Cognitive performance is associated with cerebral oxygenation and peripheral oxygen saturation, but not plasma catecholamines, during graded normobaric hypoxia

Williams, Thomas B., Corbett, Jo, McMorris, Terry, Young, John S., Dicks, Matt, Ando, Soichi, Thelwell, Richard C., Tipton, Michael J. and Costello, Joseph T. (2019) Cognitive performance is associated with cerebral oxygenation and peripheral oxygen saturation, but not plasma catecholamines, during graded normobaric hypoxia. Experimental Physiology. ISSN 1469-445X

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Abstract

What is the central question of this study? What are the mechanisms responsible for the decline in cognitive performance following exposure to acute normobaric hypoxia? What are the main findings and their importance? We found that 1) performance of a complex central executive task (n-back) was reduced FiO 0.12; 2) there was a strong correlation between performance of the n-back task and reductions in SpO and cerebral oxygenation; and 3) plasma adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, and copeptin were not correlated with cognitive performance. It is well established that hypoxia impairs cognitive function; however, the physiological mechanisms responsible for these effects have received relatively little attention. This study examined the effects of graded reductions in fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO ) on oxygen saturation (SpO ), cerebral oxygenation, cardiorespiratory variables, activity of the sympathoadrenal system (adrenaline, noradrenaline) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (cortisol, copeptin), and cognitive performance. Twelve healthy males (mean [SD], age: 22 [4] yrs, height: 178 [5] cm, mass: 75 [9] kg, FEV /FVC ratio: 85 [5] %) completed a 4-task battery of cognitive tests to examine inhibition, selective attention (Eriksen Flanker), executive function (n-back) and simple and choice reaction time (Deary-Liewald). Tests were completed before and following 60 minutes of exposure to FiO 0.2093, 0.17, 0.145, and 0.12. Following 60 minutes of exposure response accuracy in the n-back task was significantly reduced in FiO 0.12 compared to baseline (82 [9] vs. 93 [5] %; p < 0.001) and compared to all other conditions at the same time point (FiO 0.2093: 92 [3] %, FiO 0.17: 91 [6] %, FiO 0.145: 85 [10] %, FiO 12: 82 [9] %; all p < 0.05). The performance of the other tasks was maintained. Δ accuracy and Δ reaction time of the n-back task was correlated with both Δ SpO (r (9) = 0.66; p < 0.001 and r (9) = - 0.36; p = 0.037 respectively) and Δ cerebral oxygenation (r (7) = 0.55; p < 0.001 and r (7) = - 0.38; p = 0.045 respectively). Plasma adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol and copeptin were not significantly elevated in any condition or correlated with any of the tests of cognitive performance. These findings suggest that reductions in peripheral oxygen saturation and cerebral oxygenation, and not increased activity of the sympathoadrenal system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, as previously speculated, are responsible for a decrease in cognitive performance during normobaric hypoxia.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed accepted version of the following article: Williams, T. B., Corbett, J. , McMorris, T. , Young, J. S., Dicks, M. , Ando, S. , Thelwell, R. C., Tipton, M. J. and Costello, J. T. (2019), Cognitive performance is associated with cerebral oxygenation and peripheral oxygen saturation, but not plasma catecholamines, during graded normobaric hypoxia. Exp Physiol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1113/EP087647, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1113/EP087647. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: catecholamines, cerebral oxygenation, cognition, executive function, simulated altitude
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Departments > Sport and Exercise Sciences
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router Jisc
Depositing User: Publications Router Jisc
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2019 15:55
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2019 15:55
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/4721

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