Towards Brain Mapping Combining Near-Infrared Spectroscopy and High Resolution 3D MRI

  • Christina Hirth
  • Kersten Villringer
  • Andreas Thiel
  • Johannes Bernarding
  • Werner Mühlnickl
  • Hellmuth Obrig
  • Ulrich Dirnagl
  • Arno Villringer
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 413)


Neuronal activation is coupled to localised changes in regional cerebral blood flow, blood oxygenation and metabolism (Leninger-Follert et al. 1979, Frostig et al. 1990). On this basis it is possible to detect and localise activated brain areas by the use of functional imaging methods like PET and fMRI (Phelps et al. 1985, Fox et al. 1986, Belliveau et al. 1991). The high spatial resolution of these imaging methods allows to characterise and localise hemodynamic and metabolic changes of activated brain areas on an anatomical basis. Near infrared spectroscopy noninvasively detects changes in the concentration of oxy-Hb, deoxy-Hb and Cyt-O2 by measuring changes in absorption at specific wavelength of light in the near infrared region. The technique in the first instance was used to detect global changes in cerebral hemodynamics (Jöbsis 1977, Elwell 1994) and was recently introduced to assess hemodynamic response induced by functional brain activation (Hoshi et al. 1993, Villringer et al. 1993, Obrig et al. 1995, Kato et al. 1993, Meek et al. 1995), The high temporal resolution and the ability to assess several oxygenation parameters simultaneously provides information about temporal dynamics of oxygenation changes in response to functional stimulation. Reasons for using this technique to investigate functional brain activation lie in some advantages compared to traditionally used functional imaging methods. Near infrared spectroscopy is completely non-invasive low expensive and can be used with high flexibility. NIRS allows repeated measures and administration of exogenous tracers is not required. The technique is therefore suited for assessment of brain function in clinical settings as a bedside technique.


