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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2002 Oct;283(4):H1713-9. Epub 2002 Jun 20.

An implantable bolus infusion pump for use in freely moving, nontethered rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90095, USA.


One of the current constraints on functional neuroimaging in animals is that to avoid movement artifacts during data acquisition, subjects need to be immobilized, sedated, or anesthetized. Such measures limit the behaviors that can be examined, and introduce the additional variables of stress or anesthetic agents that may confound meaningful interpretation. This study provides a description of the design and characteristics of a self-contained, implantable microbolus infusion pump (MIP) that allows triggering of a bolus injection at a distance in conscious, behaving rats that are not restrained or tethered. The MIP is externally triggered by a pulse of infrared light and allows in vivo bolus drug delivery. We describe application of this technology to the intravenous bolus delivery of iodo[(14)C]antipyrine in a freely moving animal, followed immediately by lethal injection, rapid removal of the brain, and analysis of regional cerebral blood flow tissue radioactivity with the use of autoradiography. The ability to investigate changes in brain activation in nonrestrained animals makes the MIP a powerful tool for evaluation of complex behaviors.

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