Real-time imaging of brain activity in freely moving rats using functional ultrasound

Nat Methods. 2015 Sep;12(9):873-8. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3482. Epub 2015 Jul 20.


Innovative imaging methods help to investigate the complex relationship between brain activity and behavior in freely moving animals. Functional ultrasound (fUS) is an imaging modality suitable for recording cerebral blood volume (CBV) dynamics in the whole brain but has so far been used only in head-fixed and anesthetized rodents. We designed a fUS device for tethered brain imaging in freely moving rats based on a miniaturized ultrasound probe and a custom-made ultrasound scanner. We monitored CBV changes in rats during various behavioral states such as quiet rest, after whisker or visual stimulations, and in a food-reinforced operant task. We show that fUS imaging in freely moving rats could efficiently decode brain activity in real time.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / instrumentation*
  • Computer Systems
  • Echoencephalography / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Miniaturization
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity