Acceleration of the Development of Microcirculation Embolism in the Brain due to Capillary Narrowing

Juri Murata, Miyuki Unekawa, Yuya Kudo, Maho Kotani, Iwao Kanno, Yoshikane Izawa, Yutaka Tomita, Kenji F. Tanaka, Jin Nakahara, Kazuto Masamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Cerebral microvascular obstruction is critically involved in recurrent stroke and decreased cerebral blood flow with age. The obstruction must occur in the capillary with a greater resistance to perfusion pressure through the microvascular networks. However, little is known about the relationship between capillary size and embolism formation. This study aimed to determine whether the capillary lumen space contributes to the development of microcirculation embolism. METHODS: To spatiotemporally manipulate capillary diameters in vivo, transgenic mice expressing the light-gated cation channel protein ChR2 (channelrhodopsin-2) in mural cells were used. The spatiotemporal changes in the regional cerebral blood flow in response to the photoactivation of ChR2 mural cells were first characterized using laser speckle flowgraphy. Capillary responses to optimized photostimulation were then examined in vivo using 2-photon microscopy. Finally, microcirculation embolism due to intravenously injected fluorescent microbeads was compared under conditions with or without photoactivation of ChR2 mural cells. RESULTS: Following transcranial photostimulation, the stimulation intensity-dependent decrease in cerebral blood flow centered at the irradiation was observed (14%-49% decreases relative to the baseline). The cerebrovascular response to photostimulation showed significant constriction of the cerebral arteries and capillaries but not of the veins. As a result of vasoconstriction, a temporal stall of red blood cell flow occurred in the capillaries of the venous sides. The 2-photon excitation of a single ChR2 pericyte demonstrated the partial shrinkage of capillaries (7% relative to the baseline) around the stimulated cell. With the intravenous injection of microbeads, the occurrence of microcirculation embolism was significantly enhanced (11% increases compared to the control) with photostimulation. CONCLUSIONS: Capillary narrowing increases the risk of developing microcirculation embolism in the venous sides of the cerebral capillaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2135-2144
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug 1


  • animal models
  • brain
  • channelrhodopsin
  • embolism
  • microcirculation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing


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