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A selection and targeting framework of cortical locations for line-scanning fMRI

Research group Dumoulin
Publication year 2023
Published in Human Brain Mapping
Authors Jurjen Heij, Luisa Raimondo, Jeroen C W Siero, Serge O Dumoulin, Wietske van der Zwaag, Tomas Knapen

Depth-resolved functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is an emerging field growing in popularity given the potential of separating signals from different computational processes in cerebral cortex. Conventional acquisition schemes suffer from low spatial and temporal resolutions. Line-scanning methods allow depth-resolved fMRI by sacrificing spatial coverage to sample blood oxygenated level-dependent (BOLD) responses at ultra-high temporal and spatial resolution. For neuroscience applications, it is critical to be able to place the line accurately to (1) sample the right neural population and (2) target that neural population with tailored stimuli or tasks. To this end, we devised a multi-session framework where a target cortical location is selected based on anatomical and functional properties. The line is then positioned according to this information in a separate second session, and we tailor the experiment to focus on the target location. Anatomically, the precision of the line placement was confirmed by projecting a nominal representation of the acquired line back onto the surface. Functional estimates of neural selectivities in the line, as quantified by a visual population-receptive field model, resembled the target selectivities well for most subjects. This functional precision was quantified in detail by estimating the distance between the visual field location of the targeted vertex and the location in visual cortex (V1) that most closely resembled the line-scanning estimates; this distance was on average ~5.5 mm. Given the dimensions of the line, differences in acquisition, session, and stimulus design, this validates that line-scanning can be used to probe local neural sensitivities across sessions. In summary, we present an accurate framework for line-scanning MRI; we believe such a framework is required to harness the full potential of line-scanning and maximize its utility. Furthermore, this approach bridges canonical fMRI experiments with electrophysiological experiments, which in turn allows novel avenues for studying human physiology non-invasively.

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