Optogenetic Control of the Melanin-Concentrating Hormone Expressing Neurons

  • Carlos Blanco-CenturionEmail author
  • Meng Liu
  • Priyattam Shiromani


Since the discovery of the neuropeptide melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) more than half a century ago, MCH neurons have spawned hundreds of scientific studies. MCH neurons are a phylogenetically well-conserved group of hypothalamic neurons. The MCH neurons project diffusely throughout the CNS but only reside within a restricted area encompassing the incerto-lateral and perifornical hypothalamus. Here we review optogenetic studies focused on understanding the functions of the MCH neurons, particularly their role as sleep modulators. We attempted to put optogenetic findings in context with other studies focused on neuronal/behavioral modulation by MCH or its receptors. We also laid a theoretical framework to understand better the data on MCH neuronal activity in relation to the activity of the orexin neurons. For readers not familiar with optogenetics, we also went over major developments in this new field.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Blanco-Centurion
    • 1
    Email author
  • Meng Liu
    • 1
  • Priyattam Shiromani
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.US Department of Veterans AffairsRalph Johnson Medical CenterCharlestonUSA

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