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Microcirculatory dysfunction associates with neurovascular uncoupling in peri-ischemic brain regions after ischemic stroke

Publikation: Working paper/Preprint Preprint


Background. Despite recanalization after ischemic stroke, neurovascular coupling, i.e., the local hyperaemic response to neuronal activity, is impaired in peri-ischemic brain regions. Reduced neurovascular coupling may contribute to neurological deterioration over time. The mechanism underlying dysfunctional neurovascular coupling following stroke is largely unknown.

Methods. Mice implanted with chronic cranial windows were trained for awake head-fixation prior to experiments. One hour occlusion of the anterior middle cerebral artery branch was induced using single vessel photothrombosis. Cerebral perfusion and neurovascular coupling were assessed by optical coherence tomography and laser speckle contrast imaging. Capillaries and pericytes were studied in perfusion-fixed tissue by labelling lectin and platelet-derived growth factor receptor β.

Results. Arterial occlusion induced on average 11 spreading depressions over one hour associated with substantially reduced blood flow in the peri-ischemic cortex. Approximately half of the capillaries in the peri-ischemic area were no longer perfused 3 and 24 hours after reperfusion, which was associated with constriction of an equivalent proportion of peri-ischemic capillary pericytes. The capillaries in the peri-ischemic cortex that remained perfused showed increased prevalence of dynamic flow stalling. Whisker stimulation led to reduced neurovascular coupling responses in the sensory cortex corresponding to the peri-ischemic region 3 and 24 hours after reperfusion.

Conclusion. Arterial occlusion led to constriction of pericytes in the peri-ischemic cortex associated with long-lasting microcirculatory failure. This reduced capillary capacity may, at least in part, underlie impaired neurovascular coupling in peri-ischemic brain regions after stroke and reperfusion.
StatusUdgivet - 26 aug. 2022

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