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Implanted gradient index lenses have extended the reach of standard multiphoton microscopy from the upper layers of the mouse cortex to the lower cortical layers and even subcortical regions. These lenses have the clarity to visualize dynamic activities, such as calcium transients, with subcellular and millisecond resolution and the stability to facilitate repeated imaging over weeks and months. In addition, behavioral tests can be used to correlate performance with observed changes in network function and structure that occur over time. Yet, this raises the questions, does an implanted microlens have an effect on behavioral tests, and if so, what is the extent of the effect? To answer these questions, we compared the performance of three groups of mice in three common behavioral tests. A gradient index lens was implanted in the prefrontal cortex of experimental mice. We compared their performance with mice that had either a cranial window or a sham surgery. Three presurgical and five postsurgical sets of behavioral tests were performed over seven weeks. Behavioral tests included rotarod, foot fault, and Morris water maze. No significant differences were found between the three groups, suggesting that microlens implantation did not affect performance. The results for the current study clear the way for combining behavioral studies with gradient index lens imaging in the prefrontal cortex, and potentially other regions of the mouse brain, to study structural, functional, and behavioral relationships in the brain.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Animals, Behavior Rating Scale, Behavior, Animal, Female, Green Fluorescent Proteins, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Implants, Experimental, Lenses, Male, Maze Learning, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton, Neuroimaging, Prefrontal Cortex, Psychomotor Performance, Rotarod Performance Test