Analysis of the BOLD characteristics in pass-band bSSFP fMRI



Balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) has been proposed as an alternative method to acquire the blood oxygenation level dependent contrast. Particularly, pass-band bSSFP functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is believed to utilize the T2 sensitivity of bSSFP in a relatively wide and flat off-resonance frequency band of the bSSFP profile. The method has a potential to provide higher signal to noise ratio (SNR) efficiency with reduced imaging artifacts compared to conventional approaches. Previous experimental results suggested that the level of the functional contrast and its characteristics are significantly influenced by the sequence parameters. However, few of these contrast characteristics have been investigated systematically. In this study, a computer simulation was performed to investigate the sources of functional contrast and the influence of scan parameters on the functional contrast to elucidate the contrast characteristics of pass-band bSSFP fMRI. Experiments were performed to validate the simulation results. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Imaging Syst Technol, 22, 23–32, 2012