Mar 8, 2023

Publication Updates from the Chen Lab

Dr. Jean Chen
Dr. Jean Chen

The lab of MBP scientist Dr. Jean Chen has published a number of papers in the past month. Below is a brief overview of these publications.

Please join the Department in congratulating Dr. Chen and the members of her lab on these remarkable achievements.

Generating dynamic carbon-dioxide traces from respiration-belt recordings: Feasibility using neural networks and application in functional magnetic resonance imaging

Article Abstract

Introduction: In the context of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), carbon dioxide (CO2) is a well-known vasodilator that has been widely used to monitor and interrogate vascular physiology. Moreover, spontaneous fluctuations in end-tidal carbon dioxide (PETCO2) reflects changes in arterial CO2 and has been demonstrated as the largest physiological noise source for denoising the low-frequency range of the resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) signal. However, the majority of rs-fMRI studies do not involve CO2 recordings, and most often only heart rate and respiration are recorded. While the intrinsic link between these latter metrics and CO2 led to suggested possible analytical models, they have not been widely applied.

Methods: In this proof-of-concept study, we propose a deep-learning (DL) approach to reconstruct CO2 and PETCO2 data from respiration waveforms in the resting state.

Results: We demonstrate that the one-to-one mapping between respiration and CO2 recordings can be well predicted using fully convolutional networks (FCNs), achieving a Pearson correlation coefficient (r) of 0.946 ± 0.056 with the ground truth CO2. Moreover, dynamic PETCO2 can be successfully derived from the predicted CO2, achieving r of 0.512 ± 0.269 with the ground truth. Importantly, the FCN-based methods outperform previously proposed analytical methods. In addition, we provide guidelines for quality assurance of respiration recordings for the purposes of CO2 prediction.

View the article on the Frontiers in Neuroimaging website.

Effect of sex on the APOE4-aging interaction in the white matter microstructure of cognitively normal older adults using diffusion-tensor MRI with orthogonal-tensor decomposition (DT-DOME)

Article Abstract

The influence of the apolipoprotein E ε4 allele (APOE4) on brain microstructure of cognitively normal older adults remains incompletely understood, in part due to heterogeneity within study populations. In this study, we examined white-matter microstructural integrity in cognitively normal older adults as a function of APOE4 carrier status using conventional diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) and the novel orthogonal-tensor decomposition (DT-DOME), accounting for the effects of age and sex. Age associations with white-matter microstructure did not significantly depend on APOE4 status, but did differ between sexes, emphasizing the importance of accounting for sex differences in APOE research. Moreover, we found the DT-DOME to be more sensitive than conventional DTI metrics to such age-related and sex effects, especially in crossing WM fiber regions, and suggest their use in further investigation of white matter microstructure across the life span in health and disease.

View the article on the Frontiers in Neuroscience website.

Is adiposity associated with white matter microstructural health and intelligence differently in males and females?

Article Abstract


The role of vascular risk factors in age-related brain degeneration has long been the subject of intense study, but the role of obesity remains understudied. Given known sex differences in fat storage and usage, this study investigates sex differences in the association between adiposity and white matter microstructural integrity, an important early marker of brain degeneration.


This study assesses the associations between adiposity (abdominal fat ratio and liver proton density fat fraction) and brain health (measures of intelligence and white matter microstructure using diffusion-tensor imaging [DTI]) in a group of UK Biobank participants.


This study finds that intelligence and DTI metrics are indeed associated with adiposity differently in males and females. These sex differences are distinct from those in the associations of DTI metrics with age and blood pressure.


Taken together, these findings suggest that there are inherent sex-driven differences in how brain health is associated with obesity.

View the article on the Wiley Online Library website.