Identification of Voxels Confounded by Venous Signals Using Resting-State fMRI Functional Connectivity Graph Community Identification

Klaudius Kalcher, Roland N Boubela, Wolfgang Huf, Christian Našel, Ewald Moser

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

8 Citations (Scopus)


Identifying venous voxels in fMRI datasets is important to increase the specificity of fMRI analyses to microvasculature in the vicinity of the neural processes triggering the BOLD response. This is, however, difficult to achieve in particular in typical studies where magnitude images of BOLD EPI are the only data available. In this study, voxelwise functional connectivity graphs were computed on minimally preprocessed low TR (333 ms) multiband resting-state fMRI data, using both high positive and negative correlations to define edges between nodes (voxels). A high correlation threshold for binarization ensures that most edges in the resulting sparse graph reflect the high coherence of signals in medium to large veins. Graph clustering based on the optimization of modularity was then employed to identify clusters of coherent voxels in this graph, and all clusters of 50 or more voxels were then interpreted as corresponding to medium to large veins. Indeed, a comparison with SWI reveals that 75.6±5.9% of voxels within these large clusters overlap with veins visible in the SWI image or lie outside the brain parenchyma. Some of the remaining differences between the two modalities can be explained by imperfect alignment or geometric distortions between the two images. Overall, the graph clustering based method for identifying venous voxels has a high specificity as well as the additional advantages of being computed in the same voxel grid as the fMRI dataset itself and not needing any additional data beyond what is usually acquired (and exported) in standard fMRI experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number472
Pages (from-to)472
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • BOLD
  • Brain
  • Graph analysis
  • Graph clustering
  • Physiological signals
  • Veins
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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