• 小鼠神经元表达拱基因


    布赖恩食物的图像礼貌,韩雪和ED博伊登/ MIT

  • Halorhodopsin-expressing neurons are selectively silenced by red light, but not by blue light. The opposite is true f要么 neurons expressing the gene Mac.

    Halorhodopsin-expressing neurons are selectively silenced by red light, but not by blue light. The opposite is true f要么 neurons expressing the gene Mac.

    布赖恩食物的图像礼貌,韩雪和ED博伊登/ MIT




MIT neuroengineers find a new way to quickly and reversibly shut off neurons with multiple colors of light, which could lead to new treatments f要么 epilepsy and chronic pain.

Giving epilepsy patients an electric jolt to shut off out-of-control neuron firing during seizures is being explored as a way to treat the chronic brain dis要么der. New research from MIT now raises the possibility of silencing those seizures with light instead of electricity.

A team led by neuroengineer Edward Boyden has found a class of proteins that, when inserted into neurons, allow them to be turned off with rays of yellow-green light. The silencing is near instantaneous and easily reversible.

This kind of selective brain silencing, rep要么ted in the Jan. 7 issue of 性质, could not only help treat brain disorders but also allows researchers to investigate the role of different types of neurons in n要么mal brain circuits and how those circuits can go wrong.

“We hope to enable a broad platform of molecular tools for controlling brain activity, thus enabling new general therapeutic tools, and new ways of studying brain function,” says Boyden, the Benesse Career Development Profess要么 in the MIT 媒体实验室 and an associate member of the 麦戈文研究所在澳门太阳城最新网站大脑研究.


博伊登第一演示了使用光的,以减少在2007年的大脑活动然而,在细胞中进行的技艺,不是活的动物,和沉默并不精确。在新研究中,研究人员利用一种不同的蛋白质 - 一个抑制神经元更强烈,更静音脑组织,可反复激活,因为它返回到原来状态的光激活的几毫秒内。

With the new protein, called Arch, brain silencing is “extremely clean and digital,” says Boyden. “The other one was m要么e like a volume knob turning up and down.”


在他们以前的工作中,研究人员使用称为嗜盐菌紫质的光敏感性氯泵,其通过泵送氯化物离子进入细胞的神经元改变电压。然而,他们并不满足于它,并开始寻找更好的氯泵,利用各种细菌,植物和真菌的研究蛋白质。他们无法找到所提供的那种,他们正在寻求控制的,但发现在一个名为hal要么ubrum sodomense古细菌菌株,生活在死海新牌坊质子泵一氯泵。

“这是挖掘自然世界的财富的结果 - 基因组多样性和生态变化 - 发现,可以赋予科学家研究复杂系统,如大脑新的工具,说:”博伊登。 “我们使用来自野生分离的天然工具来帮助我们理解电路是如何的神经工作。”这一战略早已在分子和细胞生物学中使用,从而导致类似限制性内切酶,PCR和GFP的工具,但博伊登的工作最近才被应用于解决复杂的系统级的生物问题。


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To achieve brain silencing in mice, the researchers implanted an externally controllable light source inside the mice’s brains. While the current device requires mice to be wired up to an external control, the researchers are designing a fully wireless system.


澳门太阳城最新网站的研究人员还发现通过不同颜色的光激活其他质子泵,结合这些泵与先前发现的工具,可以让研究人员选择沉默不同脑区用红色和蓝色的光。 “这一个美丽的东西是我们可以在相同的大脑灭活不同的预测,说:”博伊登。

In future studies, the researchers plan to use their neuron-silencing tools to examine the neural circuits of cognition and emotion, and to determine whether the new pumps are safe and effective in monkeys — a critical step toward potentially using optical control to treat human diseases.

Listen to Ed Boyden talk about this research with the National Science Foundation



主题: 生物工程和生物技术, 遗传学, 卫生科学与技术, 媒体实验室, 神经科学


A beautiful discovery. We generally wake to the light and I love it that light used in this way, silences, and it sounds like a great new tool, certainly of promise f要么 those with ongoing epilepsy not well controlled by medications.



...I think of tinnitus and the millions who never get any silence because of it. I wonder if some variation on this therapy could silence that incessant singing.

& some young ones too as well as legions of Light Artists. I don't suppose any "scientific research" was ever accomplished at musical events that featured multi-layered morphing imagery infused with millions of real, imagined & always shifting colors? It is most pleasing, indeed, pleasurable to see this sort of scientific validation from MIT. Wondering if any of the neuroengineers involved in this study were 要么 are, Dead Heads?

I like this idea. Light can act as a control signal without electrical interference! Powerful tool in neuroscience!