Sickle cell anemia (SS) is characterized by a reduced cerebral microvascular oxygen saturation (cerebral TOI), which is not associated with hemoglobin concentration. Cerebral TOI has never been studied in sickle cell-hemoglobin C disease (SC). We focused on the relationships between hemorheological alterations and cerebral TOI in sickle cell patients with no cerebral vasculopathy and on the usefulness of TOI variability to assess the cerebral vasomotion activity. The blood rheological profile, the level of cerebral TOI (spatial resolved spectroscopy) and the cerebral TOI variability, which reflects vasomotion activity, were compared between 20 healthy subjects (AA), 21 SC patients, and 21 SS patients. Cerebral TOI exhibited the following order: AA > SC > SS. The low cerebral TOI in SS patients was related to red blood cell aggregation and deformability properties. The cerebral TOI variability of SS and SC patients was increased above healthy values and vasomotion activity was negatively associated with the reduced cerebral TOI in SS patients. We demonstrated that (1) blood rheology could be involved in the reduced cerebral TOI in SS patients but not in SC patients; (2) vasomotion activity is increased in SS and SC patients to compensate for the reduced cerebral TOI.
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