Beyond the brain: Optogenetic control in the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system

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Science Translational Medicine  04 May 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 337, pp. 337rv5
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad7577


Optogenetics offers promise for dissecting the complex neural circuits of the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system and has therapeutic potential for addressing unmet clinical needs. Much progress has been made to enable optogenetic control in normal and disease states, both in proof-of-concept and mechanistic studies in rodent models. In this Review, we discuss challenges in using optogenetics to study the mammalian spinal cord and peripheral nervous system, synthesize common features that unite the work done thus far, and describe a route forward for the successful application of optogenetics to translational research beyond the brain.

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