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Dynamic and static contributions of the cerebrovasculature to the resting-state BOLD signal

  • Author(s): Tak, S
  • Wang, DJJ
  • Polimeni, JR
  • Yan, L
  • Chen, JJ
  • et al.
Abstract

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the resting state, particularly fMRI based on the blood-oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal, has been extensively used to measure functional connectivity in the brain. However, the mechanisms of vascular regulation that underlie the BOLD fluctuations during rest are still poorly understood. In this work, using dual-echo pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling and MR angiography (MRA), we assess the spatio-temporal contribution of cerebral blood flow (CBF) to the resting-state BOLD signals and explore how the coupling of these signals is associated with regional vasculature. Using a general linear model analysis, we found that statistically significant coupling between resting-state BOLD and CBF fluctuations is highly variable across the brain, but the coupling is strongest within the major nodes of established resting-state networks, including the default-mode, visual, and task-positive networks. Moreover, by exploiting MRA-derived large vessel (macrovascular) volume fraction, we found that the degree of BOLD-CBF coupling significantly decreased as the ratio of large vessels to tissue volume increased. These findings suggest that the portion of resting-state BOLD fluctuations at the sites of medium-to-small vessels (more proximal to local neuronal activity) is more closely regulated by dynamic regulations in CBF, and that this CBF regulation decreases closer to large veins, which are more distal to neuronal activity. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

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