Researchers from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health and Macquarie University may have discovered the cells in the brain that act as the ‘master controllers’ of the cardiovascular system.
In a rat model, the researchers made the cells, that regulate blood flow, glow under the microscope using a genetically modified virus. This made it possible for them to detect the cells’ connections to numerous parts of the cardiovascular system. The connections, they discovered, were sent by a group of cells in the most ancient part of the brain.
The researchers then used a technique called optogenetics to make these same brains cells sensitive to laser light, which allowed them to control the activity of these cells by turning a laser off or on. Using this technique, the team were able to determine that the cells were able to simultaneously influence multiple parts of the body, including the blood vessels in the limbs, and the heart. They believe this shows that coordinating blood flow across the whole cardiovascular is the function of these brain cells, making them the master controller of blood flow in the brain.
This discovery could help future studies determine where in the brain cardiovascular issues, such as heart failure and high blood pressure, are controlled.
Source: Sci News
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