A computational tool to explore the underlying principles of optogenetic neural stimulation. This "light-neuron" model consists of theoretical representations of the light dynamics generated by a fiber optic in brain tissue, coupled to a multicompartment cable model of a cortical pyramidal neuron (Hu et al. 2009, ModelDB #123897) embedded with channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) membrane dynamics. Simulations predict that the activation threshold is sensitive to many of the properties of ChR2 (density, conductivity, and kinetics), tissue medium (scattering and absorbance), and the fiber-optic light source (diameter and numerical aperture). This model system represents a scientific instrument to characterize the effects of optogenetic neuromodulation, as well as an engineering design tool to help guide future development of optogenetic technology.
Foutz TJ, Arlow RL, McIntyre CC (2012) Theoretical principles underlying optical stimulation of a channelrhodopsin-2 positive pyramidal neuron. J Neurophysiol 107:3235-45 [PubMed]