Preserved modular network organization in the sedated rat brain
Van Der Linden, Anne-Marie
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Engineering sciences. Technology
, 10 p.
University of Antwerp
Translation of resting-state functional connectivity (FC) magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) applications from human to rodents has experienced growing interest, and bears a great potential in pre-clinical imaging as it enables assessing non-invasively the topological organization of complex FC networks (FCNs) in rodent models under normal and various pathophysiological conditions. However, to date, little is known about the organizational architecture of FCNs in rodents in a mentally healthy state, although an understanding of the same is of paramount importance before investigating networks under compromised states. In this study, we characterized the properties of resting-state FCN in an extensive number of Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 40) under medetomidine sedation by evaluating its modular organization and centrality of brain regions and tested for reproducibility. Fully-connected large-scale complex networks of positively and negatively weighted connections were constructed based on Pearson partial correlation analysis between the time courses of 36 brain regions encompassing almost the entire brain. Applying recently proposed complex network analysis measures, we show that the rat FCN exhibits a modular architecture, comprising six modules with a high between subject reproducibility. In addition, we identified network hubs with strong connections to diverse brain regions. Overall our results obtained under a straight medetomidine protocol show for the first time that the community structure of the rat brain is preserved under pharmacologically induced sedation with a network modularity contrasting from the one reported for deep anesthesia but closely resembles the organization described for the rat in conscious state.