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Functional ultrasound imaging to measure pharmacologically-induced dynamic connectivity changes in the awake mouse brain

on the March 19, 2020

Seminar by Zsolt Lenkei (Institut de Psychiatrie et Neurosciences de Paris)

Beyond current behavioral studies in rodents models of neurological pathologies, there is a critical need for new and quantitative biomarkers in the assessment of brain functional alterations. For this reason, pharmacological Magnetic Resonance Imaging (phMRI), which measures the effect of drugs on brain activation and connectivity patterns through the neurovascular coupling, gathered fast growing interest in the exploration of pre-clinical models of neurological disorders and drug discovery. However, well-described issues may confound the reproducibility and interpretation of results, including drug-induced changes in brain perfusion and the effects of anesthesia. We have recently developed functional Ultrasound (fUS) as a highly-sensitive and cost-effective technique for the imaging of the neurovascular coupling through direct and highly-resolved measurement of local cerebral blood volume. Thanks to the high portability of ultrasonic sensors, fUS has been implemented in awake and mobile rodents and led to the removal of confounding bias linked to anesthesia. I will present recent unpublished on proof-of-concept studies where we used minimally-invasive fUS imaging to investigate the acute modulatory effects of cholinergic or cannabinoid intervention on functional brain connectivity in awake and behaving mice, through the intact skull. In conclusion, we introduce pharmaco-fUS as a simple and highly sensitive modality for the study of drugs effects on the brain without anesthesia bias.
Hosts: Annie Andrieux and Frédéric Saudou.

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