MRI compatible optrodes for simultaneous LFP and optogenetic fMRI investigation of seizure-like afterdischarges

Neuroimage. 2015 Dec;123:173-84. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.07.038. Epub 2015 Jul 21.


In preclinical studies, implanted electrodes can cause severe degradation of MRI images and hence are seldom used for chronic studies employing functional magnetic resonance imaging. In this study, we developed carbon fiber optrodes (optical fiber and electrode hybrid devices), which can be utilised in chronic longitudinal studies aiming to take advantage of emerging optogenetic technologies, and compared them with the more widely used tungsten optrodes. We find that optrodes constructed using small diameter (~130 μm) carbon fiber electrodes cause significantly reduced artifact on functional MRI images compared to those made with 50 μm diameter tungsten wire and at the same time the carbon electrodes have lower impedance, which leads to higher quality LFP recordings. In order to validate this approach, we use these devices to study optogenetically-induced seizure-like afterdischarges in rats sedated with dexmedetomidine and compare these to sub (seizure) threshold stimulations in the same animals. The results indicate that seizure-like afterdischarges involve several extrahippocampal brain regions that are not recruited by subthreshold optogenetic stimulation of the hippocampus at 20 Hz. Subthreshold stimulation led to activation of the entire ipsilateral hippocampus and septum, whereas afterdischarges additionally produced activations in the contralateral hippocampal formation, neocortex, cerebellum, nucleus accumbens, and thalamus. Although we demonstrate just one application, given the ease of fabrication, we anticipate that carbon fiber optrodes could be utilised in a variety of studies that could benefit from longitudinal optogenetic functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Keywords: Carbon fiber; Electrode; Epilepsy; Hippocampus; Optogenetics; Optrode; fMRI; ofMRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Artifacts
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Brain Waves
  • Electric Impedance
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials*
  • Microelectrodes
  • Optogenetics / instrumentation*
  • Optogenetics / methods
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Tungsten


  • Tungsten