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Proceedings Paper

Investigating the physiology of brain activation with MRI
Author(s): Richard B. Buxton; Kamil Uludag; David J. Dubowitz
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Paper Abstract

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has become a powerful tool for investigating the working human brain based on the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) effect on the MR signal. However, despite the widespread use of fMRI techniques for mapping brain activation, the basic physiological mechanisms underlying the observed signal changes are still poorly understood. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) techniques, which measure cerebral blood flow (CBF) and the BOLD effect simultaneously, provide a useful tool for investigating these physiological questions. In this paper, recent results of studies manipulating the baseline CBF both pharmacologically and physiologically will be discussed. These data are consistent with a feed-forward mechanism of neurovascular coupling, and suggest that the CBF change itself may be a more robust reflection of neural activity changes than the BOLD effect. Consistent with these data, a new thermodynamic hypothesis is proposed for the physiological function of CBF regulation: maintenance of the [O2]/[CO2] concentration ratio at the mitochondria in order to preserve the free energy available from oxidative metabolism. A kinetic model based on this hypothesis provides a reasonable quantitative description of the CBF changes associated with neural activity and altered blood gases (CO2 and O2).

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 April 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5369, Medical Imaging 2004: Physiology, Function, and Structure from Medical Images, (30 April 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.536820
Show Author Affiliations
Richard B. Buxton, Univ. of California/San Diego (United States)
Kamil Uludag, Univ. of California/San Diego (United States)
David J. Dubowitz, Univ. of California/San Diego (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5369:
Medical Imaging 2004: Physiology, Function, and Structure from Medical Images
Amir A. Amini; Armando Manduca, Editor(s)

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