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Can Optogenetics Be Used To Find Specific Memories In Groups Of Neurons.

06/10/2014 10:12 PM

Can you help with these Optogenetics questions.

Question 1. Using Halorhodopsin in Optogenetics can you erase a memory permanently, or just temporarily.So if you cansilence neurons with Halorhodopsin, can you erase them permanently, or are they just silenced temporarily, while the orange light is being shined on to them, and because they cannot shine the orange light on them forever, so can they justturn off neurons for a period to of time. So can memories be erased usingHalorhdopsin, or just temporarily be turned off with orange light for a period of time.

Question 2. Can you help me with this otheroptogenetics question,Can you find out what groups of neurons in your hippocampus hold which memories you have with optogenetics. UsingOptogenetics you can activate groups of neurons with Chanelrhodopsin, using blue light, and silence, or turn off neurons using Halorhodopsin, using orange, or yellow light.At Stanford University theycan use a microscope implanted into a mouses's brain to see a mouse's electro, and chemical activitytraveling through its neurons like in a movie happening in real time.They can see up to 700 neurons, so that's around roughly 100 microns small, then they use a gene therapy approach to cause a mouse's neurons to express a green fluorescent protein that is engineered to be sensitive to the presenceof calcium ions.

When a neuron fires, the cell naturally floods with calcium ions, calcium stimulates the protein, causing the entire cell to fluoresce bright green.

So the researchers can tell where the mouse is in its arena by say looking at what which neurons fire in the hippocampus, but they can only get a rough idea of which neuron is associated wit which memory, So using Halorhodopsin could you find exactly what group of neurons is associated with a certain memory, with the technique I am about to explain to you below,So say eventually when we, or if we get to human testing, because you are already testing on monkeys right now.If you asked a person to recall a episodic memory of a place they have been to say, like the Lincoln memorial that they have that is located in the hippocampus, and you used chanelrhodopsin blue light to activate the memory in the hippocampus, could you find those specific neurons that hold that specific memory.

Because the blue light would activate the neurons of the Lincoln memorial so the person would just start thinking ofthe Lincoln memorial as the blue light shines on specific neurons.Or you could do the opposite and use Halorhodopsin and use orange, or yellow light to turn of, or silence groups of neurons, to locate the groups of neurons of the Lincoln memorial.Sowhen you ask the person to describe the visit to the Lincoln memorial, when he is describing it in words to you, when you shine blue light on the groups of neurons in his hippocampus, maybe he would just stop talking about the Lincoln memorial, because the Halorhodopsin yellow light has turned those groups of neurons off in his hippocampus.

Or another way to do it would be to shine the yellow light onthe groups of neurons that are associated with thememory of the Lincoln Memorial, and as you ask the person about the Lincoln Memorial he should not remember it, because the neurons are being silenced by yellow light.

So youhave there ways to find specific groups of neurons that hold certain memories using Optogenetics.

So this is a way that I can think of to find specific groups of neurons in the brain that hold specific episodic memories, because you do not know which groups of neurons hold what memories, unless you have some kind of chemical dye that highlights the electro chemical activity happening in a certain group of neurons, they have the technology to highlight electro chemical signals in neurons, its called the gene therapy approach used at Stanford University.

So do you think you could find specific memories in the hippocampus using optogenetics like this.

So if their are machines like 2 photon laser microscopy, or florescence microscopythat magnify neurons in the hippocampus enough, to around 100 microns, or less, to see the electro, and chemical signals traveling through the groups of neurons, if you can see the electro chemicals connecting at the synapse, I am guessing you could associate a certain memory with a certain group of neurons this way, if you have the microscopy technology to magnify a group of neurons this much, and are able to see the electro chemical signals traveling through a group of neurons in real time like in amovie clip, not still non moving picture screenshots.

So using 2-Photon Laser Microscopy or some other form of advanced Microscopy, you could get a rough idea of what groups of neurons in the brain hold certain memories, and using Halorhodopsin you could find what neuron holds what memory exactly.

But I think using Halorhodopsin is better at finding which neuron is which by a process of elimination by asking a person if he can remember the certain memory, as you shine yellow, or orange light on certain neurons to turn neurons off.

So would switching neurons off, specifically in the hippocampus, with episodic memories do you think it is a better way to find a specific way to find groups if neurons in the hippocampus associated with a certain memory,using the technique I described earlier with the Lincoln Memorial.

Remember the yet to be built INUMAC MRI machine can see 1000 neurons into the brain.

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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Central Canada
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Re: Can Optogenetics Be Used To Find Specific Memories In Groups Of Neurons.

06/11/2014 2:39 PM

Your questions might be better served by posting them in a neuro science research site, if such exists.

Prehaps http://www.sfn.org/

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