Changes in cerebral blood flow and cerebral oxygen metabolism during neural activation measured by positron emission tomography: comparison with blood oxygenation level-dependent contrast measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2005 Mar;25(3):371-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.jcbfm.9600030.


The discrepancy between the increases in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and CMRO2 during neural activation causes an increase in venous blood oxygenation and, therefore, a decrease in paramagnetic deoxyhemoglobin concentration in venous blood. This can be detected by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast. In the present study, changes in the cerebral oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) that corresponds to the ratio of CMRO2 to CBF, and in the BOLD signal during neural activation, were measured by both positron emission tomography (PET) and fMRI in the same human subjects. C15O, 15O2, and H2(15)O PET studies were performed in each subject at rest (baseline) and during performance of a right-hand motor task. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies were then performed to measure the BOLD signal under the two conditions. During performance of the motor task, a significant increase in CBF and a significant decrease in OEF were observed in the left precentral gyrus, left superior frontal gyrus, right precentral gyrus, right cingulate gyrus, and right cerebellum. A significant positive correlation was observed between changes in the CBF and the BOLD signal, and a significant negative correlation was observed between changes in the OEF and the BOLD signal. This supports the assumption on which BOLD contrast studies during neural activation are based.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Reference Values


  • Oxygen