Lag-Optimized Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent Cerebrovascular Reactivity Estimates Derived From Breathing Task Data Have a Stronger Relationship With Baseline Cerebral Blood Flow
Stickland, Rachael C.
Zvolanek, Kristina M.
G. Bright, Molly
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Stickland RC, Zvolanek KM, Moia S, Caballero-Gaudes C and Bright MG (2022) Lag-Optimized Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent Cerebrovascular Reactivity Estimates Derived From Breathing Task Data Have a Stronger Relationship With Baseline Cerebral Blood Flow. Front. Neurosci. 16:910025. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2022.910025
Cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR), an important indicator of cerebrovascular health, is commonly studied with the Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent functional MRI (BOLD-fMRI) response to a vasoactive stimulus. Theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that baseline cerebral blood flow (CBF) modulates BOLD signal amplitude and may influence BOLD-CVR estimates. We address how acquisition and modeling choices affect the relationship between baseline cerebral blood flow (bCBF) and BOLD-CVR: whether BOLD-CVR is modeled with the inclusion of a breathing task, and whether BOLD-CVR amplitudes are optimized for hemodynamic lag effects. We assessed between-subject correlations of average GM values and within-subject spatial correlations across cortical regions. Our results suggest that a breathing task addition to a resting-state acquisition, alongside lag-optimization within BOLD-CVR modeling, can improve BOLD-CVR correlations with bCBF, both between- and within-subjects, likely because these CVR estimates are more physiologically accurate. We report positive correlations between bCBF and BOLD-CVR, both between- and within-subjects. The physiological explanation of this positive correlation is unclear; research with larger samples and tightly controlled vasoactive stimuli is needed. Insights into what drives variability in BOLD-CVR measurements and related measurements of cerebrovascular function are particularly relevant when interpreting results in populations with altered vascular and/or metabolic baselines or impaired cerebrovascular reserve.