Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica     
Casciaro S., Bianco R., Distante A. Quantification of venous blood signal contribution to BOLD functional activation in the auditory cortex at 3 T. In: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, vol. 26 (April 22) Pergamon-Elsevier, 2008.
Most modern techniques for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) rely on blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) contrast as the basic principle for detecting neuronal activation. However, the measured BOLD effect depends on a transfer function related to neurophysiological changes accompanying electrical neural activation. The spatial accuracy and extension of the region of interest are determined by vascular effect, which introduces incertitude on real neuronal activation maps. Our efforts have been directed towards the development of a new methodology that is capable of combining morphological, vascular and functional information; obtaining new insight regarding foci of activation; and distinguishing the nature of activation on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Six healthy volunteers were studied in a parametric auditory functional experiment at 3 T; activation maps were overlaid on a high-resolution brain venography obtained through a novel technique. The BOLD signal intensities of vascular and nonvascular activated voxels were analyzed and compared: it was shown that nonvascular active voxels have lower values for signal peak (Pb10−7) and area (Pb10−8) with respect to vascular voxels. The analysis showed how venous blood influenced the measured BOLD signals, supplying a technique to filter possible venous artifacts that potentially can lead to misinterpretation of fMRI results. This methodology, although validated in the auditory cortex activation, maintains a general applicability to any cortical fMRI study, as the basic concepts on which it relies on are not limited to this cortical region. The results obtained in this study can represent the basis for new methodologies and tools that are capable of adding further characterization to the BOLD signal properties.
URL: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0730-725X(08)00040-4
DOI: 10.1016/j.mri.2008.02.006
Subject Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
Quantification of venous blood signals
BOLD contrast
Auditory cortex
Brain venography
Venous artifacts

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