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Hyperthermia may impair vigilance functions and lead to slower reaction times (RTs) in the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) and possibly disturbing cerebral hemodynamic rhythms. To test these hypotheses, we acquired the resting-state BOLD and cerebral blood flow (CBF) data, as well as PVTRTs from 15 participants in two simulated environmental thermal conditions (50 °C/25 °C). We adopted a data-driven method, frequency component analysis, to quantify the mean frequency of the BOLD series of each voxel. Across-subject correlation analysis was employed to detect the brain areas whose BOLD oscillation frequency was correlated with the RTs. Significant changes of BOLD frequency and CBF within these areas were compared between hyperthermia and normothermia conditions. Spatial correlations between BOLD frequency and CBF were calculated within different brain areas for each subject under both thermal conditions. Results showed that, under both thermal conditions, the RTs correlated with the BOLD frequency positively in the default mode network (DMN) and negatively in the sensorimotor network (SMN). The increase of BOLD frequency in the thalamus and ventral medial prefrontal cortex was correlated with the increase of RTs in hyperthermia compared with normothermia. Hyperthermia decreased BOLD frequency and CBF in the SMN, while it increased CBF in the thalamus and posterior cingulate. In both thermal conditions, the spatial distribution of CBF negatively correlated with the spatial distribution of BOLD oscillation frequency in most cortical areas, especially in cingulate cortices, precuneus, and primary visual cortex. These results suggest that hyperthermia might deteriorate task performance by interfering with the resting-state CBF, and with BOLD rhythms. The overlapping of the thermoregulatory and vigilance functions in the SMN and DMN might underlie the neural mechanisms of the cognitive-behavioral impairments induced by hyperthermia.


Xiaopeng Song, Shaowen Qian, Kai Liu, Shuqin Zhou, Huaiqiu Zhu, Qihong Zou, Yijun Liu, Gang Sun, Jia-Hong Gao. Resting-state BOLD oscillation frequency predicts vigilance task performance at both normal and high environmental temperatures. Brain structure & function. 2017 Dec;222(9):4065-4077

PMID: 28600679

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