Recent fMRI studies are of interest in exploring long-range interactions between different brain structures and the functional activation of specific brain regions by known neuroanatomical pathways. One of the experimental approaches requires the invasive implantation of an intracranial electrode to excite specific brain structures. In the present report, we describe a procedure for the production of a glass-coated carbon fiber electrode and the use of this electrode for direct activation of the brain in fMRI studies. The glass-coated carbon fiber microelectrode was implanted in the medial thalamus of anaesthetized rats and T2*-weighted gradient echo images in the sagittal plane obtained on a 4.7 T system (Biospec BMT 47/40) during electrical stimulation of the medial thalamus. The image quality obtained using this electrode was acceptable without reduction of the signal-to-noise ratio and image distortion. Cross-correlation analysis showed that the signal intensities of activated areas in the ipsilateral anterior cingulate cortex were significantly increased by about 4-5% during medial thalamus stimulation. The present study shows that glass-coated carbon fiber electrodes are suitable for fMRI studies and can be used to investigate functional thalamocingulate activation.
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