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J Neurophysiol. 2016 Jul 1;116(1):61-80. doi: 10.1152/jn.01078.2015. Epub 2016 Apr 6.

Novel method for functional brain imaging in awake minimally restrained rats.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois;
2
Department of Radiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois; and.
3
Department of Physiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois; Department of Hand Surgery, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
4
Department of Physiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois; a-apkarian@northwestern.edu.

Abstract

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in rodents holds great promise for advancing our knowledge about human brain function. However, the use of anesthetics to immobilize rodents during fMRI experiments has restricted the type of questions that can be addressed using this technique. Here we describe an innovative procedure to train rats to be constrained without the need of any anesthesia during the whole procedure. We show that with 8-10 days of acclimation rats can be conscious and remain still during fMRI experiments under minimal stress. In addition, we provide fMRI results of conscious rodents in a variety of commonly used fMRI experimental paradigms, and we demonstrate the improved quality of these scans by comparing results when the same rodents were scanned under anesthesia. We confirm that the awake scanning procedure permits an improved evaluation of brain networks and brain response to external stimuli with minimal movement artifact. The present study further advances the field of fMRI in awake rodents, which provide more direct, forward and reverse, translational opportunities regarding brain functional correspondences between human and rodent research.

KEYWORDS:

awake rat; functional MRI

PMID:
27052584
PMCID:
PMC4961750
DOI:
10.1152/jn.01078.2015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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