Capacity for consciousness under ketamine anaesthesia is selectively associated with activity in posteromedial cortex in rats

A Arena, B E Juel, R Comolatti, S Thon, J F Storm
2022 Neuroscience of Consciousness  
It remains unclear how specific cortical regions contribute to the brain's overall capacity for consciousness. Clarifying this could help distinguish between theories of consciousness. Here, we investigate the association between markers of regionally specific (de)activation and the brain's overall capacity for consciousness. We recorded electroencephalographic responses to cortical electrical stimulation in six rats and computed Perturbational Complexity Index state-transition (PCIST), which
more » ... s been extensively validated as an index of the capacity for consciousness in humans. We also estimated the balance between activation and inhibition of specific cortical areas with the ratio between high and low frequency power from spontaneous electroencephalographic activity at each electrode. We repeated these measurements during wakefulness, and during two levels of ketamine anaesthesia: with the minimal dose needed to induce behavioural unresponsiveness and twice this dose. We found that PCIST was only slightly reduced from wakefulness to light ketamine anaesthesia, but dropped significantly with deeper anaesthesia. The high-dose effect was selectively associated with reduced high frequency/low frequency ratio in the posteromedial cortex, which strongly correlated with PCIST. Conversely, behavioural unresponsiveness induced by light ketamine anaesthesia was associated with similar spectral changes in frontal, but not posterior cortical regions. Thus, activity in the posteromedial cortex correlates with the capacity for consciousness, as assessed by PCIST, during different depths of ketamine anaesthesia, in rats, independently of behaviour. These results are discussed in relation to different theories of consciousness.
doi:10.1093/nc/niac004 pmid:35261778 pmcid:PMC8896332 fatcat:o47n7hcmsbdd7bjc66or646uau