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Neuroimage. 2000 Dec;12(6):623-39.

Spontaneous low frequency oscillations of cerebral hemodynamics and metabolism in human adults.

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Neurologische Klinik der Charité, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 10098 Berlin, Germany.


We investigated slow spontaneous oscillations in cerebral oxygenation in the human adult's visual cortex. The rationale was (1) to demonstrate their detectability by near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS); (2) to analyze the spectral power of as well as the phase relationship between the different NIRS parameters (oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin and cytochrome-oxidase; oxy-Hb/deoxy-Hb/Cyt-ox). Also (3) influences of functional stimulation and hypercapnia on power and phase shifts were investigated. The results show that-in line with the literature-low frequency oscillations (LFO) centred around 0.1 s(-1) and even slower oscillations at about 0.04 s(-1) (very low frequency, VLFO) can be distinguished. Their respective power differs between oxy-Hb, deoxy-Hb, and Cyt-ox. Either frequency (LFO and VLFO) is altered in magnitude by functional stimulation of the cortical area examined. Also we find a change of the phase shift between the vascular parameters (oxy-Hb, tot-Hb) and the metabolic parameter (Cyt-ox) evoked by the stimulation. It is shown that hypercapnia attenuates the LFO in oxy-Hb and deoxy-Hb.


(1) spontaneous vascular and metabolic LFO and VLFO can be reproducibly detected by NIRS in the human adult. (2) Their spectral characteristics and their response to hypercapnia are in line with those described in exposed cortex (for review see (Hudetz et al., 1998)) and correspond to findings with transcranial doppler sonography (TCD) (Diehl et al., 1995) and fMRI (Biswal et al., 1997). (3) The magnitude of and phase relation between NIRS-parameters at the LFO may allow for a local noninvasive assessment of autoregulatory mechanisms in the adult brain.

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