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Neuroimage. 2008 Aug 15;42(2):591-602. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.05.016. Epub 2008 May 21.

A mouse model for studying large-scale neuronal networks using EEG mapping techniques.

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Fundamental Neuroscience Department, Geneva University Medical School, Rue Michel-Servet 1, 1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland.


Human functional imaging studies are increasingly focusing on the identification of large-scale neuronal networks, their temporal properties, their development, and their plasticity and recovery after brain lesions. A method targeting large-scale networks in rodents would open the possibility to investigate their neuronal and molecular basis in detail. We here present a method to study such networks in mice with minimal invasiveness, based on the simultaneous recording of epicranial EEG from 32 electrodes regularly distributed over the head surface. Spatiotemporal analysis of the electrical potential maps similar to human EEG imaging studies allows quantifying the dynamics of the global neuronal activation with sub-millisecond resolution. We tested the feasibility, stability and reproducibility of the method by recording the electrical activity evoked by mechanical stimulation of the mystacial vibrissae. We found a series of potential maps with different spatial configurations that suggested the activation of a large-scale network with generators in several somatosensory and motor areas of both hemispheres. The spatiotemporal activation pattern was stable both across mice and in the same mouse across time. We also performed 16-channel intracortical recordings of the local field potential across cortical layers in different brain areas and found tight spatiotemporal concordance with the generators estimated from the epicranial maps. Epicranial EEG mapping thus allows assessing sensory processing by large-scale neuronal networks in living mice with minimal invasiveness, complementing existing approaches to study the neurophysiological mechanisms of interaction within the network in detail and to characterize their developmental, experience-dependent and lesion-induced plasticity in normal and transgenic animals.

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