Selective optical drive of thalamic reticular nucleus generates thalamic bursts and cortical spindles


The thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) is hypothesized to regulate neocortical rhythms and behavioral states. Using optogenetics and multi-electrode recording in behaving mice, we found that brief selective drive of TRN switched the thalamocortical firing mode from tonic to bursting and generated state-dependent neocortical spindles. These findings provide causal support for the involvement of the TRN in state regulation in vivo and introduce a new model for addressing the role of this structure in behavior.

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Figure 1: Optical drive of TRN generates thalamocortical burst firing.
Figure 2: Optical drive of TRN generates neocortical spindle oscillations.


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This work was partially supported by a US National Institutes of Health award (R01 NS045130-05) to C.I.M.

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M.H., J.S. and C.I.M. designed the experiments and analyses. M.H. and J.S. conducted the experiments and analyses. J.T. and G.F. developed the transgenic model. J.S. and J.R. developed the optics-integrated chronic implants. M.H., J.S. and C.I.M. wrote the manuscript. C.I.M. supervised the project.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Guoping Feng or Christopher I Moore.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Figures 1–7 and Supplementary Materials and Methods (PDF 350 kb)

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Halassa, M., Siegle, J., Ritt, J. et al. Selective optical drive of thalamic reticular nucleus generates thalamic bursts and cortical spindles. Nat Neurosci 14, 1118–1120 (2011).

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