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A novel method of combining blood oxygenation and blood flow sensitive magnetic resonance imaging techniques to measure the cerebral blood flow and oxygen metabolism responses to an unknown neural stimulus.

  • Author(s): Simon, Aaron B
  • Griffeth, Valerie EM
  • Wong, Eric C
  • Buxton, Richard B
  • et al.
Abstract

Simultaneous implementation of magnetic resonance imaging methods for Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL) and Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) imaging makes it possible to quantitatively measure the changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebral oxygen metabolism (CMRO(2)) that occur in response to neural stimuli. To date, however, the range of neural stimuli amenable to quantitative analysis is limited to those that may be presented in a simple block or event related design such that measurements may be repeated and averaged to improve precision. Here we examined the feasibility of using the relationship between cerebral blood flow and the BOLD signal to improve dynamic estimates of blood flow fluctuations as well as to estimate metabolic-hemodynamic coupling under conditions where a stimulus pattern is unknown. We found that by combining the information contained in simultaneously acquired BOLD and ASL signals through a method we term BOLD Constrained Perfusion (BCP) estimation, we could significantly improve the precision of our estimates of the hemodynamic response to a visual stimulus and, under the conditions of a calibrated BOLD experiment, accurately determine the ratio of the oxygen metabolic response to the hemodynamic response. Importantly we were able to accomplish this without utilizing a priori knowledge of the temporal nature of the neural stimulus, suggesting that BOLD Constrained Perfusion estimation may make it feasible to quantitatively study the cerebral metabolic and hemodynamic responses to more natural stimuli that cannot be easily repeated or averaged.

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