Neurovascular Coupling of Cortical Inhibitory Neurons

We are investigating neurovascular coupling and the contribution of inhibitory neurons to blood flow regulation in the rodent cortex.

Personnel

Project Summary

The brain is composed of a very diverse population of cells that have distinct contributions to network activity and also to vascular function and metabolic load. The goal of this project is to use optogenetic actuators (and silencers) to determine the contributions of specific cell types along the neurovascular signaling pathway to vascular responses. This project is guided by the following general questions: (a) Do changes in excitatory neuronal activity alone modulate proximal arterial vascular tone? Is this mechanism specific to prostaglandin signaling? (b) Do changes in inhibitory neuronal activity modulate proximal arterial vascular tone? Is this mechanism specific to nitrous oxide release? (c) Do changes in astrocyte calcium modulate arterial vascular tone? Is glutamate release necessary? (d) Can the dilation of vascular smooth muscle modulate neural activity? This project is relevant to studies of human brain function in health and disease because dysfunction of distinct brain cell types has been implicated with specific neurological disorders.