INS Keynote Seminar – Bruno CAULI (Paris)
“Neurogenic control of neurovascular coupling“.
The cerebral cortex comprises diverse areas involved in perception, movement or cognition. In spite of this functional diversity, the cortical network is formed with the repetition of a microcircuit containing excitatory and inhibitory neuronal types. The activity of this microcircuit, its local cerebral blood flow and metabolism are tightly coupled to match the increased energy needs occurring during neuronal processing. This neurovascular and neurometabolic coupling, essential to normal brain function and integrity, is also the physiological basis of the hemodynamic contrasts widely used to map neuronal activity in health and disease.
Despite this physiopathological importance, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurovascular coupling remain poorly understood. Presumably because of the large diversity that characterizes cortical neurons (Ascoli et al., 2008, DeFelipe et al., 2013), the contribution of neuronally-driven mechanisms of neurovascular coupling has been largely overlooked. A major goal of our group is to understand how the microcircuit controls its own energy supply via interactions with the glio-vascular network. Using ex vivo and in vivo approaches our team pioneered the differential contribution of neuronal types in neurovascular coupling by showing that peculiar subsets of cortical neurons control the microvasculature (Cauli et al., 2004; Rancillac et al., 2006; Lecrux et al., 2011; Lacroix et al., 2015). These findings indicate that neurovascular coupling is achieved by specialized cell types. They also suggest that the hemodynamic contrasts visualized by modern imaging techniques only reflect the recruitment of these cells types.
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