Study of the spatial correlation between neuronal activity and BOLD fMRI responses evoked by sensory and channelrhodopsin-2 stimulation in the rat somatosensory cortex

Nan Li, Peter C Van Zijl, Nitish V Thakor, Galit Pelled

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this work, we combined optogenetic tools with high-resolution blood oxygenation level-dependent functional MRI (BOLD fMRI), electrophysiology, and optical imaging of cerebral blood flow (CBF), to study the spatial correlation between the hemodynamic responses and neuronal activity. We first investigated the spatial and temporal characteristics of BOLD fMRI and the underlying neuronal responses evoked by sensory stimulations at different frequencies. The results demonstrated that under dexmedetomidine anesthesia, BOLD fMRI and neuronal activity in the rat primary somatosensory cortex (S1) have different frequency-dependency and distinct laminar activation profiles. We then found that localized activation of channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) expressed in neurons throughout the cortex induced neuronal responses that were confined to the light stimulation S1 region (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-561
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • fMRI
  • Hemodynamic
  • Optical imaging
  • Optogenetics
  • Somatosensory cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)

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