Dynamic cerebral autoregulation is attenuated in young fit women

Lawrence Labrecque, Kevan Rahimaly, Sarah Imhoff, Myriam Paquette, Olivier Le Blanc, Simon Malenfant, Audrey Drapeau, Jonathan D. Smirl, Damian M. Bailey, Patrice Brassard

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Young women exhibit higher prevalence of orthostatic hypotension with presyncopal symptoms compared to men. These symptoms could be influenced by an attenuated ability of the cerebrovasculature to respond to rapid blood pressure (BP) changes [dynamic cerebral autoregulation (dCA)]. The influence of sex on dCA remains unclear. dCA in 11 fit women (25 ± 2 years) and 11 age-matched men (24 ± 1 years) was compared using a multimodal approach including a sit-to-stand (STS) and forced BP oscillations (repeated squat-stand performed at 0.05 and 0.10 Hz). Prevalence of initial orthostatic hypotension (IOH; decrease in systolic ≥ 40 mmHg and/or diastolic BP ≥ 20 mmHg) during the first 15 sec of STS was determined as a functional outcome. In women, the decrease in mean middle cerebral artery blood velocity (MCAvmean ) following the STS was greater (-20 ± 8 vs. -11 ± 7 cm sec-1 ; P = 0.018) and the onset of the regulatory change (time lapse between the beginning of the STS and the increase in the conductance index (MCAvmean /mean arterial pressure) was delayed (P = 0.007). Transfer function analysis gain during 0.05 Hz squat-stand was ~48% higher in women (6.4 ± 1.3 vs. 3.8 ± 2.3 cm sec-1 mmHg-1 ; P = 0.017). Prevalence of IOH was comparable between groups (women: 4/9 vs. men: 5/9, P = 0.637). These results indicate the cerebrovasculature of fit women has an attenuated ability to react to rapid changes in BP in the face of preserved orthostasis, which could be related to higher resting cerebral blood flow allowing women to better face transient hypotension.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13984
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Brain
  • cerebral blood flow
  • cerebral pressure-flow relationship
  • dynamic cerebral autoregulation
  • sex differences


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