The researchers reprogrammed the cells in the primary visual cortex from awake rodents. For starters, the neuron of the brain was introduced gene of the fluorescent protein GCaMP6, which begins to glow by passing through it an electric pulse. He served as a kind of indicator of what is happening with the cell.
After 5 days after the manipulation, the mice showed a gray screen with a white square appearing for one second in random places. While at certain points the white square has been on point, which was for the "field of view" of the investigated neuron, but it fell into the "sight" of the neighboring cells. As a result, the neuron with GCaMP6 was an increase in the size of dendritic processes, which form synaptic connections. It was a drop in the number of synaptic connections from cells that did not participate in the formation of the visual signal. Thus, scientists have been using light exposure to change the properties of cells and the specific area of the neural network.
"The neural network of the brain can change in response to specific signals, but continue to remain stable. At the moment when the neuron is an electric pulse, amplified or weakened its connections with other nerve cells. This process is the basis of neuroplasticity, a property of the brain to change under certain conditions, and even to restore the lost connection."