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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2001 May;21(5):608-12.

Changes in human regional cerebral blood flow and cerebral blood volume during visual stimulation measured by positron emission tomography.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Akita Research Institute of Brain and Blood Vessels, Akita, Japan.


The hemodynamic mechanism of increase in cerebral blood flow (CBF) during neural activation has not been elucidated in humans. In the current study, changes in both regional CBF and cerebral blood volume (CBV) during visual stimulation in humans were investigated. Cerebral blood flow and CBV were measured by positron emission tomography using H(2)(15)O and (11)CO, respectively, at rest and during 2-Hz and 8-Hz photic flicker stimulation in each of 10 subjects. Changes in CBF in the primary visual cortex were 16% +/- 16% and 68% +/- 20% for the visual stimulation of 2 Hz and 8 Hz, respectively. The changes in CBV were 10% +/- 13% and 21% +/- 5% for 2-Hz and 8-Hz stimulation, respectively. Significant differences between changes in CBF and CBV were observed for visual stimulation of 8 Hz. The relation between CBF and CBV values during rest and visual stimulation was CBV = 0.88CBF(0.30). This indicates that when the increase in CBF during neural activation is great, that increase is caused primarily by the increase in vascular blood velocity rather than by the increase in CBV. This observation is consistent with reported findings obtained during hypercapnia.

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