Spontaneous slow oscillation-associated slow wave activity represents an internally generated state which is characterized by alternations of network quiescence and stereotypical episodes of neuronal activity - slow wave events. However, it remains unclear which macroscopic signal is related to these active periods of the slow wave rhythm. We used optic fiber-based calcium recordings of local neural populations in cortex and thalamus to detect neurophysiologically defined slow calcium waves in isoflurane anesthetized rats. The individual slow wave events were used for an event-related analysis of simultaneously acquired whole-brain BOLD fMRI. We identified BOLD responses directly related to onsets of slow calcium waves, revealing a cortex-wide BOLD correlate: the entire cortex was engaged in this specific type of slow wave activity. These findings demonstrate a direct relation of defined neurophysiological events to a specific BOLD activity pattern and were confirmed for ongoing slow wave activity by independent component and seed-based analyses.
Keywords: BOLD fMRI; calcium recordings; neuroscience; rat; slow waves.