CpG DNA and Maternal Vascular Function

Preeclampsia affects nearly 10 million pregnancies worldwide every year, and is still a major cause of maternal death globally, particularly in developing countries. So why isn’t more known about the initiation of gestational hypertension? In their recent work published in AJP-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, Goulopoulou et al seek to change that. Listen as Associate Editor Nancy Kanagy interviews Stella Goulopoulou (University of North Texas Health Science Center) and leading expert Lawrence Reynolds (North Dakota State University) about the work by Goulopoulou and co-authors, which used an innovative mitochondrial DNA analog, ODN 2395, to induce activation of toll-like receptor 9 and stimulate maternal pregnancy hypertension in rats. Does placenta cell death released into the maternal circulation trigger the innate immune system to induce a systemic inflammatory response resulting in pregnancy-induced hypertension? Could CpG oligonucleotides from bacterial infections play a role in preeclampsia? Listen and find out.


Styliani Goulopoulou, Camilla F. Wenceslau, Cameron G. McCarthy, Takayuki Matsumoto, R. Clinton Webb Exposure to stimulatory CpG oligonucleotides during gestation induces maternal hypertension and excess vasoconstriction in pregnant rats Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published April 15, 2016. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00834.2015.

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Cardiac Adaptations During a Mountain Ultra-Marathon

Can a mountain ultra-marathon—arguably the most grueling and strenuous form of extreme exercise—be good for your heart? That’s just what we discuss in this latest podcast. Listen as Editor-in-Chief Dr. Irv Zucker interviews lead author Stéphane Nottin (Montpellier I University & Nimes University Hospital Center) and leading expert Michael Joyner (Mayo Clinic) about the work Nottin and colleagues undertook measuring the effects of this type of extreme exercise on the cardiac function of runners before, during, and after the world's most challenging mountain ultra-marathon Tor des Géants in the Italian Alps. While traipsing echocardiographic equipment around the Alps is no small feat, the results of Nottin and co-authors were even more interesting. As opposed to races of shorter duration or less extreme conditions (a typical marathon course, for example), post-race cardiac function improved in the ultra-marathoners. What role does exercise intensity play in these measurements of improved cardiac function? Why does end-diastolic volume increase at the end of the race, and does an increase in plasma volume explain the increase in gastric function in racers? Listen to find out.


Claire Maufrais, Grégoire P. Millet, Iris Schuster, Thomas Rupp, Stéphane Nottin Progressive and biphasic cardiac responses during extreme mountain ultra-marathon Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published February 26, 2016. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00037.2016.

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