Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Assessment of blood parameters and extracellular vesicles for optimization of sport results

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.10.02  Social sciences  Sport  Kinesiology - medical aspect (orthopedy, physiatry etc.) 

Code Science Field
B000  Biomedical sciences   

Code Science Field
3.03  Medical and Health Sciences  Health sciences 
Sport results; Blood teste; Extracellular vesicles; Nanomaterial; Nanosensors
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (31)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  34541  PhD Metka Benčina  Materials science and technology  Beginner researcher  2017  79 
2.  37417  PhD Mitja Drab  Physics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  66 
3.  33470  PhD Barbara Drašler  Biology  Researcher  2016  45 
4.  11155  PhD Damjana Drobne  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  859 
5.  21314  PhD Miha Fošnarič  Physics  Researcher  2017 - 2018  172 
6.  04634  PhD Aleš Iglič  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  960 
7.  34488  PhD Roghayeh Imani  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2016  25 
8.  24447  PhD Anita Jemec Kokalj  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  287 
9.  50196  Matej Kleva    Technical associate  2017 - 2018  22 
10.  23936  Patricia Kompara    Technical associate  2016 - 2018 
11.  35369  PhD Veno Kononenko  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2018  65 
12.  33307  PhD Katja Koren  Sport  Researcher  2017 - 2018  42 
13.  05916  PhD Veronika Kralj Iglič  Neurobiology  Head  2016 - 2018  863 
14.  37148  Judita Lea Krek  Neurobiology  Researcher  2016 - 2017  18 
15.  39924  MSc Tomaž Lampe  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2018  151 
16.  34516  PhD Uroš Marušič  Sport  Researcher  2017 - 2018  332 
17.  35503  PhD Tina Mavrič  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2018  13 
18.  36461  PhD Luka Mesarec  Physics  Researcher  2017 - 2018  60 
19.  25432  PhD Nina Mohorko  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016  164 
20.  33881  PhD Shawnda Morrison  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2016  191 
21.  33175  PhD Sara Novak  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2017  105 
22.  35614  PhD Ljubiša Pađen  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016 - 2018  205 
23.  31212  PhD Manca Pajnič  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016 - 2018  224 
24.  11612  PhD Rado Pišot  Sport  Researcher  2016 - 2018  997 
25.  31634  PhD Saša Pišot  Social sciences  Researcher  2017 - 2018  170 
26.  24830  PhD Nadja Plazar  Medical sciences  Researcher  2017 - 2018  184 
27.  21102  PhD Boštjan Šimunič  Computer intensive methods and applications  Researcher  2016 - 2018  575 
28.  31673  Roman Štukelj  Sport  Researcher  2016 - 2018  117 
29.  11539  PhD Polonca Trebše  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2016  510 
30.  34203  PhD Ekaterina Yurieva Gongadze  Neurobiology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  72 
31.  50436  PhD Damir Zubac  Sport  Researcher  2017 - 2018  65 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0382  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Health Sciences  LJUBLJANA  1627155  14,264 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,550 
3.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,880 
4.  1538  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering  Ljubljana  1626965  27,596 
Scientific background: Composition of blood and properties of its constituents importantly influence achievements in sport and also indicate health risks. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) (Fig. 1 in attachment) are tiny (in the range of 20 nanometers – 1000 nanometers) membrane – enclosed cell fragments which are formed in the last stage of the membrane budding or in cell death. They are shed into extracellular solution and become mobile with body fluids, especially blood. Isolation of EVs from body fluids (especially blood) and their assessment (measuring their concentration and composition) reflects the status of the organism, in particular of the cells in blood, of blood plasma and of endothelium.   Problem: Knowledge on the impact of specific sport activities connected with results of competitive and recreational sport on mechanisms connected to EVs is yet rudimentary. It is of interest how different sport regimes (aerobic, anaerobic, intensity, mode and level of competition), environmental factors (hypoxia, temperature, pollution), intake of substances (water, dietary supplements), and physical status (sex, age, body mass index, fat and muscle mass) affect microvesiculation in vitro and ex vivo and what is the relation of these processes to composition of blood. Aims: It is our aim to elaborate a method for following, predicting and optimizing performance in sports, based on assessment of EVs in blood isolates. The method will improve planning of the preparation for sport achievements and minimize the risk for adverse effects such as cardiovascular and neural system overload, oxidative stress and thromboembolisms. We will consider some chosen environmental impact factors with special emphasis on nanoparticles, which can cause oxidative stress. Sport results and athletes' health status will be interpreted in the light of EV-based biomarkers and blood composition. Based on the interaction between EVs and nanoparticles we will design a bionanosensor for assessment of the subject's status. Methods: We will study acknowledged blood cell parameters (the number of cells of different types, their volume and distribution), cell activation markers, plasma content of growth hormones, cholesterol, inflammation and anti-inflammation markers and coagulation parameters, by