We are very excited about our new publication in Science!

Jammal Salameh, L., Bitzenhofer, S.H., Hanganu-Opatz, I.L., Dutschmann, M., and Egger, V. (2024). Blood pressure pulsations modulate central neuronal activity via mechanosensitive ion channels. Science 383, eadk8511. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.adk8511

A big shout out to Luna Jammal Salameh and Veronica Egger, who led this study, from University Regensburg. We show that heartbeat-induced pressure waves directly modulate the firing of a subset of neurons in the olfactory bulb (and other areas). These neurons increase their firing rate within about 20 ms after heartbeats, mediated by fast mechanosensitive ion channels – most likely Piezo2. This pathway adds a fast transmission line to the interoceptive body-brain axis. The function is a matter of speculation, but we propose that a brain-wide network of ‘heartbeat sentinel neurons’ might mediate interoceptive modulation of mood and cognition.