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Neuron. 2016 Aug 17;91(4):851-862. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.07.016. Epub 2016 Aug 4.

Erythrocytes Are Oxygen-Sensing Regulators of the Cerebral Microcirculation.

Author information

1
Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.
2
Department of Neurology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
3
Department of Microsystems Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 14623, USA.
4
Department of Microsystems Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 14623, USA; School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Science and Technology, Beijing 100083, China.
5
William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
6
School of Applied & Engineering Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
7
Department of Microsystems Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 14623, USA. Electronic address: jdween@rit.edu.
8
Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA; Center for Basic and Translational Neuroscience, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address: nedergaard@urmc.rochester.edu.

Abstract

Energy production in the brain depends almost exclusively on oxidative metabolism. Neurons have small energy reserves and require a continuous supply of oxygen (O2). It is therefore not surprising that one of the hallmarks of normal brain function is the tight coupling between cerebral blood flow and neuronal activity. Since capillaries are embedded in the O2-consuming neuropil, we have here examined whether activity-dependent dips in O2 tension drive capillary hyperemia. In vivo analyses showed that transient dips in tissue O2 tension elicit capillary hyperemia. Ex vivo experiments revealed that red blood cells (RBCs) themselves act as O2 sensors that autonomously regulate their own deformability and thereby flow velocity through capillaries in response to physiological decreases in O2 tension. This observation has broad implications for understanding how local changes in blood flow are coupled to synaptic transmission.

PMID:
27499087
PMCID:
PMC5405863
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2016.07.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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