The influence of sex and maturation on carotid and vertebral artery hemodynamics and associations with free-living (in)activity in 6-17-year-olds

We explored the influence of sex and maturation on resting cervical artery hemodynamics (common carotid artery, CCA; internal carotid artery, ICA; and vertebral artery, VA), free-living physical activity, and sedentary behavior in children 6–17 yr of age. In addition, we investigated the relationship between physical activity, sedentary behavior, and cervical artery hemodynamics. Seventy-eight children and adolescents, girls (n = 42; mean age, 11.4 ± 2.5 yr) and boys (n = 36; mean age, 11.0 ± 2.6 yr), completed anthropometric measures, duplex ultrasound assessment of the cervical arteries, and wore an activPAL accelerometer to assess physical activity (indexed by steps/day) and sedentary behavior for 7 days. The ICA and VA diameters were similar between prepubertal and pubertal groups, as was volumetric blood flow (Q); however, the CCA diameter was significantly larger in the pubertal group (P < 0.05). Boys were found to have larger diameters in all cervical arteries than girls, as well as higher QCCAQICA, and global cerebral blood flow (P < 0.05). The pubertal group was more sedentary (100 min/day more; P < 0.05) and took 3,500 fewer steps/day than the prepubertal group (P < 0.05). Shear rate (SR) and Q of the cervical arteries showed no relationship to physical activity or prolonged bouts of sedentary behavior; however, a significant negative relationship was apparent between total sedentary time and internal carotid artery shear rate (ICASR) after covarying for steps/day and maturation (P < 0.05). These findings provide novel insight into the potential influence sedentary behavior may have on cerebrovascular blood flow in healthy girls and boys.

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  1. Mark S. Tremblay

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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