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Accurate estimates of the BOLD hemodynamic response function (HRF) are crucial for the interpretation and analysis of event-related functional MRI data. To date, however, there have been no comprehensive measurements of the HRF in white matter (WM) despite increasing evidence that BOLD signals in WM change after a stimulus. We performed an event-related cognitive task (Stroop color-word interference) to measure the HRF in selected human WM pathways. The task was chosen in order to produce robust, distributed centers of activity throughout the cortex. To measure the HRF in WM, fiber tracts were reconstructed between each pair of activated cortical areas. We observed clear task-specific HRFs with reduced magnitudes, delayed onsets and prolonged initial dips in WM tracts compared with activated grey matter, thus calling for significant changes to current standard models for accurately characterizing the HRFs in WM and for modifications of standard methods of analysis of functional imaging data.
BACKGROUND - Mechanisms underlying the association between age-related arterial stiffening and poor brain health remain elusive. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) homeostasis may be implicated. This study evaluates how aortic stiffening relates to resting CBF and cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) in older adults.
METHODS - Vanderbilt Memory & Aging Project participants free of clinical dementia, stroke, and heart failure were studied, including older adults with normal cognition (n=155; age, 72±7 years; 59% male) or mild cognitive impairment (n=115; age, 73±7 years; 57% male). Aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV; meters per second) was quantified from cardiac magnetic resonance. Resting CBF (milliliters per 100 g per minute) and CVR (CBF response to hypercapnic normoxia stimulus) were quantified from pseudocontinuous arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging. Linear regression models related aortic PWV to regional CBF, adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, education, Framingham Stroke Risk Profile (diabetes mellitus, smoking, left ventricular hypertrophy, prevalent cardiovascular disease, atrial fibrillation), hypertension, body mass index, apolipoprotein E4 ( APOE ε4) status, and regional tissue volume. Models were repeated testing PWV× APOE ε4 interactions. Sensitivity analyses excluded participants with prevalent cardiovascular disease and atrial fibrillation.
RESULTS - Among participants with normal cognition, higher aortic PWV related to lower frontal lobe CBF (β=-0.43; P=0.04) and higher CVR in the whole brain (β=0.11; P=0.02), frontal lobes (β=0.12; P<0.05), temporal lobes (β=0.11; P=0.02), and occipital lobes (β=0.14; P=0.01). Among APOE ε4 carriers with normal cognition, findings were more pronounced with higher PWV relating to lower whole-brain CBF (β=-1.16; P=0.047), lower temporal lobe CBF (β=-1.81; P=0.004), and higher temporal lobe CVR (β=0.26; P=0.08), although the last result did not meet the a priori significance threshold. Results were similar in sensitivity models. Among participants with mild cognitive impairment, higher aortic PWV related to lower CBF in the occipital lobe (β=-0.70; P=0.02), but this finding was attenuated when participants with prevalent cardiovascular disease and atrial fibrillation were excluded. Among APOE ε4 carriers with mild cognitive impairment, findings were more pronounced with higher PWV relating to lower temporal lobe CBF (β=-1.20; P=0.02).
CONCLUSIONS - Greater aortic stiffening relates to lower regional CBF and higher CVR in cognitively normal older adults, especially among individuals with increased genetic predisposition for Alzheimer's disease. Central arterial stiffening may contribute to reductions in regional CBF despite preserved cerebrovascular reserve capacity.
Reward valuation, which underlies all value-based decision-making, has been associated with dopamine function in many studies of nonhuman animals, but there is relatively less direct evidence for an association in humans. Here, we measured dopamine D receptor (DRD2) availability in vivo in humans to examine relations between individual differences in dopamine receptor availability and neural activity associated with a measure of reward valuation, expected value (i.e., the product of reward magnitude and the probability of obtaining the reward). Fourteen healthy adult subjects underwent PET with [F]fallypride, a radiotracer with strong affinity for DRD2, and fMRI (on a separate day) while performing a reward valuation task. [F]fallypride binding potential, reflecting DRD2 availability, in the midbrain correlated positively with neural activity associated with expected value, specifically in the left ventral striatum/caudate. The present results provide in vivo evidence from humans showing midbrain dopamine characteristics are associated with reward valuation.
