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Cerebrovascular responses to hypoxia and hypcapnia in high altitude dwellers

Norcliffe, L.J., Rivera-Ch, M., Claydon, Victoria E., Moore, J.P., Leon-Velarde, Fabiola, Appenzeller, Otto and Hainsworth, Roger (2005) Cerebrovascular responses to hypoxia and hypcapnia in high altitude dwellers. Journal of Physiology, 566 (1). pp. 287-294. ISSN 0022-3751

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    Cerebral blood flow is known to increase in response to hypoxia and to decrease with hypocapnia.
    It is not known, however, whether these responses are altered in high-altitude dwellers
    who are not only chronically hypoxic and hypocapnic, but also polycythaemic. Here we
    examined cerebral blood flow responses to hypoxia and hypocapnia, separately and together, in
    Andean high-altitude dwellers, including some with chronic mountain sickness (CMS), which
    is characterized by excessive polycythaemia. Studies were carried out at high altitude (Cerro de
    Pasco (CP), Peru; barometric pressure (PB) 450 mmHg) and repeated, following relief of the
    hypoxia, on the day following arrival at sea level (Lima, Peru; PB 755 mmHg). We compared
    these results with those from eight sea-level residents studied at sea level. In nine high-altitude
    normal subjects (HA) and nine CMS patients, we recorded middle cerebral artery mean blood
    flow velocity (MCAVm) using transcranial Doppler ultrasonography, and expressed responses
    as changes from baseline.MCAVmresponses to hypoxia were determined by changing end-tidal
    partial pressure of oxygen (PET,O2) from 100 to 50 mmHg, with end-tidal partial pressure of
    carbon dioxide clamped. MCAVm responses to hypocapnia were studied by voluntary hyperventilation
    with PET,O2 clamped at 100 and 50 mmHg. There were no significant differences
    between the cerebrovascular responses of the two groups to any of the interventions at either
    location. In both groups, the MCAVm responses to hypoxia were significantly greater at Lima
    than at CP (HA, 12.1±1.3 and 6.1±1.0%; CMS, 12.5±0.8 and 5.6±1.2%; P <0.01 both
    groups). The responses at Lima were similar to those in the sea-level subjects (13.6±2.3%). The
    responses to normoxic hypocapnia in the altitude subjects were also similar at both locations
    and greater than those in sea-level residents. During hypoxia, both high-altitude groups showed
    responses to hypocapnia that were significantly smaller at Lima than at CP (HA, 2.17±0.23 and
    3.29±0.34% mmHg−1, P <0.05; CMS, 1.87±0.16 and 3.23±0.24% mmHg−1; P <0.01).
    The similarity of the results from the two groups of altitude dwellers suggests that haematocrit
    is unlikely to greatly affect cerebrovascular reactivity to hypoxia and hypocapnia. The smaller
    vasodilatation to hypoxia and larger vasoconstriction to hypoxic hypocapnia at high altitude
    suggest that cerebrovascular responsesmay be impaired at the high altitude, i.e. a maladaptation.
    The changes in the responses within less than 24 h at sea level indicate that this impairment is
    rapidly reversible.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: © The Physiological Society 2005
    Uncontrolled Keywords: cerebrovascular responses hypoxia hypocapnia high-altitude dwellers
    Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
    G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
    Schools: School of Applied Sciences

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    Depositing User: Sara Taylor
    Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2007
    Last Modified: 15 Sep 2010 13:01


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