Astrocyte regulation of cerebral vascular tone

Jessica A. Filosa, Jennifer A. Iddings

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Cerebral blood flow is controlled by two crucial processes, cerebral autoregulation (CA) and neurovascular coupling (NVC) or functional hyperemia. Whereas CA ensures constant blood flow over a wide range of systemic pressures, NVC ensures rapid spatial and temporal increases in cerebral blood flow in response to neuronal activation. The focus of this review is to discuss the cellular mechanisms by which astrocytes contribute to the regulation of vascular tone in terms of their participation in NVC and, to a lesser extent, CA. We discuss evidence for the various signaling modalities by which astrocytic activation leads to vasodilation and vasoconstriction of parenchymal arterioles. Moreover, we provide a rationale for the contribution of astrocytes to pressure-induced increases in vascular tone via the vasoconstrictor 20-HETE (a downstream metabolite of arachidonic acid). Along these lines, we highlight the importance of the transient receptor potential channel of the vanilloid family (TRPV4) as a key molecular determinant in the regulation of vascular tone in cerebral arterioles. Finally, we discuss current advances in the technical tools available to study NVC mechanisms in the brain as it relates to the participation of astrocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H609-H619
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


  • Astrocytes
  • Cerebral autoregulation
  • Neurovascular coupling
  • Parenchymal arteriole
  • Vascular tone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Astrocyte regulation of cerebral vascular tone'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this