Projects per year
Purpose: To investigate the hypothesis that disrupted endothelial heterogeneity and network-level organization contribute to impaired vascular reactivity in obesity.
Methods and Results: To study obesity-related vascular function without complications associated with diabetes, a state of prediabetic obesity was induced in rats. Small artery diameter recordings confirmed nitric-oxide mediated vasodilator responses were dependent on increases in endothelial calcium levels and were impaired in obese animals. Single-photon imaging revealed a linear relationship between blood vessel relaxation and population-wide calcium responses. Obesity did not alter the slope of this relationship, but impaired calcium responses in the endothelial cell network. The network comprised structural and functional components. The structural architecture, a hexagonal lattice network of connected cells, was unchanged in obesity. The functional network contained sub-populations of clustered specialized agonist-sensing cells from which signals were communicated through the network. In obesity there were fewer but larger clusters of sensory cells and communication path lengths between clusters increased. Communication between neighboring cells was unaltered in obesity. Altered network organization resulted in impaired, population-level calcium signaling and deficient endothelial control of vascular tone.
Conclusions: The distribution of cells in the endothelial network is critical in determining overall vascular response. Altered cell heterogeneity and arrangement in obesity decreases endothelial function and provides a novel framework for understanding compromised endothelial function in cardiovascular disease.
- nitric oxide
- vascular biology
- vascular disease
17/04/17 → 16/10/21
Project: Research Fellowship