fMRI

Persona de contacto: Dr. Manuel Desco

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in rodents has been used for decades to study brain function and dysfunction. Such a technique has enabled a finer study of the brain hemodynamics thanks to the higher resolution it provides as compared to human fMRI –one order of magnitude higher-. Moreover, these studies in rodents have also enabled simultaneous measurements of the electrical activity and the BOLD (blood oxygenation level-dependent) signal for a deeper understanding of the neurovascular coupling and its associated mechanisms. Regarding the pathological brain, rodent fMRI has facilitated the drug development during clinical, the study of the ischemic brain lesion brain plasticity after stroke, peripheral nerve injury, or spinal cord injury and even hyperalgesia.

However, the complexity of the experimental setup, the variability of the subject physiological conditions, the long acquisition times and the intricacy of the image analysis have prevented this technique from being widely used in preclinical studies.

In our group we have studied the effects of anesthesia on BOLD contrast and the appropriate experimental setup for somatosensorial fMRI experiments under a recoverable sedation, the applicability of compressed sensing techniques to reduce total scan time while preserving BOLD contrast, and the specific requirements for the automatic analysis of rodent fMRI, and developed and validated a new and versatile software solution fulfilling the needs of both expert and non-expert users.

Selected Articles


Chavarrias, C., Abascal, J.F., Montesinos, P. and Desco, M.,"Exploitation of temporal redundancy in compressed sensing reconstruction of fMRI studies with a prior-based algorithm (PICCS)". Med Phys,  42(7): p. 3814 (2015).

Chavarrías, C., García-Vázquez, V., Alemán-Gómez, Y., Montesinos, P., Pascau, J., Desco, M. "fMRat: an extension of SPM for a fully automatic analysis of rodent brain functional magnetic resonance series". Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing, August 2015, p. 1-10.

Funded Grants


Evaluación neurofuncional de sistemas multicomponentes para la promoción del crecimiento y mielinización axonal en la médula espinal lesionada. Instituto de Salud Carlos III. 2010-2013

Funding Entities


Ministerio de Ciencia e InnovaciónInstituto Carlos III