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Methods Mol Biol. 2011;711:281-302. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61737-992-5_14.

Longitudinal functional magnetic resonance imaging in animal models.

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Cerebral Microcirculation Unit, Laboratory of Functional and Molecular Imaging, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has had an essential role in furthering our understanding of brain physiology and function. fMRI techniques are nowadays widely applied in neuroscience research, as well as in translational and clinical studies. The use of animal models in fMRI studies has been fundamental in helping elucidate the mechanisms of cerebral blood-flow regulation, and in the exploration of basic neuroscience questions, such as the mechanisms of perception, behavior, and cognition. Because animals are inherently non-compliant, most fMRI performed to date have required the use of anesthesia, which interferes with brain function and compromises interpretability and applicability of results to our understanding of human brain function. An alternative approach that eliminates the need for anesthesia involves training the animal to tolerate physical restraint during the data acquisition. In the present chapter, we review these two different approaches to obtaining fMRI data from animal models, with a specific focus on the acquisition of longitudinal data from the same subjects.

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