Characterization of the blood-oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response in cat auditory cortex using high-field fMRI

Brown TA, Joanisse MF, Gati JS, et al.

Neuroimage 2013;64:458-465.

Much of what is known about the cortical organization for audition in humans draws from studies of auditory cortex in the cat. However, these data build largely on electrophysiological recordings that are both highly invasive and provide less evidence concerning macroscopic patterns of brain activation. Optical imaging, using intrinsic signals or dyes, allows visualization of surface-based activity but is also quite invasive. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) overcomes these limitations by providing a large-scale perspective of distributed activity across the brain in a non-invasive manner. The present study used fMRI to characterize stimulus-evoked activity in auditory cortex of an anesthetized (ketamine/isoflurane) cat, focusing specifically on the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal time course. Functional images were acquired for adult cats in a 7 T MRI scanner. To determine the BOLD signal time course, we presented 1s broadband noise bursts between widely spaced scan acquisitions at randomized delays (1-12 s in 1s increments) prior to each scan. Baseline trials in which no stimulus was presented were also acquired. Our results indicate that the BOLD response peaks at about 3.5s in primary auditory cortex (AI) and at about 4.5 s in non-primary areas (AII, PAF) of cat auditory cortex. The observed peak latency is within the range reported for humans and non-human primates (3-4 s). The time course of hemodynamic activity in cat auditory cortex also occurs on a comparatively shorter scale than in cat visual cortex. The results of this study will provide a foundation for future auditory fMRI studies in the cat to incorporate these hemodynamic response properties into appropriate analyses of cat auditory cortex.