Cerebral blood flow is regulated by changes in blood pressure and in blood viscosity alike

Jan Paul Muizelaar, E. P. Wei, H. A. Kontos, D. P. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


There is still considerable controversy regarding the influence of blood viscosity upon CBF. We have measured CBF with microspheres in 23 cats. Autoregulation was disturbed in the left caudate nucleus by microsurgical occlusion of the left middle cerebral artery. Induced hypertension or hypotension was used and i.v. mannitol (1 g/kg) administered. In all cats blood viscosity decreased an average of 16% at 15 minutes and, in 16 cats, increased 10% at 75 minutes post-mannitol. CBF in the right caudate was 79 ± 6 ml/100g/min, in the left 38 ± 6 (p < 0.001). Only minor changes of CBF occurred in areas with presumed normal autoregulation, including the right caudate, in conjunction with pressure or viscosity changes. In the left CBF decreased 21% with hypotension and 18% with higher viscosity, more than on the right (p < 0.01 and p < 0.2, respectively). CBF increased in the left caudate 56% with hypertension and 47% with lower viscosity, again much more than on the right (p < 0.001 and p < 0.01, respectively). In the other area which is (nearly) exclusively supplied by the middle cerebral artery of the cat, i.e., the ectosylvian cortex, results were similar to those in the caudate nucleus. These results show that viscosity changes must result in compensatory readjustments of vessel diameter, but that these adjustments do not occur where autoregulation to pressure changes is known to be defective. The adjustments to viscosity changes might be called blood viscosity autoregulation of CBF. We hypothesize that pressure autoregulation and blood viscosity autoregulation share the same mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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