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Imaging brain activity during natural vision using CASL perfusion fMRI

Authors

  • Hengyi Rao,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Neurology & Radiology, Center of Functional Neuroimaging, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
    2. Department of Psychology and Center for Functional Brain Imaging, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
    • Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, 3 West Gates, 3400 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104
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  • Jiongjiong Wang,

    1. Departments of Neurology & Radiology, Center of Functional Neuroimaging, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
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  • Kathy Tang,

    1. Departments of Neurology & Radiology, Center of Functional Neuroimaging, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
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  • Wei Pan,

    1. Department of Psychology and Center for Functional Brain Imaging, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
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  • John A. Detre

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Neurology & Radiology, Center of Functional Neuroimaging, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
    • Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, 3 West Gates, 3400 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104
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Abstract

Functional MRI (fMRI) has begun to be used to explore human brain activity during ecological and natural conditions. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion fMRI provides an appealing approach for imaging sustained brain activity during natural conditions because of its long-term temporal stability and ability to noninvasively quantify absolute cerebral blood flow (CBF). The present study used ASL perfusion fMRI to measure brain activation patterns associated with natural vision by concurrently recording CBF and blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) contrasts while subjects were freely viewing a cartoon movie. Reliable quantitative whole-brain CBF values (∼60 mL/100g/min) as well as regional CBF values (45∼80 mL/100g/min) were measured during movie viewing and resting states. The perfusion contrast revealed CBF increases in multiple visual pathway areas and frontal areas, and CBF decreases in ventromedial frontal cortex and superior temporal cortex during movie viewing compared to resting states. Concurrent BOLD contrast revealed similar but weaker activation and deactivation patterns. Regression analyses of both CBF data and BOLD data showed significant associations between activation in the middle temporal (MT) region and subjects' perception of motion. Region of interest analysis based on a priori literature-defined MT demonstrated significant monotonic stepwise associations between the intensity of motion perception and the CBF and BOLD signal changes. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using ASL perfusion fMRI for imaging both sustained and dynamic effects in neural activation during natural and ecologically valid situations, and support the notion of maintained functional segregation and specialization during natural vision. Hum Brain Mapp, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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