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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Mar 1;302(5):H1075-85. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00794.2011. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Relative contribution of cyclooxygenases, epoxyeicosatrienoic acids, and pH to the cerebral blood flow response to vibrissal stimulation.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21287-4961, USA.


The increase in cerebral blood flow (CBF) during neuronal activation can be only partially attenuated by individual inhibitors of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), cyclooxgenase-2, group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR), neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, or adenosine receptors. Some studies that used a high concentration (500 μM) of the cyclooxygenase-1 inhibitor SC-560 have implicated cyclooxygenase-1 in gliovascular coupling in certain model systems in the mouse. Here, we found that increasing the concentration of SC-560 from 25 μM to 500 μM over whisker barrel cortex in anesthetized rats attenuated the CBF response to whisker stimulation. However, exogenous prostaglandin E(2) restored the response in the presence of 500 μM SC-560 but not in the presence of a cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, thereby suggesting a limited permissive role for cyclooxygenase-1. Furthermore, inhibition of the CBF response to whisker stimulation by an EET antagonist persisted in the presence of SC-560 or a cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, thereby indicating that the EET-dependent component of vasodilation did not require cyclooxygenase-1 or -2 activity. With combined inhibition of cyclooxygenase-1 and -2, mGluR, nNOS, EETs, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, and adenosine 2B receptors, the CBF response was reduced by 60%. We postulated that the inability to completely block the CBF response was due to tissue acidosis resulting from impaired clearance of metabolically produced CO2. We tested this idea by increasing the concentration of superfused bicarbonate from 25 to 60 mM and found a markedly reduced CBF response to hypercapnia. However, increasing bicarbonate had no effect on the initial or steady-state CBF response to whisker stimulation with or without combined inhibition. We conclude that the residual response after inhibition of several known vasodilatory mechanisms is not due to acidosis arising from impaired CO2 clearance when the CBF response is reduced. An unidentified mechanism apparently is responsible for the rapid, residual cortical vasodilation during vibrissal stimulation.

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