Neurovascular coupling (NVC) is assessed as an increase response to visual stimulation, and is monitored by blood flow of the posterior cerebral artery (PCA). To investigate whether exhaustive exercise modifies NVC, and more specifically, the relative contributions of vasodilatation in the downstream of PCA and the pressor response on NVC, we measured blood flow velocity in the PCA (PCAv) in 13 males using transcranial Doppler ultrasound flowmetry during a leg-cycle exercise at 75% of maximal heart rate until exhaustion. NVC was estimated as the relative change in PCAv from the mean value obtained during 20-s with the eyes closed to the peak value obtained during 40-s of visual stimulation involving looking at a reversed checkerboard. Conductance index (CI) was calculated by dividing PCAv by mean arterial pressure (MAP) to evaluate the vasodilatation. At exhaustion, PCAv was significantly decreased relative to baseline measurements, and the PCAv response to visual stimulation significantly decreased. Compared to baseline, exhaustive exercise significantly suppressed the increase in MAP to visual stimulation, while the CI response did not significantly change by the exercise. These results suggest that exhaustive exercise attenuates the magnitude of NVC by blunting the pressor response to visual stimulation.
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