The effects of simulated microgravity on the static and dynamic properties of large arteries are still mostly unknown. The present study evaluated, using an integrated vascular approach, changes in structure and function of the common carotid and femoral arteries (CCA and CFA) after prolonged head-down tilt bed rest (HDTBR). Ten healthy men were enrolled in a 5-week HDTBR study endorsed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Arterial geometry, flow, stiffness, and shear rate were evaluated by ultrasound. Local carotid pulse pressure and wave reflection were studied by applanation tonometry. After five weeks of HDTBR, CFA showed a decrease in lumen diameter without significant changes in wall thickness (IMT), resulting in an inward remodeling. Local carotid pulse pressure decreased and carotid-to-brachial pressure amplification increased. The ratio of systolic-to-diastolic volumetric flow in CFA decreased, whereas in CCA it tended to increase. Indices of arterial stiffness and shear rate did not change during HDTBR, either in CCA or CFA. In summary, prolonged HDTBR has a different impact on CCA and CFA structure and flow, probably depending on the characteristics of the vascular bed perfused.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)