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
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.