Efficacy of Cushing response during development in sheep

J. E. Backofen, R. C. Koehler, A. P. Harris, M. C. Rogers, R. J. Traystman, M. D. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Mean aortic pressure (MAP) increases (Cushing response) when intracranial pressure (ICP) approaches MAP. We elevated ICP to levels equivalent to normal baseline MAP with infusion of mock cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) into the lateral cerebral ventricles and contrasted responses in near-term fetal sheep, 1-wk-old lambs, and adult sheep anesthetized with pentobarbital sodium. With CSF infusion 1-wk-old lambs and adults produced sustained increases in MAP of 16 ± 1 and 22 ± 2 mmHg, respectively, over a 40-min period. However, cerebral blood flow fell 66 and 57%, and cerebral O2 uptake fell 34 and 37%, respectively. In the near-term fetus, MAP increased by 11 ± 1 mmHg and cerebral blood fell 49% at 3 min of elevated ICP. However, by 15 min MAP had increased further (+17 ± 2 mmHg) and cerebral blood flow was nearly restored. In contrast to postnatal sheep, cerebral O2 uptake was maintained throughout in the fetus. The mechanism of increased MAP differed among groups. In adults total peripheral resistance fell significantly, whereas in the fetus and lamb it remained constant. Cardiac output increased in each group, but, because of the fall in peripheral resistance, increased cardiac output was relatively more important to the rise in MAP in adults. In addition, marked vasoconstriction occurred in intestines and skin in the fetus. The Cushing response is well-developed in near-term fetal sheep. After birth it may lose its effectiveness in providing for the basal metabolic demand of the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H575-H582
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2 30-2
StatePublished - 1991


  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Cerebral oxygen consumption
  • Fetus
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Newborn
  • Regional blood flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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