Vascular pathology is common in late-life depression, contributing to changes in cerebral function. We examined whether late-life depression was associated with differences in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and whether such differences were related to vascular risk and cerebrovascular pathology, specifically white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volumes. Twenty-three depressed elders and 20 age- and sex-matched elders with no psychiatric history completed cranial 3T MRI. MRI procedures included a pseudo-continuous Arterial Spin Labeling (pcASL) acquisition obtained while on room air and during a hypercapnia challenge allowing for calculation of cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR). Brain segmentation identified frontal, temporal, parietal and cingulate sub-regions in which CBF and CVR were calculated. The depressed group exhibited an anterior-posterior gradient in CBF, with lower CBF throughout the frontal lobe but higher CBF in the parietal lobe, temporal lobe, thalamus and hippocampus. A similar anterior to posterior gradient was observed in the cingulate cortex, with anterior regions exhibiting lower CBF and posterior regions exhibiting higher CBF. We did not observe any group differences in CVR measures. We did not observe significant relationships between CBF and CVR with vascular risk or WMH volumes, aside from an isolated finding associating higher WMH volumes with lower CBF in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Decreased anterior CBF in depressed elders might reflect decreased metabolic activity in these regions, while increased posterior CBF may represent either compensatory processes or different activity of posterior intrinsic functional networks. Future work should examine how these findings are related to compensatory changes with aging.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
OBJECTIVE - To assess cross-sectionally whether lower cardiac index relates to lower resting cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) among older adults.
METHODS - Vanderbilt Memory & Aging Project participants free of stroke, dementia, and heart failure were studied (n = 314, age 73 ± 7 years, 59% male, 39% with mild cognitive impairment). Cardiac index (liters per minute per meter squared) was quantified from echocardiography. Resting CBF (milliliters per 100 grams per minute) and hypercapnia-induced CVR were quantified from pseudo-continuous arterial spin-labeling MRI. Linear regressions with ordinary least-square estimates related cardiac index to regional CBF, with adjustment for age, education, race/ethnicity, Framingham Stroke Risk Profile score (systolic blood pressure, antihypertensive medication use, diabetes mellitus, current cigarette smoking, left ventricular hypertrophy, prevalent cardiovascular disease [CVD], atrial fibrillation), ε4 status, cognitive diagnosis, and regional tissue volume.
RESULTS - Lower cardiac index corresponded to lower resting CBF in the left (β = 2.4, = 0.001) and right (β = 2.5, = 0.001) temporal lobes. Results were similar when participants with prevalent CVD and atrial fibrillation were excluded (left temporal lobe β = 2.3, = 0.003; right temporal lobe β = 2.5, = 0.003). Cardiac index was unrelated to CBF in other regions assessed ( > 0.25) and CVR in all regions ( > 0.05). In secondary cardiac index × cognitive diagnosis interaction models, cardiac index and CBF associations were present only in cognitively normal participants and affected a majority of regions assessed with effects strongest in the left ( < 0.0001) and right ( < 0.0001) temporal lobes.
CONCLUSIONS - Among older adults without stroke, dementia, or heart failure, systemic blood flow correlates with cerebral CBF in the temporal lobe, independently of prevalent CVD, but not CVR.
© 2017 American Academy of Neurology.
A subgroup of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients treated with dopaminergic therapy develop compulsive reward-driven behaviors, which can result in life-altering morbidity. The mesocorticolimbic dopamine network guides reward-motivated behavior; however, its role in this treatment-related behavioral phenotype is incompletely understood. Here, mesocorticolimbic network function in PD patients who develop impulsive and compulsive behaviors (ICB) in response to dopamine agonists was assessed using BOLD fMRI. The tested hypothesis was that network connectivity between the ventral striatum and the limbic cortex is elevated in patients with ICB and that reward-learning proficiency reflects the extent of mesocorticolimbic network connectivity. To evaluate this hypothesis, 3.0T BOLD-fMRI was applied to measure baseline functional connectivity on and off dopamine agonist therapy in age and sex-matched PD patients with (n = 19) or without (n = 18) ICB. An incentive-based task was administered to a subset of patients (n = 20) to quantify positively or negatively reinforced learning. Whole-brain voxelwise analyses and region-of-interest-based mixed linear effects modeling were performed. Elevated ventral striatal connectivity to the anterior cingulate gyrus (P = 0.013), orbitofrontal cortex (P = 0.034), insula (P = 0.044), putamen (P = 0.014), globus pallidus (P < 0.01), and thalamus (P < 0.01) was observed in patients with ICB. A strong trend for elevated amygdala-to-midbrain connectivity was found in ICB patients on dopamine agonist. Ventral striatum-to-subgenual cingulate connectivity correlated with reward learning (P < 0.01), but not with punishment-avoidance learning. These data indicate that PD-ICB patients have elevated network connectivity in the mesocorticolimbic network. Behaviorally, proficient reward-based learning is related to this enhanced limbic and ventral striatal connectivity. Hum Brain Mapp 39:509-521, 2018. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
BACKGROUND - PD patients treated with dopamine therapy can develop maladaptive impulsive and compulsive behaviors, manifesting as repetitive participation in reward-driven activities. This behavioral phenotype implicates aberrant mesocorticolimbic network function, a concept supported by past literature. However, no study has investigated the acute hemodynamic response to dopamine agonists in this subpopulation.
OBJECTIVES - We tested the hypothesis that dopamine agonists differentially alter mesocortical and mesolimbic network activity in patients with impulsive-compulsive behaviors.
