Optogenetic Neuromodulation

In optogenetic neuromodulation, it is envisioned that select cells can be tagged to respond to differently colored “stop” and “go” lights delivered through fiber optics. In this approach, demonstrated in the laboratory, researchers introduce a gene for a light-sensitive molecule, channelrhodopsin 2, into a specific subset of neurons. Exposing the cells to blue light causes them to fire. Adding another light-sensitive protein, halorhodopsin, silences the neurons in response to yellow light. Researchers are using the tools to study animal models of Parkinson's disease, blindness, spinal injury, depression, narcolepsy, addiction, and memory. Nature magazine identified optogenetics as the Method of the Year in 2010.


1. Henderson JM, Federici T, Boulis N. Optogenetic neuromodulation. Neurosurgery. 2009 May;64(5):796-804; discussion 804. Review. Accessed April 14, 2012.

Reviewed Aug. 4, 2018
Executive Officer, International Neuromodulation Society, 2011-2019
Hunter Pain Clinic, Broadmeadow, NSW Australia

Last Updated on Monday, November 22, 2021 11:06 AM