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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Higher physiological vulnerability to hypoxic exposure with advancing age in the human brain

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The aging brain is associated with atrophy along with functional and metabolic changes. In this study, we examined age-related changes in resting brain functions and the vulnerability of brain physiology to hypoxic exposure in humans in vivo. Brain functions were examined in 81 healthy humans (aged 18-62 years) by acquisitions of gray and white matter volumes, cerebral blood flow, cerebral oxygen consumption, and concentrations of lactate, N-acetylaspartate, and glutamate+glutamine using magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy. We observed impaired cerebral blood flow reactivity in response to inhalation of hypoxic air (p = 0.029) with advancing age along with decreased cerebral oxygen consumption (p = 0.036), and increased lactate concentration (p = 0.009), indicating tissue hypoxia and impaired metabolism. Diminished resilience to hypoxia and consequently increased vulnerability to metabolic stress could be a key part of declining brain health with age. Furthermore, we observed increased resting cerebral lactate concentration with advancing age (p = 0.007), which might reflect inhibited brain clearance of waste products.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Volume40
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)341-353
Number of pages13
ISSN0271-678X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

    Research areas

  • Aging, cerebral blood flow, energy metabolism, lactate, oxygen extraction fraction

ID: 56534546