MRI provides detailed images of the joints, soft tissues and bones, and allows the study of physiological responses at rest and in response to exercise. We are performing comprehensive mechanistic studies using imaging coupled with novel biochemical and clinical technologies to improve understanding.
In-scanner exercise physiological and metabolic phenotyping
Few studies have assessed cerebral and cardiac response to exercise stress. Furthermore, relationships between cardiac output, skeletal muscle deconditioning, and brain architecture and haemodynamic responses to exercise are unknown but will inform on the aetiology of pathophysiology and fatigue, particularly in ageing and chronic disease where they are manifest the most.
We aim to use MR to phenotype brain, cardiac and muscle responses to in-scanner exercise stress in human volunteers. This will provide:
• Novel insight of the dynamic physiological and metabolic responses to exercise that do not manifest in resting individuals. This will provide measures of metabolic and physiological resilience (i.e. the ability to respond to a stressor) and will greatly inform on the pathophysiology of ageing and disease.
• Integration of cardiac, brain and skeletal muscle responses which will inform on the multi-organ aetiology of age and disease related decline and relative associations with age-related fatigue and premature fatigue that is characteristic of a number of patient populations, such as inflammatory bowel disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.
• The efficacy of interventions (particularly physical activity) at blunting age and disease related pathophysiology, and importantly the time-course and primary sites of action of any therapeutic intervention.
Projects in this area:
Understanding premature fatigue development in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Cardiac output and brain perfusion and architecture during exercise in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and healthy, age matched volunteers.
Using MRI to elucidate the importance of physical activity to brain health and motor function in ageing.
Physiological phenotyping of frailty using MRI.
Our work is supported by the following centres:
NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre – MRI, Musculoskeletal and Respiratory theme
The MRC Versus Arthritis Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing