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Quantitative functional magnetic resonance imaging of brain activity using bolus-tracking arterial spin labeling

By Michael E Kelly, Christoph W Blau, Karen M Griffin, Oliviero L Gobbo, James FX Jones and Christian M Kerskens


Blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is the most widely used method for mapping neural activity in the brain. The interpretation of altered BOLD signals is problematic when cerebral blood flow (CBF) or cerebral blood volume change because of aging and/or neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, a recently developed quantitative arterial spin labeling (ASL) approach, bolus-tracking ASL (btASL), was applied to an fMRI experiment in the rat brain. The mean transit time (MTT), capillary transit time (CTT), relative cerebral blood volume of labeled water (rCBVlw), relative cerebral blood flow (rCBF), and perfusion coefficient in the forelimb region of the somatosensory cortex were quantified during neuronal activation and in the resting state. The average MTT and CTT were 1.939±0.175 and 1.606±0.106 secs, respectively, in the resting state. Both times decreased significantly to 1.616±0.207 and 1.305±0.201 secs, respectively, during activation. The rCBVlw, rCBF, and perfusion coefficient increased on average by a factor of 1.123±0.006, 1.353±0.078, and 1.479±0.148, respectively, during activation. In contrast to BOLD techniques, btASL yields physiologically relevant indices of the functional hyperemia that accompanies neuronal activation

Topics: Original Article
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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