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Diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging of neuronal activity in the hippocampal slice model

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  • Jeremy Flint, Denmark
  • Brian Hansen
  • Peter Vestergaard-Poulsen, Denmark
  • Stephen J Blackband, Denmark
  • Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has become the leading modality for studying the working brain. Being based on measuring the haemodynamic changes after enhanced mass neuronal activity the spatiotemporal resolution of the method is somewhat limited. Alternative MR-based methods for detection of brain activity have been proposed and investigated and studies have reported functional imaging based on diffusion weighted (DW) MRI. The basis for such DW fMRI is believed to be the sensitivity of diffusion weighted MRI to changes in tissue micro-structure. However, it remains unclear whether signal changes observed with these methods reflect cell swelling related to neural activation, residual vascular effects, or a combination of both. Here we present evidence of a detectable, activity-related change in the diffusion weighted MR-signal from the cellular level in live hippocampal slices in the absence of vasculature. Slices are exposed to substances which evoke or inhibit neural activity and the effects are evaluated and compared. The results are also compared to earlier DW fMRI studies in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-8
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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