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Magn Reson Med. 2008 Oct;60(4):987-96. doi: 10.1002/mrm.21759.

Anesthetic effects on regional CBF, BOLD, and the coupling between task-induced changes in CBF and BOLD: an fMRI study in normal human subjects.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-2048, USA.


Functional MR imaging was performed in sixteen healthy human subjects measuring both regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) and blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal when visual and auditory stimuli were presented to subjects in the presence or absence of anesthesia. During anesthesia, 0.25 mean alveolar concentration (MAC) sevoflurane was administrated. We found that low-dose sevoflurane decreased the task-induced changes in both BOLD and CBF. Within the visual and auditory regions of interest inspected, both baseline CBF and the task-induced changes in CBF decreased significantly during anesthesia. Low-dose sevoflurane significantly altered the task-induced CBF-BOLD coupling; for a unit change of CBF, a larger change in BOLD was observed in the anesthesia condition than in the anesthesia-free condition. Low-dose sevoflurane was also found to have significant impact on the spatial nonuniformity of the task-induced coupling. The alteration of task-induced CBF-BOLD coupling by low-dose sevoflurane introduces ambiguity to the direct interpretation of functional MRI (fMRI) data based on only one of the indirect measures-CBF or BOLD. Our observations also indicate that the manipulation of the brain with an anesthetic agent complicates the model-based quantitative interpretation of fMRI data, in which the relative task-induced changes in oxidative metabolism are calculated by means of a calibrated model given the relative changes in the indirect vascular measures, usually CBF and BOLD.

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