Pericytes in the central nervous system (CNS) are hypothesized to be involved in important circulatory functions, including local blood flow regulation, angiogenesis, immune reaction, and regulation of blood-brain barrier. Despite these putative functions, functional correlates of pericytes in vivo are scarce. We have labeled CNS pericytes using the dextran-conjugated fluorescent calcium indicator Calcium Green I and imaged them in somatosensory cortex of the mouse in vivo. Intracellular calcium concentration in pericytes showed spontaneous surges lasting for several seconds. Furthermore, population bursts of neuronal activity were associated with increased Ca2+ signal in a portion of the pericytes. Selective in vivo labeling of pericytes with functional markers may help reveal their physiological function in neuronal activity-associated regulation of local cerebral blood flow.
- Calcium Green
- Cerebral blood flow
- Perivascular cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience