Cerebrovascular carbon dioxide reactivity and flow mediated dilation in young healthy South Asian and Caucasian European men

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Sophie May
  • Sultan Alsalahi
  • Mohammad Alali
  • Shigehiko Ogoh
  • Fisher James P

Colleges, School and Institutes


South Asians living in the United Kingdom have a 1.5-fold greater risk of ischemic stroke than the general population. Impaired cerebrovascular carbon dioxide (CO2) reactivity is an independent predictor of ischemic stroke and cardiovascular mortality. We sought to test the hypothesis that cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity is reduced in South Asians. Middle cerebral artery blood velocity (MCA Vm) was measured at rest and during stepwise changes in end-tidal partial pressure of CO2 (formula presented ) in South Asian (n = 16) and Caucasian European (n = 18) men who were young (~20 yr), healthy, and living in the United Kingdom. Incremental hypercapnia was delivered via the open-circuit steady-state method, with stages of 4 and 7% CO2 (≈21% oxygen, nitrogen balanced). Cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity was calculated as the change in MCA Vm relative to the change in formula presented . MCA Vm was not different in South Asians [59 (9) cm/s, mean (standard deviation)] and Caucasian Europeans [61 (12) cm/s; P > 0.05]. Similarly, cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity was not different between the groups [South Asian 2.53 (0.76) vs. Caucasian European 2.61 (0.81) cm·s-1·mmHg-1; P > 0.05]. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation was lower in South Asians [5.48 (2.94)%] compared with Caucasian Europeans [7.41 (2.28)%; P < 0.05]; however, when corrected for shear rate no between-group differences in flow-mediated dilation were observed (P > 0.05). Flow-mediated dilation was not correlated with cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity measures. In summary, cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity and flow-mediated dilation corrected for shear rate are preserved in young healthy South Asian men living in the United Kingdom. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Previous reports have identified an increased risk of ischemic stroke and peripheral endothelial dysfunction in South Asians compared with Caucasian Europeans. The main finding of this study is that cerebrovascular carbon dioxide reactivity (an independent predictor of ischemic stroke) is not different in healthy young South Asian and Caucasian European men.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H756-H763
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4
Early online date13 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • brain, cerebral circulation, flow-mediated dilation