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role of inflammatory reponse in experimental decompression sicknessDecompression to altitude can result in gas bubble formation both in tissues and in the systemic veins. The venous gas emboli (VGE) are often monitored during decompression exposures to assess risk for decompression sickness (DCS). Astronauts are at risk for DCS during extravehicular activities (EVA), where decompression occurs from the Space Shuttle or Space Station atmospheric pressure of 14.7 pounds per square inch (PSI) to that of the space suit pressure of 4.3 PSI. DCS symptoms include diffuse pain, especially around joints, inflammation and edema. Pathophysiological effects include interstitial inflammatory responses and recurring injury to the vascular endothelium. Such responses can result in vasoconstriction and associated hemodynamic changes.The granulocyte cell activation and chemotaxin release results in the formation of vasoactive and microvascular permeability altering mediators, especially from the lungs which are the principal target organ for the venous bubbles, and from activated cells (neutrophils, platelets, macrophages). Such mediators include free arachidonic acid and the byproducts of its metabolism via the cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways (see figure). The cyclooxygenase pathway results in formation of prostacyclin and other prostaglandins and thromboxanes that cause vasoconstriction, bronchoconstriction and platelet aggregation. Leukotrienes produced by the alternate pathway cause pulmonary and bronchial smooth muscle contraction and edema. Substances directly affecting vascular tone such as nitric oxide may also play a role in the respose to DCS. We are studying the role and consequent effects of the release inflammatory bioactive mediators as a result of DCS and VGE. More recent efforts are focused on identifying the effects of the body's circadian rhythm on these physiological consequences to decompression stress. al
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Butler, B. D.
(Texas Univ. Houston, TX United States)
Little, T.
(Texas Univ. Houston, TX United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the First Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20000020485Analytic PrimaryProceedings of the First Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop