Area of Doctoral Study: Molecular Medicine, UMB
Undergraduate Institute: University of Pittsburg
Research Advisor: John M. Hamlyn, Ph.D.
Current: Toxicologist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle
Description of Research
Ouabain-like inhibitors are elevated in approximately 50% of patients with essential hypertension and patients with pregnancy-induced hypertension. These materials inhibit the alpha-2 isoform of the Na/K-ATPase in vascular myocytes and increase intracellular sodium levels. The latter enhances calcium entry mediated by the Na/Ca Exchanger (NCX) and results in increased blood pressure. Indeed, prolonged administration of ouabain induces hypertension in Sprague Dawley rats. Paradoxically, normal pregnancy is also associated with an increase in ouabain-like inhibitors, yet blood pressure decreases. My research is focused on the mechanism by which normal pregnant rats become resistant to ouabain-induced hypertension, and the role of NCX and pregnancy hormones in mediating this effect.