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Concept: Hypoxia


The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease increases in people who have had an ischemic episode. Furthermore, APP expression is increased following ischemic or hypoxic conditions, as is the production of the Aβ peptide. To address the question of why APP and Aβ are increased in hypoxic and ischemic conditions we induced an ischemic episode in APP knockout mice (APP-/-) and BACE1 knockout mice (BACE-/-). We find that both APP-/- and BACE-/- mice have a dramatically increased risk of mortality as a result of cerebral ischemia. Furthermore, APP knockout mice have reduced cerebral blood flow in response to hypoxia, while wild-type mice maintain or increase cerebral blood flow to the same conditions. The transcription factor, serum response factor (SRF), and calcium-binding molecule, calsequestrin, both involved in vascular regulation, are significantly altered in the brains of APP-/- mice compared to wild type controls. These results show that APP regulates cerebral blood flow in response to hypoxia, and that it, and its cleavage fragments, are crucial for rapid adaptation to ischemic conditions.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Gene, Gene expression, Stroke, Traumatic brain injury, Transcription factor, Ischemia, Hypoxia


The mortality after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is 50%, and most survivors suffer severe functional and cognitive deficits. Half of SAH patients deteriorate 5 to 14 days after the initial bleeding, so-called delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI). Although often attributed to vasospasms, DCI may develop in the absence of angiographic vasospasms, and therapeutic reversal of angiographic vasospasms fails to improve patient outcome. The etiology of chronic neurodegenerative changes after SAH remains poorly understood. Brain oxygenation depends on both cerebral blood flow (CBF) and its microscopic distribution, the so-called capillary transit time heterogeneity (CTH). In theory, increased CTH can therefore lead to tissue hypoxia in the absence of severe CBF reductions, whereas reductions in CBF, paradoxically, improve brain oxygenation if CTH is critically elevated. We review potential sources of elevated CTH after SAH. Pericyte constrictions in relation to the initial ischemic episode and subsequent oxidative stress, nitric oxide depletion during the pericapillary clearance of oxyhemoglobin, vasogenic edema, leukocytosis, and astrocytic endfeet swelling are identified as potential sources of elevated CTH, and hence of metabolic derangement, after SAH. Irreversible changes in capillary morphology and function are predicted to contribute to long-term relative tissue hypoxia, inflammation, and neurodegeneration. We discuss diagnostic and therapeutic implications of these predictions.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 25 September 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.173.

Concepts: Blood, Blood vessel, Stroke, Traumatic brain injury, Ischemia, Reperfusion injury, Subarachnoid hemorrhage, Hypoxia


Acute exercise has been demonstrated to improve cognitive function. In contrast, severe hypoxia can impair cognitive function. Hence, cognitive function during exercise under severe hypoxia may be determined by the balance between the beneficial effects of exercise and the detrimental effects of severe hypoxia. However, the physiological factors that determine cognitive function during exercise under hypoxia remain unclear. Here, we examined the combined effects of acute exercise and severe hypoxia on cognitive function and identified physiological factors that determine cognitive function during exercise under severe hypoxia. The participants completed cognitive tasks at rest and during moderate exercise under either normoxic or severe hypoxic conditions. Peripheral oxygen saturation, cerebral oxygenation, and middle cerebral artery velocity were continuously monitored. Cerebral oxygen delivery was calculated as the product of estimated arterial oxygen content and cerebral blood flow. On average, cognitive performance improved during exercise under both normoxia and hypoxia, without sacrificing accuracy. However, under hypoxia, cognitive improvements were attenuated for individuals exhibiting a greater decrease in peripheral oxygen saturation. Cognitive performance was not associated with other physiological parameters. Taken together, the present results suggest that arterial desaturation attenuates cognitive improvements during exercise under hypoxia.

