Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) has been widely used to measure functional connectivity between cortical regions of the brain. However, there have been minimal reports of bold oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signals in white matter, and even fewer attempts to detect resting state connectivity. Recently, there has been growing evidence that suggests that reliable detection of white matter BOLD signals may be possible. We have previously shown that nearest neighbor inter-voxel correlations of resting state BOLD signal fluctuations in white matter are anisotropic and can be represented by a functional correlation tensor, but the biophysical origins of these signal variations are not clear. We aimed to assess whether MRI signal fluctuations in white matter vary for different baseline levels of neural activity. We performed imaging studies on live squirrel monkeys under different levels of isoflurane anesthesia at 9.4T. We found 1) the fractional power (0.01-0.08Hz) in white matter was between 60 to 75% of the level in gray matter; 2) the power in both gray and white matter low frequencies decreased monotonically in similar manner with increasing levels of anesthesia; 3) the distribution of fractional anisotropy values of the functional tensors in white matter were significantly higher than those in gray matter; and 4) the functional tensor eigenvalues decreased with increasing level of anesthesia. Our results suggest that as anesthesia level changes baseline neural activity, white matter signal fluctuations behave similarly to those in gray matter, and functional tensors in white matter are affected in parallel.
Published by Elsevier Inc.