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Balance organs affect brain blood flow

Submitted by on 17 June, 2022 – 4:32 pm
The inner ear organs have a direct effect on brain blood flow, independent of blood pressure and CO2 levels in the blood. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience series of experiments using a human centrifuge to study the effects of stimulation of the otoliths and semi-circular canals of the cerebrovascular response.

Dr. Jorge Serrador, Harvard Medical School, worked with a team of researchers, including scientists from NASA, to carry out the tests. He said: “While a role for the vestibular system in the autonomic response to the position has been documented, this is the first study to demonstrate a direct effect of otolith stimulation in cerebral blood flow.

The researchers stimulated the vestibular organs of 25 healthy individuals by tilting forward and back them, and by the translation in a centrifuge. Changes in cerebral flow velocity depend on the frequency of vestibular stimulation and were in opposition to changes in blood pressure and are not directly related to changes in end tidal CO2.

Talking about the implications of these results, Serrador said “Standing head placed on the heart and therefore more difficult to provide blood flow to the brain. Having a connection between the otoliths, which tell us that we foot, and may be part of cerebrovasculature adaptation allows us to maintain our cerebral blood flow in a vertical position. This connection could explain the reduced cerebral blood flow in some people. For example, aging is associated with vestibular loss that might contribute to the reduction of global cerebral blood flow. Similarly, patients with orthostatic intolerance may have underlying vestibular impairment that exacerbates cerebral hypoperfusion in the upright position. The knowledge gained from this study could lead to new treatment options for these conditions ” .

More information: Vestibular effects on cerebral blood flow; Jorge M Serrador, Todd T Schlegel, F Owen Black and Scott J Wood; BMC Neuroscience (in press);

Source: BioMed Central (web)

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