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Nat Neurosci. 2013 Jul;16(7):889-97. doi: 10.1038/nn.3426. Epub 2013 Jun 9.

The cortical angiome: an interconnected vascular network with noncolumnar patterns of blood flow.

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Department of Physics, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.


What is the nature of the vascular architecture in the cortex that allows the brain to meet the energy demands of neuronal computations? We used high-throughput histology to reconstruct the complete angioarchitecture and the positions of all neuronal somata of multiple cubic millimeter regions of vibrissa primary sensory cortex in mouse. Vascular networks were derived from the reconstruction. In contrast with the standard model of cortical columns that are tightly linked with the vascular network, graph-theoretical analyses revealed that the subsurface microvasculature formed interconnected loops with a topology that was invariant to the position and boundary of columns. Furthermore, the calculated patterns of blood flow in the networks were unrelated to location of columns. Rather, blood sourced by penetrating arterioles was effectively drained by the penetrating venules to limit lateral perfusion. This analysis provides the underpinning to understand functional imaging and the effect of penetrating vessels strokes on brain viability.

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