Cardiorespiratory fitness mediates the effects of aging on cerebral blood flow

Benjamin Zimmerman, Bradley P. Sutton, Kathy A. Low, Mark A. Fletcher, Chin Hong Tan, Nils Schneider-Garces, Yanfen Li, Cheng Ouyang, Edward L. Maclin, Gabriele Gratton, Monica Fabiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The brain's vasculature is likely to be subjected to the same age-related physiological and anatomical changes affecting the rest of the cardiovascular system. Since aerobic fitness is known to alleviate both cognitive and volumetric losses in the brain, it is important to investigate some of the possible mechanisms underlying these beneficial changes. Here we investigated the role that estimated cardiorespiratory fitness (eCRF) plays in determining the relationship between aging and cerebral blood flow (CBF) in a group of older adults (ages 55-85). Using arterial spin labeling to quantify CBF, we found that blood flow in the gray matter was positively correlated with eCRF and negatively correlated with age. Subsequent analyses revealed that eCRF fully mediated the effects of age on CBF in the gray matter, but not in the white matter. Additionally, regional measures of CBF were related to regional measures of brain volume. These findings provide evidence that age-related effects on cerebrovascular health and perfusion in older adults are largely influenced by their eCRF levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 59
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Volume6
Issue numberAPR
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Arterial spin labeling
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Perfusion
  • Vascular health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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    Zimmerman, B., Sutton, B. P., Low, K. A., Fletcher, M. A., Tan, C. H., Schneider-Garces, N., Li, Y., Ouyang, C., Maclin, E. L., Gratton, G., & Fabiani, M. (2014). Cardiorespiratory fitness mediates the effects of aging on cerebral blood flow. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 6(APR), [Article 59]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2014.00059