Homeostatic monitoring and control of regional brain blood flow

Year of award: 2016


  • Prof Alexander Gourine

    University College London

Project summary

The brain has a very high metabolic rate because of the activities of millions of nerve cells that process information. The brain subsequently requires constant and optimal nutrient and oxygen supply, as well as the effective elimination of carbon dioxide and this is ensured by elaborate physiological mechanisms that control cerebral blood flow. Sustained efficacy of these mechanisms maintains neurological health and promotes brain longevity. Dysfunction may result in damage to nerve cells, contributing to cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative disease.

I will study the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the effects of carbon dioxide and oxygen on the flow of blood in the brain. I will also examine the mechanisms responsible for increases in local brain blood flow which accompany heightened nerve cell activity.

This research is expected to contribute to our understanding of how brain blood flow supports dynamic changes in local neuronal circuit activity and how brain blood flow is controlled to maintain a consistent environment and protect neuronal networks from deleterious changes in carbon dioxide concentration and oxygen availability.