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Gender-related Changes in Dorsal Hand and Foot Vein Function Following 60 Days of Head Down Bed RestIt is well known that female astronauts are more likely to experience post-flight orthostatic hypotension and presyncope compared to male astronauts. It has been suggested that the disproportionally higher incidence of presyncope (83% of female vs. 20% male crewmembers) may be due to sex-related differences in vascular function between the upper and lower limbs. However, much of this evidence is specific to changes in resistance vessels. Given that more than 70% of the circulating blood volume resides in compliance vessels, it is conceivable that even small changes in venous function may contribute to post-flight orthostatic hypotension. In spite of this, little is currently known regarding the influence of microgravity exposure on venous function between males and females. PURPOSE: To determine the influence of 60 days of HDBR on dorsal foot and hand vein function between healthy males (M) and females (F). METHODS: Using 2-D ultrasound, dorsal hand and foot vein diameter responses to intravenous infusions phenylephrine (PE), acetylcholine (ACh), and nitroglycerine (NTG) were determined in 26 adults; 10 females (age:37 +/- 2 yr ) and 16 males (age:34 +/- 2 yr ). Changes in venous function were calculated as the difference between diameter at baseline and following each venoactive drug. Differences in venous function between limb and sexes across HDBR were determined using mixed-effects linear regression. RESULTS: In response to 60 days of HDBR, the change in venousconstrictor response to PE in the dorsal hand veins was not significantly different between M and F. Interestingly, the change in constrictor response in the dorsal foot veins (compared to pre HDBR) was approximately 30% greater in the F, whereas the constrictor response was approximately 45% less in the M (p=0.026). HDBR had no influence on the change in dilator response to ACh, or NTG between M and F and between vascular beds. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that 60 days of HDBR contributes to sex-related differences in venous function. Importantly, the changes are specific to dorsal foot veins and do not appear to be related to changes in endothelial or smooth muscle function. Previous data from our laboratory indicate that females have an impaired sympathetic response following HDBR. However, the results from the current investigation imply that F maintain the ability to respond to sympathetic stimulation but may not be able to adequately activate a proper response following HDBR.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Westby, Christian M. (University Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Phillips, Tiffany (Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States)
Stenger, Michael B. (Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States)
Platts, Steven H. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting(Baltimore, MD)
Distribution Limits