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Cerebrovascular support for cognitive processing in hypertensive patients is altered by blood pressure treatment.

Author(s): Jennings JR, Muldoon MF, Price J, Christie IC, Meltzer CC

Affiliation(s): Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pa, USA. JenningsJR@upmc.edu

Publication date & source: 2008-07, Hypertension., 52(1):65-71. Epub 2008 Jun 2.

Publication type: Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Hypertension is associated with mild decrements in cognition. In addition, regional cerebral blood flow responses during memory processing are blunted in parietal and thalamic areas among untreated hypertensive adults, who, compared with normotensive subjects, manifest greater correlation in blood flow response across task-related brain regions. Here, we test whether pharmacological treatment of hypertension normalizes regional cerebral blood flow responses and whether it does so differentially according to drug class. Treatment with lisinopril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme blocker, known to enhance vasodilative responsivity, was compared with treatment with atenolol, a beta-blocker. Untreated hypertensive volunteers (n=28) were randomly assigned and treated for 1 year. Whole brain and regional cerebral flow responses to memory processing and acutely administered acetazolamide, a vasodilator, were assessed pretreatment and posttreatment. Peripheral brachial artery dilation during reactive hyperemia was also measured. Quantitative blood flow measures showed no difference in the magnitude of regional cerebral blood flow responses pretreatment and posttreatment to either memory tasks or acetazolamide injection. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation increased with treatment. No differences between medications were observed. In brain regions active in memory processing, however, regional cerebral blood flow responses were more highly correlated after treatment. Specificity of cerebral blood flow to different regions appears to decline with treatment of hypertension. This greater correlation among active brain regions, which is present as well in untreated hypertensive relative to normotensive volunteers, may represent compensation in the face of less region-specific responsivity in individuals with hypertension.

Page last updated: 2008-06-22

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