Regional-specific average time courses of spontaneous fluctuations in blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) MRI contrast at 9.4T in lightly anesthetized resting rat brain are formed, and correlation coefficients between time course pairs are interpreted as measures of connectivity. A hierarchy of regional pairwise correlation coefficients (RPCCs) is observed, with the highest values found in the thalamus and cortex, both intra- and interhemisphere, and lower values between the cortex and thalamus. Independent sensory networks are distinguished by two methods: data driven, where task activation defines regions of interest (ROI), and hypothesis driven, where regions are defined by the rat histological atlas. Success in these studies is attributed in part to the use of medetomidine hydrochloride (Domitor) for anesthesia. Consistent results in two different rat-brain systems, the sensorimotor and visual, strongly support the hypothesis that resting-state BOLD fluctuations are conserved across mammalian species and can be used to map brain systems.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.