Yen-Yu Ian Shih1, Bryan H. De La Garza1, William J. Lavery1, Eric R. Muir1,2, Timothy Q. Duong1
1Research Imaging Institute, Ophthalmology/Radiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, United States; 2Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, United States
The retina is about 276 micron thick including the choroid and has highly organized laminar structures. This study reports, for the first time, the feasibility of high-resolution blood-volume fMRI to image layer specific (retinal and choroidal) visual responses in the rat retina at 11.7T up to 40x40x600 micron nominal resolution. Given that the choroid is behind the retina and the retinal pigment epithelium, it is generally inaccessible by optical techniques. Blood-volume fMRI thus could provide a unique means to evaluate lamina-specific functional changes in the rat retina where many retinal disease models are readily available.