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Neuroimage. 2013 Sep;78:385-95. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.04.045. Epub 2013 Apr 22.

Characterization of non-hemodynamic functional signal measured by spin-lock fMRI.

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  • 1Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, USA.


Current functional MRI techniques measure hemodynamic changes induced by neural activity. Alternative measurement of signals originated from tissue is desirable and may be achieved using T1ρ, the spin-lattice relaxation time in the rotating-frame, which is measured by spin-lock MRI. Functional T1ρ changes in the brain can have contributions from vascular dilation, tissue acidosis, and potentially other contributions. When the blood contributions were suppressed with a contrast agent at 9.4 T, a small tissue-originated T1ρ change was consistently observed at the middle cortical layers of cat visual cortex during visual stimulation, which had different dynamic characteristics compared to hemodynamic fMRI such as a faster response and no post-stimulus undershoot. Functional tissue T1ρ is highly dependent on the magnetic field strength and experimental parameters such as the power of the spin-locking pulse. With a 500Hz spin-locking pulse, the tissue T1ρ without the blood contribution increased during visual stimulation, but decreased during acidosis-inducing hypercapnia and global ischemia, indicating different signal origins. Phantom studies suggest that it may have contribution from concentration decrease in metabolites. Even though the sensitivity is much weaker than BOLD and its exact interpretation needs further investigation, our results show that non-hemodynamic functional signal can be consistently observed by spin-lock fMRI.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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