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In vivo connectivity: MRI, paramagnetic tracers and electrical stimulation


Logothetis,  NK
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Logothetis, N. (2009). In vivo connectivity: MRI, paramagnetic tracers and electrical stimulation. Talk presented at 32nd European Conference on Visual Perception. Regensburg, Germany.

Neuroanatomical cortico-cortical and cortico-subcortical connections have been examined mainly by means of degeneration methods and anterograde and retrograde tracer techniques. Although such studies have demonstrated the value of the information gained from the investigation of the topographic connections between different brain areas, they do require fixed, processed tissue for data analysis and therefore cannot be applied to animals participating in longitudinal studies. Capacities such as plasticity and learning are indeed best studied with non-destructive techniques that can be applied repeatedly and, ideally, combined with neuroimaging or electrophysiology studies. The recent development of MR-visible tracers that can be infused into a specific brain region and are transported anterogradely transsynaptically is one such technique. Simultaneous electrical stimulation (ES) and fMRI (esfMRI) is another. In fact, esfMRI offers a unique opportunity not only to study connectivity, but also to visualize networks underlying electrostimulation-induced behaviors, to map the neuromodulatory systems, or to develop electrotherapy and neural prosthetic devices. In my talk I'll present new data on MR-visible tracers and esfMRI that show the capacity of these methods for the study of connectivity, of cortical microcircuits, and of cortical network reorganization induced by long term potentiation of synapses in subcortical structures, eg in hippocampus.