Illustration 3d d'une connexion neuronale

We begin to understand how neurons communicate

Neurons are nerve cells which transmit impulses. These microorganisms communicate with each other by forming connections and circuits that make up a complex network. Thanks to a recent study, scientists have developed a new way that could help to watch and to record the activity of these neurons in the brain.

For this study, scientists harnessed the power of optogenetics, using the lighte to analyze the activity neurons in the brain. In their research, they developed a method to record, determine connectivity and quantify behaviors in the brain.

Furthermore, the research team has been directed by Doctor Ilka Diester and Professor David Eriksson from the Optophysiology Laboratory of the University of Fribourg. The results of this study were published in the Nature Communications magazine.

The activity of neurons in the nervous system

Indeed, the researchers set up a new method for to scan and record activity brain nerve cells. To do this, they used optical fibers cell-sized slender cells, into which they embedded optogenetic material in a minimally invasive way.

These researchers have named the FFLEXR system (Fused Fiber Light Emission and Extracellular Recording). Besides the fiber which can be attached to any silicon probe, a linear stimulator and a lightweight fiber matrix connector were used. In addition, researchers manipulated flexible ribbon cables, universal patch cables as well as algorithms to control the photoelectric response.

Our alternative approach retains the flexibility to apply any desired wavelength via an interchangeable external light source and allows optogenetic stimulation at different depths of brain tissue. »

Deister, doctor in the optophysiology laboratory

Understanding neural communication

Through the use of new optical toolsthese scientists from the University of Friborg succeeded in studying the function of neural pathways. This study allowed them to understand the neural basis of motor and cognitive control, and the interaction between the prefrontal cortex and the motor cortex, which is part of the Cerebral cortex.

Our work paves the way for large-scale photo-registration and controlled interrogation of rapid neural communication in any combination of brain areas.[…]It can help us unravel the rapid, multi-layered dialogues between neurons that maintain brain function. »

Deister, doctor in the optophysiology laboratory


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