Effects of reduced oxygen availability on the vascular response and oxygen consumption of the activated human visual cortex

Felipe Rodrigues Barreto, Silvia Mangia, Carlos Ernesto Garrido Salmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify the impact of reduced oxygen availability on the evoked vascular response upon visual stimulation in the healthy human brain by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Materials and Methods: Functional MRI techniques based on arterial spin labeling (ASL), blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD), and vascular space occupancy (VASO)-dependent contrasts were utilized to quantify the BOLD signal, cerebral blood flow (CBF), and volume (CBV) from nine subjects at 3T (7M/2F, 27.3 ± 3.6 years old) during normoxia and mild hypoxia. Changes in visual stimulus-induced oxygen consumption rates were also estimated with mathematical modeling. Results: Significant reductions in the extension of activated areas during mild hypoxia were observed in all three imaging contrasts: by 42.7 ± 25.2% for BOLD (n = 9, P = 0.002), 33.1 ± 24.0% for ASL (n = 9, P = 0.01), and 31.9 ± 15.6% for VASO images (n = 7, P = 0.02). Activated areas during mild hypoxia showed responses with similar amplitude for CBF (58.4 ± 18.7% hypoxia vs. 61.7 ± 16.1% normoxia, P = 0.61) and CBV (33.5 ± 17.5% vs. 25.2 ± 13.0%, P = 0.27), but not for BOLD (2.5 ± 0.8% vs. 4.1 ± 0.6%, P = 0.009). The estimated stimulus-induced increases of oxygen consumption were smaller during mild hypoxia as compared to normoxia (3.1 ± 5.0% vs. 15.5 ± 15.1%, P = 0.04). Conclusion: Our results demonstrate an altered vascular and metabolic response during mild hypoxia upon visual stimulation. Level of Evidence: 2. Technical Efficacy: Stage 2. J. MAGN. RESON. IMAGING 2017;46:142–149.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-149
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine


  • CMRO
  • functional MRI
  • mild hypoxia
  • neurovascular coupling
  • vascular response


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