Dependence of BOLD signal change on tactile stimulus intensity in SI of primates.

Zhang N, Gore JC, Chen LM, Avison MJ
Magn Reson Imaging. 2007 25 (6): 784-94

PMID: 17614230 · DOI:10.1016/j.mri.2007.05.002

Recently, we have demonstrated that the fine-digit topography (millimeter sized) previously identified in the primary somatosensory cortex (SI), using electrophysiology and intrinsic signal optical imaging, can also be mapped with submillimeter resolution using blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging at high field. In the present study, we have examined the dependence of BOLD signal response on stimulus intensity in two subregions of SI, Areas 3b and 1. In a region(s)-of-interest (ROI) analysis of Area 3b, BOLD signal amplitude increased linearly with increasing amplitude of an 8-Hz vibrotactile stimulus, and BOLD signal was sustained throughout the stimulation period. In contrast, in Area 1, a significant BOLD signal response was only observed with more intense stimuli, and ROI analysis of the dependence of BOLD response showed no significant dependence on stimulus intensity. In addition, activation was not sustained throughout the period of stimulation. Differing responses of Areas 3b and 1 suggest potentially divergent roles for subregions of SI cortices in vibrotactile intensity encoding. Moreover, this study underscores the importance of imaging at small spatial scales. In this case, such high-resolution imaging allows differentiation between area-specific roles in intensity encoding and identifies anatomic targets for detailed electrophysiological studies of somatosensory neuronal populations with different coding properties. These experiments illustrate the value of nonhuman primates for characterizing the dependence of the BOLD signal response on stimulus parameters and on underlying neural response properties.

MeSH Terms (11)

Algorithms Animals Brain Mapping Electrophysiology Image Processing, Computer-Assisted Magnetic Resonance Imaging Models, Statistical Primates Saimiri Time Factors Touch

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