Calcium dynamics in cortical astrocytes and arterioles during neurovascular coupling.

Jessica A. Filosa, Adrian D. Bonev, Mark T. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


Neuronal activity in the brain is thought to be coupled to cerebral arterioles (functional hyperemia) through Ca2+ signals in astrocytes. Although functional hyperemia occurs rapidly, within seconds, such rapid signaling has not been demonstrated in situ, and Ca2+ measurements in parenchymal arterioles are still lacking. Using a laser scanning confocal microscope and fluorescence Ca2+ indicators, we provide the first evidence that in a brain slice preparation, increased neuronal activity by electrical stimulation (ES) is rapidly signaled, within seconds, to cerebral arterioles and is associated with astrocytic Ca2+ waves. Smooth muscle cells in parenchymal arterioles exhibited Ca2+ and diameter oscillations ("vasomotion") that were rapidly suppressed by ES. The neuronal-mediated Ca2+ rise in cortical astrocytes was dependent on intracellular (inositol trisphosphate [IP3]) and extracellular voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel sources. The Na+ channel blocker tetrodotoxin prevented the rise in astrocytic [Ca2+]i and the suppression of Ca2+ oscillations in parenchymal arterioles to ES, indicating that neuronal activity was necessary for both events. Activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors in astrocytes significantly decreased the frequency of Ca2+ oscillations in parenchymal arterioles. This study supports the concept that astrocytic Ca2+ changes signal the cerebral microvasculature and indicate the novel concept that this communication occurs through the suppression of arteriolar [Ca2+]i oscillations and corresponding vasomotion. The full text of this article is available online at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e73-81
JournalCirculation research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 12 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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