Acute modulation of the cholinergic system in the mouse brain detected by pharmacological resting-state functional MRI
Delgado y Palacios, Rafael
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Neuroimage. - New York
, p. 151-159
University of Antwerp
Introduction The cholinergic system is involved in learning and memory and is affected in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. The possibility of non-invasively detecting alterations of neurotransmitter systems in the mouse brain would greatly improve early diagnosis and treatment strategies. The hypothesis of this study is that acute modulation of the cholinergic system might be reflected as altered functional connectivity (FC) and can be measured using pharmacological resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI). Material and methods Pharmacological rsfMRI was performed on a 9.4 T MRI scanner (Bruker BioSpec, Germany) using a gradient echo EPI sequence. All mice were sedated with medetomidine. C57BL/6 mice (N = 15/group) were injected with either saline, the cholinergic antagonist scopolamine, or methyl-scopolamine, after which rsfMRI was acquired. For an additional group (N = 8), rsfMRI scans of the same mouse were acquired first at baseline, then after the administration of scopolamine and finally after the additional injection of the cholinergic agonist milameline. Contextual memory was evaluated with the same setup as the pharmacological rsfMRI using the passive avoidance behavior test. Results Scopolamine induced a dose-dependent decrease of FC between brain regions involved in memory. Scopolamine-induced FC deficits could be recovered completely by milameline for FC between the hippocampusthalamus, cingulateretrosplenial, and visualretrosplenial cortex. FC between the cingulaterhinal, cingulatevisual and visualrhinal cortex could not be completely recovered by milameline. This is consistent with the behavioral outcome, where milameline only partially recovered scopolamine-induced contextual memory deficits. Methyl-scopolamine administered at the same dose as scopolamine did not affect FC in the brain. Conclusion The results of the current study are important for future studies in mouse models of neurodegenerative disorders, where pharmacological rsfMRI may possibly be used as a non-invasive read-out tool to detect alterations of neurotransmitter systems induced by pathology or treatment.