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Abstract #3080

Foregoing Anesthesia Entirely: Resting-State Functional MRI of Completely Awake Rats

Axel P. Mathieu 1,2 , Maxime J. Parent 3 , Blandine Courcot 1,2 , Jamie Near 1,2 , and Pedro Rosa-Neto 3

1 Brain Imaging Centre, Douglas Mental Health Research Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada, 2 Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, 3 Translational Neuroimaging Laboratory, McGill Centre for Studies on Aging, Montreal, QC, Canada

Functional connectivity as measured by resting-state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (rsfMRI) is a promising early biomarker for several neurodegenerative diseases. Since anesthesia is known to affect this measure, it is preferable when studying animal models to forego anesthesia entirely. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of acquiring rsfMRI data in conscious rats by training them in a custom-designed restraining apparatus. After 4 days of training, head movements did not differ significantly from those observed while the rats are under isoflurane anesthesia. Additionally, rsfMRI connectivity was demonstrably stronger in awake rats. This shows great potential for completely conscious animal rsfMRI acquisition.

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