Age-associated endothelial function and cardiovascular health in divers
A new PhD project addressing the effects of diving in advanced age starts in 2016 in collaboration with Aarhus University in Denmark. The aging diver’s cardiovascular system is exposed both to acute physical stress from the environment, and the inevitable age-related decline of vascular function.
In this project, the combined effects of diving and aging on the heart and vasculature are examined by PhD candidate Simin Berenji Ardestani. Since there are ethical and technical barriers to studies on human divers, the experimental work is performed on rats. The project addresses the following questions:
- How does a single dive affect the function of the heart and vascular endothelium, and levels of risk biomarkers in rats with an aging cardiovascular system?
- Are the long-term consequences of diving on the aging cardiovascular system beneficial or detrimental?
- Are the cardiovascular responses different between young and aging individuals?
Diving is done in specially designed pressure chambers for animal research, and the animals are regularly trained on treadmills in order to preserve their physiological fitness.
We believe that this project can provide relevant insight into the cardiovascular effects of diving in advanced age. It may also further the understanding of biological mechanisms associated with oxidative stress.
The study is a collaborative effort between the NTNU Barophysiology Group and the Comparative Medicine lab at Aarhus University. Experimental work will be done at both sites. Simin’s supervisors in Aarhus and Trondheim are Professor Michael Pedersen and researcher Ingrid Eftedal.