Whisker-evoked neurovascular coupling is preserved during hypoglycemia in mouse cortical arterioles and capillaries

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Hypoglycemia is a serious complication of insulin treatment of diabetes that can lead to coma and death. Neurovascular coupling, which mediates increased local blood flow in response to neuronal activity, increases glucose availability to active neurons. This mechanism could be essential for neuronal health during hypoglycemia, when total glucose supplies are low. Previous studies suggest, however, that neurovascular coupling (a transient blood flow increase in response to an increase in neuronal activity) may be reduced during hypoglycemia. Such a reduction in blood flow increase would exacerbate the effects of hypoglycemia, depriving active neurons of glucose. We have reexamined the effects of hypoglycemia on neurovascular coupling by simultaneously monitoring neuronal and vascular responses to whisker stimulation in the awake mouse somatosensory cortex. We find that neurovascular coupling at both penetrating arterioles and at 2nd order capillaries did not change significantly during insulin-induced hypoglycemia compared to euglycemia. In addition, we show that the basal diameter of both arterioles and capillaries increases during hypoglycemia (10.3 and 9.7% increases, respectively). Our results demonstrate that both neurovascular coupling and basal increases in vessel diameter are active mechanisms which help to maintain an adequate supply of glucose to the brain during hypoglycemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-168
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Neurovascular coupling
  • arterioles
  • capillaries
  • functional hyperemia
  • hypoglycemia

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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