Cerebral blood flow and cerebrovascular resistance across the adult lifespan: A multimodality approach

Tsubasa Tomoto, Marilyn Lu, Ayaz M. Khan, Jie Liu, Evan P. Pasha, Takashi Tarumi, Rong Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cerebral blood flow (CBF) decreases across the adult lifespan; however, more studies are needed to understand the underlying mechanisms. This study measured CBF and cerebrovascular resistance (CVR) using a multimodality approach in 185 healthy adults (21–80 years). Color-coded duplex ultrasonography and phase-contrast MRI were used to measure CBF, CBF velocity, and vessel diameters of the internal carotid (ICA) and vertebral arteries (VA). MRI arterial spin labeling was used to measure brain perfusion. Transcranial Doppler was used to measure CBF velocity at the middle cerebral artery. Structural MRI was used to measure brain volume. CBF was presented as total blood flow (mL/min) and normalized CBF (nCBF, mL/100g/min). Mean arterial pressure was measured to calculate CVR. Age was associated with decreased CBF by ∼3.5 mL/min/year and nCBF by ∼0.19 mL/100g/min/year across the methods. CVR increased by ∼0.011 mmHg/mL/100g/min/year. Blood flow velocities in ICA and VA decreased with age ranging from 0.07–0.15 cm/s/year, while the vessel diameters remained similar among age groups. These findings suggest that age-related decreases in CBF can be attributed mainly to decreases in blood flow velocity in the large cerebral arteries and that increased CVR likely reflects the presence of cerebral vasoconstrictions in the small cerebral arterioles and/or capillaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)962-976
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number6
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Age
  • cerebral blood flow
  • cerebrovascular resistance
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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