METHODS - Dopamine agonist effects on neuronal metabolism were quantified using arterial-spin-labeling MRI measures of cerebral blood flow in the on-dopamine agonist and off-dopamine states. The within-subject design included 34 PD patients, 17 with active impulsive compulsive behavior symptoms, matched for age, sex, disease duration, and PD severity.
RESULTS - Patients with impulsive-compulsive behaviors have a significant increase in ventral striatal cerebral blood flow in response to dopamine agonists. Across all patients, ventral striatal cerebral blood flow on-dopamine agonist is significantly correlated with impulsive-compulsive behavior severity (Questionnaire for Impulsive Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson's Disease- Rating Scale). Voxel-wise analysis of dopamine agonist-induced cerebral blood flow revealed group differences in mesocortical (ventromedial prefrontal cortex; insular cortex), mesolimbic (ventral striatum), and midbrain (SN; periaqueductal gray) regions.
CONCLUSIONS - These results indicate that dopamine agonist therapy can augment mesocorticolimbic and striato-nigro-striatal network activity in patients susceptible to impulsive-compulsive behaviors. Our findings reinforce a wider literature linking studies of maladaptive behaviors to mesocorticolimbic networks and extend our understanding of biological mechanisms of impulsive compulsive behaviors in PD. © 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
© 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
In a retrospective cohort study, we tested the hypothesis that when prescribing hydroxyurea (HU) to children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) to prevent vaso-occlusive events, there will be a secondary benefit of maintaining low transcranial Doppler (TCD) velocity, measured by imaging technique (TCDi). HU was prescribed for 90.9% (110 of 120) of children with SCA ≥5 years of age and followed for a median of 4.4 years, with 70% (n = 77) receiving at least one TCDi evaluation after starting HU. No child prescribed HU had a conditional or abnormal TCDi measurement. HU initiation for disease severity prevention decreases the prevalence of abnormal TCDi velocities.
© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Moyamoya is a bilateral, complex cerebrovascular condition characterized by progressive non-atherosclerotic intracranial stenosis and collateral vessel formation. Moyamoya treatment focuses on restoring cerebral blood flow (CBF) through surgical revascularization, however stratifying patients for revascularization requires abilities to quantify how well parenchyma is compensating for arterial steno-occlusion. Globally elevated oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) secondary to CBF reduction may serve as a biomarker for tissue health in moyamoya patients, as suggested in patients with sickle cell anemia (SCA) and reduced oxygen carrying capacity. Here, OEF was measured (TRUST-MRI) to test the hypothesis that OEF is globally elevated in patients with moyamoya (n = 18) and SCA (n = 18) relative to age-matched controls (n = 43). Mechanisms underlying the hypothesized OEF increases were evaluated by performing sequential CBF-weighted, cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR)-weighted, and structural MRI. Patients were stratified by treatment and non-parametric tests applied to compare study variables (significance: two-sided P < 0.05). OEF was significantly elevated in moyamoya participants (interquartile range = 0.38-0.45) compared to controls (interquartile range = 0.29-0.38), similar to participants with SCA (interquartile range = 0.37-0.45). CBF was inversely correlated with OEF in moyamoya participants. Elevated OEF was only weakly related to reductions in CVR, consistent with basal CBF level, rather than vascular reserve capacity, being most closely associated with OEF.
After lesions of the somatosensory dorsal column (DC) pathway, the cortical hand representation can become unresponsive to tactile stimuli, but considerable responsiveness returns over weeks of post-lesion recovery. The reactivation suggests that preserved subthreshold sensory inputs become potentiated and axon sprouting occurs over time to mediate recovery. Here, we studied the recovery process in 3 squirrel monkeys, using high-resolution cerebral blood volume-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (CBV-fMRI) mapping of contralateral somatosensory cortex responsiveness to stimulation of distal finger pads with low and high level electrocutaneous stimulation (ES) before and 2, 4, and 6weeks after a mid-cervical level contralateral DC lesion. Both low and high intensity ES of digits revealed the expected somatotopy of the area 3b hand representation in pre-lesion monkeys, while in areas 1 and 3a, high intensity stimulation was more effective in activating somatotopic patterns. Six weeks post-lesion, and irrespective of the severity of loss of direct DC inputs (98%, 79%, 40%), somatosensory cortical area 3b of all three animals showed near complete recovery in terms of somatotopy and responsiveness to low and high intensity ES. However there was significant variability in the patterns and amplitudes of reactivation of individual digit territories within and between animals, reflecting differences in the degree of permanent and/or transient silencing of primary DC and secondary inputs 2weeks post-lesion, and their spatio-temporal trajectories of recovery between 2 and 6weeks. Similar variations in the silencing and recovery of somatotopy and responsiveness to high intensity ES in areas 3a and 1 are consistent with individual differences in damage to and recovery of DC and spinocuneate pathways, and possibly the potentiation of spinothalamic pathways. Thus, cortical deactivation and subsequent reactivation depends not only on the degree of DC lesion, but also on the severity and duration of loss of secondary as well as primary inputs revealed by low and high intensity ES.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.