Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas are the first to use genetically engineered mice containing a fluorescent molecule to examine in real time the chemical reactions that result in smooth-muscle contraction.
UT Southwesterns Dr. Kristine Kamm (left), associate professor of physiology, Dr. Yusuke Mizuno, postdoctoral researcher, and Dr. James Stull, chairman of physiology, analyze data from recent experiments investigating how smooth-muscle cells contract.
Smooth muscle, found in the walls of blood vessels and in internal organs such as lungs, stomach and the bladder, contracts as the end result of a series of chemical reactions. In a new study, UT Southwestern researchers report that one set of chemical reactions resulting in the contraction of the smooth-muscle cells is augmented by a second chemical pathway that kicks in when the first pathway is limited.
"Understanding the underlying chemical signals involved in this process may have implications in treating conditions such as hypertension and other smooth muscle related conditions where there is too much contractile activity," said Dr. James Stull, chairman of physiology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study.
Amanda Siegfried | UT Southwestern
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