Autoregulation of Spinal Cord Blood Flow: Is The Cord A Microcosm Of The Brain?


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Abstract

SUMMARYThe autoregulatory capability of regional areas of the brain and spinal cord was demonstrated in 18 rats anesthetized with a continuous infusion of intravenous pentothal. Blood flow was measured by the injection of radioactive microspheres (Co57, Sn113, Ru103, Sc4*). Blood flow measurements were made at varying levels of mean arterial pressure (MAP) which was altered by neosynephrine to raise MAP or trimethaphan to lower MAP. Autoregulation of the spinal cord mirrored that of the brain, with an autoregulatory range of 60 to 120 mm Hg for both tissues. Within this range, cerebral blood flow (CBF) was 59.2 ± 3.2 ml/100 g/min (SEM) and spinal cord blood flow (SCBF) was 61.1 ± 3.6. There was no significant difference in CBF and SCBF in the autoregulatory range. Autoregulation was also demonstrated regionally in the left cortex, right cortex, brainstem, thalamus, cerebellum, hippocampus and cervical, thoracic and lumbar cord. This data provides a coherent reference point hi establishing autoregulatory curves under barbiturate anesthesia. Further investigation of the effects of other anesthetic agents on autoregulation of the spinal cord is needed. It is possible that intraspinal cord compliance, like intracranial compliance, might be adversely affected by the effects of anesthetics on autoregulation.

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