Theophylline effect on the cerebral blood flow response to hypoxemia

D. L. Bowton, W. S. Haddon, D. S. Prough, N. Adair, P. T. Alford, D. A. Stump

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Cerebral oxygen delivery (CO2D) remains nearly constant over a wide range of cerebral perfusion pressure and arterial oxygen content. In response to a decrease in arterial oxygen content secondary to hypoxemia, cerebral blood flow (CBF) increases, a response likely mediated by the release of adenosine. We studied the effect of theophylline, a potent adenosine antagonist, on CBF and cerebral oxygen delivery (CO2D) during hypoxemia in five healthy adult male volunteers. The CBF was measured using 133Xe clearance under conditions of (1) normoxemia (O2 saturation >95 percent); (2) hypoxemia (O2 saturation = 80 percent); (3) normoxemia following aminophylline (the ethylene diamine salt of theophylline) 6 mg/kg intravenously; and (4) hypoxemia following aminophylline. Aminophylline decreased CBF and CO2D during both normoxemia and hypoxemia, but did not prevent the increase in CBF accompanying hypoxemia, suggesting that the increase in CBF in response to hypoxemia may not be mediated by adenosine or that customary doses of aminophylline are insufficient to inhibit adenosine-mediated cerebral vasodilation in response to hypoxemia. The significant decrease in CBF and CO2D observed following aminophylline is potentially clinically important and should be considered in the selection of bronchodilator therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-375
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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