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Author Notes:

Email Address:Shella D. Keilholz : shella.keilholz@bme.gatech.edu

Conflict of Interest Statement The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by NIH R01 NS078095 and NIH R21 NS072810.


  • resting state fMRI
  • resting state functional connectivity
  • rodent models
  • anesthesia
  • preclinical models

Considerations for resting state functional MRI and functional connectivity studies in rodents


Journal Title:

Frontiers in Neuroscience


Volume 9, Number JUL


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Resting state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) and functional connectivity mapping have become widely used tools in the human neuroimaging community and their use is rapidly spreading into the realm of rodent research as well. One of the many attractive features of rs-fMRI is that it is readily translatable from humans to animals and back again. Changes in functional connectivity observed in human studies can be followed by more invasive animal experiments to determine the neurophysiological basis for the alterations, while exploratory work in animal models can identify possible biomarkers for further investigation in human studies. These types of interwoven human and animal experiments have a potentially large impact on neuroscience and clinical practice. However, impediments exist to the optimal application of rs-fMRI in small animals, some similar to those encountered in humans and some quite different. In this review we identify the most prominent of these barriers, discuss differences between rs-fMRI in rodents and in humans, highlight best practices for animal studies, and review selected applications of rs-fMRI in rodents. Our goal is to facilitate the integration of human and animal work to the benefit of both fields.

Copyright information:

© 2015 Pan, Billings, Grooms, Shakil and Keilholz.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits distribution, public display, and publicly performance, making multiple copies, distribution of derivative works, provided the original work is properly cited. This license requires credit be given to copyright holder and/or author, copyright and license notices be kept intact.

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