Cerebral circulation is secured by feed-forward and feed-back control pathways to maintain and eventually reestablish the optimal oxygen and nutrient supply of neurons in case of disturbances of the cardiovascular system. Using the high temporal and spatial resolution of laser-speckle imaging we aimed to analyze the pattern of cerebrocortical blood flow (CoBF) changes after unilateral (left) carotid artery occlusion (CAO) in anesthetized mice in order to evaluate the contribution of macrovascular (Willis circle) vs. pial collateral vessels as well as that of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) to the cerebrovascular adaptation to CAO. In wild-type mice CoBF reduction in the left temporal cortex started immediately after CAO, reaching its maximum (-26%) at 5-10 s. Thereafter, CoBF recovered close to the pre-occlusion level within 30 s indicating the activation of feed-back pathway(s). Interestingly, the frontoparietal cerebrocortical regions also showed CoBF reduction in the left (-17-19%) but not in the right hemisphere, although these brain areas receive their blood supply from the common azygos anterior cerebral artery in mice. In eNOS-deficient animals the acute CoBF reduction after CAO was unaltered, and the recovery was even accelerated as compared to controls. These results indicate that (i) the Willis circle alone is not sufficient to provide an immediate compensation for the loss of one carotid artery, (ii) pial collaterals attenuate the ischemia of the temporal cortex ipsilateral to CAO at the expense of the blood supply of the frontoparietal region, and (iii) eNOS, surprisingly, does not play an important role in this CoBF redistribution.
- cerebrocortical microcirculation
- carotid artery occlusion
- cerebrovascular regulation
- pial collateral circulation
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology