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Neuroimage. 2019 Jul 5;200:450-459. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.07.011. [Epub ahead of print]

Modulation of the spontaneous hemodynamic response function across levels of consciousness.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400715, China; Department of Data Analysis, University of Ghent, B9000, Ghent, Belgium.
2
Coma Science Group, GIGA Research Center, University of Liège, B4000, Liège, Belgium; Center for Clinical Brain Sciences, Centre for Dementia Prevention, UK Dementia Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, EH16 4SB, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
3
Coma Science Group, GIGA Research Center, University of Liège, B4000, Liège, Belgium.
4
Department of Data Analysis, University of Ghent, B9000, Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address: daniele.marinazzo@ugent.be.

Abstract

Functional imaging research has already contributed with several results to the study of neural correlates of consciousness. Apart from task-related activation derived in fMRI, PET based glucose metabolism rate or cerebral blood flow account for a considerable proportion of the study of brain activity under different levels of consciousness. Resting state functional connectivity MRI is playing a crucial role to explore the consciousness related functional integration, successfully complementing PET, another widely used neuroimaging technique. Here, spontaneous hemodynamic response is introduced to characterize resting state brain activity giving information on the local metabolism (neurovascular coupling), and useful to improve the time-resolved activity and connectivity measures based on BOLD fMRI. This voxel-wise measure is then used to investigate the loss of consciousness under Propofol anesthesia and unresponsive wakefulness syndrome. Changes in the hemodynamic response in precuneus and posterior cingulate are found to be a common principle underlying loss of consciousness in both conditions. The thalamus appears to be less obviously modulated by Propofol, compared with frontoparietal regions. However, a significant increase in spontaneous thalamic hemodynamic response was found in patients in unresponsive wakefulness syndrome compared with healthy controls. Our results ultimately show that anesthesia- or pathology-induced neurovascular coupling could be tracked by modulated spontaneous hemodynamic response derived from resting state fMRI.

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