The way in which the brain is functionally connected into different networks has emerged as an important research topic in order to understand normal neural processing and signaling. Since some experimental manipulations are difficult or unethical to perform in humans, animal models are better suited to investigate this topic. Rabbits are a species that can undergo MRI scanning in an awake and conscious state with minimal preparation and habituation. In this study, we characterized the intrinsic functional networks of the resting New Zealand White rabbit brain using BOLD fMRI data. Group independent component analysis revealed seven networks similar to those previously found in humans, non-human primates and/or rodents including the hippocampus, default mode, cerebellum, thalamus, and visual, somatosensory, and parietal cortices. For the first time, the intrinsic functional networks of the resting rabbit brain have been elucidated demonstrating the rabbit's applicability as a translational animal model. Without the confounding effects of anesthetics or sedatives, future experiments may employ rabbits to understand changes in neural connectivity and brain functioning as a result of experimental manipulation (e.g., temporary or permanent network disruption, learning-related changes, and drug administration).
- Awake animal MRI
- Default mode network
- Functional connectivity
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging
- Independent component analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience