Cerebral hypoperfusion during hypoxic exercise following two different hypoxic exposures: independence from changes in dynamic autoregulation and reactivity

Philip N Ainslie, Michael Hamlin, John Hellemans, Peter Rasmussen, Shigehiko Ogoh
American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 2008, 295 (5): R1613-22
We examined the effects of exposure to 10-12 days intermittent hypercapnia [IHC: 5:5-min hypercapnia (inspired fraction of CO(2) 0.05)-to-normoxia for 90 min (n = 10)], intermittent hypoxia [IH: 5:5-min hypoxia-to-normoxia for 90 min (n = 11)] or 12 days of continuous hypoxia [CH: 1,560 m (n = 7)], or both IH followed by CH on cardiorespiratory and cerebrovascular function during steady-state cycling exercise with and without hypoxia (inspired fraction of oxygen, 0.14). Cerebrovascular reactivity to CO(2) was also monitored. During all procedures, ventilation, end-tidal gases, blood pressure, muscle and cerebral oxygenation (near-infrared spectroscopy), and middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity (MCAv) were measured continuously. Dynamic cerebral autoregulation (CA) was assessed using transfer-function analysis. Hypoxic exercise resulted in increases in ventilation, hypocapnia, heart rate, and cardiac output when compared with normoxic exercise (P < 0.05); these responses were unchanged following IHC but were elevated following the IH and CH exposure (P < 0.05) with no between-intervention differences. Following IH and/or CH exposure, the greater hypocapnia during hypoxic exercise provoked a decrease in MCAv (P < 0.05 vs. preexposure) that was related to lowered cerebral oxygenation (r = 0.54; P < 0.05). Following any intervention, during hypoxic exercise, the apparent impairment in CA, reflected in lowered low-frequency phase between MCAv and BP, and MCAv-CO(2) reactivity, were unaltered. Conversely, during hypoxic exercise following both IH and/or CH, there was less of a decrease in muscle oxygenation (P < 0.05 vs. preexposure). Thus IH or CH induces some adaptation at the muscle level and lowers MCAv and cerebral oxygenation during hypoxic exercise, potentially mediated by the greater hypocapnia, rather than a compromise in CA or MCAv reactivity.

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