Scanning Microscopy


The site of action of neuropeptide Y (NPY), a potent vasoconstrictive neurotransmitter, on the intraparenchymal blood vessels in the rat parietal cortex was demonstrated using a corrosion cast technique with scanning electron microscopy. Our observations were confined to the cortical area where the regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) had been reduced significantly by in situ application of NPY. A striking finding in that area was the diffuse narrowing of the perforating arteries in the upper cortical layers. Ring-like compressions on the corrosion casts, presumably formed by active vascular sphincters along the arteries, capillaries and venules within the brain parenchyma, seemed to be more prominent in the perforating arteries of the NPY-treated cortex as compared with those of control cortex. We conclude that NPY-containing nerve fibers along the parenchymal blood vessels may take part in regulating the rCBF primarily by reducing the caliber of the proximal perforating arteries.

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