FMRI hemodynamics accurately reflects neuronal timing in the human brain measured by MEG

Fa Hsuan Lin*, Thomas Witzel, Tommi Raij, Jyrki Ahveninen, Kevin Wen-Kai Tsai, Yin Hua Chu, Wei Tang Chang, Aapo Nummenmaa, Jonathan R. Polimeni, Wen Jui Kuo, Jen Chuen Hsieh, Bruce R. Rosen, John W. Belliveau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Neuronal activation sequence information is essential for understanding brain functions. Extracting such timing information from blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) fMRI is confounded by interregional neurovascular differences and poorly understood relations between BOLD and electrophysiological response delays. Here, we recorded whole-head BOLD fMRI at 100. ms resolution and magnetoencephalography (MEG) during a visuomotor reaction-time task. Both methods detected the same activation sequence across five regions, from visual towards motor cortices, with linearly correlated interregional BOLD and MEG response delays. The smallest significant interregional BOLD delay was 100. ms; all delays ≥. 400. ms were significant. Switching the order of external events reversed the sequence of BOLD activations, indicating that interregional neurovascular differences did not confound the results. This may open new avenues for using fMRI to follow rapid activation sequences in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-384
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • BOLD
  • Hemodynamics
  • Inverse imaging
  • Latency
  • Neuronal timing
  • Neurovascular coupling


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