Concepts: Better, Oxygen, Improve, Blood, Heart, Middle cerebral artery, Hypoxia, Pulse oximetry


Background Whether noninvasive ventilation should be administered in patients with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure is debated. Therapy with high-flow oxygen through a nasal cannula may offer an alternative in patients with hypoxemia. Methods We performed a multicenter, open-label trial in which we randomly assigned patients without hypercapnia who had acute hypoxemic respiratory failure and a ratio of the partial pressure of arterial oxygen to the fraction of inspired oxygen of 300 mm Hg or less to high-flow oxygen therapy, standard oxygen therapy delivered through a face mask, or noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients intubated at day 28; secondary outcomes included all-cause mortality in the intensive care unit and at 90 days and the number of ventilator-free days at day 28. Results A total of 310 patients were included in the analyses. The intubation rate (primary outcome) was 38% (40 of 106 patients) in the high-flow-oxygen group, 47% (44 of 94) in the standard group, and 50% (55 of 110) in the noninvasive-ventilation group (P=0.18 for all comparisons). The number of ventilator-free days at day 28 was significantly higher in the high-flow-oxygen group (24±8 days, vs. 22±10 in the standard-oxygen group and 19±12 in the noninvasive-ventilation group; P=0.02 for all comparisons). The hazard ratio for death at 90 days was 2.01 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 3.99) with standard oxygen versus high-flow oxygen (P=0.046) and 2.50 (95% CI, 1.31 to 4.78) with noninvasive ventilation versus high-flow oxygen (P=0.006). Conclusions In patients with nonhypercapnic acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, treatment with high-flow oxygen, standard oxygen, or noninvasive ventilation did not result in significantly different intubation rates. There was a significant difference in favor of high-flow oxygen in 90-day mortality. (Funded by the Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique Interrégional 2010 of the French Ministry of Health; FLORALI number, NCT01320384 .).

Concepts: Oxygen, Intensive care medicine, Hypoxia, Partial pressure, Oxygen therapy, Breathing gas, Nasal cannula, Hypoxemia


Systemic vascular pressure in vertebrates is regulated by a range of factors: one key element of control is peripheral resistance in tissue capillary beds. Many aspects of the relationship between central control of vascular flow and peripheral resistance are unclear. An important example of this is the relationship between hypoxic response in individual tissues, and the effect that response has on systemic cardiovascular adaptation to oxygen deprivation. We show here how hypoxic response via the HIF transcription factors in one large vascular bed, that underlying the skin, influences cardiovascular response to hypoxia in mice. We show that the response of the skin to hypoxia feeds back on a wide range of cardiovascular parameters, including heart rate, arterial pressures, and body temperature. These data represent the first demonstration of a dynamic role for oxygen sensing in a peripheral tissue directly modifying cardiovascular response to the challenge of hypoxia.

Concepts: Blood, Heart, Blood vessel, Blood pressure, Cardiovascular system, Hypoxia, Ibn al-Nafis, Pulmonary vein


Ocean models predict a decline in the dissolved oxygen inventory of the global ocean of one to seven per cent by the year 2100, caused by a combination of a warming-induced decline in oxygen solubility and reduced ventilation of the deep ocean. It is thought that such a decline in the oceanic oxygen content could affect ocean nutrient cycles and the marine habitat, with potentially detrimental consequences for fisheries and coastal economies. Regional observational data indicate a continuous decrease in oceanic dissolved oxygen concentrations in most regions of the global ocean, with an increase reported in a few limited areas, varying by study. Prior work attempting to resolve variations in dissolved oxygen concentrations at the global scale reported a global oxygen loss of 550 ± 130 teramoles (10(12) mol) per decade between 100 and 1,000 metres depth based on a comparison of data from the 1970s and 1990s. Here we provide a quantitative assessment of the entire ocean oxygen inventory by analysing dissolved oxygen and supporting data for the complete oceanic water column over the past 50 years. We find that the global oceanic oxygen content of 227.4 ± 1.1 petamoles (10(15) mol) has decreased by more than two per cent (4.8 ± 2.1 petamoles) since 1960, with large variations in oxygen loss in different ocean basins and at different depths. We suggest that changes in the upper water column are mostly due to a warming-induced decrease in solubility and biological consumption. Changes in the deeper ocean may have their origin in basin-scale multi-decadal variability, oceanic overturning slow-down and a potential increase in biological consumption.

