S Phase Entry of Neural Progenitor Cells Correlates with Increased Blood Flow in the Young Subventricular Zone

The postnatal subventricular zone (SVZ) contains proliferating neural progenitor cells in close proximity to blood vessels. Insults and drug treatments acutely stimulate cell proliferation in the SVZ, which was assessed by labeling cells entering S phase. Although G1-to-S progression is metabolically demanding on a minute-to-hour time scale, it remains unknown whether increased SVZ cell proliferation is accompanied by a local hemodynamic response. This neurovascular coupling provides energy substrates to active neuronal assemblies. Transcardial dye perfusion revealed the presence of capillaries throughout the SVZ that constrict upon applications of the thromboxane A2 receptor agonist U-46119 in acute brain slice preparations. We then monitored in vivo blood flow using laser Doppler flowmetry via a microprobe located either in the SVZ or a mature network. U-46119 injections into the lateral ventricle decreased blood flow in the SVZ and the striatum, which are near the ventricle. A 1-hour ventricular injection of epidermal and basic fibroblast growth factor (EGF and bFGF) significantly increased the percentage of Sox2 transcription factor-positive cells in S phase 1.5 hours post-injection. This increase was accompanied by a sustained rise in blood flow in the SVZ but not in the striatum. Direct growth factor injections into the cortex did not alter local blood flow, ruling out direct effects on capillaries. These findings suggest that an acute increase in the number of G1-to-S cycling SVZ cells is accompanied by neurometabolic-vascular coupling, which may provide energy and nutrient for cell cycle progression.