Mr Daniel Chaston, Blood Vessel Group, Eccles Institute of Neuroscience, JCSMR, ANU.
Cardiovascular functions such as the heart beat and arterial responses require the synchronous activity of millions of cells. For such logistical feats to occur, the stimuli that evoke these responses must reach every individual cell. This process is assisted by gap junctions which connect the cytoplasms of adjacent cells and allow information to be shared between them. In the arterial wall the protein connexin40 is one of three primary gap junction subunits that allow the spread of electrical and chemical signals between adjacent cells. Whilst its impairment has been implicated in cardiovascular disease its function in the artery wall is not fully understood. Our research addresses this issue using transgenic mice where arterial connexin40 is specifically impaired. We have investigated the arterial function and cardiovascular physiology of these mice to gain new insight into how information is handled within the arterial wall and how impairment of arterial gap junctions may contribute to cardiovascular disease.