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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 1982 Sep;1(2):101-16.

The young-adult and normally aged brain. Its blood flow and oxidative metabolism. A review--part I.


Blood flow and oxidative metabolism of the mature and healthy young-adult human brain account for about 20% of the cardiac output and about 20 and 25% of the requirements of oxygen and glucose, respectively, for the whole body. Normal cerebral aging is associated with only smaller reductions in the cerebral metabolic rates of oxygen and glucose while cerebral blood flow would seem to be unchanged. The age-dependent reduction in oxidative brain metabolism may be related to a decline in glycolytic flux due to a diminution of enzyme activities also involving acetylcholine synthesis. This metabolic reduction with age may be tentatively accounted for by a physiologically occurring loss of neurons, dendrites and dendritic spines in distinct brain areas. The mechanisms of autoregulation of cerebral blood flow, of CO2 reactivity of the brain vessels, of arterial hypoxemia on cerebral blood flow and their effects on oxidative and energy metabolism are well documented in young-adult brain. There is, however, no or only minimal information on the responsiveness of the normally aged brain to changes of these important biological parameters controlling and influencing brain blood flow and metabolism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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