Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders

ALAN URBAN, PHD

Principal Investigator, NERF / VIB
Contact / Bio

Research Areas

  • Functional hyperemia
  • Impaired neurovascular coupling

Approaches

  • Optogenetics
  • Functional UltraSound (fUS) imaging

Research Summary

UNDERSTANDING THE BRAIN THROUGH INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES

The brain is a complex organ composed of numerous populations of cells controlling neuronal activity that are tightly coupled with the cerebrovascular networks. Since more than a century, it is known that the tight coupling between neuronal activity and regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) is essential to the normal brain function. The increase in neuronal activity is associated with an increase of local perfusion, known as functional hyperemia. Despite its physiopathological importance, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurovascular coupling remain poorly understood. Nevertheless, it is currently accepted that neuronal activation triggers an increase of CBF that is controlled by the neurogliovascular unit composed of terminals of neurons, astrocytes, glial cells, pericytes, blood vessel muscles and more. How activation of the brain triggers functional hyperemia is an important question to better understand normal brain physiology and whose answer could shed light on several pathology such as stroke, migraine, Alzheimer’s disease, psychological disorders and others pathologies in which neurovascular coupling is known to be impaired.

Click for more