Blood flow and oxygen delivery to human brain during functional activity: Theoretical modeling and experimental data

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Abstract

Coupling of cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebral metabolic rate for oxygen (CMRO2) in physiologically activated brain states remains the subject of debates. Recently it was suggested that CBF is tightly coupled to oxidative metabolism in a nonlinear fashion. As part of this hypothesis, mathematical models of oxygen delivery to the brain have been described in which disproportionately large increases in CBF are necessary to sustain even small increases in CMRO2 during activation. We have explored the coupling of CBF and oxygen delivery by using two complementary methods. First, a more complex mathematical model was tested that differs from those recently described in that no assumptions were made regarding tissue oxygen level. Second, [15O] water CBF positron emission tomography (PET) studies in nine healthy subjects were conducted during states of visual activation and hypoxia to examine the relationship of CBF and oxygen delivery. In contrast to previous reports, our model showed adequate tissue levels of oxygen could be maintained without the need for increased CBF or oxygen delivery. Similarly, the PET studies demonstrated that the regional increase in CBF during visual activation was not affected by hypoxia. These findings strongly indicate that the increase in CBF associated with physiological activation is regulated by factors other than local requirements in oxygen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6859-6864
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume98
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 5 2001

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