of genetically defined neurons, and since this is not intended for additional research methods, the term optogenetics is an example of polysemy.

In 2010, optogenetics in all fields of science and engineering was selected by the Interdisciplinary Research Journal Nature Methods as “Method of the Year.” At the same time, optogenetics was highlighted in an article on the “Decider of the Decade” in the journal Scientific Research.

SOCIAL EXPERIMENT ON OPTOGENETICS 

In an effort to understand more about how the prefrontal cortex contributes to social behavior, a team of researchers from the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI; Princeton, NJ)[influencer], led by assistant professor of psychology Ilana Witten, has found that the rat is the brain. Inseparable connection. She found that therapeutic pathways for social behavior disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia, and dementia, are pervasive,growth.

Most previous research on social behavior has focused on the brain’s circuitry for aggressive behaviors, such as aggression, sex or mothering in customer journey. With the potential for image of disorders such as autism, finding a neural surface for social learning offers a different approach to social behavior, with abnormalities in the same brain circuit studied in this work.

In the experiments of the research team, two rats were given the opportunity to socialize in the cage, which limits the mobility of one of the rats (the “social target”), so the test mouse can choose to adopt it. Whether to go to the target. Smell and grooming behavior. Next, the test mouse was sent back to the test cage. When researchers use optogenetics, including using light to control neurons, the test roam free in space to disrupt the main socio-spatial pathway identified in the rat brain. When he does not interrupt that circuit, he likes to spend time with the test mouse, where he remembers socializing with another mouse.

“Social interactions are the most rewarding interaction that mammals have,” says Witten. “They run all kinds of different types of learning. The simplest ones we find here are: spatial education, contextual learning.”

Witten and his research team performed optogenetic experiments with mice to isolate precisely which circuits of the brain are involved in socio-spatial learning. Previous research has found that the prefrontal cortex, which is part of the prefrontal cortex, has three “downstream” pathways in the nucleus’s belly, the amygdala, and the ventral teptal region. Researchers concluded that the only way between the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus was linked to the socio-spatial learning they observed.

Next, researchers plan to examine how neural surfaces of social and spatial learning differ in a mouse model of autism. This raises the question of whether autism is due to physical causes or a deficiency in social education.

 

Optogenetics, medicine and psychiatry

The work of the World Health Organization has shown that mental illness is the leading cause of disability worldwide for brand awareness. A major mental illness, major depression, is the leading cause of disability worldwide in women aged 15 to 44 years. But there are a lot of stigmas left (which may surprise many after hearing about this epidemiology).

Why? Lack of collective awareness is a big reason. Once stigma is discovered, psychiatry contributes to the stigma of disease, as “stigma is actually more about the patient’s personality traits than concerns about infectious disease or the stigma of cancer”. Slow progress. This defect is, sadly, universal: in a global society, from members of the general public to the most influential and advanced psychiatrists, we do not know what “psychiatry” means at the basic level.

For example: What is depression? Unlike in the case of heart failure, for example, we do not have good models that suggest depression of limb dysfunction. The heart is a pump, and its dysfunction (first-order approximation) is related to its pumping, which can be easily understood, measured, modeled and tuned. We do not have a deep understanding of what the mind really does, and certainly we do not understand the path of its failure.

TECHNIQUE

The technology that uses optogenetics is flexible and tailored to the needs of the user. For starters, the genetic engineer needed for the experiment was microbial opsin (excitation rate, refraction period, etc.) based on gating properties.

Introducing microbial opsins, an optogenetic actuator, into a specific area of ​​the organism is a challenge. The conservative approach is to introduce an engineered viral vector containing the optogenetic actuator genes associated with a promoter such as CAMKIIα. This allows for some degree of specificity in the form of cells already involved and the translation of a given promoter infects with the viral vector and hopefully expresses the optogenetic actuator gene.

Another approach is the creation of transgenic mice, where the optogenetic actuator is inserted into the zygote of the rat with a given promoter, usually Thy1.

A third and rather novel approach has been developed to produce transgenic mice with Cre recombinase, an enzyme that catalyzes the reombination between two Lox-P sites. By introducing an engineered viral vector containing the optogenetic actuator genes between the two LOX-P sites, only cells with RE recombinase express microbial opsins. This last technology allows the use of several modified optogenetic actuators every time a new microbial opsin is needed, without the need to create a full range of transgenic animals.

After the initiation and expression of microbial opsin, depending on the type of analysis, the application of light may be placed at the terminal ends or in the core area of ​​the infected cells. Light extinguishing can be performed with a wide range of devices from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or diode-pumped solid state (DPSS). These light sources are usually connected to the computer via a fiber optic cable. Recent advances include the advent of wireless head-mounted devices, which also place LEDs in the target areas and give animals greater freedom of mobility to reproduce motion results.