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Capillary pericytes regulate cerebral blood flow in health and disease


Hall, CN and Reynell, C and Gesslein, B and Hamilton, NB and Mishra, A and Sutherland, BA and O'Farrell, FM and Buchan, AM and Lauritzen, M and Attwell, D, Capillary pericytes regulate cerebral blood flow in health and disease, Nature, 508, (7494) pp. 55-60. ISSN 0028-0836 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

DOI: doi:10.1038/nature13165


Brain blood flow increases, evoked by neuronal activity, power neural computation and are the basis of BOLD functional imaging. It is controversial whether blood flow is controlled solely by arteriole smooth muscle, or also by capillary pericytes. We demonstrate that neuronal activity and the neurotransmitter glutamate evoke the release of messengers that dilate capillaries by actively relaxing pericytes. Dilation is mediated by prostaglandin E2, but requires nitric oxide release to suppress vasoconstricting 20-HETE synthesis. In vivo, when sensory input increases blood flow, capillaries dilate before arterioles and are estimated to produce 84% of the blood flow increase. In pathology, ischaemia evokes capillary constriction by pericytes. We show that this is followed by pericyte death in rigor, which may irreversibly constrict capillaries and damage the blood-brain barrier. Thus, pericytes are major regulators of cerebral blood flow and initiators of functional imaging signals. Prevention of pericyte constriction and death may reduce the long-lasting blood flow decrease which damages neurons after stroke.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:capillary, pericyte, cerebral blood flow, ischemic stroke
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Central nervous system
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the health sciences
UTAS Author:Sutherland, BA (Associate Professor Brad Sutherland)
ID Code:113410
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:830
Deposited By:Office of the School of Medicine
Deposited On:2016-12-22
Last Modified:2017-11-06

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