Temporal mirror-symmetry in functional signals recorded from rat barrel cortex with optical coherence tomography

Kai Shih Chiu, Manabu Tanifuji, Chia Wei Sun*, Uma Maheswari Rajagopalan, Yu Nakamichi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Functional optical coherence tomography (fOCT) detects activity-dependent light scattering changes in micro-structures of neural tissue, drawing attention as in vivo volumetric functional imaging technique at a sub-columnar level. There are 2 plausible origins for the light scattering changes: (i) hemodynamic responses such as changes in blood volume and in density of blood cells and (ii) reorientation of dipoles in cellular membrane. However, it has not been clarified which is the major contributor to fOCT signals. Furthermore, previous studies showed both increase and decrease of ref lectivity as fOCT signals, making interpretation more difficult. We proposed combination of fOCT with Fourier imaging and adaptive statistics to the rat barrel cortex. Active voxels revealed barrels elongating throughout layers with mini-columns in superficial layers consistent with physiological studies, suggesting that active voxels revealed by fOCT ref lect spatial patterns of activated neurons. These voxels included voxels with negative changes in ref lectivity and those with positive changes in ref lectivity. However, they were temporally mirror-symmetric, suggesting that they share common sources. It is hard to explain that hemodynamic responses elicit positive signals in some voxels and negative signals in the other. On the other hand, considering membrane dipoles, polarities of OCT signals can be positive and negative depending on orientations of scattering particles relative to the incident light. Therefore, the present study suggests that fOCT signals are induced by the reorientation of membrane dipoles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4904-4914
Number of pages11
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2023


  • barrel cortex
  • functional imaging
  • light scattering
  • membrane dipole
  • optical coherence tomography


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