PublicatiesThe many layers of BOLD. The effect of hypercapnic and hyperoxic stimuli on macro- and micro-vascular compartments quantified by CVR, M, and CBV across cortical depth
Ultra-high field functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) offers the spatial resolution to measure neuronal activity at the scale of cortical layers. However, cortical depth dependent vascularization differences, such as a higher prevalence of macro-vascular compartments near the pial surface, have a confounding effect on depth-resolved blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) fMRI signals. In the current study, we use hypercapnic and hyperoxic breathing conditions to quantify the influence of all venous vascular and micro-vascular compartments on laminar BOLD fMRI, as measured with gradient-echo (GE) and spin-echo (SE) scan sequences, respectively. We find that all venous vascular and micro-vascular compartments are capable of comparable theoretical maximum signal intensities, as represented by the M-value parameter. However, the capacity for vessel dilation, as reflected by the cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR), is approximately two and a half times larger for all venous vascular compartments combined compared to the micro-vasculature at superficial layers. Finally, there is roughly a 35% difference in estimates of CBV changes between all venous vascular and micro-vascular compartments, although this relative difference was approximately uniform across cortical depth. Thus, our results suggest that fMRI BOLD signal differences across cortical depth are likely caused by differences in dilation properties between macro- and micro-vascular compartments.