Comparison of stimulus-evoked cerebral hemodynamics in the awake mouse and under a novel anesthetic regime

Paul S Sharp, Kira Shaw, Luke W Boorman, Samuel S Harris, Aneurin J. Kennerley, Mimoun Azzouz, Jason Berwick

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Neural activity is closely followed by a localised change in cerebral blood flow, a process termed neurovascular coupling. These hemodynamic changes form the basis of contrast in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and are used as a correlate for neural activity. Anesthesia is widely employed in animal fMRI and neurovascular studies, however anesthetics are known to profoundly affect neural and vascular physiology, particularly in mice. Therefore, we investigated the efficacy of a novel 'modular' anesthesia that combined injectable (fentanyl-fluanisone/midazolam) and volatile (isoflurane) anesthetics in mice. To characterize sensory-evoked cortical hemodynamic responses, we used optical imaging spectroscopy to produce functional maps of changes in tissue oxygenation and blood volume in response to mechanical whisker stimulation. Following fine-tuning of the anesthetic regime, stimulation elicited large and robust hemodynamic responses in the somatosensory cortex, characterized by fast arterial activation, increases in total and oxygenated hemoglobin, and decreases in deoxygenated hemoglobin. Overall, the magnitude and speed of evoked hemodynamic responses under anesthesia resembled those in the awake state, indicating that the novel anesthetic combination significantly minimizes the impact of anesthesia. Our findings have broad implications for both neurovascular research and longitudinal fMRI studies that increasingly require the use of genetically engineered mice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12621
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2015

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