Multiband multi-echo simultaneous ASL/ BOLD for task-induced functional MRI

Alexander D. Cohen, Andrew S. Nencka, Yang Wang

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4 Scopus citations


Typical simultaneous blood oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) and arterial spin labeling (ASL) sequences acquire two echoes, one perfusion-sensitive and one BOLD-sensitive. However, for ASL, spatial resolution and brain coverage are limited due to the T1 decay of the labeled blood. This study applies a sequence combining a multiband acquisition with four echoes for simultaneous BOLD and pseudo-continuous ASL (pCASL) echo planar imaging (MBME ASL/BOLD) for block-design task-fMRI. A multiband acceleration of four was employed to increase brain coverage and reduce slice-timing effects on the ASL signal. Multi-echo independent component analysis (MEICA) was implemented to automatically denoise the BOLD signal by regressing non-BOLD components. This technique led to increased temporal signal-to-noise ratio (tSNR) and BOLD sensitivity. The MEICA technique was also modified to denoise the ASL signal by regressing artifact and BOLD signals from the first echo time-series. The MBME ASL/BOLD sequence was applied to a finger-tapping task functional MRI (fMRI) experiment. Signal characteristics and activation were evaluated using single echo BOLD, combined ME BOLD, combined ME BOLD after MEICA denoising, perfusion-weighted (PW), and perfusion-weighted after MEICA denoising time-series. The PW data was extracted using both surround subtraction and high-pass filtering followed by demodulation. In addition, the CBF/BOLD response ratio and CBF/BOLD coupling were analyzed. Results showed that the MEICA denoising procedure significantly improved the BOLD signal, leading to increased BOLD sensitivity, tSNR, and activation statistics compared to conventional single echo BOLD data. At the same time, the denoised PW data showed increased tSNR and activation statistics compared to the non-denoised PW data. CBF/BOLD coupling was also increased using the denoised ASL and BOLD data. Our preliminary data suggest that the MBME ASL/BOLD sequence can be employed to collect whole-brain task-fMRI with improved data quality for both BOLD and PW time series, thus improving the results of block-design task fMRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0190427
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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