Indexed on: 22 Oct '03Published on: 22 Oct '03Published in: NeuroImage
The blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal time course in the auditory cortex is characterized by two components, an initial transient peak and a subsequent sustained plateau with smaller amplitude. Because the T(2)(*) signal detected by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) depends on at least two counteracting factors, blood oxygenation and volume, we examined whether the reduction in the sustained BOLD signal results from decreased levels of oxygenation or from increased levels of blood volume. We used conventional fMRI to quantify the BOLD signal and fMRI in combination with superparamagnetic contrast agent to quantify blood volume and employed repetition rate-modulated sounds in a silent background to manipulate the response amplitude in the auditory cortex. In the BOLD signal, the initial peak reached 3.3% with pulsed sound and 1.9% with continuous sound, whereas the sustained BOLD signal fell to 2.2% with pulsed sound and to 0.5% with continuous sound, respectively. The repetition rate-dependent reduction in the sustained BOLD amplitude was accompanied by concordant changes in sustained blood volume levels, which, compared to silence, increased by approximately 30% with pulsed and by approximately 10% with continuous sound. Thus, our data suggest that the reduced amplitude of the sustained BOLD signal reflects stimulus-dependent modulation of blood oxygenation rather than blood volume-related effects.