Abstract

Neuronal activity is tightly coordinated with blood flow to ensure proper brain function. This is achieved by neurovascular coupling. Although this mechanism is maintained by numerous mediators such as nitric oxide, ion channels, and astrocytes, its signaling process is much more complex. Frontal-temporal brain activity as measured by near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has been suggested to be decreased or disturbed in many psychiatric disorders. To investigate the relationship between serum electrolyte levels and prefrontal hemodynamic responses, we evaluated psychiatric patients who underwent NIR spectroscopy with a 22-channel topography system and measurement of serum electrolyte levels. Changes in the concentration of oxygenated hemoglobin were evaluated during a verbal fluency test. The data were analyzed to see any significant correlation between NIR spectroscopy indices (integral value: size of an area during activation, centroid value: centroid time of an area throughout the task, and initial value: axis assessed by an initial change) and serum electrolyte levels (sodium, potassium, and chloride) by gender and cortex region. The study population consisted of 102 males (mean age, 42.4 years) and 133 females (mean age, 47.2 years). Sodium levels were significantly positively correlated with integral values at temporal regions in female subjects, while potassium levels were significantly negatively correlated with initial values at frontal regions in male subjects. However, chloride levels showed no correlations. In conclusion, higher serum sodium levels increase and higher serum potassium levels decrease regional cerebral blood flow with gender variances in psychiatry. The effect of extracellular electrolyte concentrations on hemodynamic responses remains unverified. However, our findings suggest that serum electrolytes levels may be involved in vascular smooth muscle contractility via Na+-K+-ATPase pumps that mediate neurovascular coupling.

© 2018 The Author(s)

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