Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 222, Issue 5, pp 2041–2058 | Cite as

Interhemispheric resting-state functional connectivity of the claustrum in the awake and anesthetized states

  • Jared B. Smith
  • Zhifeng Liang
  • Glenn D. R. Watson
  • Kevin D. AllowayEmail author
  • Nanyin ZhangEmail author
Original Article


The claustrum is a brain region whose function remains unknown, though many investigators suggest it plays a role in conscious attention. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI) has revealed how anesthesia alters many functional connections in the brain, but the functional role of the claustrum with respect to the awake versus anesthetized states remains unknown. Therefore, we employed a combination of seed-based RS-fMRI and neuroanatomical tracing to reveal how the anatomical connections of the claustrum are related to its functional connectivity during quiet wakefulness and the isoflurane-induced anesthetic state. In awake rats, RS-fMRI indicates that the claustrum has interhemispheric functional connections with the mediodorsal thalamus (MD) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), as well as other known connections with cortical areas that correspond to the connections revealed by neuroanatomical tracing. During deep isoflurane anesthesia, the functional connections of the claustrum with mPFC and MD were significantly attenuated, while those with the rest of cortex were not significantly altered. These changes in claustral functional connectivity were also observed when seeds were placed in mPFC or MD during RS-fMRI comparisons of the awake and deeply anesthetized states. Collectively, these data indicate that the claustrum has functional connections with mPFC and MD-thalamus that are significantly lessened by anesthesia.


Anatomical connectivity Anesthesia Claustrum Consciousness Functional connectivity 



This work was supported by NIH Grants R01NS085200 and R01MH098003 awarded to N. Zhang, and NIH Grant R01NS37532 awarded to K.D. Alloway. J.B.S., N.Z. and K.D.A. designed research; J.B.S. and G.D.R.W. performed neuroanatomical tracing experiments and J.B.S. analyzed the data, Z.L. and N.Z. performed and analyzed all resting-state fMRI experiments. J.B.S., Z.L., and K.D.A. wrote the manuscript. All authors revised and approved the manuscript. The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jared B. Smith
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
  • Zhifeng Liang
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 7
  • Glenn D. R. Watson
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • Kevin D. Alloway
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Nanyin Zhang
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Engineering Science and MechanicsPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Center for Neural EngineeringPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.The Huck Institutes of Life SciencesPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Neural and Behavioral SciencesPenn State UniversityHersheyUSA
  6. 6.Molecular Neurobiology LaboratorySalk Institute for Biological StudiesLa JollaUSA
  7. 7.Laboratory of Comparative NeuroimagingInstitute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina

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