Optogenetic experimentation on astrocytes

Exp Physiol. 2011 Jan;96(1):40-50. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2010.052597. Epub 2010 Nov 1.


We briefly review the current literature where optogenetics has been used to study various aspects of astrocyte physiology in vitro and in vivo. This includes both genetically engineered Ca(2+) sensors and effector proteins, such as channelrhodopsin. We demonstrate how the ability to target astrocytes with cell-specific viral vectors to express optogenetic constructs helped to unravel some previously unsuspected roles of these inconspicuous cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Astrocytes / physiology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Light
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Optics and Photonics / methods*
  • Rhodopsin / physiology*


  • Rhodopsin
  • Calcium