7 Tesla Scanning Improves Mapping of Brainstem Components of the Intrinsic Interoceptive System

Research Category: Physical and LIfe Sciences

Previous research has shown the presence of a large-scale intrinsic brain system that supports internal body sensations, called interoception, with important components in the brainstem. Recent developments in neuroimaging methods have enabled faster acquisition of high spatial resolution images. We analyzed 7 Tesla resting state functional magnetic resonance (7T rs-fMRI) imaging data of 25 participants to examine small nuclei in the brainstem that support visceromotor function. We optimized the preprocessing pipeline to preserve the high resolution of 7T. We showed that 7T rs-fMRI resulted in improved brainstem mapping, specifically in the periaqueductal gray region. This confirmed the utility of 7T imaging, especially for studies on small subcortical regions.