Near Infrared Spectroscopy Oxygenation Change Flight Measurement Functional Brain Activation Sequential Finger 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arridge SR, Schweiger M, Hiraoka M, Delpy DT. A finite element approach for modelling photon transport in tissue. Med. Phys. 20:299–309, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Belliveau JW, Kennedy DN, McKinstry DN, Buchbinder RC, Weisskoff RM, Cohen MS, et al. Functional mapping of the human visual cortex by magnetic resonance imaging. Science, 254:716–719, 1991.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benaron DA, Stevenson DK. Optical time-of-flight and absorbance imaging of biologic media. Science 259:1463–1466, 1993.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bonner RF, Nossal R, Havlin S, Weiss GH. Model for photon migration in turbid biological media. J. Opt. Soc. Am. 4:423–432, 1987.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chance B. Optical method, ann. Rev. Biophys. chem. 20:1–28, 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chance B. NMR and time-resolved optical studies of brain imaging. Adv. Exp. Med. 333:1–9, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cope M, Delpy DT. A system for the long-term measurement of cerebral blood and tissue oxygenation in newborn infants by near infrared transillumination. Med, Biol. Engng. Comput. 26:289–294, 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Delpy DT, Cope M, van der Zee P, Arridge SR, Wray S, Wyatt JS. Estimation of optical pathlength through tissue from direct time of flight measurements. Phys. Med. Biol. 33:1433–1442, 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Duncan A, Meek JH, Tyszczuk L, Clemente M, Elwell CE, Cope M, Delpy DT. Optical pathlength measurements on adult head, calf and forearm and the head of the newborn infant using phase resolved optical spectroscopy. Phys. Med. Biol. 40:1–10, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Elwell CE, Cope M, Edwards AD, Wyatt JS, Delpy DT, Reynolds EOR. Quantification of adult cerebral haemodynamics by near-infrared spectroscopy. J. Appl. Physiol. 77:2753–2760, 1994.Google Scholar
  11. Elwell CE, Cope M, Edwards AD, Wyatt JS, Reynolds EOR, Delpy DT. Measurements of cerebral blood flow in adult humans using near-infrared spectroscopy — methodology and possible errors. Adv.Exp.Med. Biol. 317:235–245, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Firbank M, Hiraoka M, Essenpreis M, Delpy DT. Measurements of the optical properties of the skull in the wavelength range of 650–950, Phys.Med.Biol. 38:503–510, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fox PT, Mintun MA, Raichle ME, Miezin FM, Allmann JM, Van Essen DC. Mapping human visual cortex with positron emission tomography. Nature 323:806–809, 1986.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Frostig RD, Lieke EE, Ts’o DY, Grinvald A. Cortical functional architecture and local coupling between neuronal activity and the microcirculation revealed by in vivo high-resolution optical imaging of intrinsic signals. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 87:6082–6086, 1990.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gratton G, Maier JS, Fabiani M, Mantulin WM, Gratton E. Feasibility of intracranial near-infrared optical scanning. Psychophysiol. 31:211–215, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hirokara M, Firbank M, Essenpreis M, Cope M, Arridge SR, van der Zee P, Delpy DT. A monte carlo investigation of optical pathlength in inhomogenous tissue and ist application to near-infrared spectroscopy. Phys. Med. Biol. 38:1859–1876, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hoshi Y, Tamura M. Detection of dynamic changes in cerebral oxygenation coupled to neuronal function during mental work in man. Neurosci. Lett. 150:5–8, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jöbsis FF. Noninvasive infrared monitoring of cerebral and myocardial oxygen sufficiency and circulatory parameters. Science 198:1264–1267, 1977.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kato T, Kamei A, Takashima S, Ozaki T. Human visual cortical function during photic stimulation monitored by means of near-infrared spectroscopy. JCBFM 13:516–520, 1993.Google Scholar
  20. Leninger-Follert E, Hossmann KA. Simultaneous measurement of microflow and evoced potentials in the somatomotor-cortex of the cat during specific sensory activation. Pflügers Arch. 380:85–95, 1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McCormick PW, Melville S, Lewis G, Dujovny M, Ausman JI. Intracerebral penetration of light. J Neurosurg 76:315–318, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meek JH, Elwell CE, Khan MJ, Romaya J, Wyatt JS, Delpy DT, Zeki S. Regional changes in cerebral haemodynamics as a result of visual stimulus measured by near infrared spectroscopy. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 261:351–356, 1995.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nossal R, Bonner RF, Weiss GH. The influence of path length on remote optical sensing of properties of biological tissue. Appl. Optics 28:2238–2244, 1989.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Obrig H, Hirth C, Junge-Hülsing JG, Doge C, Wolf T, Dirnagl U, Villringer A. Cerebral oxygenation changes in response to motor stimulation. J Appl Phys. submitted.Google Scholar
  25. Obrig H, Wolf T, Doge C, Junge-Hülsing J, Dirnagl U, Villringer A. Cerebral oxygenation changes during motor and somatosensory stimulation in humans, as measured` by near-infrared spectroscopy. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1997 in press.Google Scholar
  26. Okada E, Firbank M, Delpy DT. The effect of overlying tissue on the spatial sensitivity profile of near infrared spectroscopy. Phys. Med. Biol. 40:1995, in press.Google Scholar
  27. Phelps ME, Mazziotta JC. Positron emission tomography: Human Brain function and biochemistry. Science 228:799–899, 1985.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sevick EM, Burch CL, Chance B. Near infrared optical imaging of tissue phantoms with measurement in the change of optical path length. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 815-823, 1994.Google Scholar
  29. Sevick EM, Chance B, Leigh J, Nioka S, Maris M. Quantitation of time-and frequency-resolved optical spectra for the determination of tissue oxygenation. Analytical Biochemistry 195:330–351, 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Shinohara Y, Takagi S, Shinohara N, Kawaguchi F, Itoh Y, Yamashita Y, Maki A. Opitcal CT imaging of hemoglobin oxygena-saturation using dual-wavelength time gate technique. Adv. Exp. Med. 333:43–47, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith DS, Levy W, Maris M, Chance B. Reperfusion hypoxia in brain after circulatory arrest in humans. Anesthesiology 73:12–19, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Steinmetz H, Fürst G, Meyer BU. Craniocerebral topography within the international 10–20 system. Electroenc. Clin. Neurophysiol. 72:.Google Scholar
  33. van der Zee P, Arridge SR, Cope M, Delpy DT. The effect of optode positioning on optical pathlength in near infrared spectroscopy of brain. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 277:79–84, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. van der Zee P, Cope M, Arridge SR, Essenpreis M, Potter LA, Edwards AD, et al. Experimentally measured optical pathlengths for adult head, calf and forarm and the head of the newborn infant as a function of interoptode spacing. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 316:143–153, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Villringer A, Planck J, Stodiek S, Botzel K, Schleinkofer L, Dirnagl U. Noninvasive assessment of cerebral haemodynamics and tissue oxygenation during activation of brain cell function in human adults using NIRS. Neurosci. Lett. 154:1–2, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wray S, Cope M, Delpy DT, Wyatt Js, Reybolds EO. Characterization of the near infrared absorption spectra of cytochrome aa3 and hemoglobin for the noninvasive monitoring of cerebral oxygenation. Biochem Biophys. Acta. 993:184–192, 1988.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Hirth
    • 1
  • Kersten Villringer
    • 2
  • Andreas Thiel
    • 3
  • Johannes Bernarding
    • 3
  • Werner Mühlnickl
    • 4
  • Hellmuth Obrig
    • 1
  • Ulrich Dirnagl
    • 1
  • Arno Villringer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, CharitéHumboldt-University BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital Benjamin Franklin, Free University BerlinGermany
  3. 3.Department of Medical Computer ScienceUniversity Hospital Benjamin Franklin, Free University BerlinGermany
  4. 4.Department of Clinical PsychologyHumboldt-University BerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations