Instrumentation for fast functional optical tomography

C. H. Schmitz et al. (2005)

Summary

We present newly developed instrumentation for full-tomographic four-wavelength, continuous wave, diffuse optical tomography (DOT) imaging on small animals. A small-animal imaging stage was constructed, from materials compatible with in-magnet studies, which offers stereotaxic fixation of the animal and precise, stable probe positioning. Instrument performance, based on calibration and phantom studies, demonstrates excellent long-term signal stability. DOT measurements of the functional rat brain response to electric paw stimulation are presented, and these demonstrate high data quality and excellent sensitivity to hemodynamic changes. A general linear model analysis on individual trials is used to localize and quantify the occurrence of functional behavior associated with the different hemoglobin state responses. Statistical evaluation of outcomes of individual trials is employed to identify significant regional response variations for different stimulation sites. Image results reveal a diffuse cortical response and a strong reaction of the thalamus, both indicative of activation of pain pathways by the stimulation. In addition, a weaker lateralized functional component is observed in the brain response, suggesting presence of motor activation. An important outcome of the experiment is that it shows that reactions to individual provocations can be monitored, without having to resort to signal averaging. Thus the described technology may be useful for studies of long-term trends in hemodynamic response, as would occur, for example, in behavioral studies involving freely moving animals.