Because cerebrovascular hemorrhage in newborns is often associated with fluctuations in cerebral blood flow, this study was designed to investigate the effects of pulsatile flow in isolated cerebral arteries from neonatal piglets. Arteries mounted on cannulas were bathed in and perfused with a physiologic saline solution. An electronic system produced pulsations, the amplitude and frequency of which were independently controlled. At constant mean transmural pressure (20 mm Hg), increasing flow in steps from 0 to 1.6 mL/min under steady flow conditions caused a biphasic response, constriction at low flow, and dilation at high flow. Under pulsatile flow conditions (pulse amplitude 16-24 mm Hg; 2 Hz), the arteries dilated upon flow initiation and continued to dilate as mean flow increased. Dilation to pulsatile flow did not depend on the level of mean flow because switching form steady to pulsatile flow at each flow step also caused dilation. Arteries dilated further upon increasing either pulse amplitude (12-28 mm Hg; 2 Hz) or frequency (16-24 mm Hg; 4 Hz). Inhibiting nitric oxide synthesis with N(w)-nitro-L-arginine or perfusing with glutaraldehyde to decrease endothelial cell deformability significantly reduced dilations to pulsatile flow and to increased amplitude and frequency. These data suggest that the arterial response to flow is highly dependent on the mode of flow. Dilation induced by initiating pulsatile flow or increasing either pulse amplitude or frequency appears to be mediated by augmented nitric oxide release as result of shear stress-induced, deformation of the endothelial cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health