Background activity and visual responsiveness of caudate nucleus neurons in halothane anesthetized and in awake, behaving cats

Balázs Barkóczi, Tamás Nagypál, Diána Nyujtó, Xénia Katona, Gabriella Eördegh, Balázs Bodosi, György Benedek, Gábor Braunitzer, Attila Nagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study focuses on the important question whether brain activity recorded from anesthetized, paralyzed animals is comparable to that recorded from awake, behaving ones. We compared neuronal activity recorded from the caudate nucleus (CN) of two halothane-anesthetized, paralyzed and two awake, behaving cats. In both models, extracellular recordings were made from the CN during static and dynamic visual stimulation. The anesthesia was maintained during the recordings by a gaseous mixture of air and halothane (1.0%). The behaving animals were trained to perform a visual fixation task. Based on their electrophysiological properties, the recorded CN neurons were separated into three different classes: phasically active (PANs), high firing (HFNs), and tonically active (TANs) neurons. Halothane anesthesia significantly decreased the background activity of the CN neurons in all three classes. The anesthesia had the most remarkable suppressive effect on PANs, where the background activity was consistently under 1 spike/s. The analysis of these responses was almost impossible due to the extremely low activity. The evoked responses during both static and dynamic visual stimulation were obvious in the behaving cats. On the other hand, only weak visual responses were found in some neurons of halothane anesthetized cats. These results show that halothane gas anesthesia has a marked suppressive effect on the feline CN. We suggest that for the purposes of the visual and related multisensory/sensorimotor electrophysiological exploration of the CN, behaving animal models are preferable over anesthetized ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-192
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jul 25 2017



  • behaving cats
  • caudate nucleus
  • halothane anesthetized cats
  • neuron classification
  • visual stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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