Arterial versus total blood volume changes during neural activity-induced cerebral blood flow change: implication for BOLD fMRI

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2007 Jun;27(6):1235-47. doi: 10.1038/sj.jcbfm.9600429. Epub 2006 Dec 20.


Quantifying both arterial cerebral blood volume (CBV(a)) changes and total cerebral blood volume (CBV(t)) changes during neural activation can provide critical information about vascular control mechanisms, and help to identify the origins of neurovascular responses in conventional blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Cerebral blood flow (CBF), CBV(a), and CBV(t) were quantified by MRI at 9.4 T in isoflurane-anesthetized rats during 15-s duration forepaw stimulation. Cerebral blood flow and CBV(a) were simultaneously determined by modulation of tissue and vessel signals using arterial spin labeling, while CBV(t) was measured with a susceptibility-based contrast agent. Baseline versus stimulation values in a region centered over the somatosensory cortex were: CBF=150+/-18 versus 182+/-20 mL/100 g/min, CBV(a)=0.83+/-0.21 versus 1.17+/-0.30 mL/100 g, CBV(t)=3.10+/-0.55 versus 3.41+/-0.61 mL/100 g, and CBV(a)/CBV(t)=0.27+/-0.05 versus 0.34+/-0.06 (n=7, mean+/-s.d.). Neural activity-induced absolute changes in CBV(a) and CBV(t) are statistically equivalent and independent of the spatial extent of regional analysis. Under our conditions, increased CBV(t) during neural activation originates mainly from arterial rather than venous blood volume changes, and therefore a critical implication is that venous blood volume changes may be negligible in BOLD fMRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteries
  • Blood Volume / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Rats
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / blood supply
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology


  • Oxygen