Optogenetics has in recent years become a central tool in neuroscience research. Creating a realistic model of optogenetic neuronal excitation is of crucial importance for controlling the activation levels of various neuronal populations in different depths, predicting experimental results and designing the optical systems. However, current approaches to modeling light propagation through rodents' brain tissue suffer from major shortcomings and comprehensive modeling of local illumination levels together with other important factors governing excitation (i.e., cellular morphology, channel dynamics and expression), are still lacking.
To address this challenge we introduce a new simulation tool for optogenetic neuronal excitation under complex and realistic illumination conditions that implements a detailed physical model for light scattering (in MATLAB) together with neuron morphology and channelrhodopsin-2 model (in NEURON). These two disparate simulation environments were interconnected using a newly developed generic interface termed 'NeuroLab'. Applying this method, we show that in a layer-V cortical neuron, the relative contribution of the apical dendrites to neuronal excitation is considerably greater than that of the soma or basal dendrites, when illuminated from the surface.
Guy Yona, Yonatan Weissler, Nizan Meitav, Eliran Guzi, Dafna D. Rifold, Itamar Kahn, and Shy Shoham, "Computational modeling of optogenetic neuronal excitation under complex illumination conditions using a Matlab-Neuron interface
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9690, Clinical and Translational Neurophotonics; Neural Imaging and Sensing; and Optogenetics and Optical Manipulation, 96902I (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 14, 2016; Published: 26 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2212325.4848636591001.
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