Two cerebral blood volume (CBV)-weighted fMRI techniques, gray matter nulled (GMN) and vascular space occupancy (VASO)-dependent techniques at spatial resolution of 2 × 2 × 5 mm(3), were compared in the study investigating functional responses in the human visual cortex to stimulation in normoxia (inspired O(2) = 21%) and mild hypoxic hypoxia (inspired O(2) = 12%). GMN and VASO signals and T(2)* were quantified in activated voxels. While the CBV-weighted signal changes in voxels activated by visual stimulation were similar in amplitude in both fMRI techniques in both oxygenation conditions, the number of activated voxels during hypoxic hypoxia was significantly reduced by 72 ± 22% in GMN fMRI and 66 ± 23% in VASO fMRI. T(2)* prolonged in GMN and VASO activated voxels in normoxia by 1.6 ± 0.5 ms and 1.7 ± 0.5 ms, respectively. In hypoxia, however, T(2)* shortened in GMN-activated voxels by 0.7 ± 0.6 ms (p <0.001 relative to normoxia), but prolonged in VASO-activated ones by 1.1 ± 0.6 ms (p <0.05 relative to normoxia). The data show that the hemodynamic responses to visual stimulation were not affected by hypoxic hypoxia, but T(2)* increases by both CBV-weighted fMRI techniques were smaller in activated voxels in hypoxia. The mechanisms influencing GMN fMRI signal in both oxygenation conditions were explored by simulating effects of the oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) and partial voluming with cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and white matter in imaging voxels. It is concluded that while GMN fMRI data point to increased, rather than decreased OEF during visual stimulation in hypoxia, partial voluming by CSF is likely to affect the CBV quantification by GMN fMRI under the experimental conditions used.
- Brain and Behaviour