Measurements and Modeling of Transient Blood Flow Perturbations Induced by Brief Somatosensory Stimulation


Proper interpretation of BOLD fMRI and other common functional imaging methods requires an understanding of neurovascular coupling. We used laser speckle-contrast optical imaging to measure blood-flow responses in rat somatosensory cortex elicited by brief (2 s) forepaw stimulation. Results show a large increase in local blood flow speed followed by an undershoot and possible late-time oscillations. The blood flow measurements were modeled using the impulse response of a simple linear network, a four-element windkessel. This model yielded excellent fits to the detailed time courses of activated regions. The four-element windkessel model thus provides a simple explanation and interpretation of the transient blood-flow response, both its initial peak and its late-time behavior.

Journal article
The Open Neuroimaging Journal