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We briefly review the current literature where optogenetics has been used to study various aspects of astrocyte physiology in vitro and in vivo. This includes both genetically engineered Ca2+ sensors and effector proteins, such as channelrhodopsin. We demonstrate how the ability to target astrocytes with cell-specific viral vectors to express optogenetic constructs helped to unravel some previously unsuspected roles of these inconspicuous cells.