Direct comparison of activation maps during galvanic vestibular stimulation: A hybrid H2[15 O] PET—BOLD MRI activation study

Sandra Becker-Bense, Frode Willoch, Thomas Stephan, Matthias Brendel, Igor Yakushev, Maximilian Habs, Sibylle Ziegler, Michael Herz, Markus Schwaiger, Marianne Dieterich, Peter Bartenstein

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Previous unimodal PET and fMRI studies in humans revealed a reproducible vestibular brain activation pattern, but with variations in its weighting and expansiveness. Hybrid studies minimizing methodological variations at baseline conditions are rare and still lacking for task-based designs. Thus, we applied for the first time hybrid 3T PET-MRI scanning (Siemens mMR) in healthy volunteers using galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) in healthy volunteers in order to directly compare H2 15O-PET and BOLD MRI responses. List mode PET acquisition started with the injection of 750 MBq H2 15O simultaneously to MRI EPI sequences. Group-level statistical parametric maps were generated for GVS vs. rest contrasts of PET, MR-onset (event-related), and MR-block. All contrasts showed a similar bilateral vestibular activation pattern with remarkable proximity of activation foci. Both BOLD contrasts gave more bilateral wide-spread activation clusters than PET; no area showed contradictory signal responses. PET still confirmed the right-hemispheric lateralization of the vestibular system, whereas BOLD-onset revealed only a tendency. The reciprocal inhibitory visual-vestibular interaction concept was confirmed by PET signal decreases in primary and secondary visual cortices, and BOLD-block decreases in secondary visual areas. In conclusion, MRI activation maps contained a mixture of CBF measured using H2 15O-PET and additional non-CBF effects, and the activation-deactivation pattern of the BOLD-block appears to be more similar to the H2 15O-PET than the BOLD-onset.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0233262
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


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