Multimodal mapping of neural activity and cerebral blood flow reveals long-lasting neurovascular dissociations after small-scale strokes

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Science Advances  22 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 21, eaba1933
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba1933


Neurovascular coupling, the close spatial and temporal relationship between neural activity and hemodynamics, is disrupted in pathological brain states. To understand the altered neurovascular relationship in brain disorders, longitudinal, simultaneous mapping of neural activity and hemodynamics is critical yet challenging to achieve. Here, we use a multimodal neural platform in a mouse model of stroke and realize long-term, spatially resolved tracking of intracortical neural activity and cerebral blood flow in the same brain regions. We observe a pronounced neurovascular dissociation that occurs immediately after small-scale strokes, becomes the most severe a few days after, lasts into chronic periods, and varies with the level of ischemia. Neuronal deficits extend spatiotemporally, whereas restoration of cerebral blood flow occurs sooner and reaches a higher relative value. Our findings reveal the neurovascular impact of ministrokes and inform the limitation of neuroimaging techniques that infer neural activity from hemodynamic responses.

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