Brief Communication abstract

Nature Neuroscience 11, 749 - 751 (2008)
Published online: 15 June 2008 | doi:10.1038/nn.2140

Population imaging of ongoing neuronal activity in the visual cortex of awake rats

David S Greenberg1,2,6, Arthur R Houweling3,4,6 & Jason N D Kerr2,5


It is unclear how the complex spatiotemporal organization of ongoing cortical neuronal activity recorded in anesthetized animals relates to the awake animal. We therefore used two-photon population calcium imaging in awake and subsequently anesthetized rats to follow action potential firing in populations of neurons across brain states, and examined how single neurons contributed to population activity. Firing rates and spike bursting in awake rats were higher, and pair-wise correlations were lower, compared with anesthetized rats. Anesthesia modulated population-wide synchronization and the relationship between firing rate and correlation. Overall, brain activity during wakefulness cannot be inferred using anesthesia.

  1. Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Jahnstrasse 29, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
  2. Network Imaging Group, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Spemannstras zlige 41, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
  3. Department of Neuroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
  4. Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Humboldt University, Philippstr. 13, Haus 6, 10115 Berlin, Germany.
  5. Department of Biomedical Optics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Jahnstrasse 29, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
  6. These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to: Jason N D Kerr2,5 e-mail:


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