Monitoring of Stimulus Evoked Murine Somatosensory Cortex Hemodynamic Activity With Volumetric Multi-Spectral Optoacoustic Tomography

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Sensory stimulation is an attractive paradigm for studying brain activity using various optical-, ultrasound- and MRI-based functional neuroimaging methods. Optoacoustics has been recently suggested as a powerful new tool for scalable mapping of multiple hemodynamic parameters with rich contrast and previously unachievable spatio-temporal resolution. Yet, its utility for studying the processing of peripheral inputs at the whole brain level has so far not been quantified. We employed volumetric multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography (vMSOT) to non-invasively monitor the HbO, HbR, and HbT dynamics across the mouse somatosensory cortex evoked by electrical paw stimuli. We show that elevated contralateral activation is preserved in the HbO map (invisible to MRI) under isoflurane anesthesia. Brain activation is shown to be predominantly confined to the somatosensory cortex, with strongest activation in the hindpaw region of the contralateral sensorimotor cortex. Furthermore, vMSOT detected the presence of an initial dip in the contralateral hindpaw region in the delta HbO channel. Sensorimotor cortical activity was identified over all other regions in HbT and HbO but not in HbR. Pearson’s correlation mapping enabled localizing the response to the sensorimotor cortex further highlighting the ability of vMSOT to bridge over imaging performance deficiencies of other functional neuroimaging modalities.

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