Integrated radiofrequency array and animal holder design for minimizing head motion during awake marmoset functional magnetic resonance imaging

Neuroimage. 2019 Jun;193:126-138. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.023. Epub 2019 Mar 15.


Marmosets are small New World primates that are posited to become an important preclinical animal model for studying intractable human brain diseases. A critical step in the development of marmosets as a viable model for human brain dysfunction is to characterize brain networks that are homologous with human network topologies. In this regard, the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) holds tremendous potential for functional brain mapping in marmosets. Although possible, implementation of hardware for fMRI in awake marmosets (free of the confounding effects of anesthesia) is not trivial due to the technical challenges associated with developing specialized imaging hardware. Here, we describe the design and implementation of a marmoset holder and head-fixation system with an integrated receive coil for awake marmoset fMRI. This design minimized head motion, with less than 100 μm of translation and 0.5 degrees of rotation over 15 consecutive resting state fMRI runs (at 15 min each) across 3 different marmosets. The fMRI data was of sufficient quality to reliably extract 8 resting state networks from each animal with only 60-90 min of resting state fMRI acquisition per animal. The restraint system proved to be an efficient and practical solution for securing an awake marmoset and positioning a receive array within minutes, limiting stress to the animal. This design is also amenable for multimodal imaging, allowing for electrode or lens placement above the skull via the open chamber design. All computer-aided-design (CAD) files and engineering drawings are provided as an open resource, with the majority of the parts designed to be 3D printed.

Keywords: Animal holder; CAD (computer-aided design); Common marmoset; Receive coil; Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artifacts*
  • Callithrix
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Equipment Design
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Male
  • Motion*
  • Neuroimaging / instrumentation*
  • Wakefulness*