Shumkova V - Sitdikova V - Rechapov I - Leukhin A - Minlebaev M
Functional studies in the central nervous system are often conducted using anesthesia. While the dose-dependent effects of anesthesia on neuronal activity have been extensively characterized in adults, little is known about the effects of anesthesia on cortical activity and cerebral blood flow in the immature central nervous system. Substitution of electrophysiological recordings with the less-invasive technique of optical intrinsic signal imaging (OIS) in vivo allowed simultaneous recordings of sensory-evoked functional response and local blood flow changes in the neonatal rat barrel cortex. Using OIS we characterize the effects of two widely used anesthetics-urethane and isoflurane. We found that both anesthetics suppressed the sensory-evoked optical intrinsic signal in a dose-dependent manner. Dependence of the cortical response suppression matched the exponential decay model. At experimental levels of anesthesia, urethane affected the evoked cortical response less than isoflurane, which is in agreement with the results of electrophysiological recordings demonstrated by other authors. Changes in oxygenation and local blood flow also showed negative correlation with both anesthetics. The high similarity in immature patterns of activity recorded in different regions of the developing cortex suggested similar principles of development regardless of the cortical region. Therefore the indicated results should be taken into account during functional explorations in the entire developing cortex. Our results also point to urethane as the anesthetic of choice in non-survival experimental recordings in the developing brain as it produces less prominent impairment of cortical neuronal activity in neonatal animals.