Concepts: Scientific method, Oxygen, Water, Hypoxia, Quantitative research, Ocean, Decade, Deep sea


Hypoxic ischemic brain injury (HIBI) after cardiac arrest (CA) is a leading cause of mortality and long-term neurologic disability in survivors. The pathophysiology of HIBI encompasses a heterogeneous cascade that culminates in secondary brain injury and neuronal cell death. This begins with primary injury to the brain caused by the immediate cessation of cerebral blood flow following CA. Thereafter, the secondary injury of HIBI takes place in the hours and days following the initial CA and reperfusion. Among factors that may be implicated in this secondary injury include reperfusion injury, microcirculatory dysfunction, impaired cerebral autoregulation, hypoxemia, hyperoxia, hyperthermia, fluctuations in arterial carbon dioxide, and concomitant anemia.Clarifying the underlying pathophysiology of HIBI is imperative and has been the focus of considerable research to identify therapeutic targets. Most notably, targeted temperature management has been studied rigorously in preventing secondary injury after HIBI and is associated with improved outcome compared with hyperthermia. Recent advances point to important roles of anemia, carbon dioxide perturbations, hypoxemia, hyperoxia, and cerebral edema as contributing to secondary injury after HIBI and adverse outcomes. Furthermore, breakthroughs in the individualization of perfusion targets for patients with HIBI using cerebral autoregulation monitoring represent an attractive area of future work with therapeutic implications.We provide an in-depth review of the pathophysiology of HIBI to critically evaluate current approaches for the early treatment of HIBI secondary to CA. Potential therapeutic targets and future research directions are summarized.

Concepts: Neuron, Blood, Physiology, Traumatic brain injury, Neurology, Ischemia, Hypoxia, Neurotrauma


Acute mountain sickness (AMS) and large decrements in endurance exercise performance occur when unacclimatized individuals rapidly ascend to high altitudes. Six altitude and hypoxia preacclimatization strategies were evaluated to determine their effectiveness for minimizing AMS and improving performance during altitude exposures. Strategies using hypobaric chambers or true altitude were much more effective overall than those using normobaric hypoxia (breathing, <20.9% oxygen).

Concepts: Oxygen, Effectiveness, Hypoxia, Altitude sickness, Altitude, High altitude wind power, Endurance, Altitude training


Understanding the cellular pathways that regulate angiogenesis during hypoxia is a necessary aspect in the development of novel treatments for cardiovascular disorders. Although the pathways of angiogenesis have been extensively studied, there is limited information on the role of miRNAs in this process. miRNAs or their antagomirs could be used in future therapeutic approaches to regulate hypoxia-induced angiogenesis, so it is critical to understand their role in governing angiogenesis during hypoxic conditions. Although hypoxia and ischemia change the expression profile of many miRNAs, a functional role for a limited number of so-called hypoxamiRs has been demonstrated in angiogenesis. Here, we discuss the best examples that illustrate the role of hypoxamiRs in angiogenesis.

Concepts: Understanding, Blood vessel, Ischemia, Hypoxia, Novel, Regulation


This study examined the influence of muscle deoxygenation and reoxygenation on repeated-sprint performance via manipulation of O(2) delivery. Fourteen team-sport players performed 10 10-s sprints (30-s recovery) under normoxic (NM: F(I) O(2) 0.21) and acute hypoxic (HY: F(I) O(2) 0.13) conditions in a randomized, single-blind fashion and crossover design. Mechanical work was calculated and arterial O(2) saturation (S(p) O(2) ) was estimated via pulse oximetry for every sprint. Muscle deoxyhemoglobin concentration ([HHb]) was monitored continuously by near-infrared spectroscopy. Differences between NM and HY data were analyzed for practical significance using magnitude-based inferences. HY reduced S(p) O(2) (-10.7 ± 1.9%, with chances to observe a higher/similar/lower value in HY of 0/0/100%) and mechanical work (-8.2 ± 2.1%; 0/0/100%). Muscle deoxygenation increased during sprints in both environments, but was almost certainly higher in HY (12.5 ± 3.1%, 100/0/0%). Between-sprint muscle reoxygenation was likely more attenuated in HY (-11.1 ± 11.9%; 2/7/91%). The impairment in mechanical work in HY was very largely correlated with HY-induced attenuation in muscle reoxygenation (r = 0.78, 90% confidence limits: 0.49; 0.91). Repeated-sprint performance is related, in part, to muscle reoxygenation capacity during recovery periods. These results extend previous findings that muscle O(2) availability is important for prolonged repeated-sprint performance, in particular when the exercise is taken in hypoxia.

Concepts: Energy, Crossover study, Hypoxia, Statistical inference, Vastus lateralis muscle, Work, Pulse oximetry, Pulse oximeter