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Functional ultrasound imaging of the brain


We present functional ultrasound (fUS), a method for imaging transient changes in blood volume in the whole brain at better spatiotemporal resolution than with other functional brain imaging modalities. fUS uses plane-wave illumination at high frame rate and can measure blood volumes in smaller vessels than previous ultrasound methods. fUS identifies regions of brain activation and was used to image whisker-evoked cortical and thalamic responses and the propagation of epileptiform seizures in the rat brain.

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Figure 1: Principles for performing fUS in the rat brain.
Figure 2: Applications of fUS imaging.


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We thank A. Urban for helpful comments on the manuscript and for technical advice on surgery and T. Montaldo for critical editorial comments on the manuscript.

Author information




M.B., M.F. and M.T. conceived and initiated the project; M.T. supervised the project. E.M., G.M. and I.C. designed and performed experiments; E.M., G.M. and M.T. wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mickael Tanter.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figures 1–3 and Supplementary Notes 1 and 2 (PDF 570 kb)

Supplementary Video 1

Video showing changes in cerebral blood volume during induced epileptiform activity (4AP injection) imaged by fUS. The epileptiform activity is recorded during 1 hour with a short control time at the beginning (baseline). The video displays the variation in Power Doppler relative to the baseline in a color scale ranging from - 50% (blue) to + 50% (red), superimposed on a control Power Doppler image. fUS acquisitions are performed every 3s. The injection site is represented by a green circle and the time relative to injection is displayed in the video. The blood volume response to onset and propagation of hyperactivity is visualized from the injection site to other brain regions. (MOV 2961 kb)

Supplementary Software

Implementation of fUS. A guide describes ultrasound sequences and signal processing. Code and data example are also provided. (ZIP 4681 kb)

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Macé, E., Montaldo, G., Cohen, I. et al. Functional ultrasound imaging of the brain. Nat Methods 8, 662–664 (2011).

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