CSU researcher gets $1.8M NIH award to study body's signals that trigger hypertension, stroke

By: InnovatioNews Thursday November 21, 2013 0 comments Tags: CSU, Fort Collins, Gregory Amberg

Colorado State University logoFORT COLLINS - A Colorado State University scientist has received a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate molecular functions that trigger hypertension in obese people, CSU announced.

Gregory Amberg, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, said he hopes his research will help define underlying causes of cardiovascular disease and provide better preventative therapies.

"Hypertension is one of the major modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but it often goes undiagnosed until it is in the more advanced stages when the damage is already done," Amberg said.

Identifying molecular switches could help prevent hypertension and heart disease, which would help to avoid organ damage that often accompanies established disease and might help avoid side effects of some current hypertension medications, he said.

"My research is showing that there is a linked, reciprocal relationship between two fundamental cell signaling modalities - oxidation and calcium influx - and that increases in these signals may be very early events involved with the development of hypertension," Amberg said.

"I'm trying to understand how reactive oxygen species operate in healthy cells and identify the events that underlie the transition from normal oxidative signaling to overt oxidative stress in pathophysiological conditions associated with disease."

Amberg's five-year research project funded by NIH could shed light on how oxidant and calcium signals influence blood vessel functions that regulate blood flow and pressure - functions that could contribute to cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, stroke and coronary artery disease.

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