Test-retest reliability of cerebral blood flow in healthy individuals using arterial spin labeling: Findings from the EMBARC study

Jorge R.C. Almeida, Tsafrir Greenberg, Hanzhang Lu, Henry W. Chase, Jay Fournier, Crystal M. Cooper, Thilo Deckersbach, Phil Adams, Thomas Carmody, Mauricio Fava, Benji Kurian, Patrick J. McGrath, Melvin G. McInnis, Maria A. Oquendo, Ramin Parsey, Myrna Weissman, Madhukar Trivedi, Mary L. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Introduction Previous investigations of test-retest reliability of cerebral blood flow (CBF) at rest measured with pseudo-continuous Arterial Spin Labeling (pCASL) demonstrated good reliability, but are limited by the use of similar scanner platforms. In the present study we examined test-retest reliability of CBF in regions implicated in emotion and the default mode network. Material and methods We measured absolute and relative CBF at rest in thirty-one healthy subjects in two scan sessions, one week apart, at four different sites and three different scan platforms. We derived CBF from pCASL images with an automated algorithm and calculated intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs) across sessions for regions of interest. In addition, we investigated site effects. Results For both absolute and relative CBF measures, ICCs were good to excellent (i.e. > 0.6) in most brain regions, with highest values observed for the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex and ventral striatum. A leave-one-site-out cross validation analysis did not show a significant effect for site on whole brain CBF and there was no proportional bias across sites. However, a significant site effect was present in the repeated measures ANOVA. Conclusions The high test-retest reliability of CBF measured with pCASL in a range of brain regions implicated in emotion and salience processing, emotion regulation, and the default mode network, which have been previously linked to depression symptomatology supports its use in studies that aim to identify neuroimaging biomarkers of treatment response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Arterial spin labeling
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Reliability
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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