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Stroke Res Treat. 2013;2013:819340. doi: 10.1155/2013/819340. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage, spreading depolarizations and impaired neurovascular coupling.

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1
Department of Pharmacology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT 05405-0068, USA.

Abstract

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) has devastating consequences on brain function including profound effects on communication between neurons and the vasculature leading to cerebral ischemia. Physiologically, neurovascular coupling represents a focal increase in cerebral blood flow to meet increased metabolic demand of neurons within active regions of the brain. Neurovascular coupling is an ongoing process involving coordinated activity of the neurovascular unit-neurons, astrocytes, and parenchymal arterioles. Neuronal activity can also influence cerebral blood flow on a larger scale. Spreading depolarizations (SD) are self-propagating waves of neuronal depolarization and are observed during migraine, traumatic brain injury, and stroke. Typically, SD is associated with increased cerebral blood flow. Emerging evidence indicates that SAH causes inversion of neurovascular communication on both the local and global level. In contrast to other events causing SD, SAH-induced SD decreases rather than increases cerebral blood flow. Further, at the level of the neurovascular unit, SAH causes an inversion of neurovascular coupling from vasodilation to vasoconstriction. Global ischemia can also adversely affect the neurovascular response. Here, we summarize current knowledge regarding the impact of SAH and global ischemia on neurovascular communication. A mechanistic understanding of these events should provide novel strategies to treat these neurovascular disorders.

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