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Chemogenetic silencing of neurons in the mouse anterior cingulate area modulates neuronal activity and functional connectivity

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The anterior cingulate area (ACA) is an integral part of the prefrontal cortex in mice and has been implicated in several cognitive functions. Previous anatomical and functional imaging studies demonstrated that the ACA is highly interconnected with numerous brain regions acting as a hub region in functional networks. However, the importance of the ACA in regulating functional network activity and connectivity remains to be elucidated. Recently developed neuromodulatory techniques, such as Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs) allow for precise control of neuronal activity. In this study, we used an inhibitory kappa-opioid receptor DREADDs (KORD) to temporally inhibit neuronal firing in the right ACA of mice and assessed functional network activity and connectivity using non-invasive functional MRI. We demonstrated that KORD-induced inhibition of the right ACA induced blood oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) signal decreases and increases in connected brain regions throughout of hemispheres. Furthermore, these modulations in neuronal activity were associated with decreased intra- and interhemispheric functional connectivity. These results demonstrate that the combination of the DREADD technology and non-invasive functional imaging methods is a valuable tool for unraveling the underlying mechanisms of network function and dysfunction.
Volume: 99
Pages: 1 - 21
Publication year:2019