J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2019 12 11;39(12):2471-2485. Epub 2018 Sep 11.
Oulu Functional Neuro Imaging Group, Research Unit of Medical Imaging Physics and Technology (MIPT), University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Ultra-fast functional magnetic resonance encephalography (MREG) enables separate assessment of cardiovascular, respiratory, and vasomotor waves from brain pulsations without temporal aliasing. We examined effects of breath hold- (BH) related changes on cardiovascular brain pulsations using MREG to study the physiological nature of cerebrovascular reactivity. We used alternating 32 s BH and 88 s resting normoventilation (NV) to change brain pulsations during MREG combined with simultaneously measured respiration, continuous non-invasive blood pressure, and cortical near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in healthy volunteers. Changes in classical resting-state network BOLD-like signal and cortical blood oxygenation were reproduced based on MREG and NIRS signals. Cardiovascular pulsation amplitudes of MREG signal from anterior cerebral artery, oxygenated hemoglobin concentration in frontal cortex, and blood pressure decreased after BH. MREG cardiovascular pulse amplitudes in cortical areas and sagittal sinus increased, while cerebrospinal fluid and white matter remained unchanged. Respiratory centers in the brainstem - hypothalamus - thalamus - amygdala network showed strongest increases in cardiovascular pulsation amplitude. The spatial propagation of averaged cardiovascular impulses altered as a function of successive BH runs. The spread of cardiovascular pulse cycles exhibited a decreasing spatial similarity over time. MREG portrayed spatiotemporally accurate respiratory network activity and cardiovascular pulsation dynamics related to BH challenges at an unpreceded high temporal resolution.