One-step optogenetics with multifunctional flexible polymer fibers

Nat Neurosci. 2017 Apr;20(4):612-619. doi: 10.1038/nn.4510. Epub 2017 Feb 20.


Optogenetic interrogation of neural pathways relies on delivery of light-sensitive opsins into tissue and subsequent optical illumination and electrical recording from the regions of interest. Despite the recent development of multifunctional neural probes, integration of these modalities in a single biocompatible platform remains a challenge. We developed a device composed of an optical waveguide, six electrodes and two microfluidic channels produced via fiber drawing. Our probes facilitated injections of viral vectors carrying opsin genes while providing collocated neural recording and optical stimulation. The miniature (<200 μm) footprint and modest weight (<0.5 g) of these probes allowed for multiple implantations into the mouse brain, which enabled opto-electrophysiological investigation of projections from the basolateral amygdala to the medial prefrontal cortex and ventral hippocampus during behavioral experiments. Fabricated solely from polymers and polymer composites, these flexible probes minimized tissue response to achieve chronic multimodal interrogation of brain circuits with high fidelity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basolateral Nuclear Complex / physiology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2 / genetics
  • Channelrhodopsins
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Opsins / genetics
  • Optical Fibers*
  • Optogenetics / instrumentation*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Polymers*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology


  • Channelrhodopsins
  • Opsins
  • Polymers
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • Camk2a protein, mouse