Genes Influence the Amplitude and Timing of Brain Hemodynamic Responses

Neuroimage. 2016 Jan 1;124(Pt A):663-671. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.09.016. Epub 2015 Sep 12.


In functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the hemodynamic response function (HRF) reflects regulation of regional cerebral blood flow in response to neuronal activation. The HRF varies significantly between individuals. This study investigated the genetic contribution to individual variation in HRF using fMRI data from 125 monozygotic (MZ) and 149 dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs. The resemblance in amplitude, latency, and duration of the HRF in six regions in the frontal and parietal lobes was compared between MZ and DZ twin pairs. Heritability was estimated using an ACE (Additive genetic, Common environmental, and unique Environmental factors) model. The genetic influence on the temporal profile and amplitude of HRF was moderate to strong (24%-51%). The HRF may be used in the genetic analysis of diseases with a cerebrovascular etiology.

Keywords: Hemodynamic response function (HRF); Heritability; Neurovascular coupling; Twin study.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / genetics*
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Genotype
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic
  • Young Adult