|Institution:||University of Minnesota|
|Keywords:||Blood flow; Capillary; Functional hyperemia; Pericyte; Retina; Neuroscience|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/11299/171413|
The primary goal of the work presented here is to understand how blood flow is regulated in the retinal vascular network in response to neuronal activity. In order to accurately quantify blood flow, we developed a multitude of streamlined techniques capable of measuring many properties of blood flow. These techniques were used to investigate retinal functional hyperemia, defined as the increase in local blood flow that occurs in response to nearby neuronal activity. We did a comprehensive survey of all retinal vessels to investigate the magnitude and timing of the functional hyperemia response as it presents in the different compartments of the retinal vascular network. We found that arterioles are primarily responsible for generating functional hyperemia in the retina and that, with prolonged stimulation, blood flow through the three vascular layers in the retina is differentially regulated. This result implies the presence of active capillary dilation. The work in this dissertation informs our understanding of blood flow regulation within the retinal vascular network.