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FMRI multi-scale cortical spontaneous activity: 7T vs. 3T

By Xiu-Xia Xing, Chao Jiang, Xiao Gao, Yin-Shan Wang, Xi-Nian Zuo

Posted 10 Jun 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.06.09.447694

This paper describes the use of the Human Connectome Project (HCP) data for mapping the distribution of spontaneous activity in the human brain across different spatial scales, magnets and individuals. Specifically, the resting-state functional MRI signals acquired under the HCP 3 tesla (T) and 7T magnet protocols were measured by computational methods at multiple spatial scales across the cerebral cortex using: 1) an amplitude metric on a single measuring unit (ALFF), 2) a functional homogeneity metric on a set of neighboring measuring units (ReHo) and 3) a homotopic functional connectivity metric on pairs of symmetric measuring units between the two hemispheres (VMHC). Statistical assessments on these measurements revealed that all the raw metrics were enhanced by the higher magnetic field, highlighting their dependence on magnet field strength. Measurement reliability of these global measurements were moderate to high and comparable between between 3T and 7T magnets. The differences in these measurements introduced by the higher magnetic field were spatially dependent and varied according to specific cortical regions. Specifically, the spatial contrasts of ALFF were enhanced by the 7T magnet within the anterior cortex while weakened in the posterior cortex. This is opposite for ReHo and VMHC. This scale-dependent phenomena also held true for measurement reliabilities, which were enhanced by the 7T magnet for ReHo and VMHC and weakened for ALFF. These reliability differences were primarily located in high-order associate cortex, reflecting the corresponding changes of individual differences: higher between-subject variability and lower within-subject variability for ReHo and VMHC, lower between-subject variability and higher within-subject variability for ReHo and VMHC with respect to higher magnetic field strength. Our work, for the first time, demonstrates the spatial-scale dependence of spontaneous cortical activity measurements in the human brain and their test-retest reliability across different magnet strengths, and discussed about the statistical implications for experimental design using resting-state fMRI.

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