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Hum Brain Mapp. 2014 May;35(5):2191-205. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22320. Epub 2013 Jul 29.

Investigation of BOLD fMRI resonance frequency shifts and quantitative susceptibility changes at 7 T.

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Advanced MRI Section, Laboratory of Functional and Molecular Imaging, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; Department of Radiology, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Building 149, Room 2301, 13th Street, Charlestown, Boston, MA.


Although blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments of brain activity generally rely on the magnitude of the signal, they also provide frequency information that can be derived from the phase of the signal. However, because of confounding effects of instrumental and physiological origin, BOLD related frequency information is difficult to extract and therefore rarely used. Here, we explored the use of high field (7 T) and dedicated signal processing methods to extract frequency information and use it to quantify and interpret blood oxygenation and blood volume changes. We found that optimized preprocessing improves detection of task-evoked and spontaneous changes in phase signals and resonance frequency shifts over large areas of the cortex with sensitivity comparable to that of magnitude signals. Moreover, our results suggest the feasibility of mapping BOLD quantitative susceptibility changes in at least part of the activated area and its largest draining veins. Comparison with magnitude data suggests that the observed susceptibility changes originate from neuronal activity through induced blood volume and oxygenation changes in pial and intracortical veins. Further, from frequency shifts and susceptibility values, we estimated that, relative to baseline, the fractional oxygen saturation in large vessels increased by 0.02-0.05 during stimulation, which is consistent to previously published estimates. Together, these findings demonstrate that valuable information can be derived from fMRI imaging of BOLD frequency shifts and quantitative susceptibility changes.


BOLD fMRI phase signal changes; BOLD fMRI quantitative susceptibility changes; BOLD fMRI resonance frequency shifts; fractional oxygen saturation

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