fMRI mapping of the visual system in the mouse brain with interleaved snapshot GE-EPI

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Abstract

The use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in mice is increasingly prevalent, providing a means to non-invasively characterise functional abnormalities associated with genetic models of human diseases. The predominant stimulus used in task-based fMRI in the mouse is electrical stimulation of the paw. Task-based fMRI in mice using visual stimuli remains underexplored, despite visual stimuli being common in human fMRI studies. In this study, we map the mouse brain visual system with BOLD measurements at 9.4 T using flashing light stimuli with medetomidine anaesthesia. BOLD responses were observed in the lateral geniculate nucleus, the superior colliculus and the primary visual area of the cortex, and were modulated by the flashing frequency, diffuse vs focussed light and stimulus context. Negative BOLD responses were measured in the visual cortex at 10 Hz flashing frequency; but turned positive below 5 Hz. In addition, the use of interleaved snapshot GE-EPI improved fMRI image quality without diminishing the temporal contrast-noise-ratio. Taken together, this work demonstrates a novel methodological protocol in which the mouse brain visual system can be non-invasively investigated using BOLD fMRI.

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