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Effect of ethanol on BOLD response to acoustic stimulation: implications for neuropharmacological fMRI


Scheffler,  K
Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Seifritz, E., Bilecen D, Hänggi D, Haselhorst R, Radü EW, Wetzel S, Seelig, J., & Scheffler, K. (2000). Effect of ethanol on BOLD response to acoustic stimulation: implications for neuropharmacological fMRI. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 99(1), 1-13. doi:10.1016/S0925-4927(00)00054-8.

The effects of ethanol on acoustically stimulated blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal response in healthy humans was examined with echo planar functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). An acquisition mode minimizing neuronal activation by scanner noise in combination with acoustic excitation by a pulsed 1000-Hz sine tone was used. Paradigms were repeated three times before and after the ingestion of 0.7 g of ethanol/kgbody weight. Linear correlation analyses (r≥0.40) revealed bilateral BOLD responses in the auditory cortex. Significant voxels covered a cortical volume of ∼3 ml that was reduced by ∼40 after ethanol. The BOLD signal change initially reaching ∼3 was reduced by 12–27, depending on the definition of the region of interest for signal quantitation. Because ethanol produces vasodilation, the hemodynamic contribution to the BOLD signal change was estimated by modeling the relationship between regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and BOLD signal changes. Assuming a baseline flow increase by 10 after ethanol intake, the resulting ‘Flow-BOLD-Dependence’ (FBD) curve suggested that the ethanol-related BOLD signal reduction was ∼7–12 greater than the reduction contributed purely by vasodilation. However, simultaneous determination of rCBF and regional cerebral blood volume would be required for an exact quantitation of the neuronally induced BOLD response. Although the FBD model needs empirical validation, its cautious implementation appears to be helpful if fMRI is used in combination with vasoactive drugs.