Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Protein and Blood Flow

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Protein and Blood Flow

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

For years, researchers have known that high blood pressure causes blood vessels to contract and low blood pressure causes blood vessels to relax. Until recently, however, researchers did not have the tools to determine the exact proteins responsible for this phenomenon. Now, using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and isolating blood vessels outside the body, University of Missouri (MU) researchers have identified a protein that plays an important role in the control of tissue blood flow and vascular resistance. This new knowledge brings researchers one step closer to understanding vascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and other vascular problems.

"This study provides new insights that clarify the role of specific proteins and the vascular smooth muscle cells that control the mechanical activity of blood vessels," says Gerald Meininger, professor and director of MU's Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center. "We have identified an important receptor that is responsible for the ability of small arteries in the body.

This research provides new clues for the cause of vascular diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and may be used in the future as a possible therapeutic target. …

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