The role of blood flow in blood vessel function, and its importance during diabetes

Endothelial acetylcholine release explains flow-mediated dilation and is impaired in type 2 diabetes

John G McCarron (lead researcher)

Strathclyde, University of

Start date: 09 January 2017 (Duration 3 years)

Professor John McCarron and his colleagues at the University of Strathclyde are studying how blood vessels respond to blood flow, and why blood flow changes in people with diabetes. Changes in blood flow can cause blood vessels to contract or relax, to grow wider or narrower, or cause new blood vessels to form. Flow does this by affecting the inner layer of cells in the blood vessel, the endothelium, which responds to the mechanical force of flowing blood by triggering one of these processes. This response is critical to prevent the surrounding tissue from being starved of the oxygen and nutrients it needs. But the response to flow is impaired in people with diabetes, so less blood reaches these tissues. Professor McCarron has found that blood flow causes the endothelium to release a molecule called acetylcholine, which then increases calcium, to open and widen the arteries. He has also found this process is impaired in people with diabetes, and he thinks that this may involve a change in how cells of the endothelium make and use their energy. In this project, Professor McCarron will determine exactly how flow causes the endothelium to release acetylcholine and cause changes in blood vessel function, if different flow has different effects, and what prevents it from being released in diabetics. This research will reveal the mechanisms that control how flow affects blood vessels and could unveil new ways to improve blood flow in people with diabetes.

Project details

Grant amount £204,947
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 09 January 2017
Duration 3 years
Reference PG/16/82/32439
Status In progress

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