Nav: Home

Whole-brain imaging of mice during behavior

December 05, 2018

"Functional ultrasound imaging yields images in much higher resolution and is simpler, less expensive and easier to use than functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)," explains Botond Roska. "Most importantly, the technology allows us to study the consequences of ophthalmologic diseases, monitor the effect of treatment and the progress of rehabilitation in the whole brain in mice."

Large numbers of brain regions are active during behaviors. Brain-wide activity maps can lead to a system-level understanding of how brain activity relates to specific behavior. The international team of scientists from the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel, the FMI, and the Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders, has developed high-resolution functional ultrasound imaging to record activity in the whole brain of mice during behavior. This has not been possible so far with animal models, because current whole-brain functional imaging technologies, such as fMRI, are limited in resolution and difficult to apply to awake and behaving mice.

The team was particularly interested in the brain regions involved in the optokinetic reflex. The optokinetic reflex stabilizes images drifting on the retina both horizontally and vertically by moving the eye in the direction of image drift. For example: as we look out of a train window our eyes reflexively move to follow the passing landscape. This reflex is inborn and well conserved across species, from mice to humans.

In their study, the researchers found that out of the 181 brain regions consistently identified in all animals, activity in 87 regions across the whole brain were modulated during the optokinetic reflex.

To study the function of these brain regions, the team compared brain activity in healthy mice with mice who lack the optokinetic reflex - either because of a genetic disease that makes the retina incapable of generating the reflex, or because eye motion was mechanically blocked. The majority of brain regions active upon eye movement in normal mice become inactive in mice with the genetic disease, showing that they are involved in generating the reflex. Among those regions, some regions in the thalamus are particularly interesting: they still respond in normal mice whose eye movements are blocked, but not in mice with the genetic disease, showing that they are independent of the motor output of the reflex.

First author Emilie Macé, a postdoctoral fellow in Botond Roska's group, who developed the concept of functional ultrasound imaging while working in Paris, commented: "We were surprised how precisely we could map activity across the brain and how many brain regions became active during this reflex. Our brain-wide approach revealed new regions that can now be studied more precisely in attempts to understand the logic of sensorimotor transformations at the level of microcircuits." Botond Roska also highlights the value of the technology for future application in different medical fields: "The simplicity, low cost, and ease of use of whole-brain functional ultrasound imaging, together with the ability to precisely identify brain regions, provides a system for obtaining an unbiased view of brain activity in other types of behavior as well as in animal models of neurologic or psychiatric diseases."
-end-
https://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(18)31040-7

Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel

Related Brain Activity Articles:

More brain activity is not always better when it comes to memory and attention
Potential new ways of understanding the cause of cognitive impairments, such as problems with memory and attention, in brain disorders including schizophrenia and Alzheimer's are under the spotlight in a new research review.
Researchers to predict cognitive dissonance according to brain activity
A new study by HSE researchers has uncovered a new brain mechanism that generates cognitive dissonance -- a mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs or values, or experiences difficulties in making decisions.
Brain activity can be used to predict reading success up to 2 years in advance
By measuring brainwaves, it is possible to predict what a child's reading level will be years in advance, according to research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
There's a close association between magnetic systems and certain states of brain activity
Scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) have proven for the first time that there is a close relationship between several emerging phenomena in magnetic systems (greatly studied by condensed matter physicists) and certain states of brain activity.
Hormone can enhance brain activity associated with love and sex
The hormone kisspeptin can enhance activity in brain regions associated with sexual arousal and romantic love, according to new research.
Manipulating brain activity to boost confidence
Is it possible to directly boost one's own confidence by directly training the brain?
Brain activity may predict risk of falls in older people
Measuring the brain activity of healthy, older adults while they walk and talk at the same time may help predict their risk of falls later, according to a study published in the Dec.
Neuro chip records brain cell activity
In order to understand how the brain controls functions, such as simple reflexes or learning and memory, we must be able to record the activity of large networks and groups of neurons.
Too much activity in certain areas of the brain is bad for memory and attention
Researchers led by Dr Tobias Bast in the School of Psychology at The University of Nottingham have found that faulty inhibitory neurotransmission and abnormally increased activity in the hippocampus impairs our memory and attention.
Brain changes after menopause may lead to lack of physical activity
Researchers from the University of Missouri have found a connection between lack of ovarian hormones and changes in the brain's pleasure center, a hotspot in the brain that processes and reinforces messages related to reward, pleasure, activity and motivation for physical exercise.

Related Brain Activity Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...