Absolute cerebral blood flow quantification with pulsed arterial spin labeling during hyperoxia corrected with the simultaneous measurement of the longitudinal relaxation time of arterial blood

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Quantitative arterial spin labeling (ASL) estimates of cerebral blood flow (CBF) during oxygen inhalation are important in several contexts, including functional experiments calibrated with hyperoxia and studies investigating the effect of hyperoxia on regional CBF. However, ASL measurements of CBF during hyperoxia are confounded by the reduction in the longitudinal relaxation time of arterial blood (T1a) from paramagnetic molecular oxygen dissolved in blood plasma. The aim of this study is to accurately quantify the effect of arbitrary levels of hyperoxia onT1a and correct ASL measurements of CBF during hyperoxia on a per-subject basis. To mitigate artifacts, including the inflow of fresh spins, partial voluming, pulsatility, and motion, a pulsed ASL approach was implemented for in vivo measurements ofT1a in the rat brain at 3 Tesla. After accounting for the effect of deoxyhemoglobin dilution, the relaxivity of oxygen on blood was found to closely match phantom measurements. The results of this study suggest that the measured ASL signal changes are dominated by reductions inT1a for brief hyperoxic inhalation epochs, while the physiologic effects of oxygen on the vasculature account for most of the measured reduction in CBF for longer hyperoxic exposures.

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