We investigated rapid changes in pial arterial diameter and in cerebral blood flow (CBF) caused by transient ipsilateral common carotid artery occlusion (CCA-O) in anesthetized rats in order to elucidate how the cerebral circulation reacts to acute stem artery occlusion. In separate groups of rats, pial arterial diameter was recorded through a closed cranial window and CBF was recorded by laser-Doppler flowmetry. CCA-O was performed for 5 minutes under normotension and normocapnia (control) and under graded hypotension, hypercapnia and hypocapnia. In the control condition, pial arterial diameter increased rapidly, triggered by CCA-O. It took 12 ± 3 s to reach the maximum of 204 ± 42% of the value before CCA-O, and 60 ± 24 s to become stable at 131 ± 11%. CBF decreased rapidly to 66 ± 11%, then increased reactively to 135 ± 9%, and again decreased to 91 ± 3%. The reactive increase in CBF caused by CCA-O decreased in parallel with the degree of hypotension, and also became barely detectable under hypercapnia. Our data suggest that active vascular dilation in the territory of the occluded artery is important for inducing collateral circulation.
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