PURPOSE. To demonstrate blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of vascular oxygenation changes in normal, unanesthetized human retinas associated with oxygen and carbogen challenge. METHODS. MRI was performed with a 3-T human scanner and a custom-made surface-coil detector on normal volunteers. BOLD MRI with inversion recovery was used to suppress the vitreous signal. During MRI measurements, volunteers underwent three episodes of air and 100% oxygen or carbogen (5% CO2 and 95% O2) breathing. Eye movement was effectively managed with eye fixation, synchronized blinks, and post processing image coregistration. BOLD time-series images were analyzed using the cross-correlation method. Percent changes due to oxygen or carbogen inhalation versus air were tabulated for whole-retina and different regions of the retina. RESULTS. Robust BOLD responses were detected. BOLD MRI percent change from a large region of interest at the posterior pole of the retina was 5.2 ± 1.5% (N = 9 trials from five subjects) for oxygen inhalation and 5.2 ± 1.3% (N = 11 trials from five subjects) for carbogen inhalation. Group-averaged BOLD percent changes were not significantly different between oxygen and carbogen challenges (P > 0.05). The foveal region had greater BOLD response compared with the optic nerve head region for both challenges. CONCLUSIONS. BOLD retinal responses to oxygen and carbogen breathing in unanesthetized humans can be reliably imaged at high spatiotemporal resolution. BOLD MRI has the potential to provide a valuable tool to study retinal physiology and pathophysiology, such as how vascular oxygenation at the tissue level is regulated in the normal retina, and how retinal diseases may affect oxygen response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience