Brain magnetic resonance imaging with contrast dependent on blood oxygenation

S. Ogawa, T. M. Lee, A. R. Kay, D. W. Tank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4850 Scopus citations


Paramagnetic deoxyhemoglobin in venous blood is a naturally occurring contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). By accentuating the effects of this agent through the use of gradient-echo techniques in high fields, we demonstrate in vivo images of brain microvasculature with image contrast reflecting the blood oxygen level. This blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast follows blood oxygen changes induced by anesthetics, by insulin-induced hypoglycemia, and by inhaled gas mixtures that alter metabolic demand or blood flow. The results suggest that BOLD contrast can be used to provide in vivo real-time maps of blood oxygenation in the brain under normal physiological conditions. BOLD contrast adds an additional feature to magnetic resonance imaging and complements other techniques that are attempting to provide positron emission tomography-like measurements related to regional neural activity. (.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9868-9872
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Brain metabolism
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Oxygenation


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