Deep capillary pericytes control blood flow

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Stimulation of KATP channels in a single pericyte deep in the capillary bed drives rapid and profound upstream arteriolar dilation and increases blood flow.

This video initially shows a rotating volume of the cortical vasculature where the experiment was performed. The arteriolar imaging site and pericyte stimulation site are then highlighted, separated by a length of 170 µm of capillaries. Following this, a time series shows the arteriole as the downstream pericyte is stimulated, which leads to a dilation in seconds through a rapid electrical capillary communication mechanism.