Cerebrovascular transmural pressure and autoregulation

Elizabeth M. Wagner, Richard J. Traystman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cerebral blood flow (CBF) response to changes in perfusion pressure mediated through decreases in arterial pressure, increases in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure and increases in jugular venous pressure was studied in anesthetized dogs. A preparation was developed in which each of the three relevant pressures could be controlled and manipulated independently of each other. In this preparation, the superior vena cava and femoral vein were cannulated and drained into a reservoir. Blood was pumped from the reservoir into the right atrium. With this system, mean arterial pressure and jugular venous pressure could be independently controlled. CSF pressure (measured in the lateral ventricle) could be manipulated via a cisternal puncture. Total and regional CBF responses to alterations in perfusion pressure were studied with the radiolabelled microsphere technique. Each hemisphere was sectioned into 13 regions: spinal cord, cerebellum, medulla, pons, midbrain, diencephalon, caudate, hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, and occipital, temporal, parietal and frontal lobes. Despite 30 mm Hg reductions in arterial pressure or increases in jugular venous pressure or CSF pressure, little change in CBF was observed provided the perfusion pressure (arterial pressure minus jugular venous pressure or CSF pressure depending on which pressure was of greater magnitude) was greater than the lower limit for cerebral autoregulation (approximately 60 mm Hg). However, when the perfusion pressure was reduced by any of the three different methods to levels less than 60 mm Hg (average of 48 mm Hg), a comparable reduction (25-35%) in both total and regional CBF was obtained. Thus comparable changes in the perfusion pressure gradient established by decreasing arterial pressure, increasing jugular venous pressure and increasing CSF pressure resulted in similar total and regional blood flow responses. Independent alterations of arterial and CSF pressures, and jugular venous pressure produce opposite changes in vascular transmural pressure yet result in similar CBF responses. These results show that cerebral autoregulation is a function of the perfusion pressure gradient and cannot be accounted for predominantly by myogenic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-320
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of biomedical engineering
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 1 1985


  • Cerebral perfusion pressure
  • Cerebral venous pressure
  • Cerebrospinal fluid pressure
  • Myogenic mechanism
  • Transmural pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cerebrovascular transmural pressure and autoregulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this