Vasculo-Neuronal Coupling and Neurovascular Coupling at the Neurovascular Unit: Impact of Hypertension

Jessica L. Presa, Flavia Saravia, Zsolt Bagi, Jessica A. Filosa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Components of the neurovascular unit (NVU) establish dynamic crosstalk that regulates cerebral blood flow and maintain brain homeostasis. Here, we describe accumulating evidence for cellular elements of the NVU contributing to critical physiological processes such as cerebral autoregulation, neurovascular coupling, and vasculo-neuronal coupling. We discuss how alterations in the cellular mechanisms governing NVU homeostasis can lead to pathological changes in which vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cell, pericyte and astrocyte function may play a key role. Because hypertension is a modifiable risk factor for stroke and accelerated cognitive decline in aging, we focus on hypertension-associated changes on cerebral arteriole function and structure, and the molecular mechanisms through which these may contribute to cognitive decline. We gather recent emerging evidence concerning cognitive loss in hypertension and the link with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Collectively, we summarize how vascular dysfunction, chronic hypoperfusion, oxidative stress, and inflammatory processes can uncouple communication at the NVU impairing cerebral perfusion and contributing to neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number584135
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
StatePublished - Sep 25 2020


  • astrocyte
  • cogntive decline
  • ischemia
  • neurovascular
  • pulsatility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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