Light stimulation parameters determine neuron dynamic characteristics

Alexander Erofeev, Evgenii Gerasimov, Anastasia Lavrova, Anastasia Bolshakova, Eugene Postnikov, Ilya Bezprozvanny, Olga L. Vlasova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Optogenetics is a recently developed technique that is widely used to study neuronal function. In optogenetic experiments, neurons encode opsins (channelrhodopsins, halorhodopsins or their derivatives) by means of viruses, plasmids or genetic modification (transgenic lines). Channelrhodopsin are light activated ion channels. Their expression in neurons allows light-dependent control of neuronal activity. The duration and frequency of light stimulation in optogenetic experiments is critical for stable, robust and reproducible experiments. In this study, we performed systematic analyses of these parameters using primary cultures of hippocampal neurons transfected with channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2). The main goal of this work was to identify the optimal parameters of light stimulation that would result in stable neuronal activity during a repeated light pulse train. We demonstrated that the dependency of the photocurrent on the light pulse duration is described by a right-skewed bell-shaped curve, while the dependence on the stimulus intensity is close to linear. We established that a duration between 10-30 ms of stimulation was the minimal time necessary to achieve a full response. Obtained results will be useful in planning and interpretation of optogenetic experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3673
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Channelrhodopsin-2
  • Hippocampal neurons
  • Light stimulation
  • Membrane current
  • Optogenetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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