Indexed on: 13 Dec '06Published on: 13 Dec '06Published in: NeuroImage
The negative blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal following the cessation of stimulation (post-stimulus BOLD undershoot) is observed in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. However, its spatial characteristics are unknown. To investigate this, gradient-echo BOLD fMRI in response to visual stimulus was obtained in isoflurane-anesthetized cats at 9.4 T. Since the middle cortical layer (layer 4) is known to have the highest metabolic and cerebral blood volume (CBV) responses, images were obtained to view the cortical cross-section. Robust post-stimulus BOLD undershoot was observed in all studies, and lasted longer than 30 s after the cessation of 40-60 s stimulation. The magnitude of post-stimulus BOLD undershoot was linearly dependent on echo time with little intercept when extrapolating to TE = 0, indicating that the T2* change is the major cause of the BOLD undershoot. The post-stimulus BOLD undershoot was observed within the cortex and near the surface of the cortex, while the prolonged CBV elevation was observed only at the middle of the cortex. Within the cortex, the largest post-stimulus undershoot was detected at the middle of the cortex, similar to the CBV increase during the stimulation period. Our findings demonstrate that, even though there is significant contribution from pial vessel signals, the post-stimulus undershoot BOLD signal is useful to improve the spatial localization of fMRI to active cortical sites.