Geriatric Men at Altitude: Hypoxic Ventilatory Sensitivity and Blood Dopamine ChangesSerebrovskaya T.V.a · Karaban I.N.b · Kolesnikova E.E.a · Mishunina T.M.c · Swanson R.J.d · Beloshitsky P.V.a · Ilyin V.N.a · Krasuk A.N.a · Safronova O.S.a · Kuzminskaya L.A.c
aBogomoletz Institute of Physiology NASU, bInstitute of Gerontology AMSU, and cInstitute of Endocrinology AMSU, Kiev, Ukraine; dOld Dominion University, Norfolk, Va., USA
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Background: Short-term exposure to high-altitude hypoxia increases hypoxic ventilatory sensitivity (HVS) in healthy humans. Dopamine (DA) is the implicated neurotransmitter in carotid body (CB) chemoreceptor response, and the microenvironmental conditions in CB tissue are comparable to blood. Continuous DA infusion affected ventilation in animals and humans. Age-related oscillations in blood DA levels may influence peripheral chemoreflexes. Objective: Hypoxic ventilatory responses (HVR) relative to blood DA concentration and its precursor, dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) was measured in young and elderly men during short-term altitude adaptation. Methods: Nine elderly climbers (group 1: 61 ± 1.4 years) and 7 young healthy subjects (group 2: 23 ± 2 years) were tested at sea level on day 0, on day 3 after passive transport to 2,200 m, and on day 14 after climbing to 4,200 and 5,642 m. Results: Sea level HVR in group 1 was 47% lower than in group 2, accompanied by higher blood DOPA (300%) and DA (37%) content. Initial DA and DOPA concentrations showed a negative correlation with initial HVR but a positive correlation with age. Passive transport to middle altitude (2,200 m) increased HVS, doubling HVR slopes in groups 1 and 2 and producing increased maximum expired minute ventilation during isocapnic rebreathing (29 and 28%, respectively). Day 3 2,200-meter blood DOPA content decreased by 22% in group 1 and increased by 300% in group 2. DA increased in both groups. Conclusion: The relationship between HVR and the reciprocal DA and DOPA values seen in both groups is associated with age, producing decreased DA receptor sensitivity and enhanced DA reuptake during adaptation to high altitude.
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