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Depth-dependent physiological modulators of the BOLD response in the human motor cortex


Guidi,  Maria
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Guidi, M. (2018). Depth-dependent physiological modulators of the BOLD response in the human motor cortex. PhD Thesis, University of Leipzig, Germany.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-C1D8-E
This dissertation proposes a set of methods for improving spatial localization of cerebral metabolic changes using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) fMRI estabilished itself as the most frequently used technique for mapping brain activity in humans. It is non-invasive and allows to obtain information about brain oxygenation changes in a few minutes. It was discovered in 1990 and, since then, it contributed enormously to the developments in neuroscientific research. Nevertheless, the BOLD contrast suffers from inherent limitations. This comes from the fact that the observed response is the result of a complex interplay between cerebral blood flow (CBF), cerebral blood volume (CBV) and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen consumption (CMRO2) and has a strong dependency on baseline blood volume and oxygenation. Therefore, the observed response is mislocalized from the site where the metabolic activity takes place and it is subject to high variability across experiments due to normal brain physiology. Since the peak of BOLD changes can be as much as 4 mm apart from the site of metabolic changes, the problem of spatial mislocalization is particularly constraining at submillimeter resolution. Three methods are proposed in this work in order to overcome this limitation and make data more comparable. The first method involves a modification of an estabilished model for calibration of BOLD responses (the dilution model), in order to render it applicable at higher resolutions. The second method proposes a model-free scaling of the BOLD response, based on spatial normalization by a purely vascular response pattern. The third method takes into account the hypothesis that the cortical vasculature could act as a low-pass filter for BOLD fluctuations as the blood is carried downstream, and investigates differences in frequency composition of cortical laminae. All methods are described and tested on a depth-dependent scale in the human motor cortex.