Published on Sun Aug 01 2021

Non-linear frequency-dependence of neurovascular coupling in the cerebellar cortex implies vasodilation-vasoconstriction competition

Gagliano, G., Monteverdi, A., Casali, S., Laforenza, U., Gandini Wheeler-Kingshott, C. A. M., D'Angelo, E., Mapelli, L.

Neurovascular coupling (NVC) is the process associating local cerebral blood flow (CBF) to neuronal activity (NA) NVC provides the basis for the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) effect used in functional MRI. The relationship between NVC and NA is still unclear

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Abstract

Neurovascular coupling (NVC) is the process associating local cerebral blood flow (CBF) to neuronal activity (NA). Although NVC provides the basis for the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) effect used in functional MRI (fMRI), the relationship between NVC and NA is still unclear. Since recent studies reported cerebellar non-linearities in BOLD signals during motor tasks execution, we investigated the NVC/NA relationship using a range of input frequencies in acute mouse cerebellar slices of vermis and hemisphere. The capillary diameter increased in response to mossy fiber activation in the 6-300Hz range, with a marked inflection around 50Hz (vermis) and 100Hz (hemisphere). The corresponding NA was recorded using high-density multi-electrode arrays and correlated to capillary dynamics through a computational model dissecting the main components of granular layer activity. Here, NVC is known to involve a balance between the NMDAR-NO pathway driving vasodilation and the mGluRs-20HETE pathway driving vasoconstriction. Simulations showed that the NMDAR-mediated component of NA was sufficient to explain the time-course of the capillary dilation but not its non-linear frequency-dependence, suggesting that the mGluRs-20HETE pathway plays a role at intermediate frequencies. These parallel control pathways imply a vasodilation-vasoconstriction competition hypothesis that could adapt local hemodynamics at the microscale bearing implications for fMRI signals interpretation.