Impaired dynamics of precapillary sphincters and pericytes at first-order capillaries predict reduced neurovascular function in the aging mouse brain

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterResearchpeer-review

The microvascular inflow tract, comprising the penetrating arterioles, precapillary sphincters and first-order capillaries, is the bottleneck for brain blood flow and energy supply. Exactly how aging alters the structure and function of the microvascular inflow tract remains unclear. By in vivo four-dimensional two-photon imaging, we reveal an age-dependent decrease in vaso-responsivity accompanied by a decrease in vessel density close to the arterioles and loss of vascular mural cell processes, although the number of mural cell somas and their alpha smooth muscle actin density were preserved. The age-related reduction in vascular reactivity was mostly pronounced at precapillary sphincters, highlighting their crucial role in capillary blood flow regulation. Mathematical modeling revealed impaired pressure and flow control in aged mice during vasoconstriction. Interventions that preserve dynamics of cerebral blood vessels may ameliorate age-related decreases in blood flow and prevent brain frailty.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Aging
Pages (from-to)173-184
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.

ID: 334910688