Functional Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy at 7 T in the Rat Barrel Cortex During Whisker Activation.


Centre de Résonance Magnétique des Systèmes Biologiques (CRMSB), Unités Mixtes de Recherche (UMR) 5536, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)/Université Bordeaux; [Email]


Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy offers the opportunity to measure cerebral metabolite contents in vivo and noninvasively. Thanks to technological developments over the last decade and the increase in magnetic field strength, it is now possible to obtain good resolution spectra in vivo in the rat brain. Neuroenergetics (i.e., the study of brain metabolism) and, especially, metabolic interactions between the different cell types have attracted more and more interest in recent years. Among these metabolic interactions, the existence of a lactate shuttle between neurons and astrocytes is still debated. It is, thus, of great interest to perform functional proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) in a rat model of brain activation and monitor lactate. However, the methyl lactate peak overlaps lipid resonance peaks and is difficult to quantify. The protocol described below allows metabolic and lactate fluctuations to be monitored in an activated brain area. Cerebral activation is obtained by whisker stimulation and 1H-MRS is performed in the corresponding activated barrel cortex, whose area is detected using blood-oxygen-level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD fMRI). All steps are fully described: the choice of anesthetics, coils, and sequences, achieving efficient whisker stimulation directly in the magnet, and data processing.

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