Normal variations in brain oxygen extraction fraction are partly attributed to differences in end-tidal CO2

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2020 Jul;40(7):1492-1500. doi: 10.1177/0271678X19867154. Epub 2019 Aug 5.


Cerebral oxygen extraction fraction is an important physiological index of the brain's oxygen consumption and supply and has been suggested to be a potential biomarker for a number of diseases such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell disease, and metabolic disorders. However, in order for oxygen extraction fraction to be a sensitive biomarker for personalized disease diagnosis, inter-subject variations in normal subjects must be minimized or accounted for, which will otherwise obscure its interpretation. Therefore, it is essential to investigate the physiological underpinnings of normal differences in oxygen extraction fraction. This work used two studies, one discovery study and one verification study, to examine the extent to which an individual's end-tidal CO2 can explain variations in oxygen extraction fraction. It was found that, across normal subjects, oxygen extraction fraction is inversely correlated with end-tidal CO2. Approximately 50% of the inter-subject variations in oxygen extraction fraction can be attributed to end-tidal CO2 differences. In addition, oxygen extraction fraction was found to be positively associated with age and systolic blood pressure. By accounting for end-tidal CO2, age, and systolic blood pressure of the subjects, normal variations in oxygen extraction fraction can be reduced by 73%, which is expected to substantially enhance the utility of oxygen extraction fraction as a disease biomarker.

Keywords: Oxygen extraction fraction; T2-Relaxation-Under-Spin-Tagging; end-tidal CO2; variation; venous oxygenation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / blood
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Oxygen / analysis*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen