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Anton Reiner, Nobel Del Mar, Yuri Zagvazdin, Chunyan Li, Malinda E. C. Fitzgerald; Age-Related Impairment in Choroidal Blood Flow Compensation for Arterial Blood Pressure Fluctuation in Pigeons. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(10):7238-7247. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6464.
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Choroidal vessels compensate for changes in systemic blood pressure (BP) so that choroidal blood flow (ChBF) remains stable over a BP range of approximately 40 mm Hg above and below basal. Because of the presumed importance of ChBF regulation for maintenance of retinal health, we investigated if ChBF compensation for BP fluctuation in pigeons fails with age.
Transcleral laser Doppler flowmetry was used to measure ChBF during spontaneous BP fluctuation in anesthetized pigeons ranging in age from 0.5 to 17 years (pigeons can live approximately 20 years in captivity).
ChBF in <8-year-old pigeons remained near 100% of basal ChBF at BPs ranging 40 mm Hg above and below basal BP (95 mm Hg). Baroregulation failed below approximately 50 mm Hg BP. In ≥8-year-old pigeons, ChBF compensation was absent at >90 mm Hg BP, with ChBF linearly following BP. Over the 60 to 90 mm Hg range, ChBF in ≥8-year-old pigeons was maintained at 60–70% of young basal ChBF. Below approximately 55 mm Hg, baroregulation again followed BP linearly.
Age-related ChBF baroregulatory impairment occurs in pigeons, with ChBF linear with above-basal BP, and ChBF failing to adequately maintain ChBF during below-basal BP. Defective autonomic sympathetic and parasympathetic neurogenic control, or defective myogenic control, may cause these baroregulatory defects. In either case, overperfusion during high BP may cause oxidative injury to the outer retina, whereas underperfusion during low BP may result in deficient nutrient supply and waste removal, with both abnormalities contributing to age-related retinal pathology and vision loss.
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