Fast hemodynamic responses in the visual cortex of the awake mouse

J Neurosci. 2013 Nov 13;33(46):18343-51. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2130-13.2013.


Hemodynamic responses in mice and other species are typically measured under anesthesia. However, anesthesia could influence their relationship to neural activity. To investigate this relationship, we used optical imaging in mouse primary visual cortex (V1). Hemodynamic responses yielded clear maps of retinotopy in both anesthetized and awake mice. However, during wakefulness, responses were four times larger and twice as fast. These differences held whether we induced anesthesia with urethane or isoflurane and whether awake mice were stationary or running on a treadmill. With electrode recordings, we established that the effects of wakefulness reflect changes in neurovascular coupling, not in neural activity. By activating V1 directly via optogenetics, we replicated the effects of wakefulness in terms of timing but not of amplitude. We conclude that neurovascular coupling depends critically on anesthesia and wakefulness: during wakefulness, neural activity is followed by much stronger and quicker hemodynamic responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Wakefulness / physiology*