standard methods (flow cytometry and ELISA tests). State of the cholinergic system will be assesed by spectroscopic methods. We will isolate EVs (by centrifugation and washing of samples) and study their concentration in isolates and presence of specific receptors at their surfaces by flow cytometry. The impact of substances and pollutants will be studied through their interaction with blood cells and phospholipid vesicles. Indirect effects such as osmosis and interaction with added substances will be assessed in vitro by different microscopic techniques and flow cytometry and described by theoretical models based on laws of mechanics and thermodynamics. We will study response of competitive and recreational athletes of both sexes on acute aerobic and anaerobic efforts during preparation (also in hot, hypoxic and polluted environment), before and after the representative competition and in the process of regeneration. We will study acute responses to hydration and intake of food supplements. The level of peripheral and central fatigue directly after the effort will be measured with tensiomyographic method.     Expected results: Based on the support of endogenous mechanisms in athletes we will elaborate and optimize protocols as a base for personalized plan of athlete preparation for achievement of high level results. Results of the study will contribute to a decrease of the risk for adverse effects on athletes' health. We will improve the method for EV assessment by a protocol regarding water and food supplement intake and instructions regarding physical activities prior to blood sampling. We will design a bionanosensor for EV assessment.
Significance for science
Reports in the literature frequently conclude that the methods based on EVs are promising because they address the fundamental physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms. However, to our best knowledge there are no systematic studies in which different groups of subjects were assessed by the same procedures. However, such studies are essential for a comprehensive understanding of the role of EVs. The proposed study is extensive and it includes various groups of subjects and various physiologically conditioned factors. The results of the proposed project will therefore present an important contribution to better understanding of physiological role of EVs in conjunction with physical activity. The results will enable identification of links between the EV parameters and standard blood parameters. We will gain information on the impact of physical activity and intake of certain substances (water and dietary supplements) on the vesiculability of blood cells, and its meaning regarding sport results and health risks. Newly developed methods and technologies for assessment of EVs will be useful for following the athlete status. They will also contribute to the breakthrough of diagnostic and therapeutic methods based on the EVs into clinical practice. Funding would enable continuation of our work and staying in touch with other leading groups in the field of EVs (COST project MEHAD, ISEV association) where we would like to contribute to fulfillment of great expectations regarding EVs. The results will contribute to the understanding of the fundamental mechanisms such as oxidative stress, immune response, inflammation, metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fat, and hydration. Tackling the issue of nanoparticles (membrane nano-structures such as EVs and nanotubes, and industrial nanoparticles) also requires the development of new theoretical description adapted to nano scale. Project results will be theoretical models that address non-specific biophysical properties of nanostructures, such as the shape of molecules, their size and electrical properties. The results will therefore contribute to the development of theoretical physics. Improved understanding of the processes and mechanisms associated with physical activity will support athletes to achieve better results, contribute to the prevention of overload due to physical and mental effort and improve regeneration of the organism. Results of the project will contribute to reduction of the use of illegal substances, as the optimization of the organism efficacy without adverse effects will prove to be more important.
Significance for the country
We collaborate with the enterprises Domel d.o.o, Železniki, Slovenia and Exosomics, Siena, Italy. Within the EU project IMIPEB (EUREKA), experts from Domel d.o.o designed a swinging rotor for large accelerations, which is now used in isolation of EVs. However, a breakthrough to the global market is expected, in particular as a consequence of improvements of the protocol for EV harvesting, which is also the subject of the proposed project. The market of new technologies for testing and diagnostics (devices such as centrifuges with accessories, thermoblocks and biosensors), based on EVs is unlimited. New technologies will enable creation of new jobs. Methods for blood analysis based on EVs have not yet been standardized. By contributing to the understanding of  EV-based mechanisms we can take part in standardizing methods and also be involved in determining the technologies that will be key for service quality assessment. The results will importantly influence the development of minimally invasive biosensor-based diagnostics. The mechanisms considered are essential for assessing the physiological status as well as for diagnostics of various diseases. The project will support collaboration of partners (UL and PU) with scientists in the international society, thus increasing reputation of Slovenia in the international scientific area and reducing the gap between highly developed countries and Slovenia.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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