The cellular basis of neurovascular coupling in the cerebral cortex.
Alzheimer's disease & other dementias
Blood supply to the brain is highly regulated and is distributed where neurons are active at performing a task. This control is so precise that it is used to map neuronal activity in brain imaging techniques under both health and disease conditions. However, how the brain can direct blood to the active neurons is still poorly understood and, particularly, in disease conditions when the dialogue between neurons and blood vessels is jeopardized. Our work will focus on the cerebral cortex, a region important in attention, cognition, perception and many other functions. We will study the role of specific groups of neurons within the cortex, and we will evaluate how modulating cortical activity acutely or chronically like in disease conditions will affect this tight coupling between blood supply and neuronal activity. Our findings should help understand and interpret normal and pathological brain imaging data, and show how diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, can alter the dialogue between neurons and blood vessels.