Posts Tagged ‘rats’

Default Mode Network in Rat Brain?

23/11/2010 9 comments

“Is there a default mode network in the rat brain?”. That was the title of a poster presented by H. LU and colleagues from the Neuroimaging Research Branch of the NIDA-IRP in Baltimore at SfN 10. Here’s the abstract:

The default mode network (DMN), a set of brain regions that exhibit higher basal blood flow, was first identified in humans based on PET measurements (Raichle et al., 2001), and later by resting state fMRI (Greicius et al., 2003). An anatomically similar network has been shown to be present in nonhuman primates (Vincent et al., 2007). From an evolutionary point of view, the discovery of the DMN raises an interesting question: Do rodents also have a DMN? In order to address this question, we performed resting state BOLD fMRI in Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 11) anesthetized with isoflurane in combination with Domitor on a 9.4T scanner. Each rat was scanned once a week for 2 consecutive weeks. Each scan day, four to six sessions of resting state data were acquired within a 2-hour period using single-shot gradient echo EPI. Data from individual animals were registered to a common space. Functional connectivity analyses were performed using both group independent component analysis (gICA) and seed-based correlation methods. The resulting resting state connectivity maps were overlaid onto a digital rat atlas for accurate identification of anatomical structures. The following highly significant bilateral networks were identified by both analytical methods: 1) a motor system; 2) a sensory network, including the whisker barrel cortex, S1FL, S1HL); 3) insular cortex; 4) striatum, which is further divided into ventral medial, ventral lateral and dorsal lateral networks. Some of the networks have been independently reported in previous publications (Lu et al, 2007; Zhao et al., 2008; Pawela et al., 2008; Majeed et al., 2009; Hutchison et al., 2010). Of particular interest, we found a network that includes the anterior cingulate cortex, retrosplenial cortex, bilateral orbitofrontal cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and bilateral temporal association cortex. The retrosplenial cortex is known to be the rat homologue of the human posterior cingulate cortex (Bussey et al., 1996), a key component of the human DMN. The above network appears to mirror that reported in humans (Raichle et al., 2001; Greicius et al., 2003) and nonhuman primates (Vincent et al., 2007). These data raise several interesting questions: What is the exact function of DMN? How did the DMN evolve and did its functional significance remain the same or take on other properties in primates? Our animal model, if further confirmed, could be used to address these questions

So not only DMN correlates with practically anything (see review here), it’s also present in rats? It’s also present in preterm human babies’ brains… What is the exact function of DMN? Probably not “mind wandering” – except if introspection is infants’ and rats’ favourite pastime..


Others Do It Better: A Few Interesting Links

07/08/2009 2 comments

mri_brainIt’s summer, but it’s the busiest time for me. I’m trying to find a place to stay in London and I have to spend most of my time searching.. I didn’t have time to write anything, so I’ll just mention a few links to  neuroscience, psychology posts that I liked this week:

1. BPS Research Digest Blog has a very interesting article about kids with invisible friends. A study by Gabriel Trionfi and Elaine Reese showed that these children have superior narrative skills… Read more here

2. Cognitive Daily inspired by summer holiday photos tells us how the brain divides the task of recognising sounds.

3. Read about the scientific study of beauty at “The Psychology of Beauty” latest blogpost: When Attractive Isn’t Beautiful

4. One of my favourite articles of the week at Don’t stress the scientists!

5. New Scientists’: “Out-of-body experiences help bring avatars to life”

6. The Psych Student on “How copyright enforcement inspires pirate behavior”

7.  Finally, a funny but  interesting article on Neuroskeptic: “Tickling Rats For Science

P.S: I’ll be back with a real blogpost soon.

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