What Channels Control Blood Flow to the Brain?

CALGARY, Canada — Contractile activity of smooth muscle cells in the walls of cerebral arteries determines the degree of arterial tone, and thereby controls blood flow.

This study, which appears in the May issue of the Journal of General Physiology, was done on humans rather than rodents.

The researchers found that arterial tone is regulated in large part by the influx of calcium through voltage-gated calcium channels, which are found in the membranes of excitable cells throughout the body.

Researchers found that humans and rodents share similar properties in arterial tone and what impacts it.

The findings also show that each of the channel subtypes in human cerebral arteries play a different role in the regulation of arterial tone.

This is the first study that shows how T-type channels regulate the flow of blood in human cerebral arteries.

The understanding of these distinctions will be important to treatment development that manipulate specific channels to either suppress or enhance regional brain blood flow.

http://jgp.rupress.org/content/145/5/405

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