The Alpha Adrenergic Signaling Pathway is one of the chief regulators of cerebrovascular tone and cerebral blood flow (CBF), mediating its effects in the arteries through alpha1-Adrenergic receptors (Alpha1AR). In the ovine middle cerebral artery (MCA), with development from a fetus to an adult, others and we have shown that Alpha1AR play a key role in contractile responses, vascular development, remodeling, and angiogenesis. Importantly, Alpha1AR play a significant role in CBF autoregulation, which is incompletely developed in a premature fetus as compared to a near-Term fetus. However, the mechanistic pathways are not completely known. Thus, we tested the hypothesis that as a function of maturation and in response to Alpha1AR stimulation there is a differential gene expression in the ovine MCA. We conducted microarray analysis on transcripts from MCAs of premature fetuses (96- day), near-Term fetuses (145-day), newborn lambs, and non-pregnant adult sheep (2-year) following stimulation of Alpha1AR with phenylephrine (a specific agonist). We observed several genes which belonged to pro-inflammatory and vascular development/angiogenesis pathway significantly altered in all of the four age groups. We also observed age-specific changes in gene expression-mediated by Alpha1AR stimulation in the different developmental age groups. These findings imply complex regulatory mechanisms of cerebrovascular development.
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