Preoperative mapping of the sensorimotor cortex: Comparative assessment of task-based and resting-state fMRI

Cristina Rosazza, Domenico Aquino, Ludovico D'Incerti, Roberto Cordella, Adrian Andronache, Domenico Zacà, Maria Grazia Bruzzone, Giovanni Tringali, Ludovico Minati

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Resting state fMRI (rs-fMRI) has recently been considered as a possible complement or alternative to task-based fMRI (tb-fMRI) for presurgical mapping. However, evidence of its usefulness remains scant, because existing studies have investigated relatively small samples and focused primarily on qualitative evaluation. The aim of this study is to investigate the clinical usefulness of rs-fMRI in the context of presurgical mapping of motor functions, and in particular to determine the degree of correspondence with tb-fMRI which, while not a gold-standard, is commonly used in preoperative setting. A group of 13 patients with lesions close to the sensorimotor cortex underwent rs-fMRI and tb-fMRI to localize the hand, foot and mouth motor areas. We assessed quantitatively the degree of correspondence between multiple rs-fMRI analyses (independent-component and seed-based analyses) and tb-fMRI, with reference to sensitivity and specificity of rs-fMRI with respect to tb-fMRI, and centre-of-mass distances. Agreement with electro-cortical stimulation (ECS) was also investigated, and a traditional map thresholding approach based on agreement between two experienced operators was compared to an automatic threshold determination method. Rs-fMRI can localize the sensorimotor cortex successfully, providing anatomical specificity for hand, foot and mouth motor subregions, in particular with seed-based analyses. Agreement with tb-fMRI was only partial and rs-fMRI tended to provide larger patterns of correlated activity. With respect to the ECS data available, rs-fMRI and tb-fMRI performed comparably, even though the shortest distance to stimulation points was observed for the latter. Notably, the results of both were on the whole robust to thresholding procedure. Localization performed by rs-fMRI is not equivalent to tb-fMRI, hence rs-fMRI cannot be considered as an outright replacement for tb-fMRI. Nevertheless, since there is significant agreement between the two techniques, rs-fMRI can be considered with caution as a potential alternative to tb-fMRI when patients are unable to perform the task.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere98860
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 10 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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