Mechanisms of neurovascular coupling—the relationship between neuronal chemoelectrical activity and compensatory metabolic and hemodynamic changes—appear to be preserved across species from rats to humans despite differences in scale. However, previous work suggests that the highly cellular dense mouse somatosensory cortex has different functional hemodynamic changes compared to other species.
We developed novel hardware and software for 2-dimensional optical spectroscopy (2DOS). Optical changes at four simultaneously recorded wavelengths were measured in both rat and mouse primary somatosensory cortex (S1) evoked by forepaw stimulation to create four spectral maps. The spectral maps were converted to maps of deoxy-, oxy-, and total-hemoglobin (HbR, HbO, and HbT) concentration changes using the modified Beer-Lambert law and phantom HbR and HbO absorption spectra.
Functional hemodynamics were different in mouse versus rat neocortex. On average, hemodynamics were as expected in rat primary somatosensory cortex (S1): the fractional change in the log of HbT concentration increased monophasically 2 s after stimulus, whereas HbO changes mirrored HbR changes, with HbO showing a small initial dip at 0.5 s followed by a large increase 3.0 s post stimulus. In contrast, mouse S1 showed a novel type of stimulus-evoked hemodynamic response, with prolonged, concurrent, monophasic increases in HbR and HbT and a parallel decrease in HbO that all peaked 3.5–4.5 s post stimulus onset. For rats, at any given time point the average size and shape of HbO and HbR forepaw maps were the same, whereas surface veins distorted the shape of the HbT map. For mice, HbO, HbR, and HbT forepaw maps were generally the same size and shape at any post-stimulus time point.
2DOS using image splitting optics is feasible across species for brain mapping and quantifying the map topography of cortical hemodynamics. These results suggest that during physiologic stimulation, different species and/or cortical architecture may give rise to different hemodynamic changes during neurovascular coupling.