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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Dec 15;88(24):11559-63.

High-resolution optical imaging of functional brain architecture in the awake monkey.

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  • 1Laboratory of Neurobiology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021.


Optical imaging of the functional architecture of cortex, based on intrinsic signals, is a useful tool for the study of the development, organization, and function of the living mammalian brain. This relatively noninvasive technique is based on small activity-dependent changes of the optical properties of cortex. Thus far, functional imaging has been performed only on anesthetized animals. Here we establish that this technique is also suitable for exploring the brain of awake behaving primates. We designed a chronic sealed chamber and mounted it on the skull of a cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis) over the primary visual cortex to permit imaging through a transparent glass window. Restriction of head position alone was sufficient to eliminate movement noise in awake monkey imaging experiments. High-resolution imaging of the ocular dominance columns and the cytochrome oxidase blobs was achieved simply by taking pictures of the exposed cortex when the awake monkey was viewing video movies alternatively with each eye. Furthermore, the functional maps could be obtained without synchronization of the data acquisition to the animal's respiration and the electrocardiogram. The wavelength dependency and time course of the intrinsic signal were similar in anesthetized and awake monkeys, indicating that the signal sources were the same. We therefore conclude that optical imaging is well suited for exploring functional organization related to higher cognitive brain functions of the primate as well as providing a diagnostic tool for delineating functional cortical borders and assessing proper functions of human patients during neurosurgery.

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