The discovery of optogenetics has revolutionized research in neuroscience by providing the tools for noninvasive, cell-type selective modulation of membrane potential and cellular function in vitro and in vivo. Rhodopsin-based optogenetics has later been introduced in experimental cardiology studies and used as a tool to photoactivate cardiac contractions or to identify the sites, timing, and location most effective for defibrillating impulses to interrupt cardiac arrhythmias. The exploitation of cell-selectivity of optogenetics, and the generation of model organisms with myocardial cell type targeted expression of opsins has started to yield novel and sometimes unexpected notions on myocardial biology. This review summarizes the main results, the different uses, and the prospective developments of cardiac optogenetics.
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