Endothelial structure contributes to heterogeneity in brain capillary diameter.
bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology（2023）
The high metabolic demand of brain tissue is supported by a constant supply of blood flow through dense microvascular networks. Capillaries are the smallest class of vessels in the brain and their lumens vary in diameter between ~2 and 5 μm. This diameter range plays a significant role in optimizing blood flow resistance, blood cell distribution, and oxygen extraction. The control of capillary diameter has largely been ascribed to pericyte contractility, but it remains unclear if the architecture of the endothelial wall also contributes to capillary diameter. Here, we use public, large-scale volume electron microscopy data from mouse cortex (MICrONS Explorer, Cortical mm3) to examine how endothelial cell number, endothelial cell thickness, and pericyte coverage relates to microvascular lumen size. We find that transitional vessels near the penetrating arteriole and ascending venule are composed of two to six interlocked endothelial cells, while the capillaries intervening these zones are composed of either one or two endothelial cells, with roughly equal proportions. The luminal area and diameter are on average slightly larger with capillary segments composed of two interlocked endothelial cells vs one endothelial cell. However, this difference is insufficient to explain the full range of capillary diameters seen in vivo. This suggests that both endothelial structure and other influences, including pericyte tone, contribute to the basal diameter and optimized perfusion of brain capillaries.更多