Effect of Pregnancy and Nitric Oxide on the Myogenic Vasodilation of Posterior Cerebral Arteries and the Lower Limit of Cerebral Blood Flow Autoregulation

Authors: Chapman AC, Cipolla MJ, Chan SL.

Hemorrhage during parturition can lower blood pressure beyond the lower limit of cerebral blood flow (CBF) autoregulation that can cause ischemic brain injury. However, the impact of pregnancy on the lower limit of CBF autoregulation is unknown. We measured myogenic vasodilation, a major contributor of CBF autoregulation, in isolated posterior cerebral arteries (PCAs) from nonpregnant and late-pregnant rats (n = 10/group) while the effect of pregnancy on the lower limit of CBF autoregulation was studied in the posterior cerebral cortex during controlled hemorrhage (n = 8). Pregnancy enhanced myogenic vasodilation in PCA and shifted the lower limit of CBF autoregulation to lower pressures. Inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) prevented the enhanced myogenic vasodilation during pregnancy but did not affect the lower limit of CBF autoregulation. The shift in the autoregulatory curve to lower pressures during pregnancy is likely protective of ischemic injury during hemorrhage and appears to be independent of NOS.

Full text and source: Reproductive sciences

Reprod Sci. 2013 Feb 18.