Early anti-correlated BOLD signal changes of physiologic origin

Molly G. Bright*, Marta Bianciardi, Jacco A. de Zwart, Kevin Murphy, Jeff H. Duyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Negative BOLD signals that are synchronous with resting state fluctuations have been observed in large vessels in the cortical sulci and surrounding the ventricles. In this study, we investigated the origin of these negative BOLD signals by applying a Cued Deep Breathing (CDB) task to create transient hypocapnia and a resultant global fMRI signal decrease. We hypothesized that a global stimulus would amplify the effect in large vessels and that using a global negative (vasoconstrictive) stimulus would test whether these voxels exhibit either inherently negative or simply anti-correlated BOLD responses. Significantly anti-correlated, but positive, BOLD signal changes during respiratory challenges were identified in voxels primarily located near edges of brain spaces containing CSF. These positive BOLD responses occurred earlier than the negative CDB response across most of gray matter voxels. These findings confirm earlier suggestions that in some brain regions, local, fractional changes in CSF volume may overwhelm BOLD-related signal changes, leading to signal anti-correlation. We show that regions with CDB anti-correlated signals coincide with most, but not all, of the regions with negative BOLD signal changes observed during a visual and motor stimulus task. Thus, the addition of a physiological challenge to fMRI experiments can help identify which negative BOLD signals are passive physiological anti-correlations and which may have a putative neuronal origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Feb 15 2014


  • Anti-correlated BOLD
  • Deactivation
  • FMRI
  • Negative BOLD
  • Physiology
  • Respiratory challenge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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