Research Topic

Optogenetics: An Emerging Approach in Cardiac Electrophysiology

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Optogenetics, a biological technique which involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue, has been applied in a wide range of research fields, ranging from in vitro systems to work in invertebrate and mammalian systems and behaving animals.

The earliest approaches for optogenetic ...

Optogenetics, a biological technique which involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue, has been applied in a wide range of research fields, ranging from in vitro systems to work in invertebrate and mammalian systems and behaving animals.

The earliest approaches for optogenetic control were employed to map neural circuits; currently, optogenetics has spurred immense research activity and has inspired numerous applications.

Recently, the field has extended to cardiac applications; thus, optogenetic methods have been demonstrated to be extremely useful in cardiac electrophysiological investigations. In particular, the recent advances in optogenetic sensors allow investigation of research questions not amenable to analysis using classic optically sensitive organic probe molecules. In addition, optogenetic techniques offer both high spatial and high temporal resolution: sensors can be incorporated into specific motifs and targeted at specific cell types and subcellular domains in the heart. Especially thrilling is the prospect for their use in recording and quantifying parameters reflecting in vivo cardiac excitation and contraction.

Moreover, on the clinical side, optogenetics-driven research has led to insights into arrhythmogenesis, as it has been demonstrated that optogenetic techniques can be used to terminate ventricular arrhythmias. This technology is also being explored to target bradyarrhythmias, tachyarrhythmias, heart failure with mechanical dyssynchrony, cardiac pacing and resynchronization.

Cardiac optogenetic approaches thus offer unprecedented opportunities and open exciting new possibilities for resolving normal and diseased function.

This Research Topic focuses on optogenetic applications in cardiac electrophysiology, specifically addressing its ability to manipulate membrane voltage, intracellular Ca2+, and cellular signalling by light, with implications for cardiac pacing, cardioversion, cell communication, and arrhythmia research in general.

Contributors are encouraged to submit articles authored by pioneering workers in this area to cover the concepts, key technology and applications of cardiac optogenetics.


Keywords: Optogenetics, cardiac electrophysiology, molecular signalling, cardiac rhythm, Ca2+ signaling


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