Neurovascular coupling (NVC) describes the link between an increase in task-related neural activity and increased cerebral blood flow denoted “functional hyperemia.” We previously showed induced cerebral blood flow oscillations suppressed functional hyperemia; conversely functional hyperemia also suppressed cerebral blood flow oscillations. We used lower body negative pressure (OLBNP) oscillations to force oscillations in middle cerebral artery cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFv). Here, we used N-back testing, an intellectual memory challenge as a neural activation task, to test the hypothesis that OLBNP-induced oscillatory cerebral blood flow can reduce functional hyperemia and NVC produced by a working memory task and can interfere with working memory. We used OLBNP (−30 mmHg) at 0.03, 0.05, and 0.10 Hz and measured spectral power of CBFv at all frequencies. Neither OLBNP nor N-back, alone or combined, affected hemodynamic parameters. 2-Back power and OLBNP individually were compared with 2-back power during OLBNP. 2-Back alone produced a narrow band increase in oscillatory arterial pressure (OAP) and oscillatory cerebral blood flow power centered at 0.0083 Hz. Functional hyperemia in response to 2-back was reduced to near baseline and 2-back memory performance was decreased by 0.03-, 0.05-, and 0.10-Hz OLBNP. OLBNP alone produced increased oscillatory power at frequencies of oscillation not suppressed by added 2-back. However, 2-back preceding OLBNP suppressed OLBNP power. OLBNP-driven oscillatory CBFv blunts NVC and memory performance, while memory task reciprocally interfered with forced CBFv oscillations. This shows that induced cerebral blood flow oscillations suppress functional hyperemia and functional hyperemia suppresses cerebral blood flow oscillations.
NEW & NOTEWORTHY We show that induced cerebral blood flow oscillations suppress functional hyperemia produced by a working memory task as well as memory task performance. We conclude that oscillatory cerebral blood flow produces causal reductions of memory task neurovascular coupling and memory task performance. Reductions of functional hyperemia are constrained by autoregulation.
- functional hyperemia
- neurovascular coupling
- lower body negative pressure
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