Static and Dynamic Functional Connectivity Analysis of Cerebrovascular Reactivity: An fMRI Study
The human brain, as a finely-tuned system, needs a constant flow of oxygen to function properly. To accomplish this, the cerebrovascular system ensures a steady stream of oxygenation to brain cells. One tool that the cerebrovascular system uses is cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR), which is the system's ability to react to vasoactive stimuli. Understanding CVR can provide unique information about cerebrovascular diseases and general brain function. CVR can be evaluated by scanning subjects with blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they periodically inhale room air and CO2-enriched gas, a powerful and widely-used vasodilator. Our goal is to understand the effect of vasodilation on individual intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs), as well as how functional network connectivity (FNC) adapts to the same vasodilation. To achieve this goal, we first developed an innovative metric to measure the effect of CVR on ICNs, which contrasts to the commonly used voxel-wise CVR. Furthermore, for the first time, we studied static (sFNC) and dynamic (dFNC) FNC in the context of CVR. Our results show that network connectivity is generally weaker during vascular dilation, and these results are more pronounced in dFNC analysis. dFNC analysis reveals that participants did not return to the pre-CO2 inhalation state, suggesting that the one-minute period of roomair inhalation is not enough for the CO2 effect to fully dissipate in humans. Overall, we see new relationships between CVR and ICNs, as well as how FNC adapts to vascular system changes.
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