The effect of low-frequency physiological correction on the reproducibility and specificity of resting-state fMRI metrics: Functional connectivity, ALFF, and ReHo

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Abstract

The resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) signal is affected by a variety of low-frequency physiological phenomena, including variations in cardiac-rate (CRV), respiratory-volume (RVT), and end-tidal CO2 (PETCO2). While these effects have become better understood in recent years, the impact that their correction has on the quality of rs-fMRI measurements has yet to be clarified. The objective of this paper is to investigate the effect of correcting for CRV, RVT and PETCO2 on the rs-fMRI measurements. Nine healthy subjects underwent a test-retest rs-fMRI acquisition using repetition times (TRs) of 2 s (long-TR) and 0.323 s (short-TR), and the data were processed using eight different physiological correction strategies. Subsequently, regional homogeneity (ReHo), amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF), and resting-state connectivity of the motor and default-mode networks are calculated for each strategy. Reproducibility is calculated using intra-class correlation and the Dice Coefficient, while the accuracy of functional-connectivity measures is assessed through network separability, sensitivity and specificity. We found that: (1) the reproducibility of the rs-fMRI measures improved significantly after correction for PETCO2; (2) separability of functional networks increased after PETCO2 correction but was not affected by RVT and CRV correction; (3) the effect of physiological correction does not depend on the data sampling-rate; (4) the effect of physiological processes and correction strategies is network-specific. Our findings highlight limitations in our understanding of rs-fMRI quality measures, and underscore the importance of using multiple quality measures to determine the optimal physiological correction strategy.

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Golestani, A. M., Kwinta, J. B., Khatamian, Y. B., & Chen, J. J. (2017). The effect of low-frequency physiological correction on the reproducibility and specificity of resting-state fMRI metrics: Functional connectivity, ALFF, and ReHo. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 11(OCT). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2017.00546

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