Design and Implementation of Embedded 8-Channel Receive-Only Arrays for Whole-Brain MRI and fMRI of Conscious Awake Marmosets

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Abstract

Purpose:

The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is a New World primate of increasing interest to neuroscience and in translational brain research. The present work describes the design and implementation of individualized 8-channel receive-only radiofrequency (RF) coil arrays that provide whole-brain coverage and allow anatomical and functional MRI experiments in conscious, awake marmosets.

Methods:

The coil arrays were designed with their elements embedded inside individualized restraint helmets. The size, geometry, and arrangement of the coil elements were optimized to allow whole-brain coverage. Coil-to-coil decoupling was achieved by a combination of geometric decoupling and low input impedance preamplifiers. The performance of the embedded arrays was compared against that of one 8-channel receive-only array built to fit the external surface of the helmets.

Results:

Three individualized helmets with embedded coil arrays were built for three marmosets. Whole-brain coverage was achieved with high sensitivity extending over the entire cortex. Visual stimulation of conscious awake marmosets elicited robust BOLD fMRI responses in both primary and higher order visual areas of the occipitotemporal cortex.

Conclusion:

The high sensitivity provided by embedded receive-only coil arrays allows both anatomical and functional MRI data to be obtained with high spatial resolution in conscious, awake marmosets.

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