Elsevier, NeuroImage, (139), p. 94-102
Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) imaging in combination with vasoactive stimuli can be used to probe cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR). Characterizing the healthy, age-related changes in the BOLD-CVR response can provide a reference point from which to distinguish abnormal CVR from the otherwise normal effects of ageing. Using a computer controlled gas delivery system, we examine differences in BOLD-CVR response to progressive hypercapnia between 16 young (28 ± 3 years, 9 female) and 30 elderly subjects (66 ± 4 years, 13 female). Furthermore, we incorporate baseline T2* information to broaden our interpretation of the BOLD-CVR response. Significant age-related differences were observed. Grey matter CVR at 7 mm Hg above resting PetCO2 was lower amongst elderly (0.19 ± 0.06%ΔBOLD/mm Hg) as compared to young subjects (0.26 ± 0.07%ΔBOLD/mm Hg). White matter CVR at 7 mm Hg above baseline PetCO2 showed no significant difference between young (0.04 ± 0.02%ΔBOLD/mm Hg) and elderly subjects (0.05 ± 0.03%ΔBOLD/mm Hg). We saw no significant differences in the BOLD signal response to progressive hypercapnia between male and female subjects in either grey or white matter. The observed differences in the healthy BOLD-CVR response could be explained by age-related changes in vascular mechanical properties.