Effects of astrocytic dynamics on spatiotemporal hemodynamics: Modeling and enhanced data analysis

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The effects of astrocytic dynamics on the blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) response are modeled. The dynamics are represented via an astrocytic response function that approximates the effects of astrocytic activity, including delay between neural activity and hemodynamic response. The astrocytic response function is incorporated into a spatiotemporal hemodynamic model to predict the BOLD response measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Adding astrocytic dynamics is shown to significantly improve the ability of the model to robustly reproduce the spatiotemporal properties of the experimental data such as characteristic frequency and time-to-peak. Moreover, the results are consistent across different astrocytic response functions, thus a simple impulsive form suffices to model the effective time delay of astrocytic responses. Finally, the results yield improved estimates of previously reported hemodynamic parameters, such as natural frequency and decay rate of the flow signal, which are consistent with experimentally verified physiological limits. The techniques developed in this study will contribute to improved analysis of BOLD-fMRI data.

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