Aging reduces cerebral blood flow regulation following an acute hypertensive stimulus

Alexander J. Rosenberg, Elizabeth C. Schroeder, Georgios Grigoriadis, Sang Ouk Wee, Kanokwan Bunsawat, Kevin S. Heffernan, Bo Fernhall, Tracy Baynard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Aging increases arterial stiffness, which has a negative impact on cerebral blood flow (CBF) regulation (decreases CBF and increases CBF pulsatility). The association between arterial stiffness and CBF pulsatility may, in part, explain the relationship between elevated blood pressure (BP) fluctuations and end-organ disease with aging. To understand the mechanisms by which large BP alterations influence cerebral blood flow regulation in both young and old, we examined the effects of age on central and cerebral blood flow regulation following an acute hypertensive stimulus [resistance-exercise (RE)]. Measurements were obtained pre and immediately, 5, and 30 min post-RE in young (n = 35) and older (n = 26) adults. Measurements included cerebral blood velocity (CBv), CBv pulsatility, central pulse-wave velocity (PWV), beta-stiffness index (β), and carotid blood flow pulsatility. Central hemodynamics and BP were continuously recorded. Mean CBv increased immediately post-RE only in the young and decreased below baseline at 5 min post-RE in both groups (interaction, P ≺ 0.05). Older adults had a greater increase in CBv pulsatility immediately post-RE compared with the young (interaction, P ≺ 0.05). Mean BP was higher and carotid pulsatility was lower in the older group and increased immediately post-RE in both groups (P ≺ 0.05). PWV increased immediately post-RE (P ≺ 0.05). There were no changes in β. In conclusion, with aging, greater central arterial stiffness leads to a greater transmission of pulsatile blood velocity from the systemic circulation to the cerebral circulation following an acute hypertensive stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1186-1195
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Age
  • Arterial blood pressure
  • Arterial stiffness
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Cerebral pulsatility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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