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J. Nicole Bentley, Cindy Chestek, William C. Stacey and Parag G. Patil

Optogenetics, the use of light to stimulate or inhibit neural circuits via viral transduction of protein channels, has emerged as a possible method of treating epilepsy. By introducing viral vectors carrying algal-derived cation or anion channels, known as opsins, neurons that initiate or propagate seizures may be silenced. To date, studies using this technique have been performed in animal models, and current efforts are moving toward more sophisticated nonhuman primate models. In this paper, the authors present a brief overview of the development of optogenetics and review recent studies investigating optogenetic modification of circuits involved in seizures. Further developments in the field are explored, with an emphasis on how optogenetics may influence future neurosurgical interventions.