Functional MRI of the thoracic spinal cord during vibration sensation




To demonstrate that it is possible to acquire accurate functional magnetic resonance images from thoracic spinal cord neurons.

Materials and Methods:

The lower thoracic spinal dermatomes (T7–T11) on the right side of the body were mechanically stimulated by vibration for 15 participants. Neuronal responses to vibration sensation were measured in the thoracic spinal cord using a HASTE sequence on a 3 Tesla MRI system.


Signal increases were observed in the corresponding lower thoracic spinal cord segments ipsilateral to the side of stimulation in the dorsal aspect of the spinal cord.


This is the first study to provide proof of principle that functional imaging of the entire thoracic spinal cord is possible, by detecting neuronal activity in the thoracic spinal cord during sensory stimulation using spinal fMRI. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;37:981–985. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.