Linking hemodynamic and electrophysiological measures of brain activity: evidence from functional MRI and intracranial field potentials

Cereb Cortex. 2004 Feb;14(2):165-73. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhg115.


We investigated the relation between electrophysiological and hemodynamic measures of brain activity through comparison of intracranially recorded event-related local field potentials (ERPs) and blood-oxygenation level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD fMRI). We manipulated the duration of visual checkerboard stimuli across trials and measured stimulus-duration-related changes in ERP and BOLD activity in three brain regions: peri-calcarine cortex, the fusiform gyrus and lateral temporal-occipital (LTO) cortex. ERPs were recorded from patients who had indwelling subdural electrodes as part of presurgical testing, while BOLD responses were measured in similar brain regions in a second set of subjects. Similar BOLD responses were measured in peri-calcarine and fusiform regions, with both showing monotonic but non-linear increases in hemodynamic amplitude with stimulus duration. In sharp contrast, very different ERP responses were observed in these same regions, such that calcarine electrodes exhibited onset potentials, sustained activity over the course of stimulus duration and prominent offset potentials, while fusiform electrodes only exhibited onset potentials that did not vary with stimulus duration. No duration-related ERP or BOLD changes were observed in LTO. Additional analyses revealed no consistent changes in the EEG spectrum across different brain sites that correlated with duration-related changes in the BOLD response. We conclude that the relation between ERPs and fMRI differs across brain regions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods