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Increased Cortical Oxidative Metabolism Due to Sensory Stimulation: Implications for Functional Brain Imaging

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Science  19 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5444, pp. 1555-1558
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5444.1555

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Abstract

Modern functional brain mapping relies on interactions of neuronal electrical activity with the cortical microcirculation. The existence of a highly localized, stimulus-evoked initial deoxygenation has remained a controversy. Here, the activity-dependent oxygen tension changes in the microcirculation were measured directly, using oxygen-dependent phosphorescence quenching of an exogenous indicator. The first event after sensory stimulation was an increase in oxygen consumption, followed by an increase in blood flow. Because oxygen consumption and neuronal activity are colocalized but the delayed blood flow is not, functional magnetic resonance imaging focused on this initial phase will yield much higher spatial resolution, ultimately enabling the noninvasive visualization of fundamental processing modules in the human brain.

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