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Brain Res Brain Res Protoc. 1998 Nov;3(2):221-8.

Simultaneous investigation of the neuronal and vascular compartments in the guinea pig brain isolated in vitro.

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Dipartimento di Neurofisiologia Sperimentale, Istituto Nazionale Neurologico, via Celoria 11, Milan, Italy.


We describe a new method for studying the interactions between vascular tone changes and neuronal activity in the arterially perfused isolated brain of the adult guinea pig maintained in vitro. Electrophysiological recordings were performed in the piriform and entorhinal cortices with the entire arterial bed preserved or after vascular restriction to the territories of median and posterior cerebral arteries of one hemisphere. The changes in vascular tone were measured by means of a pressure transducer. The arterial pressure was 53.77+/-12.74 mmHg in control conditions at 30 degreesC. Intraluminal application of vasoactive drugs, such as the tromboxane A2 receptor agonist U46619 (0.1 microM) and 5-HT (3 microM), induced an increase in the resistance to perfusion pressure that was prevented by the selective antagonists. The preservation of the endothelial function was verified by inducing the release of endogenous endothelial relaxant factor after intraluminal application of 1 microM acetylcholine. The study of the reciprocal interactions between neuronal activity and vascular tone modifications demonstrated that evoked responses in the piriform and entorhinal cortices were not modulated by rapid changes of the vascular tone. A sustained and elevated plateau of vasoconstriction maintained for several minutes determined a cortical spreading depression. Epileptiform discharges induced in limbic cortices by GABAa receptor blockade were consistently associated with a vasodilation (8.26+/-2.8 mmHg). The results demonstrate that the in vitro isolated guinea pig brain preparation can be exploited for studying simultaneously neuronal activity and cerebrovascular motility.

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