Commentary and discussion focusing on featured articles from the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology.
Binge Drinking, Sleep and Sympathetic Activity
How well do we understand the underlying mechanisms of the cardiovascular consequences associated with binge drinking at night? Consulting Editor Nisha Charkoudian (U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine) interviews lead author Jason Carter (Montana State University) and expert Craig Steinback (University of Alberta) about the latest work by Greenlund et al. While many researchers have investigated binge drinking in a laboratory setting, most of these studies are conducted during daytime hours. In contrast, Carter and co-authors aimed to mimic real-life alcohol consumption habits in their pragmatic study design, which interrogated the effects of binge drinking on sleep, as well as on sympathetic activity the following morning. Carter and his team found that study participants had increased cardiovascular stress, measured by increased heart rate and sympathetic activity, and decreased control of blood pressure. While the authors designed their study prior to the SARS-CoV2 pandemic, their findings are more relevant now than ever before. Listen as we touch on the future directions of this work, including exploring sex differences in alcohol consumption patterns and metabolization, and cognitive aspects of binge drinking.
Ian M. Greenlund, Hannah A. Cunningham, Anne L. Tikkanen, Jeremy A. Bigalke, Carl A. Smoot, John J. Durocher, and Jason R. Carter Morning sympathetic activity after evening binge alcohol consumption Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published January 15, 2021. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00743.2020
Membrane Proteomic Profiling of the Heart
What are the latest technological advances for studying cell membrane proteins? Podcast host Lisandra de Castro Brás (East Carolina University) interviews lead author Tony Gramolini (University of Toronto) and expert Sarah Parker (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) about the latest Review by Lee et al, which outlines challenges in the development of heart disease therapies related to the limited number of functional target proteins in cell surface receptors. The authors also examine potential limitations and workarounds for analyzing hydrophobic membrane proteins, discuss the importance of spatial location during sample harvesting, and review the potential of mass spectrometry tools for generation of robust and ample data. Our experts discuss a wide array of cutting-edge proteomic analysis tools, including tissue cytof, single-cell proteomics, and mass spectrometry, and give special attention to techniques for interrogating low-abundant proteins. This leads to an in-depth exchange about data reporting in research articles. What do the authors think is on the horizon for advanced interrogation of post-translational modifications and integrated AI-based analysis of the vast amounts of data produced by proteomic profiling? Listen to find out.
Shin-Haw Lee, Da Hye Kim, Uros Kuzmanov, Anthony O. Gramolini Membrane proteomic profiling of the heart: past, present, and future Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published January 15, 2021. DOI: doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00659.2020
Aerosolized Nicotine and Cardiovascular Control
What are the acute effects of inhaling nicotine through an e-cigarette on cardiovascular neural regulation? In this episode Guest Editor Loren Wold (The Ohio State University) interviews lead author William Cooke (Michigan Technological University) and expert Ted Wagener (The Ohio State University) about the latest research by Gonzalez and Cooke on this timely topic. As more and more studies show that e-cigarettes do carry their own distinct health risks, Gonzalez and Cooke recruited naïve e-cigarette users, otherwise known as “never smokers,” for their e-cigarette study. The authors observed an acute increase in arterial pressure in study participants, which was associated with a blunting of peripheral sympathetic activity. Why is this important? The authors believe that there could be long term effects on the heart, including increases of heart rate and blood pressure, which could lead to pre-hypertension or chronic hypertension for non-smokers who opt to use electronic cigarette devices. Our experts unpack the implications of this unique study, the potential for researchers to separate effects of inhaled nicotine from effects of inhaled combustible tobacco toxicants, and what new federal guidelines may be forthcoming from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for e-cigarette devices in the coming year. Listen now to find out more.
