Blood flow and vasodilatory responses decrease are altered by age in a number of vascular beds, including the cerebral circulation. To test the role of prostaglandins as regulators of cerebral vascular function, we examined cerebral vasodilator responses to CO2 (cerebrovascular reactivity), in young (26 ± 5y; 6M/6F) and old (65 ± 6y, 5M/5F) healthy humans before and after cyclooxygenase inhibition (using indomethacin). Middle cerebral artery velocity (MCAv) responses to stepped hypercapnia were measured before and 90 min after indomethacin. Changes in MCAv during the recovery from hypercapnia (vasoconstrictor responses) were also evaluated before and after indomethacin. Cerebrovascular reactivity was calculated using linear regression between MCAv and end-tidal CO2. Young adults demonstrated greater MCAv (55±6 vs. 39±5 cm/s: p<0.05) and MCAv reactivity (1.67±0.20 vs. 1.09±0.19 cm/s/mmHg; p<0.05) to hypercapnia compared with older adults (p<0.05). In both groups MCAv and MCAv reactivity decreased between control and indomethacin. Furthermore, the age-related differences in these cerebrovascular variables were abolished by indomethacin. During the recovery from hypercapnia, there were no age-related differences in MCAv reactivity, however, indomethacin significantly reduced the MCAv reactivity in both groups. Taken together, these results suggest that cerebral blood flow velocity and cerebrovascular reactivity is attenuated in aging humans, and may be due to a loss of prostaglandin-mediated vasodilation.
- cerebral blood flow velocity
- middle cerebral artery
- Copyright © 2011, Journal of Applied Physiology