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Thermal constraints on in vivo optogenetic manipulations


A key assumption of optogenetics is that light only affects opsin-expressing neurons. However, illumination invariably heats tissue, and many physiological processes are temperature-sensitive. Commonly used illumination protocols increased the temperature by 0.2-2 °C and suppressed spiking in multiple brain regions. In the striatum, light delivery activated an inwardly rectifying potassium conductance and biased rotational behavior. Thus, careful consideration of light-delivery parameters is required, as even modest intracranial heating can confound interpretation of optogenetic experiments.

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