Stronger influence of systemic than local hemodynamic-vascular factors on resting-state BOLD functional connectivity

Sebastian C. Schneider, Stephan Kaczmarz, Jens Göttler, Jan Kufer, Benedikt Zott, Josef Priller, Michael Kallmayer, Claus Zimmer, Christian Sorg, Christine Preibisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Correlated fluctuations in the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal of resting-state functional MRI (i.e., BOLD-functional connectivity, BOLD-FC) reflect a spectrum of neuronal and non-neuronal processes. In particular, there are multiple hemodynamic-vascular influences on BOLD-FC on both systemic (e.g., perfusion delay) and local levels (e.g., neurovascular coupling). While the influence of individual factors has been studied extensively, combined and comparative studies of systemic and local hemodynamic-vascular factors on BOLD-FC are scarce, notably in humans. We employed a multi-modal MRI approach to investigate and compare distinct hemodynamic-vascular processes and their impact on homotopic BOLD-FC in healthy controls and patients with unilateral asymptomatic internal carotid artery stenosis (ICAS). Asymptomatic ICAS is a cerebrovascular disorder, in which neuronal functioning is largely preserved but hemodynamic-vascular processes are impaired, mostly on the side of stenosis. Investigated indicators for local hemodynamic-vascular processes comprise capillary transit time heterogeneity (CTH) and cerebral blood volume (CBV) from dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) MRI, and cerebral blood flow (CBF) from pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling (pCASL). Indicators for systemic processes are time-to-peak (TTP) from DSC MRI and BOLD lags from functional MRI. For each of these parameters, their influence on BOLD-FC was estimated by a comprehensive linear mixed model. Equally across groups, we found that individual mean BOLD-FC, local (CTH, CBV, and CBF) and systemic (TTP and BOLD lag) hemodynamic-vascular factors together explain 40.7% of BOLD-FC variance, with 20% of BOLD-FC variance explained by hemodynamic-vascular factors, with an about two-times larger contribution of systemic versus local factors. We conclude that regional differences in blood supply, i.e., systemic perfusion delays, exert a stronger influence on BOLD-FC than impairments in local neurovascular coupling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120380
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • BOLD functional connectivity
  • Resting state
  • functional MRI
  • hemodynamic-vascular MRI
  • internal carotid artery stenosis


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