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Combining arterial blood contrast with BOLD increases fMRI intracortical contrast

Publication year 2023
Published in Human Brain Mapping
Authors Nikos Priovoulos, Icaro Agenor Ferreira de Oliveira, Benedikt A Poser, David G Norris, Wietske van der Zwaag

BOLD fMRI is widely applied in human neuroscience but is limited in its spatial specificity due to a cortical-depth-dependent venous bias. This reduces its localization specificity with respect to neuronal responses, a disadvantage for neuroscientific research. Here, we modified a submillimeter BOLD protocol to selectively reduce venous and tissue signal and increase cerebral blood volume weighting through a pulsed saturation scheme (dubbed Arterial Blood Contrast) at 7 T. Adding Arterial Blood Contrast on top of the existing BOLD contrast modulated the intracortical contrast. Isolating the Arterial Blood Contrast showed a response free of pial-surface bias. The results suggest that Arterial Blood Contrast can modulate the typical fMRI spatial specificity, with important applications in in-vivo neuroscience.

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