Title
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with auditory stimulation in songbirdsFunctional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with auditory stimulation in songbirds
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Research group
Bio-Imaging lab
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
Subject
Biology
Human medicine
Source (journal)
Journal of visualized experiments. - -
Volume/pages
76(2013)
ISSN
1940-087X
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
The neurobiology of birdsong, as a model for human speech, is a pronounced area of research in behavioral neuroscience. Whereas electrophysiology and molecular approaches allow the investigation of either different stimuli on few neurons, or one stimulus in large parts of the brain, blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) allows combining both advantages, i.e. compare the neural activation induced by different stimuli in the entire brain at once. fMRI in songbirds is challenging because of the small size of their brains and because their bones and especially their skull comprise numerous air cavities, inducing important susceptibility artifacts. Gradient-echo (GE) BOLD fMRI has been successfully applied to songbirds 1-5 (for a review, see 6). These studies focused on the primary and secondary auditory brain areas, which are regions free of susceptibility artifacts. However, because processes of interest may occur beyond these regions, whole brain BOLD fMRI is required using an MRI sequence less susceptible to these artifacts. This can be achieved by using spin-echo (SE) BOLD fMRI 7,8 . In this article, we describe how to use this technique in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), which are small songbirds with a bodyweight of 15-25 g extensively studied in behavioral neurosciences of birdsong. The main topic of fMRI studies on songbirds is song perception and song learning. The auditory nature of the stimuli combined with the weak BOLD sensitivity of SE (compared to GE) based fMRI sequences makes the implementation of this technique very challenging.
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