Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) provides a potential to understand intrinsic brain functional connectivity. However, vascular effects in rs-fMRI are still not fully understood. Through multiple modalities, we showed marked vascular signal fluctuations and high-level coupling among arterial pressure, cerebral blood flow (CBF) velocity and brain tissue oxygenation at <0.08 Hz. These similar spectral power distributions were also observed in blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signals obtained from six representative regions of interest (ROIs). After applying brain global, white-matter, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) mean signal regressions and low-pass filtering (<0.08 Hz), the spectral power of BOLD signal was reduced by 55.6% to 64.9% in all ROIs (P=0.011 to 0.001). The coherence of BOLD signal fluctuations between an ROI pair within a same brain network was reduced by 9.9% to 20.0% (P=0.004 to <0.001), but a larger reduction of 22.5% to 37.3% (P=0.032 to <0.001) for one not in a same network. Global signal regression overall had the largest impact in reducing spectral power (by 52.2% to 61.7%) and coherence, relative to the other three preprocessing steps. Collectively, these findings raise a critical question of whether a large portion of rs-fMRI signals can be attributed to the vascular effects produced from upstream changes in cerebral hemodynamics.
- blood flow; resting-state fMRI; vascular coupling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine