Tomokazu Tsurugizawa1, Boucif Djemai1, Luisa Ciobanu1, Denis Le Bihan1
1Neurospin/CEA, Gif-sur-Yvette, Essonne, France
Diffusion-weighted functional MRI (DfMRI) has been shown to be sensitive to neural activation, however, its vascular or non-vascular origin has been a subject of controversy. We have compared the DfMRI and BOLD responses at 7T in the rat brain during forepaw electrical stimulation with and without nitroprussiate, a neurovascular coupling inhibitor, and compared these responses with recorded neural activity. Under the nitroprussiate infusion, while the BOLD signal was completely suppressed, the neuronal activation and DfMRI signal were conserved, demonstrating that DfMRI includes a genuine diffusion component which directly reflects neuronal activation.