Perfusion deficit to cholinergic challenge in veterans with Gulf War Illness

Peiying Liu, Sina Aslan, Xiufeng Li, David M. Buhner, Jeffrey S. Spence, Richard W. Briggs, Robert W. Haley, Hanzhang Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A highly plausible etiology for Gulf War Illness (GWI) is that the neural damage and cognitive deficits are associated with excessive exposure to cholinesterase-inhibiting cholinergic stimulants. Our previous SPECT study provided strong indication that cerebral blood flow (CBF) in veterans with GWI may be different from those of unaffected control veterans. The present study confirmed and extended previous findings that patients with GWI have abnormal response to an inhibitory cholinergic challenge, physostigmine infusion, when compared to age-gender-education matched control veterans. The MRI-based arterial spin labeling (ASL) and phase-contrast techniques have several key advantages over SPECT, including shorter experiment duration, complete non-invasiveness, and higher spatial and temporal resolutions, and therefore may provide a cost-effective biomarker for characterization of GWI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-246
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by IDIQ contract VA549-P-0027, awarded and administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Dallas, TX, by DOD grant number DAMD 17-01-1-0741 from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command , and by NIH (NCRR) grant number UL1RR024982 . The content does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Federal government or the sponsoring agencies, and no official endorsement should be inferred.


  • Arterial spin labeling MRI
  • Brain diseases
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Gulf War Illness
  • Phase-contrast MRI
  • Physostigmine


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