While the vascular origin of the BOLD-fMRI signal is established, the exact neurovascular coupling events contributing to this signal are still incompletely understood. Furthermore, the hippocampal spatial properties of the BOLD activation are not elucidated, although electrophysiology approaches have already revealed the precise spatial patterns of neural activity. High magnetic field fMRI offers improved contrast and allows for a better correlation with the underlying neuronal activity because of the increased contribution to the BOLD signal of small blood vessels. Here, we take advantage of these two benefits to investigate the spatial characteristics of the hippocampal activation in a rat model before and after changing the hippocampal plasticity by long-term potentiation (LTP). We found that the hippocampal BOLD signals evoked by electrical stimulation at the perforant pathway increased more at the radiatum layer of the hippocampal CA1 region than at the pyramidal cell layer. The return to the baseline of the hippocampal BOLD activation was prolonged after LTP induction compared with that before most likely due vascular or neurovascular coupling changes. Based on these results, we conclude that high resolution BOLD-fMRI allows the segregation of hippocampal subfields probably based on their underlying vascular or neurovascular coupling features.
ASJC Scopus subject areas