Aim: The aim of the study was to determine and compare the areas of brain activated in response to colorectal distention (CRD) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and c-fos protein expression. Methods: For fMRI study (3.0 T magnet), anaesthetized rats underwent phasic CRD, synchronized with fMRI acquisition. Stimulation consisted of eight cycles of balloon deflation (90 s) and inflation (30 s), at 40, 60 or 80 mmHg of pressure. For c-fos study two sets of experiments were performed on anaesthetized rats: comparing (A) brain activation in rats with the inserted colorectal balloon (n = 5), to the rats without the balloon (n = 5); and (B) rats with inserted balloon (n = 10), to the rats with inserted and distended balloon (n = 10). The pressure of 80 mmHg was applied for 2 h of 30 s inflation and 90 s deflation, alternating cycles. Results: Functional MRI revealed significant activation in the amygdala, hypothalamus, thalamus, cerebellum and hippocampus. Significant increase in c-fos expression was observed in amygdala and thalamus in the first set of experiments, and hypothalamus and parabrachial nuclei in the second. Conclusion: The two methods are not interchangeable but appeared to be complementary: fMRI was more sensitive, whereas c-fos had much greater resolution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems