Neural basis of global resting-state fMRI activity.
Functional MRI (fMRI) has uncovered widespread hemodynamic fluctuations in the brain during rest. Recent electroencephalographic work in humans and microelectrode recordings in anesthetized monkeys have shown this activity to be correlated with slow changes in neural activity. Here we report that the spontaneous fluctuations in the local field potential (LFP) measured from a single cortical site in monkeys at rest exhibit widespread, positive correlations with fMRI signals over nearly the entire cerebral cortex. This correlation was especially consistent in a band of upper gamma-range frequencies (40-80 Hz), for which the hemodynamic signal lagged the neural signal by 6-8 s. A strong, positive correlation was also observed in a band of lower frequencies (2-15 Hz), albeit with a lag closer to zero. The global pattern of correlation with spontaneous fMRI fluctuations was similar whether the LFP signal was measured in occipital, parietal, or frontal electrodes. This coupling was, however, dependent on the monkey's behavioral state, being stronger and anticipatory when the animals' eyes were closed. These results indicate that the often discarded global component of fMRI fluctuations measured during the resting state is tightly coupled with underlying neural activity.