October 23, 2020

Characteristics of fMRI responses to visual stimulation in anesthetized vs. awake mice

The functional characteristics of the mouse visual system have not previously been well explored using fMRI. In this research, we examined 9.4 T BOLD fMRI responses to visual stimuli of varying pulse durations (1:50 ms) and temporal frequencies (1:10 Hz) under ketamine and xylazine anesthesia and compared fMRI responses of anesthetized and awake mice. Under anesthesia, significant positive BOLD responses were detected bilaterally in the major structures of the visual pathways, including the dorsal lateral geniculate nuclei, superior colliculus, the lateral posterior nucleus of the thalamus, primary visual area, and higher-order visual area. BOLD responses increased slightly with pulse duration, were maximal at 3, 5 Hz stimulation, and significantly decreased at 10 Hz, which were all consistent with previous neurophysiological findings. When the mice were awake, the BOLD fMRI response was faster in all active regions and stronger in the subcortical areas compared with the anesthesia condition. In the V1, the BOLD response was biphasic for 5 Hz stimulation and negative for 10 Hz stimulation under wakefulness, whereas prolonged positive BOLD responses were observed at both frequencies under anesthesia. Unexpected activation was detected in the extrastriate postrhinal area and nonvisual subiculum complex under anesthesia, but not under wakefulness. Widespread positive BOLD activity under anesthesia likely results from the disinhibition and sensitization of excitatory neurons induced by ketamine. Overall, fMRI can be a viable tool for mapping brain-wide functional networks.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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