Gradual not sudden change: multiple sites of functional transition across the microvascular bed

Shaw, Kira, Boyd, Katie, Anderle, Silvia, Hammond-Haley, Matthew, Amin, Davina, Bonnar, Orla and Hall, Catherine N (2022) Gradual not sudden change: multiple sites of functional transition across the microvascular bed. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 13. a779823 1-24. ISSN 1663-4365

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In understanding the role of the neurovascular unit as both a biomarker and target for disease interventions, it is vital to appreciate how the function of different components of this unit change along the vascular tree. The cells of the neurovascular unit together perform an array of vital functions, protecting the brain from circulating toxins and infection, while providing nutrients and clearing away waste products. To do so, the brain’s microvasculature dilates to direct energy substrates to active neurons, regulates access to circulating immune cells, and promotes angiogenesis in response to decreased blood supply, as well as pulsating to help clear waste products and maintain the oxygen supply. Different parts of the cerebrovascular tree contribute differently to various aspects of these functions, and previously, it has been assumed that there are discrete types of vessel along the vascular network that mediate different functions. Another option, however, is that the multiple transitions in function that occur across the vascular network do so at many locations, such that vascular function changes gradually, rather than in sharp steps between clearly distinct vessel types. Here, by reference to new data as well as by reviewing historical and recent literature, we argue that this latter scenario is likely the case and that vascular function gradually changes across the network without clear transition points between arteriole, precapillary arteriole and capillary. This is because classically localized functions are in fact performed by wide swathes of the vasculature, and different functional markers start and stop being expressed at different points along the vascular tree. Furthermore, vascular branch points show alterations in their mural cell morphology that suggest functional specializations irrespective of their position within the network. Together this work emphasizes the need for studies to consider where transitions of different functions occur, and the importance of defining these locations, in order to better understand the vascular network and how to target it to treat disease.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: arteriole, brain, capillary, endothelial cell, mural cell, neurovascular, pericyte
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 27 May 2022 15:21
Last Modified: 27 May 2022 15:30

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