• deep brain stimulation;
  • fMRI;
  • rat;
  • mouse;
  • tungsten electrode


To develop a series of robust and readily adoptable protocols for the application of deep brain stimulation (DBS)-functional MRI (fMRI) in rodents.


DBS-fMRI procedures were conducted in rat and mouse under varying anesthetic conditions (isoflurane in rat and mouse, α-chloralose in rat). A homemade two-channel tungsten microwire electrode was used to minimize magnetic susceptibility artifacts, and was targeted to the ventral posteromedial (VPM) thalamus for DBS-fMRI scanning procedures.


Compared with a commercially available MR-compatible electrode, the tungsten microwire generated greatly reduced magnetic-susceptibility artifacts. In the rat, VPM-DBS using the microwire electrode resulted in robust positive blood-oxygen-level-dependent signal changes in somatosensory cortex that were relatively independent of anesthetic type. In the mouse, VPM-DBS similarly generated large, positive neurovascular responses in somatosensory cortex that were detected using cerebral blood volume measurements.


Collectively, this work describes reasonable and easily adoptable procedures for conducting DBS-fMRI studies in rodent models. The protocols developed herein may be extended to study DBS effects under numerous experimental conditions and at varying stimulation targets. Magn Reson Med, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.