Regional distribution of blood flow in the brain of horses at rest and during exercise

Murli Manohar From the Departments of Veterinary Biosciences and Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801.

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 BVSc, PhD
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Thomas E. Goetz From the Departments of Veterinary Biosciences and Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801.

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SUMMARY

Objective

To examine regional distribution of blood flow in the brain of horses at rest and during exercise.

Animals

9 clinically normal horses.

Procedure

Regional brain blood flow was measured using radionuclide-labeled 15-μm-diameter microspheres injected into the left ventricle, while reference blood samples were obtained from the aorta.

Results

At rest, cerebral cortex and caudate nuclei received significantly higher blood flow, compared with cerebral white matter. A similar perfusion heterogeneity existed in the cerebellum. In the brain stem, a gradual tapering of blood flow from thalamus-hypothalamus towards medulla was observed in standing horses. Progressive significant increases in heart rate and in aortic and right atrial pressures occurred during exercise at 8 and 13 m/s, and horses developed significant arterial hypoxemia and hypercapnia. Cerebral and cerebellar gray- to white-matter perfusion heterogeneity was maintained during exercise, indicating differential metabolic O2 needs. Despite arterial hypoxemia, hypercapnia, and hypertension, exercise did not result in significant changes in blood flow to the cerebral cortex and caudate nuclei whereas, in cerebral white matter, a significant decrease in blood flow was observed. In all cerebral tissues, vascular resistance increased during exercise, indicating autoregulation of cerebral blood flow. In the cerebellar cortex, blood flow increased significantly with strenuous exercise as vasodilation occurred. Vascular resistance in cerebellar white matter increased during exercise at 13 m/s. Blood flow in the medulla, pons, midbrain, and thalamus-hypothalamus was not significantly altered during exercise from that at rest.

Conclusion

Despite arterial hypoxemia, hypercapnia, and hypertension, autoregulation of cerebral and cerebellar blood flow is maintained in horses during exercise. (Am J Vet Res 1998;59:893–897)

SUMMARY

Objective

To examine regional distribution of blood flow in the brain of horses at rest and during exercise.

Animals

9 clinically normal horses.

Procedure

Regional brain blood flow was measured using radionuclide-labeled 15-μm-diameter microspheres injected into the left ventricle, while reference blood samples were obtained from the aorta.

Results

At rest, cerebral cortex and caudate nuclei received significantly higher blood flow, compared with cerebral white matter. A similar perfusion heterogeneity existed in the cerebellum. In the brain stem, a gradual tapering of blood flow from thalamus-hypothalamus towards medulla was observed in standing horses. Progressive significant increases in heart rate and in aortic and right atrial pressures occurred during exercise at 8 and 13 m/s, and horses developed significant arterial hypoxemia and hypercapnia. Cerebral and cerebellar gray- to white-matter perfusion heterogeneity was maintained during exercise, indicating differential metabolic O2 needs. Despite arterial hypoxemia, hypercapnia, and hypertension, exercise did not result in significant changes in blood flow to the cerebral cortex and caudate nuclei whereas, in cerebral white matter, a significant decrease in blood flow was observed. In all cerebral tissues, vascular resistance increased during exercise, indicating autoregulation of cerebral blood flow. In the cerebellar cortex, blood flow increased significantly with strenuous exercise as vasodilation occurred. Vascular resistance in cerebellar white matter increased during exercise at 13 m/s. Blood flow in the medulla, pons, midbrain, and thalamus-hypothalamus was not significantly altered during exercise from that at rest.

Conclusion

Despite arterial hypoxemia, hypercapnia, and hypertension, autoregulation of cerebral and cerebellar blood flow is maintained in horses during exercise. (Am J Vet Res 1998;59:893–897)

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