14 February 2018 Optogenetic probing of nerve and muscle function after facial nerve lesion in the mouse whisker system
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Abstract
Optogenetic modulation of neural circuits has opened new avenues into neuroscience research, allowing the control of cellular activity of genetically specified cell types. Optogenetics is still underdeveloped in the peripheral nervous system, yet there are many applications related to sensorimotor function, pain and nerve injury that would be of great benefit. We recently established a method for non-invasive, transdermal optogenetic stimulation of the facial muscles that control whisker movements in mice (Park et al., 2016, eLife, e14140)1. Here we present results comparing the effects of optogenetic stimulation of whisker movements in mice that express channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) selectively in either the facial motor nerve (ChAT-ChR2 mice) or muscle (Emx1-ChR2 or ACTA1-ChR2 mice). We tracked changes in nerve and muscle function before and up to 14 days after nerve transection. Optogenetic 460 nm transdermal stimulation of the distal cut nerve showed that nerve degeneration progresses rapidly over 24 hours. In contrast, the whisker movements evoked by optogenetic muscle stimulation were up-regulated after denervation, including increased maximum protraction amplitude, increased sensitivity to low-intensity stimuli, and more sustained muscle contractions (reduced adaptation). Our results indicate that peripheral optogenetic stimulation is a promising technique for probing the timecourse of functional changes of both nerve and muscle, and holds potential for restoring movement after paralysis induced by nerve damage or motoneuron degeneration.
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Akhil Bandi, Thomas J. Vajtay, Aman Upadhyay, S. Olga Yiantsos, Christian R. Lee, David J. Margolis, "Optogenetic probing of nerve and muscle function after facial nerve lesion in the mouse whisker system", Proc. SPIE 10482, Optogenetics and Optical Manipulation 2018, 104820C (14 February 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2288031; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2288031
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