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Blood flow increases linearly in rat somatosensory cortex with increased whisker movement frequency. Brain Res 1998 Feb 02;783(1):151-7 PMID: 9479064


It has long been known that the level of neuronal activity is correlated to the level of localized blood flow. Despite the importance of functional hyperemia in the brain, the relationship between blood flow and electrical activity has not been clearly demonstrated parametrically in a single region of cerebral cortex. We investigated both the magnitude and temporal characteristics of the blood flow response in somatosensory cortex while varying the frequencies of whisker movement. The full whisker pad on one side of the rat's face was repeatedly moved for 13 s at frequencies of 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10.5 Hz, and the resulting changes in blood flow were quantified using Laser-Doppler flowmetry (LDF). The magnitude of the blood flow response increased linearly with increasing frequency while the temporal parameters of time to half maximal value and time to return halfway to baseline after stimulus termination did not vary. Baseline blood flow levels were elevated by breathing rats on a 5% CO2 mixture. No significant alteration in the LDF plateau response to whisker movement was observed compared to normal air, suggesting sustained vasodilation reserve capacity remained after CO2-induced vasodilation. These data demonstrate linear blood flow responses to presumptive linear increases in neuronal activity with sufficient vascular reserve capacity to overcome moderate CO2-induced dilation, and support the use of blood flow changes in neuroimaging studies. They provide a framework to study the neurobiological signal transduction mechanisms coupling neuronal electrical activity with regional alterations in blood flow.

Author List

Gerrits RJ, Stein EA, Greene AS


Ron Gerrits BS,PhD Faculty in the Biomedical Engineering department at Milwaukee School of Engineering
Andrew S. Greene PhD Interim Vice Chair, Chief, Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Cerebrovascular Circulation
Linear Models
Rats, Sprague-Dawley
Somatosensory Cortex

View this publication's entry at the Pubmed website PMID: 9479064
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