Mechanisms matching the brain’s vascular energy supply to neural activity

European Coordinator:
  • David ATTWELL, University College London (UK)
North American Coordinator:
  • Brian MacVICAR, University of British Columbia, Vancouver (Canada)
  • Alastair BUCHAN, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (UK)
  • Serge CHARPAK, INSERM U603, Université Paris Descartes, Paris (France)
  • Eric NEWMAN, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (USA)
  • Martin LAURITZEN, Glostrup Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Glostrup (Denmark)

Brain cells depend upon an adequate energy supply, which is provided by the blood in the form of oxygen and glucose.  An interruption of this energy supply, even for a few minutes, can lead to irreversible cell damage and cell death.  In an embolic stroke, where a blood clot blocks the artery which supplies blood to the brain, the resulting death of brain cells leads to the symptoms that patients experience, e.g., weakness, change in vision, changes in speech.  In a normally functioning brain, there are areas of the brain that will require more energy than others, depending upon the activity.  It is clear that the brain itself is able to regulate blood flow in order to accommodate the increase in activity.  Exactly how supply is matched to demand is the focus of this network.  These investigators will examine how blood flow is changed in different disease states.  An understanding of the mechanisms of alterations in blood flow could prove critical in developing new treatments for disorders such as stroke.