Influence of heart rate on the BOLD signal: the cardiac response function
It has previously been shown that low-frequency fluctuations in both respiratory volume and cardiac rate can induce changes in the blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal. Such physiological noise can obscure the detection of neural activation using fMRI, and it is therefore important to model and remove the effects of this noise. While a hemodynamic response function relating respiratory variation (RV) and the BOLD signal has been described [Birn, R.M., Smith, M.A., Jones, T.B., Bandettini, P.A., 2008b. The respiration response function: The temporal dynamics of fMRI signal fluctuations related to changes in respiration. Neuroimage 40, 644–654.], no such mapping for heart rate (HR) has been proposed. In the current study, the effects of RV and HR are simultaneously deconvolved from resting state fMRI. It is demonstrated that a convolution model including RV and HR can explain significantly more variance in gray matter BOLD signal than a model that includes RV alone, and an average HR response function is proposed that well characterizes our subject population. It is observed that the voxel-wise morphology of the deconvolved RV responses is preserved when HR is included in the model, and that its form is adequately modeled by Birn et al.'s previously- described respiration response function. Furthermore, it is shown that modeling out RV and HR can significantly alter functional connectivity maps of the default-mode network.