Olfaction is a fundamental sense that plays a vital role in daily life in humans, and can be altered in neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) using conventional echo-planar-imaging (EPI) based sequences can be challenging in brain regions important for olfactory processing, such as the olfactory bulb (OB) and orbitofrontal cortex, mainly due to the signal dropout and distortion artifacts caused by large susceptibility effects from the sinonasal cavity and temporal bone. To date, few studies have demonstrated successful fMRI in the OB in humans. T2-prepared (T2prep) BOLD fMRI is an alternative approach developed especially for performing fMRI in regions affected by large susceptibility artifacts. The purpose of this technical study is to evaluate T2prep BOLD fMRI for olfactory functional experiments in humans. Olfactory fMRI scans were performed on 7T in 14 healthy participants. T2prep BOLD showed greater sensitivity than GRE EPI BOLD in the OB, orbitofrontal cortex and the temporal pole. Functional activation was detected using T2prep BOLD in the OB and associated olfactory regions. Habituation effects and a bi-phasic pattern of fMRI signal changes during olfactory stimulation were observed in all regions. Both positively and negatively activated regions were observed during olfactory stimulation. These signal characteristics are generally consistent with literature and showed a good intra-subject reproducibility comparable to previous human BOLD fMRI studies. In conclusion, the methodology demonstrated in this study holds promise for future olfactory fMRI studies in the OB and other brain regions that suffer from large susceptibility artifacts.
- MRI artifacts
ASJC Scopus subject areas