Increasingly 7 T scanners are used for fMRI of humans and non-human primates, promising improvements in signal-to-noise, spatial resolution and specificity. A disadvantage of fMRI at 7 T, but already at 3 T, is that susceptibility artifacts from air-filled cavities like the ear canal and nasal cavity cause signal loss and distortion. This limits the applicability of fMRI in these areas, thereby limiting study of these areas, but it also limits study of processes that span large-scale cortical networks or the entire brain. Our goal is to study the inferior temporal (IT) lobe in awake monkeys because of its importance in object perception and recognition, but the functional signal is degraded by strong susceptibility gradients. To allow fMRI of this region, we used an optimized SE-EPI, which recovers signal lost with GE-EPI and we corrected for susceptibility-induced image distortion. SE-EPI has the added advantage that, in contrast to GE-EPI, where the functional signal derives to a large extent from veins, the SE-EPI signal arises from the microvasculature, and hence it better represents the neural activation. We show fMRI at 7 T of the entire visual pathway in the awake primate with robust and widespread activation in all ventral areas of the brain, including areas adjacent to the ear canal. This allows fMRI of areas that normally suffer from artifact and thus more reliable whole-brain studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience