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The effects of transit time heterogeneity on brain oxygenation during rest and functional activation

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The interpretation of regional blood flow and blood oxygenation changes during functional activation has evolved from the concept of 'neurovascular coupling', and hence the regulation of arteriolar tone to meet metabolic demands. The efficacy of oxygen extraction was recently shown to depend on the heterogeneity of capillary flow patterns downstream. Existing compartment models of the relation between tissue metabolism, blood flow, and blood oxygenation, however, typically assume homogenous microvascular flow patterns. To take capillary flow heterogeneity into account, we modeled the effect of capillary transit time heterogeneity (CTH) on the 'oxygen conductance' used in compartment models. We show that the incorporation of realistic reductions in CTH during functional hyperemia improves model fits to dynamic blood flow and oxygenation changes acquired during functional activation in a literature animal study. Our results support earlier observations that oxygen diffusion properties seemingly change during various physiologic stimuli, and posit that this phenomenon is related to parallel changes in capillary flow patterns. Furthermore, our results suggest that CTH must be taken into account when inferring brain metabolism from changes in blood flow- or blood oxygenation-based signals .Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 10 December 2014; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2014.213.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Pages (from-to)432-42
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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