2013 oct 10
EPO modulation in a 14-days undersea scuba dive
Erythropoiesis is affected during deep saturation dives. The mechanism should be related to a downregulation of serum Erythropoietin (s-EPO) concentration or to a toxic effect of the hyperbaric hyperoxia. We evaluated s-EPO and other haematological parameters in 6 scuba divers before, during and after a 14-days guinness saturation dive (8-10 m). Athletes were breathing air at 1.8-2 ATA, under the control of a team of physicians. Serum parameters were measured before diving (T0) and: 7 days (T1), 14 days (T2) after the beginning of the dive and 2 h (T3) and 24 h (T4) after resurfacing. Hgb, and many other haematological parameters did not change whereas Ht, s-EPO, the ratio between s-EPO predicted and that observed and reticulocytes (absolute, percent) declined progressively from T0 to T3. At T4 a significant rise in s-EPO was observed. Hgb did not vary but erythropoiesis seemed to be affected as s-EPO and reticulocyte counts showed. All these changes were statistically significant. The experiment, conducted in realistic conditions of dive length, oxygen concentration and pressure, allows us to formulate some hypotheses about the role of prolonged hyperbarism on erythropoiesis. The s-EPO rise, 24 h after resurfacing, is clearly documented and related to the "Normobaric Oxygen Paradox". This evidence suggests interesting hypotheses for new clinical applications such as modulation of s-EPO production and Hgb content triggered by appropriate O₂ administration in pre-surgical patients or in some anemic disease.