Towards opto-magnetic physiology: Concepts and pitfalls of of MRI

Miriam Schwalm, Eduardo Rosales Jubal, Albrecht Stroh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Optogenetic functional magnetic resonance imaging (ofMRI) represents the combination of optogenetic modulation of neural circuits with high-field fMRI. ofMRI enables the monitoring of neural activity across the entire brain, while precisely controlling the activation of specific neuronal elements within the neural circuit, defined by their genetic identity, location of somata, and axonal projection targets. Those exclusive features of ofMRI open a plethora of new possibilities for the in vivo characterization of neural networks, simultaneously at local and global scale. In addition, recent advances in optical readouts of intracellular Ca2+ within optogenetic fMRI experiments led to all-optical interrogations within the scanner. Here, we provide a guide to applying optogenetics and optical recordings in the setting of fMRI experiments. In addition, we devise a straight forward control experiment addressing the discrimination of specific network activation through the excitation of opsins from unspecific heat effects leading to an apparent BOLD effect. Lastly, we propose a method to estimate the scope of optogenetic network modulation by combining the estimations of the number of opsin-expressing neurons and light spreading in brain tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeuromethods
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0893-2336
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6045


  • Ca recordings
  • OfMRI
  • Optical recordings
  • Optogenetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards opto-magnetic physiology: Concepts and pitfalls of of MRI'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this