Mapping the Fine-Scale Organization and Plasticity of the Brain Vasculature

Cell. 2020 Feb 20;180(4):780-795.e25. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.01.028. Epub 2020 Feb 13.


The cerebral vasculature is a dense network of arteries, capillaries, and veins. Quantifying variations of the vascular organization across individuals, brain regions, or disease models is challenging. We used immunolabeling and tissue clearing to image the vascular network of adult mouse brains and developed a pipeline to segment terabyte-sized multichannel images from light sheet microscopy, enabling the construction, analysis, and visualization of vascular graphs composed of over 100 million vessel segments. We generated datasets from over 20 mouse brains, with labeled arteries, veins, and capillaries according to their anatomical regions. We characterized the organization of the vascular network across brain regions, highlighting local adaptations and functional correlates. We propose a classification of cortical regions based on the vascular topology. Finally, we analysed brain-wide rearrangements of the vasculature in animal models of congenital deafness and ischemic stroke, revealing that vascular plasticity and remodeling adopt diverging rules in different models.

Keywords: ClearMap; deafness; iDISCO; image processing; light sheet microscopy; neural network; stroke; tissue clearing; vascular plasticity; vasculature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Capillaries / anatomy & histology*
  • Capillaries / pathology
  • Cerebral Arteries / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology
  • Cerebral Veins / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Veins / pathology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Sensory Deprivation
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / pathology
  • Stroke / pathology
  • Vascular Remodeling*