We are studying small arteries on all levels of biological integration: molecular pathways (mechanosensitive gene expression, miRNAs); cell-matrix interaction and the role of pluripotent cells in the wall; regulation of vascular tone and remodelling; development of novel technology on these vessels.
Specific experimental approaches use GFP-actin constructs and atomic force microscopy to detect actin dynamics, microarray and proteomics technology, progenitor cell isolation and culture. In addition, we run a number of techniques that are very specific for the study of small arteries. In the so-called ‘wire myograph’, these vessels are mounted as ring preparations, and tension generation by the smooth muscle cells is determined at a fixed distension. In pressure myographs, vessels are isolated and mounted on glass cannulas for pressurization and perfusion (the logo of our consortium!). In addition we are able to maintain such pressurized segments under organoid culture, monitoring vascular remodeling in vitro. In vivo models include imaging of the microcirculation. This work is applied to a wide range of genetic and experimental models, e.g. hypertensive animals.