Functional networks and network perturbations in rodents

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Synchronous low-frequency oscillation in the resting human brain has been found to form networks of functionally associated areas and hence has been widely used to map the functional connectivity of the brain using techniques such as resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI). Interestingly, similar resting-state networks can also be detected in the anesthetized rodent brain, including the default mode-like network. This opens up opportunities for understanding the neurophysiological basis of the rsfMRI signal, the behavioral relevance of the network characteristics, connectomic deficits in diseases and treatment effects on brain connectivity using rodents, particularly transgenic mouse models. In this review, we will provide an overview on the resting-state networks in the rat and mouse brains, the effects of pharmacological agents, brain stimulation, structural connectivity, genetics on these networks, neuroplasticity after behavioral training and applications in models of neurological disease and psychiatric disorders. The influence of anesthesia, strain difference, and physiological variation on the rsfMRI-based connectivity measure will be discussed.

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