Joshua Eric Gonzalez and William Harold Cooke Acute effects of electronic cigarettes on arterial pressure and peripheral sympathetic activity in young non-smokers Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published November 8, 2020. DOI: doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00448.2020
Sleep Deprivation and Endothelial Function
Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, have acute and chronic negative cardiovascular impacts. Why is so little known about the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating cardiovascular events in sleep disorders? In this podcast Editor-in-Chief Dr. Irving H. Zucker interviews lead author Dr. Maureen MacDonald (McMaster University) and expert Karyn Esser (University of Florida) about an insightful new Review article by Cherubini et al. MacDonald and co-authors became interested in the affect sleep has on endothelial function while conducting their own exercise physiology studies. Reviewing the literature, Cherubini et al. found that most studies do not control for sleep, yet sleep deprivation – whether acute or chronic, partial or total – can have negative effects on endothelial function in humans. The literature also shows similar results in animal and cell culture models. Because clock mechanisms exist in every human cell type, the understanding of links between so-called “clock genes” and disease progression is an emerging field. How does this relate to the development of atherosclerotic plaques, and the potential for exercise as a therapeutic strategy to combat the negative impact of disordered sleep? Listen now.
Joshua M. Cherubini, Jem L. Cheng, Jennifer S Williams, Maureen J. MacDonald Sleep deprivation and endothelial function: reconciling seminal evidence with recent perspectives Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published October 16, 2020. DOI: doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00607.2020
Behind the Bench Episode7
Why should medical school students invest their time in basic science research? That’s our theme for this episode of Behind the Bench from AJP-Heart and Circ. Hosts Lisandra de Castro Brás (East Carolina University) and Jonathan Kirk (Loyola University Chicago) interview Dhandevi Persand and Nicole Maddie, both students at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dhandevi and Nicole won the FASEB Dream Award to attend the APS Professional Skills Training Course on Writing and Reviewing for Scientific Journals, and they have co-authored a New Investigator Editorial detailing their experiences. More importantly, Dhandevi and Nicole are using their platform as Women in Stem to promote the importance of research for clinical trainees. As students in the NYIT Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) program, Nicole and Dhandevi focus on how structure affects function. The translational research projects they have both worked on have cemented their feelings that research is critically important for medical students and clinicians. Did you know that D.O. students must complete 200 additional hours of coursework, compared to M.D. students, in order to learn osteopathic manipulative medicine? Listen for a refreshingly open conversation about time management and reaching for “stretch goals” which turn out to be surprisingly attainable.
Dhandevi Persand and Nicole Maddie New investigator editorial: the osteopathic medical student perspective on research Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published December 2, 2020. DOI: doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00813.2020
Role of Estrogen Receptor Alpha in Right Ventricular Remodeling
Does the loss of functional estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) remove female protection from adverse remodeling? We know that right ventricular function is preserved in women with pulmonary arterial hypertension compared to men. While ERα has been identified as a likely mediator of cardioprotection in the right ventricle, the exact role of ERα in preserving right ventricular function and remodeling in pressure overload is not well understood. In this episode Guest Editor Kristine DeLeon-Pennell (Medical University of South Carolina) interviews lead author Naomi Chesler (University of California Irvine) and expert Jessica Faulkner (Augusta University) about a new study by Cheng et al that utilized a sex-independent pulmonary arterial banding model in both female and male ERα mutant rats to investigate sex-dependent differences in right ventricular response to pressure overload. In females, ERα is protective against right ventricular pulmonary vascular uncoupling, diastolic dysfunction, and fibrosis in response to pressure overload. However, the authors did not observe the same effects in males. Given that only the ERα mutant females showed a dramatic fibrotic response, were the authors surprised by what their RNA sequencing analysis revealed? Listen and find out.
Tik-Chee Cheng, Jennifer L Philip, Diana Marcela Tabima, Santosh Kumari, Bakhtiyor Yakubov, Andrea L Frump, Timothy A. Hacker, Alessandro Bellofiore, Rongbo Li, Xin Sun, Kara N. Goss, Tim Lahm, Naomi Chesler Estrogen Receptor Alpha Prevents Right Ventricular Diastolic Dysfunction and Fibrosis in Female Rats Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published October 16, 2020. DOI: doi.org/10.1152/ ajpheart.00247.2020