The Utility of Cerebrovascular Reactivity MRI in Brain Rehabilitation: A Mechanistic Perspective

Venkatagiri Krishnamurthy, Justin D. Sprick, Lisa C. Krishnamurthy, Jolie D. Barter, Aaminah Turabi, Ihab M. Hajjar, Joe R. Nocera

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cerebrovascular control and its integration with other physiological systems play a key role in the effective maintenance of homeostasis in brain functioning. Maintenance, restoration, and promotion of such a balance are one of the paramount goals of brain rehabilitation and intervention programs. Cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR), an index of cerebrovascular reserve, plays an important role in chemo-regulation of cerebral blood flow. Improved vascular reactivity and cerebral blood flow are important factors in brain rehabilitation to facilitate desired cognitive and functional outcomes. It is widely accepted that CVR is impaired in aging, hypertension, and cerebrovascular diseases and possibly in neurodegenerative syndromes. However, a multitude of physiological factors influence CVR, and thus a comprehensive understanding of underlying mechanisms are needed. We are currently underinformed on which rehabilitation method will improve CVR, and how this information can inform on a patient’s prognosis and diagnosis. Implementation of targeted rehabilitation regimes would be the first step to elucidate whether such regimes can modulate CVR and in the process may assist in improving our understanding for the underlying vascular pathophysiology. As such, the high spatial resolution along with whole brain coverage offered by MRI has opened the door to exciting recent developments in CVR MRI. Yet, several challenges currently preclude its potential as an effective diagnostic and prognostic tool in treatment planning and guidance. Understanding these knowledge gaps will ultimately facilitate a deeper understanding for cerebrovascular physiology and its role in brain function and rehabilitation. Based on the lessons learned from our group’s past and ongoing neurorehabilitation studies, we present a systematic review of physiological mechanisms that lead to impaired CVR in aging and disease, and how CVR imaging and its further development in the context of brain rehabilitation can add value to the clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number642850
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
StatePublished - Mar 17 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • MRI
  • aging
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • cerebrovascular reactivity
  • integrative physiology
  • mechanism
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'The Utility of Cerebrovascular Reactivity MRI in Brain Rehabilitation: A Mechanistic Perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this