Reducing Between-Subject Variability in Stimulus-Evoked BOLD fMRI Using Breath Hold-Derived Vascular Covariates
Emma Biondetti1,2, Antonio Maria Chiarelli1,2, Ilona Lipp3,4, Rachael Stickland3,5, Alessandro Villani1,2, Eleonora Patitucci3, Valentina Tomassini1,2,6,7,8, and Richard Wise1,2
1Department of Neuroscience, Imaging, and Clinical Sciences, D'Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy, 2Institute for Advanced Biomedical Technologies, D'Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy, 3Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), School of Psychology, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 4Department of Neurophysics, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive & Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany, 5Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, United States, 6MS Centre, Neurology Unit, SS. Annunziata University Hospital, Chieti, Italy, 7Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 8Helen Durham Centre for Neuroinflammation, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom
The representation of changes in neural activity by blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) fMRI is affected by vascular properties including cerebral blood volume (CBV) and cerebral vascular reactivity (CVR). Here, we investigate these factors using a breath-hold BOLD fMRI experiment. We show that a group-level correction of the stimulus-evoked BOLD fMRI signal by these vascular properties reduces between-subject variability and improves sensitivity to the task response. Notably, correcting with a marker of relative CBV does not require individual recordings of exhaled carbon dioxide (in contrast with CVR) and resulted in the highest increase in sensitivity to the task.
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