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On the importance of modeling fMRI transients when estimating effective connectivity: a dynamic causal modeling study using ASL data

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Abstract

Effective connectivity is commonly assessed using blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signals. In (Havlicek et al., 2015), we presented a novel, physiologically informed dynamic causal model (P-DCM) that extends current generative models. We demonstrated the improvements afforded by P-DCM in terms of the ability to model commonly observed neuronal and vascular transients in single regions. Here, we assess the ability of the novel and previous DCM variants to estimate effective connectivity among a network of five ROIs driven by a visuo-motor task. We demonstrate that connectivity estimates depend sensitively on the DCM used, due to differences in the modeling of hemodynamic response transients; such as the post-stimulus undershoot or adaptation during stimulation. In addition, using a novel DCM for arterial spin labeling (ASL) fMRI that measures BOLD and CBF signals simultaneously, we confirmed our findings (by using the BOLD data alone and in conjunction with CBF). We show that P-DCM provides better estimates of effective connectivity, regardless of whether it is applied to BOLD data alone or to ASL time-series, and that all new aspects of P-DCM (i.e. neuronal, neurovascular, hemodynamic components) constitute an improvement compared to those in the previous DCM variants. In summary, (i) accurate modeling of fMRI response transients is crucial to obtain valid effective connectivity estimates and (ii) any additional hemodynamic data, such as provided by ASL, increases the ability to disambiguate neuronal and vascular effects present in the BOLD signal.

    Research areas

  • DCM, Effective connectivity, ASL, BOLD signal, Hemodynamic transients, BOLD POSTSTIMULUS UNDERSHOOT, LABELING FUNCTIONAL MRI, NEGATIVE BOLD, BLOOD-FLOW, NEURONAL-ACTIVITY, SIGNAL CHANGES, FREE-ENERGY, BRAIN, RESPONSES, SENSITIVITY
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-233
Number of pages17
JournalNeuroimage
Volume155
Early online date18 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017