Reactive Oxygen Species and the Regulation of Cerebral Vascular Tone

  • T. Michael De Silva
  • Frank M. FaraciEmail author
Part of the Oxidative Stress in Applied Basic Research and Clinical Practice book series (OXISTRESS)


This chapter summarizes concepts related to the effects of reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress on vascular tone in the cerebral circulation. The impact of different reactive oxygen species as well as enzymatic sources of these molecules (particularly NADPH oxidase) is outlined along with endogenous mechanisms that protect against oxidative stress. Direct effects of reactive oxygen species on vascular tone are described. In addition, an overview is presented regarding effects of these molecules on key adaptive responses. The majority of this work has been performed in models of disease. Although reactive oxygen species may be produced at low levels in normal healthy blood vessels, they appear to exert little influence on vascular tone under those conditions. For both endothelium-dependent vasodilation and neurovascular coupling, reactive oxygen species do not affect responses normally but have substantial effects in disease and with aging. In contrast, the importance of reactive oxygen species in relation to autoregulation and chemoregulation (cerebrovascular responses to carbon dioxide and oxygen) has only been studied to a limited extent with somewhat inconsistent results. Overall, reactive oxygen species have substantial effects on vascular tone in brain, particularly in models of cerebrovascular disease.


Endothelial function Myogenic tone Autoregulation Cerebral blood flow Oxidative stress NAPDH oxidase Neurovascular coupling 



Work summarized in this chapter was supported by research grants from the National Institute of Health (NS-096465, NS-24621, HL-62984, and HL-113863), the Department of Veteran’s Affair’s (BX001399), and the Fondation Leducq (Transatlantic Network of Excellence on the Pathogenesis of Cerebral Small Vessel Disease). TMD was the recipient of an Overseas Post-doctoral Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (1053786).


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology, Francois M. Abboud Cardiovascular Center, Carver College of MedicineUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Iowa City Veterans Affairs Healthcare SystemIowa CityUSA

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