[Principles and applications of optogenetics in neuroscience]

Med Sci (Paris). 2015 Mar;31(3):291-303. doi: 10.1051/medsci/20153103015. Epub 2015 Apr 8.
[Article in French]


Numerous achievements in biology have resulted from the evolution of biophotonics, a general term describing the use of light in the study of living systems. Over the last fifteen years, biophotonics has progressively blended with molecular genetics to give rise to optogenetics, a set of techniques enabling the functional study of genetically-defined cellular populations, compartments or processes with optical methods. In neuroscience, optogenetics allows real-time monitoring and control of the activity of specific neuronal populations in a wide range of animal models. This technical breakthrough provides a new level of sophistication in experimental approaches in the field of fundamental neuroscience, significantly enhancing our ability to understand the complexity of neuronal circuits.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fluorescent Dyes / pharmacology
  • Gene Transfer Techniques / trends
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurosciences / methods*
  • Neurosciences / trends
  • Opsins / physiology
  • Optogenetics* / methods
  • Optogenetics* / statistics & numerical data
  • Photochemistry / methods


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Opsins