The influence of the carotid baroreflex on dynamic regulation of cerebral blood flow and cerebral tissue oxygenation in humans at rest and during exercise

Sushmita Purkayastha, Kaitlyn Maffuid, Xiaojie Zhu, Rong Zhang, Peter B. Raven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: This preliminary study tested the hypothesis that the carotid baroreflex (CBR) mediated sympathoexcitation regulates cerebral blood flow (CBF) at rest and during dynamic exercise. Methods: In seven healthy subjects (26 ± 1 years), oscillatory neck pressure (NP) stimuli of + 40 mmHg were applied to the carotid baroreceptors at a pre-determined frequency of 0.1 Hz at rest, low (10 ± 1W), and heavy (30 ± 3W) exercise workloads (WLs) without (control) and with α − 1 adrenoreceptor blockade (prazosin). Spectral power analysis of the mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), mean middle cerebral artery blood velocity (MCAV), and cerebral tissue oxygenation index (ScO2) in the low-frequency range (0.07–0.20 Hz) was estimated to examine NP stimuli responses. Results: From rest to heavy exercise, WLs resulted in a greater than three-fold increase in MCAV power (42 ± 23.8–145.2 ± 78, p < 0.01) and an almost three-fold increase in ScO2 power (0.51 ± 0.3–1.53 ± 0.8, p = 0.01), even though there were no changes in MAP power (from 24.5 ± 21 to 22.9 ± 11.9) with NP stimuli. With prazosin, the overall MAP (p = 0.0017), MCAV (p = 0.019), and ScO2 (p = 0.049) power was blunted regardless of the exercise conditions. Prazosin blockade resulted in increases in the Tf gain index between MAP and MCAV compared to the control (p = 0.03). Conclusion: CBR-mediated changes in sympathetic activity contribute to dynamic regulation of the cerebral vasculature and CBF at rest and during dynamic exercise in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-969
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2018



  • Cerebral blood vessels
  • Cerebral tissue oxygenation
  • Dynamic exercise
  • Power spectral density
  • Sympathetic activity
  • Transfer function gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)

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