Theoretical Considerations for Optimizing the Use of Optogenetics with Complex Behavior

Curr Protoc. 2023 Jul;3(7):e836. doi: 10.1002/cpz1.836.


Optogenetic approaches have allowed researchers to address complex questions about behavior that were previously unanswerable. However, as optogenetic procedures involve a large parameter space across multiple dimensions, it is crucial to consider such parameters in conjunction with the behaviors under study. Here, we discuss strategies to optimize optogenetic approaches with complex behavior by identifying critical experimental design considerations, including frequency specificity, temporal precision, activity-controlled optogenetics, stimulation pattern, and cell-type specificity. We highlight potential limitations or theoretical considerations to be made when manipulating each of these factors of optogenetic experiments. This overview emphasizes the importance of optimizing optogenetic study design to enhance the conclusions that can be drawn about the neuroscience of behavior. © 2023 The Authors. Current Protocols published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords: activity-controlled optogenetics; cell-type specificity; frequency specificity; stimulation pattern; temporal precision.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neurosciences*
  • Optogenetics*
  • Research Design
  • Research Personnel