Blood flow dynamics in different layers of the somatosensory region of the cerebral cortex on the rat during mechanical stimulation of the vibrissae

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The present work reports studies of the quantitative spatial and temporal characteristics of changes in local blood flow in different layers of the somatosensory cortex of rats during adequate mechanical stimulation of the vibrissae. Studies were performed using 34 Wistar rats. Skull trepanning was performed under urethane (1 g/kg) anesthesia. Television-guided microscopy was used to introduce a set of three platinum electrodes (100 μm in diameter, with tip diameters of 30-40 μm) into the somatosensory cortex projection zone of the vibrissae. The first and third electrodes were positioned in cortical layers I-III and IV-VI and the central electrode was used to generate hydrogen within the tissue. Electrode positions were confirmed histologically after experiments. Animals were placed on artificial ventilation and one or all vibrissae were stimulated at a frequency of 3 Hz for 60 sec, with interstimulus intervals of 3 min. Changes in the local blood flow were measured during stimulation and for 1 min afterwards, using the hydrogen clearance method, and brain tissue impedance was also measured. There was a small (up to 5-7%) reduction in blood flow in the first seconds of stimulation, which was followed 15-25 sec later by an increase and subsequent return to initial when stimulation stopped. The increases in blood flow during stimulation of all vibrissae were by 24.2±6.7% (n=36) in layers IV-VI and 24.5±5.6% (n=34) in layers I-III; increases in response to stimulation of single vibrissae were by 19.4±7.4% (n=28) and 17.8±6.4% (n=28) respectively. The dynamics of impedance changes corresponded to those of blood flow changes. Thus, heterogeneity was found in changes of local brain blood flow in different layers of the somatosensory cortex during increases in cortical functional activity.

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