Coherence of BOLD signal and electrical activity in the human brain during deep sevoflurane anesthesia

Daniel Golkowski, Andreas Ranft, Tobias Kiel, Valentin Riedl, Philipp Kohl, Guido Rohrer, Joachim Pientka, Sebastian Berger, Christine Preibisch, Claus Zimmer, George A. Mashour, Gerhard Schneider, Eberhard F. Kochs, Rüdiger Ilg, Denis Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Introduction: Changes in neural activity induce changes in functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal. Commonly, increases in BOLD signal are ascribed to cellular excitation. Objective: The relationship between electrical activity and BOLD signal in the human brain was probed on the basis of burst suppression EEG. This condition includes two distinct states of high and low electrical activity. Methods: Resting-state simultaneous EEG and BOLD measurements were acquired during deep sevoflurane anesthesia with burst suppression EEG in nineteen healthy volunteers. Afterwards, fMRI volumes were assigned to one of the two states (burst or suppression) as defined by the EEG. Results: In the frontal, parietal and temporal lobes as well as in the basal ganglia, BOLD signal increased after burst onset in the EEG and decreased after onset of EEG suppression. In contrast, BOLD signal in the occipital lobe was anticorrelated to electrical activity. This finding was obtained consistently in a general linear model and in raw data. Conclusions: In human brains exhibiting burst suppression EEG induced by sevoflurane, the positive correlation between BOLD signal and electrical brain activity could be confirmed in most gray matter. The exceptional behavior of the occipital lobe with an anticorrelation of BOLD signal and electrical activity might be due to specific neurovascular coupling mechanisms that are pronounced in the deeply anesthetized brain.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00679
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • BOLD
  • EEG
  • burst suppression
  • neurovascular coupling
  • sevoflurane


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