Sleep cycle-dependent vascular dynamics in male mice and the predicted effects on perivascular cerebrospinal fluid flow and solute transport

  • Laura Bojarskaite
  • Alexandra Honorine Emilie Vallet
  • Daniel Marelius Bjørnstad
  • Kristin Maria Gullestad Binder
  • Celine Cunen


Perivascular spaces are important highways for fluid and solute transport in the brain enabling efficient waste clearance during sleep. However, the underlying mechanisms augmenting perivascular flow in sleep are unknown. Using two-photon imaging of naturally sleeping male mice we demonstrate sleep cycle-dependent vascular dynamics of pial arteries and penetrating arterioles: slow, large-amplitude oscillations in NREM sleep, a vasodilation in REM sleep, and a vasoconstriction upon awakening at the end of a sleep cycle and microarousals in NREM and intermediate sleep. These vascular dynamics are mirrored by changes in the size of the perivascular spaces of the penetrating arterioles: slow fluctuations in NREM sleep, reduction in REM sleep and an enlargement upon awakening after REM sleep and during microarousals in NREM and intermediate sleep. By biomechanical modeling we demonstrate that these sleep cycle-dependent perivascular dynamics likely enhance fluid flow and solute transport in perivascular spaces to levels comparable to cardiac pulsation-driven oscillations.