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Effect of age on brain oxygenation regulation during changes in position



Reports indicate that brain regulation of oxygenation is inhibited in patients with low baseline oxyhemoglobin concentrations and that brain oxyhemoglobin concentrations are decreased with aging. The purpose of this study was to determine if regulation of brain oxygenation to changes in blood pressure is inhibited by normal aging.


Brain oxyhemoglobin (OHb) and deoxyhemoglobin (HHb) concentrations were determined from the forehead using a frequency domain near infrared spectroscopy in 27 healthy volunteers. Subjects were separated into two groups by age (20-39, n=16; 40-60, n=11). Brain hemoglobin and non-invasive blood pressure were measured in (1) supine, (2) sitting, (3) supine and (4) sitting positions with 10-min equilibration intervals between each determination. Statistical differences were determined by two way repeated measures analysis of variance.


Young subjects were 28+/-5 years (mean+/-S.D.) and older subjects were 48+/-6 years. In supine position, OHb and HHb were 28.4+/-8.3 and 15.4+/-2.4micromol/L, respectively, in young; 22.4+/-5.7 and 13.4+/-2.9micromol/L, respectively, in older subjects, both P<0.05 between groups. Changing position from supine to sitting decreased OHb 5% and increased HHb 5% with no difference between groups.


There was a small but significant decrease in OHb and an increase in HHb from supine to sitting position, and this effect was similar between young and older subjects. Regulation of brain oxygenation during modest decreases in blood pressure did not change in normal aging to 60 years compared to young adults.

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