Research interests

Cardioprotection by noble gases and inhaled anesthetics

Anesthetic gases such as sevoflurane, desflurane and isoflurane but also xenon have organ protective properties. Possible mechanisms include signaling kinases affecting several end effectors such as mitochondria and mitondrial channels. The complex mechanism underlying anesthetic-induced cardioprotection resemble the mechanisms underlying ischemic pre- and postconditioning. For the clinic, ischemic conditioning is not so much an attractive option, as it can induce significant organ damage itself.

The non-anesthetic noble gas helium can also protect the heart against episodes of ischemia/reperfusion. Application of 15 minutes of helium 24 hours before or directly after the index ischemia induces late preconditioning and postconditioning respectively. In our line of research we focus on the mechanism of action behind helium induced conditioning in the heart. We are currently investigating the transcriptional effects of helium inhalation on genes involved in cell death and -survival. We also investigate the role of helium conditioning and caveolin.

Another important aspect of our research is the protection of the diseased rat, in experimental models of diabetes and hypertension we have investigated the effectiveness of helium induced cardioprotection. Finally, we investigate whether helium can exert protective effects in humans and whether it is safe. In the future, more studies in human subjects will follow, in which possible mechanisms of action will be investigated.


Anesthesiology, cardiovascular research

ID: 76311