Hypoxia increases cerebral blood flow (CBF) with the underlying signaling processes potentially including adenosine. A randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled design, was implemented to determine if adenosine receptor antagonism (theophylline, 3.75 mg/Kg) would reduce the CBF response to normobaric and hypobaric hypoxia. In 12 participants the partial pressures of end-tidal oxygen () and carbon dioxide (), ventilation (pneumotachography), blood pressure (finger photoplethysmography), heart rate (electrocardiogram), CBF (duplex ultrasound), and intracranial blood velocities (transcranial Doppler ultrasound) were measured during 5-min stages of isocapnic hypoxia at sea level (98, 90, 80, and 70% ). Ventilation, and , blood pressure, heart rate, and CBF were also measured upon exposure (128 ± 31 min following arrival) to high altitude (3,800 m) and 6 h following theophylline administration. At sea level, although the CBF response to hypoxia was unaltered pre- and postplacebo, it was reduced following theophylline (P < 0.01), a finding explained by a lower (P < 0.01). Upon mathematical correction for , the CBF response to hypoxia was unaltered following theophylline. Cerebrovascular reactivity to hypoxia (i.e., response slope) was not different between trials, irrespective of . At high altitude, theophylline (n = 6) had no effect on CBF compared with placebo (n = 6) when end-tidal gases were comparable (P > 0.05). We conclude that adenosine receptor-dependent signaling is not obligatory for cerebral hypoxic vasodilation in humans.
NEW & NOTEWORTHY The signaling pathways that regulate human cerebral blood flow in hypoxia remain poorly understood. Using a randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled study design, we determined that adenosine receptor-dependent signaling is not obligatory for the regulation of human cerebral blood flow at sea level; these findings also extend to high altitude.
- cerebral blood flow
- transcranial Doppler
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