A critical role for astrocytes in hypercapnic vasodilation in brain
Howarth, C and Sutherland, BA and Choi, HB and Martin, C and Lind, BL and Khennouf, L and Ledue, JM and Pakan, JMP and Ko, RWY and Ellis-Davies, G and Lauritzen, M and Sibson, NR and Buchan, AM and MacVicar, BA, A critical role for astrocytes in hypercapnic vasodilation in brain, Journal of Neuroscience, 37, (9) pp. 2403-2414. ISSN 0270-6474 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Cerebral bloodflow (CBF)is controlled by arterial blood pressure, arterial CO2 , arterial O2 , and brain activity andis largely constantinthe
awake state. Although small changes in arterial CO2 are particularly potentto change CBF (1 mmHg variation in arterial CO2 changes CBF
by 3%– 4%),the coupling mechanism is incompletely understood. Wetestedthe hypothesisthat astrocytic prostaglandin E2 (PgE2 ) plays
a key role for cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity, and that preserved synthesis of glutathione is essential for the full development of this
response. We combined two-photon imaging microscopy in brain slices with in vivo work in rats and C57BL/6J mice to examine the
hemodynamic responses to CO2 and somatosensory stimulation before and after inhibition of astrocytic glutathione and PgE2 synthesis.
We demonstrate that hypercapnia (increased CO2 ) evokes an increase in astrocyte [Ca 2]i and stimulates COX-1 activity. The enzyme
downstream of COX-1that synthesizes PgE2 (microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1) depends criticallyfor its vasodilator activity onthe
level of glutathione inthe brain.We showthat, when glutathione levels are reduced, astrocyte calcium-evoked release of PgE2 is decreased
and vasodilation triggered by increased astrocyte [Ca 2]i in vitro and by hypercapnia in vivo is inhibited. Astrocyte synthetic pathways,
dependent on glutathione, are involved in cerebrovascular reactivity to CO2. Reductions in glutathione levels in aging, stroke, or schizophrenia
could lead to dysfunctional regulation of CBF and subsequent neuronal damage.