Dept. of Pathology
University of Essex, United Kingdom
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Inflammation is recognized as a key component in the development of both acute and chronic cardiovascular disease. Examples include Sepsis, Atherosclerosis, Stroke, Obesity and Diabetes and complications associated with organ transplantation. Reactive species (also refereed to as free radicals or reactive oxygen and nitrogen species) have been identified as important mediators in inflammation with roles in both initiating and preventing disease. We are interested in understanding what regulates the reactivity and function of reactive species and pursue this aim in the following contexts 1) interactions of nitric oxide and nitrite with red blood cells during normal physiological conditions and during inflammation associated with Sepsis and ischemia-reperfusion injury. Specifically, we are pursuing the idea that hemoglobin regulates blood flow and acts as a switch that controls the anti- and pro-inflammatory effects of nitric oxide 2) anti-inflammatory effects of dietary antioxidants. Specifically, consumption of isoflavones is associated with decreased incidence of the chronic inflammatory disease, atherosclerosis. We are investigating the mechanisms of these effects and focusing on how synergistic interactions between components in the diet, and physical forces associated with blood flow modulate reactive species formation and in turn control vascular endothelial cell responses during inflammation. Finally, we are translating insights gained from these studies and beginning to translate these into the clinic with the evaluation of NO-based therapeutics in inflammatory diseases.
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