Optogenetic interventions offer novel ways of probing, in a temporally specific manner, the roles of specific cell types in neuronal network functions of awake, behaving animals. Despite the unique potential for temporally specific optogenetic intervention in disease states, a major hurdle in its broad application to unpredictable brain states in a laboratory setting is constructing a real-time responsive system. We recently created a closed-loop system for stopping spontaneous seizures in chronically epileptic mice by using optogenetic intervention. This system performs with a very high sensitivity and specificity, and the strategy is not only relevant to epilepsy but also can also be used to react to diverse brain states in real time, with optogenetic or other interventions. The protocol presented here is highly modular and requires variable amounts of time to perform. We describe the basic construction of a complete system, and we include our downloadable custom closed-loop detection software, which can be used for this purpose.
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acknoWleDGMents We thank S. Olsen, H. Adesnik and M. Scanziani for sharing expertise in putting together components of an LED stimulation setup, and we thank J. Echegoyen for sharing his expertise in performing tethered EEG recordings. This work was supported by a US National Institutes of Health grant NS074702 (to I.S.), by the Epilepsy Foundation (to C.A.) and by the George E. Hewitt Foundation for Medical Research (to E.K.-M.).