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Neuroimage. 2004 May;22(1):109-19.

Cytochrome-c-oxidase redox changes during visual stimulation measured by near-infrared spectroscopy cannot be explained by a mere cross talk artefact.

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Department of Neurology, Charité, Humboldt University, Berlin 10117, Germany.


The detection of redox changes in cytochrome-c-oxidase ([Cyt-ox]) in response to cerebral activation by non-invasive NIRS is hampered by methodological spectroscopic issues related to the modification of the Beer-Lambert law. Also, the question whether a change in the enzyme's redox-state is elicited by functional stimulation is unresolved. In a previous study, we found physiological evidence in favour of an activation-induced increase in oxidation of the enzyme [J. Cereb. Blood Flow Metab. 19 (1999) 592], while in a second study on spectroscopic cross talk, we found that the [Cyt-ox] changes to potentially be an artefact of the spectroscopic approach [J. Biomed. Opt. 7 (2002) 51]. Here, we use two different stimuli which differentially activate areas either rich or poor in [Cyt-ox] content (blob/interblob in visual cortex V1 and pale/thin stripes in V2) to further clarify this apparent discrepancy. In a first experiment, two stimuli were presented in an alternating fashion for 20 s and all stimulation periods were separated by resting periods of 40 s. We observed similar changes in [Cyt-ox] for both stimuli. To become more sensitive to the potentially very small optical changes related to changes in [Cyt-ox], we tried to minimise global haemodynamic and metabolic effects in a second experiment by omitting the resting periods. Our hypothesis was that [Cyt-ox] changes could be fully explained by cross talk as it is predicted from our last study [J. Biomed. Opt. 7 (2002) 51]. However, in more than half of the experiments, we were not able to model the changes in Cyt-ox calculated from measured attenuation spectra as a cross talk artefact. We interpret this finding as an argument in favour of the existence of [Cyt-ox] changes in response to functional stimulation. This finding, however, does not lessen the liability of the [Cyt-ox] changes to cross talk and calls for great caution when [Cyt-ox] changes are derived from NIRS measurements based on the modified Beer-Lambert approach. Further (invasive) validation studies are required.

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