University of Oulu

Spontaneous blood oxygen fluctuation in awake and sedated brain cortex – a BOLD fMRI study

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Author: Kiviniemi, Vesa1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Diagnostic Radiology
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Anaesthesiology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2004
Publish Date: 2004-06-18
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Auditorium 7 of the University Hospital of Oulu, on June 18th, 2004, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Docent Juhana Hakumäki
Professor Jyrki Kuikka


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has become a leading tool in the evaluation of the human brain function. In fMRI the activation induced blood oxygenation changes in the brain can be detected with an inherent blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) contrast. Even small blood oxygen fluctuations in a resting brain can be depicted with the BOLD contrast.

This thesis focuses on characterizing spontaneous oxygenation fluctuations of the brain by using BOLD fMRI. The effects of anesthetics on blood oxygen fluctuations were assessed in 38 children and 12 adults. The spatial distribution, frequency, synchrony, and statistical independence of the spontaneous oxygenation changes were analyzed. The role of imaging artifacts in the generation of BOLD signal fluctuations was investigated. The study aimed to develop and compare methods of detecting the nondeterministic oxygenation fluctuations of the brain.

VLF BOLD signal fluctuation in the brain cortex is induced by physiological oscillation instead of imaging artifacts. This study shows for the first time how the power and synchrony of very low frequency (VLF <  0.05 Hz) blood oxygen fluctuation significantly increases after sedation. In deeper anesthesia, the VLF fluctuation overpowers other sources of blood oxygen variation as a sign of reduced blood flow and altered hemodynamic control. Regional hemodynamic mechanisms induce non-Gaussian features on the VLF blood oxygen fluctuation that can be depicted effectively with independent component analysis. Combined use of frequency, time, and spatial domain analysis guarantees a more complete picture of brain oxygenation fluctuations.

The results of this thesis have a dualistic impact on fMRI research. First of all, VLF fluctuation alters the BOLD activation and connectivity results after sedation. Thus it has to be accounted for in the fMRI of sedated subjects. Secondly, by using the methods developed in this thesis, VLF fluctuation and other physiological BOLD signal sources can now be used in characterizing physiological alterations and pathology of the brain.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-7388-5
ISBN Print: 951-42-7387-7
Issue: 791
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2004. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.