Arterial and venous cerebral blood flow responses to long-term head-down bed rest in male volunteers

Exp Physiol. 2020 Jan;105(1):44-52. doi: 10.1113/EP088057. Epub 2019 Nov 28.

Abstract

New findings: What is the central question of this study? A heterogeneous cerebral blood flow (CBF) response in the cerebral arteries has been demonstrated in several physiological conditions, and it might be attributable to different physiological properties. However, the whole cerebral haemodynamic response to weightlessness remains unknown. What is the main finding and its importance? Long-term head-down bed rest caused a heterogeneous CBF response between the anterior and posterior cerebral arteries and between the cerebral arteries and veins. Especially, in contrast to the anterior cerebral circulation, the posterior arterial and venous CBFs were well maintained throughout weightlessness.

Abstract: In this study, we investigated the whole cerebral haemodynamic response to long-term head-down bed rest (HDBR). We hypothesized that long-term exposure to weightlessness influences cerebral blood flow (CBF) or CBF distribution among cerebral arteries and veins because of the different physiological roles of each cerebral vessel. To test this hypothesis, 10 male volunteers were exposed to -6 deg HDBR for 60 days. Blood flows in the internal carotid artery, external carotid artery and vertebral artery or internal jugular vein and vertebral vein were measured using ultrasonography before and on days 30 and 57 of the HDBR. The internal carotid artery blood flow was reduced on day 30 (P = 0.019) and had returned to the baseline level by day 57. In contrast, the vertebral artery blood flow remained unaltered throughout the HDBR (P = 0.626). The internal jugular vein blood flow was reduced on day 30 (P = 0.009), whereas the vertebral vein blood flow remained unaltered (P = 0.397). These findings suggest that long-term HDBR causes a heterogeneous CBF response between the anterior and posterior cerebral circulation in the both arteries and veins. The posterior arterial and venous CBFs were well maintained throughout HDBR, and these CBF responses to HDBR were different from the anterior cerebral circulation.

Keywords: carotid artery; human; jugular vein; vertebral artery; vertebral vein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bed Rest*
  • Carotid Artery, External / physiology
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / physiology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Head-Down Tilt*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vertebral Artery / physiology
  • Weightlessness Simulation
  • Young Adult