The intravascular contribution to fMRI signal change: Monte Carlo modeling and diffusion-weighted studies in vivo

Magn Reson Med. 1995 Jul;34(1):4-10. doi: 10.1002/mrm.1910340103.


Understanding the relationship between fMRI signal changes and activated cortex is paramount to successful mapping of neuronal activity. To this end, the relative extravascular and intravascular contribution to fMRI signal change from capillaries (localized), venules (less localized) and macrovessels (remote, draining veins) must be determined. In this work, the authors assessed both the extravascular and intravascular contribution to blood oxygenation level-dependent gradient echo signal change at 1.5 T by using a Monte Carlo model for susceptibility-based contrast in conjunction with a physiological model for neuronal activation-induced changes in oxygenation and vascular volume fraction. The authors compared our Model results with experimental fMRI signal changes with and without velocity sensitization via bipolar gradients to null the intravascular signal. The model and experimental results are in agreement and suggest that the intravascular spins account for the majority of fMRI signal change on T2*-weighted images at 1.5 T.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted