Diminished dynamic cerebral autoregulatory capacity with forced oscillations in mean arterial pressure with elevated cardiorespiratory fitness

Lawrence Labrecque, Kevan Rahimaly, Sarah Imhoff, Myriam Paquette, Olivier Le Blanc, Simon Malenfant, Samuel J E Lucas, Damian M. Bailey, Jonathan D Smirl, Patrice Brassard*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The effect that cardiorespiratory fitness has on the dynamic cerebral autoregu- latory capacity during changes in mean arterial pressure (MAP) remains equivocal. Using a multi pie-metrics approach, challenging MAP across the spectrum of physiological extremes (i.e., spontaneous through forced MAP oscillations), we characterized dynamic cerebral autoregulatory capacity in 19 male endurance athletes and eight controls via three methods: (1) onset of regulation (i.e., time delay before an increase in middle cerebral artery (MCA) conductance [MCA blood velocity (MCAv)/MAP] and rate of regulation, after transient hypotension induced by sit-to-stand, and transfer function analysis (TFA) of MAP and MCAv responses during (2) spontaneous and (3) forced oscillations (5-min of squat-stand maneuvers performed at 0.05 and 0.10 Hz). Reductions in MAP and mean MCAv (MCAVmean) during initial orthostatic stress (0-30 sec after sit-to-stand) and the prevalence of orthostatic hypotension were also determined. Onset of regulation was delayed after sit-to-stand in athletes (3.1 ± 1.7 vs. 1.5 ± 1.0 sec; P= 0.03), but rate of regulation was not different between groups (0.24 ± 0.05 vs. 0.21 ± 0.09 sec-1; P= 0.82). While both groups had comparable TFA metrics during spontaneous oscillations, athletes had higher TFA gain during 0.10 Hz squat-stand versus recreational controls (P = 0.01). Reductions in MAP (P = 0.15) and MCAVmean (P = 0.11) during orthostatic stress and the prevalence of initial orthostatic hypotension (P = 0.65) were comparable between groups. These results indicate an intact ability of the cerebral vasculature to react to spontaneous oscillations but an attenuated capability to counter rapid and large changes in MAP in individuals with elevated cardiorespiratory fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13486
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Cerebral pressureflow relationship
  • Dynamic cerebral autoregulation


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