Optogenetic Technique

Discussion in 'Research News' started by RODRIGO, Jan 7, 2017.

    1. RODRIGO

      RODRIGO Member

      Valencia (Spain)
      Tinnitus Since:
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    2. Dori

      Dori Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:

      Links 1 & 4 deal with optogenetics. Optogenetics is a practice involving tagging neurons with light-sensitive proteins so that the cells can be "controlled" via light exposure. Dr. Zheng in link 4 wants to explore the effects of time and location specific stimulation of GABAergic neurons (GABA is our primary neurotransmitter responsible for calming neuron excitability throughout our central nervous system; in other words, it makes sure our brains aren't bombarded constantly with overwhelming stimuli by slowing excitability as needed and keeps us functioning smoothly) in rats with trauma-induced tinnitus. She wants to understand the neurological basis behind tinnitus, as dysfunction of certain neurons (I'm guessing GABAergic ones...) is associated with tinnitus. Link 1 doesn't talk about tinnitus specifically, but discusses models of optogenetic systems in mice.

      Link 2 was pretty interesting. Serotonin transporters are concentrated in the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN), which is responsible for basic sound localization. Using optogenetics on mice, scientists found that serotonin activation increased excitability in a certain type of cell. This heightened excitability in the DCN caused by serotonin dysfunction might be the underlying cause of tinnitus.

      Link 3 was about a German audiology symposium. There are a lot of subjects covered here, but if you have a hearing aid it's pretty cool to check out the abstracts and learn about recent research. :D

      I personally feel optimistic about this field of research, but sadly only mice are used right now. If an optogenetic system for humans came out to control tinnitus, I would be on board.
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