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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Contributions of astrocytes and CO to pial arteriolar dilation to glutamate in newborn pigs.

Astrocytes can act as intermediaries between neurons and cerebral arterioles to regulate vascular tone in response to neuronal activity. Release of glutamate from presynaptic neurons increases blood flow to match metabolic demands. CO is a gasotransmitter that can be related to neural function and blood flow regulation in the brain. The present study addresses the hypothesis that glutamatergic stimulation promotes perivascular astrocyte CO production and pial arteriolar dilation in the newborn brain. Experiments used anesthetized newborn pigs with closed cranial windows, piglet astrocytes, and cerebrovascular endothelial cells in primary culture and immunocytochemical visualization of astrocytic markers. Pial arterioles and arteries of newborn pigs are ensheathed by astrocytes visualized by glial fibrillary acidic protein staining. Treatment (2 h) of astrocytes in culture with l-2-alpha-aminoadipic acid (l-AAA), followed by 14 h in toxin free medium, dose-dependently increased cell detachment, suggesting injury. Conversely, 16 h of continuous exposure to l-AAA caused no decrease in endothelial cell attachment. In vivo, topical l-AAA (2 mM, 5 h) disrupted the cortical glia limitans histologically. Such treatment also eliminated pial arteriolar dilation to the astrocyte-dependent dilator ADP and to glutamate but not to isoproterenol or CO. Glutamate stimulated CO production by the brain surface that also was abolished following l-AAA. In contrast, tetrodotoxin blocked dilation to N-methyl-d-aspartate but not to glutamate, isoproterenol, or CO or the glutamate-induced increase in CO. The concurrent loss of CO production and pial arteriolar dilation to glutamate following astrocyte injury suggests astrocytes may employ CO as a gasotransmitter for glutamatergic cerebrovascular dilation.[1]


  1. Contributions of astrocytes and CO to pial arteriolar dilation to glutamate in newborn pigs. Leffler, C.W., Parfenova, H., Fedinec, A.L., Basuroy, S., Tcheranova, D. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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