Reduction in Cerebral Oxygenation After Prolonged Exercise in Hypoxia is Related to Changes in Blood Pressure

  • Masahiro HoriuchiEmail author
  • Shohei Dobashi
  • Masataka Kiuchi
  • Junko Endo
  • Katsuhiro Koyama
  • Andrew W. Subudhi
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 876)


We investigated the relation between blood pressure and cerebral oxygenation (COX) immediately after exercise in ten healthy males. Subjects completed an exercise and recovery protocol while breathing either 21 % (normoxia) or 14.1 % (hypoxia) O2 in a randomized order. Each exercise session included four sets of cycling (30 min/set, 15 min rest) at 50 % of altitude-adjusted peak oxygen uptake, followed by 60 min of recovery. After exercise, mean arterial pressure (MAP; 87 ± 1 vs. 84 ± 1 mmHg, average values across the recovery period) and COX (68 ± 1 % vs. 58 ± 1 %) were lower in hypoxia compared to normoxia (P < 0.001). Changes in MAP and COX were correlated during the recovery period in hypoxia (r = 0.568, P < 0.001) but not during normoxia (r = 0.028, not significant). These results demonstrate that reductions in blood pressure following exercise in hypoxia are (1) more pronounced than in normoxia, and (2) associated with reductions in COX. Together, these results suggest an impairment in cerebral autoregulation as COX followed changes in MAP more passively in hypoxia than in normoxia. These findings could help explain the increased risk for postexercise syncope at high altitude.


Postexercise syncope High altitude Cerebral autoregulation Vasodilation Near infrared spectroscopy 



The authors thank all participants for their time and effort. This study was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of the Science (No. 26440268 to M.H. and No. 25350810 to K.K).


  1. 1.
    Halliwill JR (2001) Mechanisms and clinical implications of post-exercise hypotension in humans. Exerc Sports Sci Rev 29(2):65–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Murrell C, Cotter JD, George K et al (2009) Influence of age on syncope following prolonged exercise: differential responses but similar orthostatic intolerance. J Physiol 587(Pt 24):5959–5969CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Willie CK, Ainslie PN, Taylor CE et al (2013) Maintained cerebrovascular function during post-exercise hypotension. Eur J Appl Physiol 113(6):1597–1604CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bailey DM, Evans KA, McEneny J et al (2011) Exercise-induced oxidative-nitrosative stress is associated with impaired dynamic cerebral autoregulation and blood–brain barrier leakage. Exp Physiol 96(11):1196–1207CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Subudhi AW, Panerai RB, Roach RC (2010) Effects of hypobaric hypoxia on cerebral autoregulation. Stroke 41(4):641–646CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ando S, Hatamoto Y, Sudo M et al (2013) The effects of exercise under hypoxia on cognitive function. PLoS One 8(5):e63630CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Steiner LA, Pfister D, Strebel SP et al (2009) Near-infrared spectroscopy can monitor dynamic cerebral autoregulation in adults. Neurocrit Care 10(1):122–128CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Van Lieshout JJ, Wieling W, Karemaker JM et al (2003) Syncope, cerebral perfusion, and oxygenation. J Appl Physiol 94(3):833–848CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Calbet JA, Boushel R, Radegran G et al (2003) Determinants of maximal oxygen uptake in severe acute hypoxia. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 284(2):R291–R303CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Crecelius AR, Kirby BS, Voyles WF et al (2011) Augmented skeletal muscle hyperaemia during hypoxic exercise in humans is blunted by combined inhibition of nitric oxide and vasodilating prostaglandins. J Physiol 589(Pt 14):3671–3683CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Westendorp RG, Blauw GJ, Frolich M et al (1997) Hypoxic syncope. Aviat Space Environ Med 68(5):410–414PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Szufladowicz E, Maniewski R, Kozluk E et al (2004) Near-infrared spectroscopy in evaluation of cerebral oxygenation during vasovagal syncope. Physiol Meas 25(4):823–836CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    MacIntosh BJ, Crane DE, Sage MD et al (2014) Impact of a single bout of aerobic exercise on regional brain perfusion and activation responses in healthy young adults. PLoS One 9(1):e85163CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Miyazawa T, Horiuchi M, Komine H et al (2013) Skin blood flow influences cerebral oxygenation measured by near-infrared spectroscopy during dynamic exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 113(11):2841–2848CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masahiro Horiuchi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shohei Dobashi
    • 1
  • Masataka Kiuchi
    • 1
  • Junko Endo
    • 1
  • Katsuhiro Koyama
    • 1
  • Andrew W. Subudhi
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Human Environmental ScienceMt. Fuji Research InstituteFujiyoshidaJapan
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of Colorado Colorado SpringsColorado SpringsUSA

Personalised recommendations