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Circulation Journal
Vol. 74 (2010) No. 4 p. 608-616

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http://doi.org/10.1253/circj.CJ-10-0174

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Neuronal activity is communicated to the cerebral vasculature so that adequate perfusion of brain tissue is maintained at all levels of neuronal metabolism. An increase in neuronal activity is accompanied by vasodilation and an increase in local cerebral blood flow. This process, known as neurovascular coupling (NVC) or functional hyperemia, is essential for cerebral homeostasis and survival. Neuronal activity is encoded in astrocytic Ca2+ signals that travel to astrocytic processes (`endfeet') encasing parenchymal arterioles within the brain. Astrocytic Ca2+ signals cause the release of vasoactive substances to cause relaxation, and in some circumstances contraction, of the smooth muscle cells (SMCs) of parenchymal arterioles to modulate local cerebral blood flow. Activation of potassium channels in the SMCs has been proposed to mediate NVC. Here, the current state of knowledge of NVC and potassium channels in parenchymal arterioles is reviewed. (Circ J 2010; 74: 608-616)

Copyright © 2010 THE JAPANESE CIRCULATION SOCIETY

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