We report that a brief electrical stimulation of the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM), the primary source of cholinergic projection to the cerebral cortex, induces a biphasic cerebral cortical blood flow (CBF) response in the somatosensory cortex of C57BL/6J mice. This CBF response, measured by laser Doppler flowmetry, was attenuated by the muscarinic type acetylcholine receptor antagonist atropine, suggesting a possible involvement of astrocytes in this type of CBF modulation. However, we find that IP3R2 knockout mice, which lack cytosolic Ca2+ surges in astrocytes, show similar CBF changes. Moreover, whisker stimulation resulted in similar degrees of CBF increase in IP3R2 knockout mice and the background strain C57BL/6J. Our results show that neural activity-driven CBF modulation could occur without large cytosolic increases of Ca2+ in astrocytes.
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