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Application of optogenetics and in vivo imaging approaches for elucidating the neurobiology of addiction

Authors: Casey R. Vickstrom, Shana Terai Snarrenberg, Vladislav Friedman, Qing-song Liu
Publication: Molecular Psychiatry
Date: June 18, 2021
Link to article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-021-01181-3


The neurobiology of addiction has been an intense topic of investigation for more than 50 years. Over this time, technological innovation in methods for studying brain function rapidly progressed, leading to increasingly sophisticated experimental approaches. To understand how specific brain regions, cell types, and circuits are affected by drugs of abuse and drive behaviors characteristic of addiction, it is necessary both to observe and manipulate neural activity in addiction-related behavioral paradigms. In pursuit of this goal, there have been several key technological advancements in in vivo imaging and neural circuit modulation in recent years, which have shed light on the cellular and circuit mechanisms of addiction. Here we discuss some of these key technologies, including circuit modulation with optogenetics, in vivo imaging with miniaturized single-photon microscopy (miniscope) and fiber photometry, and how the application of these technologies has garnered novel insights into the neurobiology of addiction.

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