Effects of Thresholding on Voxel-Wise Correspondence of Breath-Hold and Resting-State Maps of Cerebrovascular Reactivity

Nooshin J. Fesharaki, Amy B. Mathew, Jedidiah R. Mathis, Wendy E. Huddleston, James L. Reuss, Jay J. Pillai, Edgar A. DeYoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Functional magnetic resonance imaging for presurgical brain mapping enables neurosurgeons to identify viable tissue near a site of operable pathology which might be at risk of surgery-induced damage. However, focal brain pathology (e.g., tumors) may selectively disrupt neurovascular coupling while leaving the underlying neurons functionally intact. Such neurovascular uncoupling can result in false negatives on brain activation maps thereby compromising their use for surgical planning. One way to detect potential neurovascular uncoupling is to map cerebrovascular reactivity using either an active breath-hold challenge or a passive resting-state scan. The equivalence of these two methods has yet to be fully established, especially at a voxel level of resolution. To quantitatively compare breath-hold and resting-state maps of cerebrovascular reactivity, we first identified threshold settings that optimized coverage of gray matter while minimizing false responses in white matter. When so optimized, the resting-state metric had moderately better gray matter coverage and specificity. We then assessed the spatial correspondence between the two metrics within cortical gray matter, again, across a wide range of thresholds. Optimal spatial correspondence was strongly dependent on threshold settings which if improperly set tended to produce statistically biased maps. When optimized, the two CVR maps did have moderately good correspondence with each other (mean accuracy of 73.6%). Our results show that while the breath-hold and resting-state maps may appear qualitatively similar they are not quantitatively identical at a voxel level of resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number654957
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
StatePublished - Aug 24 2021


  • amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations
  • brain mapping
  • breath-hold
  • cerebrovascular reactivity
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • neurovascular uncoupling
  • resting-state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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