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Optogenetic neuronal stimulation promotes functional recovery after stroke

Cheng, Michelle Y., Wang, Eric H., Woodson, Wyatt J., Wang, Stephanie, Sun, Guohua, Lee, Alex G., Arac, Ahmet, Fenno, Lief E., Deisseroth, Karl, Steinberg, Gary K.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2014 v.111 no.35 pp. 12913-12918
adverse effects, brain, drugs, neurons, optogenetics, stroke, therapeutics, United States
Significance Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States and has very limited treatment options. Brain stimulation techniques that promote recovery after stroke are a promising area of research; however, current stimulation techniques nonspecifically activate/inhibit the target area, which not only leads to undesired side effects but also makes it difficult to understand which cell types and mechanisms drive recovery. We used the optogenetic technique to specifically stimulate only neurons after stroke and demonstrate that selective neuronal stimulations can activate beneficial mechanisms and promote recovery. Understanding the cell type and mechanisms driving recovery may identify potential drug targets for stroke treatment, as well as ultimately help develop precise brain stimulation techniques for stroke therapy.