Spatial specificity of BOLD versus cerebral blood volume fMRI for mapping cortical organization

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2007 Jun;27(6):1248-61. doi: 10.1038/sj.jcbfm.9600434. Epub 2007 Jan 10.


Intravascular contrast agents are used in functional magnetic resonance imaging to obtain cerebral blood volume (CBV) maps of cortical activity. Cerebral blood volume imaging with MION (monocrystalline-iron-oxide-nanoparticles) increases the sensitivity of functional imaging compared with the blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal (Leite et al, 2002; Mandeville et al, 1998; Vanduffel et al, 2001). It therefore represents an attractive method for obtaining detailed maps of cortical organization (Vanduffel et al, 2001; Zhao et al, 2005). However, it remains to be determined how the spatial profile of CBV maps of cortical activity derived with MION compares with the profile of BOLD activation maps under a variety of different stimulation conditions. We used several stimulation paradigms to compare the spatial specificity of CBV versus BOLD activation maps in macaque area V1 at 4.7 T. We observed that: (1) CBV modulation is relatively stronger in deep cortical layers compared with BOLD, in agreement with studies in cats (Harel et al, 2006) and rodents (Lu et al, 2004; Mandeville and Marota, 1999) and (2) surprisingly, under large surround stimulation conditions, CBV maps extend along the cortical surface to cover large (>10 mm) regions of the cortex that are devoid of significant BOLD modulation. We conclude that the spatial profiles of BOLD and CBV activity maps do not coregister across all stimulus conditions, and therefore do not necessarily represent equivalent transforms of the neural response. Cerebral blood volume maps should be interpreted with care, in the context of the particular experimental paradigm applied.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Volume*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cerebral Cortex / blood supply*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Contrast Media
  • Haplorhini
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Contrast Media
  • Oxygen