Optogenetics: illuminating the role of PV interneuron dysfunction in the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia

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Madeline Eva Parker


Our understanding of the neural substrates underlying the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia remains limited, contributing to a lack of pharmaceuticals effective in treating these deficits. Cognitive impairment is the main source of disability in schizophrenia. Thus, research endeavours involving the identification of therapeutic targets can vastly improve the lives of affected individuals. Compared to previously employed techniques, optogenetics has accelerated such endeavours by allowing for manipulations of neuronal activity to occur with an unprecedented combination of cellular and temporal specificity. Research using this technique has united multiple, once tangentially-related, streams of evidence suggesting dysfunctional fast-spiking parvalbumin (PV) containing interneurons are a common substrate underlying the cognitive aberrations documented in schizophrenia. This review summarizes relevant optogenetic studies and identifies areas for future research, using this emerging technique.