Reduced Dynamic Coupling Between Spontaneous BOLD-CBF Fluctuations in Older Adults: A Dual-Echo pCASL Study

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Piero Chiacchiaretta, Francesco Cerritelli, Giovanna Bubbico, Mauro Gianni Petrucci, Antonio Ferretti

Journal: Front. Aging Neurosci. 10:115.

Measurement of the dynamic coupling between spontaneous Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) and cerebral blood flow (CBF) fluctuations has been recently proposed as a method to probe resting-state brain physiology. Here we investigated how the dynamic BOLD-CBF coupling during resting-state is affected by aging. Fifteen young subjects and 17 healthy elderlies were studied using a dual-echo pCASL sequence. We found that the dynamic BOLD-CBF coupling was markedly reduced in elderlies, in particular in the left supramarginal gyrus, an area known to be involved in verbal working memory and episodic memory. Moreover, correcting for temporal shift between BOLD and CBF timecourses resulted in an increased correlation of the two signals for both groups, but with a larger increase for elderlies. However, even after temporal shift correction, a significantly decreased correlation was still observed for elderlies in the left supramarginal gyrus, indicating that the age-related dynamic BOLD-CBF uncoupling in this region is more pronounced and can be only partially explained with a simple time-shift between the two signals. Interestingly, these results were observed in a group of elderlies with normal cognitive functions, suggesting that the study of dynamic BOLD-CBF coupling during resting-state is a promising technique, potentially able to provide early biomarkers of functional changes in the aging brain