Optical Approaches to Study Metabolic Consequences of Spreading Depression In Vivo

Part of the Advances in Neurobiology book series (NEUROBIOL, volume 4)


Optical imaging methods have been widely used to investigate the function of complex brain tissue. Depending on the approach used, activity can be readily monitored with relatively high temporal resolution throughout large areas of the cortex, or alternatively from individual neurons or sub-cellular compartments. The aim of this chapter is to illustrate the application of optical approaches to provide information about changes in brain metabolism that follow coordinated neuronal firing. The phenomenon of spreading depression (SD) is used to illustrate some of the advantages and challenges of different approaches. SD involves a slowly-propagating coordinated depolarization of neurons and astrocytes and is thought to underlie migraine aura and contribute to enlargement of brain injuries. The stereotyped progression of this event across the cortical surface, coupled with the substantial increase in metabolic demand, has made this response particularly amenable to optical imaging. The discussion will emphasize signals due to changes in mitochondrial redox state, as assessed by changes in levels of NADH autofluorescence. Optical signals associated with changes in blood flow and oxygenation will also be described, since these can significantly impact autofluorescence studies and because the integration of hemodynamic and mitochondrial signals should be valuable for understanding metabolic deficits and neuronal injury that can accompany SD. It is expected that many of the principles discussed here will also apply to less severe metabolic disturbances that accompany reflex activation of discrete neuronal populations.


Autofluorescence Intrinsic optical imaging Ischemia Metabolism Mitochondria NADH Spreading depression Stroke 



Supported by NIH grant NS51288


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosciencesUniversity of New Mexico School of MedicineAlbuquerqueUSA

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