Pharmacy Practice Faculty Publications


Effects of Moderate Caloric Restriction on Cortical Microvascular Density and Local Cerebral Blood Flow in Aged Rats

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Neurobiology of Aging







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The present study was designed to assess the impact of moderate caloric restriction (60% of ad libitum fed animals) on cerebral vascular density and local cerebral blood flow. Vascular density was assessed in male Brown–Norway rats from 7–35 months of age using a cranial window technique. Arteriolar density, arteriole-arteriole anastomoses, and venular density decreased with age and these effects were attenuated by moderate caloric restriction. Analysis of local cerebral blood using [14C] iodoantipyrine indicated that basal blood flow decreased with age in CA1, CA3 and dentate gyrus of hippocampus; similar trends were evident in cingulate, retrosplenal, and motor cortex. Basal blood flow was increased in all brain regions of moderate caloric restricted old animals (compared to old ad libitum fed animals) and no differences were observed between ad libitum fed young and caloric restricted older animals. In response to a CO2 challenge to maximally dilate vessels, blood flow increased in young and old ad libitum fed animals, but a similar increase was not observed in caloric restricted old animals. We conclude that a decrease in cerebral vasculature is an important contributing factor in the reduction in blood flow with age. Nevertheless, vessels from young and old animals have the capacity to dilate in response to a CO2 challenge and, after CO2, no differences are observed between the two age-groups. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that aged animals fail to adequately regulate local cerebral blood flow in response to physiological stimuli. Moderate caloric restriction increases microvascular density and cerebral blood flow in aged animals but tissues exhibit little or no increase in blood flow in response to CO2 challenge. The cause of this deficient response may indicate that vessels are maximally dilated in aged calorically restricted animals or that they fail to exhibit normal regulatory control.


Microvasculature, aging, moderate caloric restriction, local cerebral blood flow