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Effect of electrical forepaw stimulation on capillary transit-time heterogeneity (CTH)

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Functional hyperemia reduces oxygen extraction efficacy unless counteracted by a reduction of capillary transit-time heterogeneity of blood. We adapted a bolus tracking approach to capillary transit-time heterogeneity estimation for two-photon microscopy and then quantified changes in plasma mean transit time and capillary transit-time heterogeneity during forepaw stimulation in anesthetized mice (C57BL/6NTac). In addition, we analyzed transit time coefficient of variance = capillary transit-time heterogeneity/mean transit time, which we expect to remain constant in passive, compliant microvascular networks. Electrical forepaw stimulation reduced, both mean transit time (11.3% ± 1.3%) and capillary transit-time heterogeneity (24.1% ± 3.3%), consistent with earlier literature and model predictions. We observed a coefficient of variance reduction (14.3% ± 3.5%) during functional activation, especially for the arteriolar-to-venular passage. Such coefficient of variance reduction during functional activation suggests homogenization of capillary flows beyond that expected as a passive response to increased blood flow by other stimuli. This finding is consistent with an active neurocapillary coupling mechanism, for example via pericyte dilation. Mean transit time and capillary transit-time heterogeneity reductions were consistent with the relative change inferred from capillary hemodynamics (cell velocity and flux). Our findings support the important role of capillary transit-time heterogeneity in flow-metabolism coupling during functional activation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Pages (from-to)2072-2086
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

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