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Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Radiology and Medical Imaging

Echo-Time and Field Strength Dependence of BOLD Reactivity in Veins and Parenchyma Using Flow-Normalized Hypercapnic Manipulation
Published: Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Author: Christina Triantafyllou et al.

by Christina Triantafyllou, Lawrence L. Wald, Richard D. Hoge

While the BOLD (Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent) contrast mechanism has demonstrated excellent sensitivity to neuronal activation, its specificity with regards to differentiating vascular and parenchymal responses has been an area of ongoing concern. By inducing a global increase in Cerebral Blood Flow (CBF), we examined the effect of magnetic field strength and echo-time (TE) on the gradient-echo BOLD response in areas of cortical gray matter and in resolvable veins. In order to define a quantitative index of BOLD reactivity, we measured the percent BOLD response per unit fractional change in global gray matter CBF induced by inhaling carbon dioxide (CO2). By normalizing the BOLD response to the underlying CBF change and determining the BOLD response as a function of TE, we calculated the change in R2* (?R2*) per unit fractional flow change; the Flow Relaxation Coefficient, (FRC) for 3T and 1.5T in parenchymal and large vein compartments. The FRC in parenchymal voxels was 1.76±0.54 fold higher at 3T than at 1.5T and was 2.96±0.66 and 3.12±0.76 fold higher for veins than parenchyma at 1.5T and 3T respectively, showing a quantitative measure of the increase in specificity to parenchymal sources at 3T compared to 1.5T. Additionally, the results allow optimization of the TE to prioritize either maximum parenchymal BOLD response or maximum parenchymal specificity. Parenchymal signals peaked at TE values of 62.0±11.5 ms and 41.5±7.5 ms for 1.5T and 3T, respectively, while the response in the major veins peaked at shorter TE values; 41.0±6.9 ms and 21.5±1.0 ms for 1.5T and 3T. These experiments showed that at 3T, the BOLD CNR in parenchymal voxels exceeded that of 1.5T by a factor of 1.9±0.4 at the optimal TE for each field.