Cerebral vasoconstriction precedes orthostatic intolerance after parabolic flight

J. M. Serrador, J. K. Shoemaker, T. E. Brown, M. S. Kassam, R. L. Bondar, T. T. Schlegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The effects of brief but repeated bouts of micro- and hypergravity on cerebrovascular responses to head-up tilt (HUT) were examined in 13 individuals after (compared to before) parabolic flight. Middle cerebral artery mean flow velocity (MCA MFV; transcranial Doppler ultrasound), eye level blood pressure (BP) and end tidal CO2 (P(ET)CO2) were measured while supine and during 80°HUT for 30 min or until presyncope. In the postflight tests subjects were classified as being orthostatically tolerant (OT) (n = 7) or intolerant (OI) (n = 6). BP was diminished with HUT in the OT group in both tests (p < 0.05) whereas postflight BP was not different from supine in the OI group. Postflight compared to preflight, the reduction in P(ET)CO2 with HUT (p < 0.05) increased in both groups, although significantly so only in the OI group (p < 0.05). The OI group also had a significant decrease in supine MCA MFV postflight (p < 0.05) that was unaccompanied by a change in supine P(ET)CO2. The decrease in MCA MFV that occurred during HUT in both groups preflight (p < 0.05) was accentuated only in the OI group postflight, particularly during the final 30 s of HUT (p < 0.05). However, this accentuated decrease in MCA MFV was not correlated to the greater decrease in P(ET)CO2 during the same period (R = 0.20, p = 0.42). Although cerebral vascular resistance (CVR) also increased in the OI group during the last 30 s of HUT postflight (p < 0.05), the dynamic autoregulatory gain was not simultaneously changed. Therefore, we conclude that in the OI individuals, parabolic flight was associated with cerebral hypoperfusion following a paradoxical augmentation of CVR by a mechanism that was not related to changes in autoregulation nor strictly to changes in P(ET)CO2. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-120
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


  • Head-up tilt
  • Microgravity
  • Middle cerebral artery
  • Transcranial Doppler


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