Selected scientific publications on diving medicine and physiology.

2021 Jan 1
Increasing Oxygen Partial Pressures Induce a Distinct Transcriptional Response in Human PBMC: A Pilot Study on the “Normobaric Oxygen Paradox”
Fratantonio D, Virgili F, Zucchi A, Lambrechts K, Latronico T, Lafère P, Germonpré P, Balestra C.

The term “normobaric oxygen paradox” (NOP), describes the response to the return to normoxia after a hyperoxic event, sensed by tissues as oxygen shortage, and resulting in up-regulation of the Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) transcription factor activity. The molecular characteristics of this response have not been yet fully characterized. Herein, we report the activation time trend of oxygen-sensitive transcription factors in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from healthy subjects after one hour of exposure to mild (MH), high (HH) and very high (VHH) hyperoxia, corresponding to 30%, 100%, 140% O2, respectively.

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2020 Dec 20
Investigating critical flicker fusion frequency for monitoring gas narcosis in divers
Vrijdag XC, van Waart H, Sleigh JW, Balestra C, Mitchell SJ

Introduction: Critical flicker fusion frequency (CFFF) has been used in various studies to measure the cognitive effects of gas mixtures at depth, sometimes with conflicting or apparently paradoxical results. This study aimed to evaluate a novel automatic CFFF method and investigate whether CFFF can be used to monitor gas-induced narcosis in divers. Methods: Three hyperbaric chamber experiments were performed: 1) Automated and manual CFFF measurements during air breathing at 608 kPa (n = 16 subjects); 2) Manual CFFF measurements during air and heliox breathing at sea level (101.3 kPa) and 608 kPa (n = 12); 3) Manual CFFF measurements during oxygen breathing at sea level, 142 and 284 kPa (n = 10). All results were compared to breathing air at sea level.

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2020 Dec 1
First impressions: Use of the Azoth Systems O'Dive subclavian bubble monitor on a liveaboard dive vessel
Germonpre P, Van der Eecken P, Van Renterghem E, Germonpre FL & Balestra C.

Introduction: The Azoth Systems O'Dive bubble monitor is marketed at recreational and professional divers as a tool to improve personal diving decompression safety. We report the use of this tool during a 12-day dive trip aboard a liveaboard vessel. Methods: Six divers were consistently monitored according to the user manual of the O'Dive system. Data were synchronised with the Azoth server whenever possible (depending on cell phone data signal).

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2020 Sep 30
Endothelial function may be enhanced in the cutaneous microcirculation after a single air dive
François Guerrero, Kate Lambrechts, Qiong Wang, Aleksandra Mazur, Michael Théron, Alessandro Marroni

ntroduction: The effects of scuba diving on the vessel wall have been studied mainly at the level of large conduit arteries. Data regarding the microcirculation are scarce and indicate that these two vascular beds are affected differently by diving. Methods: We assessed the changes in cutaneous microcirculation before an air scuba dive, then 30 min and 24 h after surfacing. Endothelium-dependent and independent vasomotion were successively elicited by iontophoretic administration of acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside respectively, and cutaneous blood flux was monitored by laser Doppler flowmetry.

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2020 Jul 23
Physiological characteristics associated with increased resistance to decompression sickness in male and female rats
Lautridou J, Dugrenot E, Amerand A, Guernec A, Pichavant-Rafini K, Goanvec C, Inizan M, Albacete G, Belhomme M, Galinat H, Lafere P, Balestra C, Moisan C, Buzzacott P & Guerrero F.

Decompression sickness (DCS) is a complex and poorly understood systemic disease with wide interindividual resistance variability. We selectively bred rats with a threefold greater resistance to DCS than standard ones. To investigate possible physiological mechanisms underlying the resistance to DCS, including sex-related differences in these mechanisms, 15 males and 15 females resistant to DCS were compared with aged-matched standard Wistar males (n = 15) and females (n = 15). None of these individuals had been previously exposed to hyperbaric treatment. Comparison of the allelic frequencies of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showed a difference of one SNP located on the X chromosome.

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