Research Thesis Topic
Mechanisms of Exercise Limitation in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic restrictive lung disease that causes irreversible scarring of the tissue deep inside the lungs. The cause of the condition is not known and impacts approximately 3 million people worldwide. The earliest clinical manifestations of these patients is a progressive and irreversible decline in lung function leading to exertional dyspnoea and exercise intolerance. Unfortunately, the mechanisms of exercise limitation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis are poorly understood, as it is not feasible in patients to examine repeated exercise tests. In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, however, the mechanisms of exercise limitation are well known. This is partly due to undertaking exercise testing in healthy individuals with applied resistive loads. These replicate airway obstruction and have demonstrated that resistive breathing increases the mechanical and energetic cost of breathing, reduces blood flow to the exercising limbs which exacerbates limb muscle fatigue, dyspnoea and ultimately leads to exercise limitation. Whether these mechanisms also partly explain exercise limitation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is unknown. Chest wall strapping is an experimental intervention that restricts expansion of the thorax during breathing and can be used to simulate the effects of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in healthy research participants. While this is an imperfect model of the disease, chest wall strapping allows testing that is not feasible in clinical populations. Accordingly, this project will investigate the mechanisms of exercise limitation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis using a model of chest wall strapping. We will test the hypothesis that chest wall strapping increases the mechanical and energetic cost of breathing, reduces blood flow to the exercising limbs which exacerbates limb muscle fatigue, dyspnoea and ultimately leads to exercise limitation. This will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of exercise limitation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and better treatments to improve exercise capacity. The candidate will join a successful team of multi-disciplinary scientists from several institutions, and will work in state-of-the-art laboratories with exceptional core facilities.
- Centre for Health Sciences Research
- School of Health and Wellbeing
- Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology
- Human Movement and Sports Science
Please review the admission requirements for the academic program associated with this Thesis Topic