A new optogenetic device for spinal cord control of pain

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Pain research, like other areas of neuroscience, has seen many recent advances with the aid of optogenetics, a broadly enabling technique that allows researchers to activate or silence distinct cell populations.1,5,7,13,15 To date, the majority of pain studies using optogenetics in freely behaving animals have focused on the periphery and brain but not the spinal cord.9 This disparity has reflected the fact that the most widely available fiber-optic light delivery devices were designed for use in the brain, and thus were poorly suited for the unique anatomy of the rodent spinal cord. To address this challenge, in late 2015, a collaborative effort from Gereau and Rogers produced a fully implantable, soft wireless optical system that allowed for the first demonstration of spinal optogenetics in freely moving mice.11 Following this proof-of-concept study, in this issue, Samineni et al.14 report the development of an improved, commercially available wireless optoelectric device for spinal optogenetics.

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