Professor Masahiko Takada of Kyoto University, Professor Masayuki Matsumoto of University of Tsukuba and others have succeeded in selectively activating only the target part by irradiating a part of the complicated brain neural circuit of primates with light. ..It is expected that it will be useful for treatment by elucidating the cause and mechanism of higher brain dysfunction and neurological disorders.
In the primate brain, more than 1 billion nerve cells are intricately intertwined to form a circuit and build higher brain functions.When these functions become abnormal, it is essential to elucidate how the brain functions are constructed and what kind of abnormality is occurring for treatment.In order to elucidate the mechanism of the brain and the mechanism of neurological diseases and to establish a treatment method, it is necessary to have a technique for investigating the function by manipulating a specific circuit from many nerve cells.Until now, such techniques have not been established for primates with advanced brain functions.
The research group has succeeded in expressing a special protein that senses light and activates cells in the neural circuit that controls the movement of the eyeball using rhesus monkeys.This makes it possible to artificially induce eye movements by controlling and activating nerve activity by light irradiation.As a result, we were able to clarify some of the mechanisms that control primate eye movements.
Since it will be possible to manipulate and regulate neural activity at the desired timing with this technology, it will be applied to circuits other than eye movements in the future.If it can be applied to circuits that cause Parkinson's disease and depression, and if technology can be established, it may be possible to provide effective treatment.