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Cerebral oxygenation decreases during exercise in humans with beta-adrenergic blockade

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Abstract Aim: 

Beta-blockers reduce exercise capacity by attenuated increase in cardiac output, but it remains unknown whether performance also relates to attenuated cerebral oxygenation. Methods: 

Acting as their own controls, eight healthy subjects performed a continuous incremental cycle test to exhaustion with or without administration of the non-selective beta-blocker propranolol. Changes in cerebral blood flow velocity were measured with transcranial Doppler ultrasound and those in cerebral oxygenation were evaluated using near-infrared spectroscopy and the calculated cerebral mitochondrial oxygen tension derived from arterial to internal jugular venous concentration differences. Results: 

Arterial lactate and cardiac output increased to 15.3 ± 4.2 mmand 20.8 ± 1.5 L min−1 respectively (mean ± SD). Frontal lobe oxygenation remained unaffected but the calculated cerebral mitochondrial oxygen tension decreased by 29 ± 7 mmHg (P < 0.05). Propranolol reduced resting heart rate (58 ± 6 vs. 69 ± 8 beats min−1) and at exercise exhaustion, cardiac output (16.6 ± 3.6 L min−1) and arterial lactate (9.4 ± 3.7 mm) were attenuated with a reduction in exercise capacity from 239 ± 42 to 209 ± 31 W (all P < 0.05). Propranolol also attenuated the increase in cerebral blood flow velocity and frontal lobe oxygenation (P < 0.05) whereas the cerebral mitochondrial oxygen tension decreased to a similar degree as during control exercise (delta 28 ± 10 mmHg; P < 0.05). Conclusion: 

Propranolol attenuated the increase in cardiac output of consequence for cerebral perfusion and oxygenation. We suggest that a decrease in cerebral oxygenation limits exercise capacity.

Keywords: brain oxygenation; cardiac output; cerebral mitochondrial oxygen tension

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2009


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