Whole-brain mapping of venous vessel size in humans using the hypercapnia-induced BOLD effect

Thies H. Jochimsen*, Dimo Ivanov, Derek V. M. Ott, Wolfgang Heinke, Robert Turner, Harald E. Moeller, Juergen R. Reichenbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Measuring the morphology of the cerebral microvasculature by vessel-size imaging (VSI) is a promising approach for clinical applications, such as the characterization of tumor angiogenesis and stroke. Despite the great potential of VSI, this method has not yet found widespread use in practice due to the lack of experience in testing it on healthy humans. Since this limitation derives mainly from the need for an invasive injection of a contrast agent, this work explores the possibility to employ instead the easily accessible blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) effect for VSI of the venous microstructure. It is demonstrated that BOLD-VSI in humans can be realized by a hypercapnic challenge using a fast gradient-echo (GE) and spin-echo (SE) sequence at 7T. Reproducible maps of the mean venous vessel radius, based on the BOLD-induced changes in GE and SE relaxation rates, could be obtained within a scan time of 10min. Moreover, the method yields maps of venous blood volume and vessel density. Owing to its non-invasive character, BOLD-VSI provides a low-risk method to analyze the venous microstructure, which will not only be useful in clinical applications, but also provide a better understanding of BOLD effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-774
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Vessel-size imaging
  • BOLD
  • Hypercapnia
  • Blood volume
  • Vessel density

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