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Mini Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.01136

Origins of the resting-state functional MRI signal: potential limitations of the “neurocentric” model

  • 1National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), United States
  • 2College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin, United States

Resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) is emerging as a research tool for systems and clinical neuroscience. The mechanism underlying resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI) signal, however, remains incompletely understood. A widely held assumption is that the spontaneous fluctuations in blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal reflect ongoing neuronal processes (herein called “neurocentric” model). In support of this model, evidence from human and animal studies collectively reveals that the spatial synchrony of spontaneously occurring electrophysiological signal recapitulates BOLD rsFC networks. Recent two experiments from two independent labs designed to specifically examine neuronal origins of rsFC, however, suggest that spontaneously occurring neuronal events, as assessed by multiunit activity or local field potential, although statistically significant, explain only a small portion (~10%) of variance in resting-state BOLD fluctuations. These two experiments, although each with its own limitations, suggest that the spontaneous fluctuations in rsfMRI, may have complex cellular origins, and the “neurocentric” model may not apply to all brain regions.

Keywords: resting-state MRI, functional connectivity, MUA, LFP, BOLD

Received: 06 Jul 2019; Accepted: 08 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Lu, Jaime and Yang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Hanbing Lu, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Bethesda, United States,