Coupling between simultaneously recorded BOLD response and neuronal activity in the rat somatosensory cortex

Neuroimage. 2008 Jan 15;39(2):775-85. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.06.042. Epub 2007 Aug 8.


Understanding the link between the hemodynamic response and the underlying neuronal activity is important for interpreting functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) signals in human and animal studies. Simultaneous electrophysiological and functional imaging measurements provide a knowledge of information processing and communication in the brain with high spatial and temporal resolution. In this study, a range of neural and blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) responses were elicited in the rat somatosensory cortex by changing the type of anesthesia (urethane or alpha-chloralose) and the electrical forepaw stimulus frequency (1-15 Hz). Duration of the stimulus was 30 s. Electrical local field potential and BOLD fMRI responses were recorded simultaneously. Under urethane anesthesia, integrated neural activity and BOLD responses increased with increasing stimulus frequency up to 11 Hz, after which both responses plateaued. In contrast, in alpha-chloralose-anesthetized rats both responses were measurable only at 1 and 3 Hz. Although neuronal and BOLD responses were nonlinear as a function of frequency over the 1 to 15 Hz stimulation range under both anesthetics, tight neural-hemodynamic coupling was observed independently of the anesthetic agent. Anesthetic agents influence neuronal activity in a different manner, but the relationship of neuronal activity and BOLD response remains the same.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Chloralose / pharmacology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Somatosensory Cortex / cytology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / drug effects
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Urethane / pharmacology


  • Anesthetics, Intravenous
  • Chloralose
  • Urethane
  • Oxygen