In vitro and in vivo vascular response to exercise and supplement induced changes in blood flow

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Science


Vascular health is a key component to many of the most significant health problems in the western world, including stroke, coronary artery disease, hypertension and diabetes, as well as being central to the aging process. Commonly poor vascular health and dysfunction are treated clinically using targeted medication, however, increasingly there is a drive to improve the health and diet of the population through lifestyle interventions, to prevent or delay decline and as an adjunct treatment to classical medicinal approaches. This had led to recent increases in research into the specific impact of physical activity on the vascular system, in order to better understand the impact that physical activity outside of the exercising muscle and to optimise current guidelines to maximise the benefits of regular physical activity. Recently it has been suggested that different exercise types and intensities of exercise can have a differential effect on peripheral and cerebral vascular function, due to the changes in oxygen demand and alterations in blood flow distribution. Changes in blood flow have a significant impact on the signalling and adaptive response seen in the vascular system, due to changes in shear stress which are essential to endothelial response, however, the impact that these changes have on cellular signalling and other markers of function and health is not well understood. For this reason, this project will aim to determine the impact of different exercise formats on cerebral and peripheral vascular function, as well as in the profile of a range of signalling, inflammatory and endothelial function markers within the blood. Additionally, in order to investigate the effects of different resting and exercising blood flow patterns, we aim to develop a controllable shear stress cell culture model, which can be used to simulate exercise-induced changes in shear stress to better understand the cellular impact of these changes.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1943514 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 02/10/2017 30/09/2021 Samuel Roger Weaver
Description So far this funding has gone towards developing our understanding of the way in which changes in exercise interventions impact the brains vascular health, in an acute context, as well as the potential for these interventions; including steady state and interval-based exercise, to alter the levels of circulating molecules linked to improved vascular and brain health.
Exploitation Route This work will be continued over the coming two years to further our understanding of this acute response, through research involving both human studies and cell culture-based approaches, that will help us to develop both our whole system and cellular understanding of the mechanisms at play. Furthermore, an upcoming pilot study involving a longer training intervention will allow us to begin to understand the impact of interval-based interventions on brain health.
Sectors Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism