Research Topic

New Insights on Neuron and Astrocyte Function from Cutting-Edge Optical Techniques

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In the last decades, neuroscience research has been driven by the development of novel technologies interfacing scientists with molecules, neuronal cells or the entire brain. Certainly, optical techniques have played the major role in this progress opening the gate to unprecedented information on living ...

In the last decades, neuroscience research has been driven by the development of novel technologies interfacing scientists with molecules, neuronal cells or the entire brain. Certainly, optical techniques have played the major role in this progress opening the gate to unprecedented information on living neurons and astrocytes. To cite the most important steps, innovative illumination and light recording strategies advanced our knowledge on signaling in submicron structures while permitting the investigation of neurons, neural networks and astrocytes in the intact tissues. In parallel, the new emerging field of optogenetics allowed the selected expression of light-activated proteins that can be used for precisely targeted photostimulation, as well as for Ca2+ measurements or membrane potential recordings from specific cell populations, neuron subtypes such as pyramidal cells or inhibitory interneurons. At this stage, we propose a Research Topic entitled “New insights on neuron and astrocyte function from cutting-edge optical techniques”. Specifically, the Topic covers three areas of interest: 1. Optogenetics; 2. Innovative technologies; 3. In vitro and in vivo applications.

1. The area of interest of Optogenetics may include light-sensitive ion channels and fluorescent proteins to measure membrane potential or ion concentrations.
2. The area of interest of Innovative technologies may include cutting-edge illumination strategies (non-linear optics, shaped illumination etc.), confocal systems, novel recording methodologies and organic dyes (not proteins).
3. The area of interest of In vitro and in vivo applications may include contributions obtained with one or more cutting-edge optical techniques at different possible scales: submicron compartments, neurons, network or populations. Articles describing in vivo recordings are particularly encouraged, but contributions in cultures and brain slices are also welcome.

This topic will be edited by three experienced neuroscientists with complementary expertise. This will allow each manuscript addressing one or more areas of interest to be handled by one or more editors to receive a
fast and well-suited review process. In particular, we aim at receiving original articles, short or long reviews and methods/technology contributions to tackle the topic from different prospectives. The final aim is to
deliver an original collection of articles providing a comprehensive overview on the state-of-art optical techniques that will likely guide neuroscience discoveries in the next few years.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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