Fluorescence Imaging of Cortical Calcium Dynamics: A Tool for Visualizing Mouse Brain Functions, Connections, and Networks
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Hemodynamic-based markers of cortical activity (e.g. functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and optical intrinsic signal imaging) are an indirect and relatively slow report of neural activity driven by electrical and metabolic activity through neurovascular coupling, which presents significant limiting factors in deducing underlying brain network dynamics. As application of resting state functional connectivity (FC) measures is extended further into topics such as brain development, aging, and disease, the importance of understanding the fundamental basis for FC will grow.
In this dissertation, we extend functional analysis from hemodynamic- to calcium-based imaging. Transgenic mice expressing a fluorescent calcium indicator (GCaMP6) driven by the Thy1 promoter in glutamatergic neurons were imaged transcranially in both anesthetized (using ketaminze/xylazine) and awake states. Sequential LED illumination (λ=470, 530, 590, 625nm) enabled concurrent imaging of both GCaMP6 fluorescence emission (corrected for hemoglobin absorption) and hemodynamics. EEG measurements of the global cortical field potential were also simultaneously acquired. First, we validated the ability of our system to capture GCaMP6 fluorescence emission and hemodynamics by implementing an electrical somatosensory stimulation paradigm. The neural origins of the GCaMP6 fluorescent signal were further confirmed by histology and by comparing the spectral content of imaged GCaMP6 activity to concurrently-acquired EEG. We then constructed seed-based FC and coherence network maps for low (0.009-0.08Hz) and high, delta-band (0.4-4.0Hz) frequency bands using GCaMP6 and hemodynamic contrasts. Homotopic GCaMP6 FC maps using delta-band data in the anesthetized states show a striking correlated and anti-correlated structure along the anterior to posterior axis. We next used whole-brain delay analysis to characterize this correlative feature. This structure is potentially explained by the observed propagation of delta-band activity from frontal somatomotor regions to visuoparietal areas, likely corresponding to propagating delta waves associated with slow wave sleep. During wakefulness, this spatio-temporal structure is largely absent, and a more complex and detailed FC structure is observed.
Collectively, functional neuroimaging of calcium dynamics in mice provides evidence that spatiotemporal coherence in cortical activity is not exclusive to hemodynamics and exists over a larger range of frequencies than hemoglobin-based contrasts. Concurrent calcium and hemodynamic imaging enables direct temporal and functional comparison of spontaneous calcium and hemoglobin activity, effectively spanning neurovascular coupling and functional hyperemia. The combined calcium/hemoglobin imaging technique described here will enable the dissociation of changes in ionic and hemodynamic functional structure and provide a framework for subsequent studies of sleep disorders and neurological disease.
Beau Ances, Joseph Culver
Jin-Moo Lee, Timothy E. Holy, Mark A. Anastasio, Lihong V. Wang
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7XD103G