Vascular Physiology Lab – Heidi Kluess, Ph.D.

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Leslie CanadaThe vascular system in your body is an amazing machine. It extends to every tissue of the body and adapts rapidly; sometimes in milliseconds! Your vascular physiology adapts to changes in the needs of the tissues that it supplies. It also adapts to changes in hormones and other chemical messengers in the blood. The Vascular Physiology Lab, directed by Heidi Kluess, Ph.D., focuses on the influence of the autonomic nervous system on vascular function. The lab has recently expanded their research to include the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, sex hormones, and chemical messengers released by the fat and muscle during exercise.

The factor that ties all of these messenger systems together is an enzyme called Dipeptidyl Peptidase IV. This enzyme is present in the blood, tissues, and organs. It acts to reduce the half-life of a variety of peptides that control insulin release, reproductive hormone release, bone growth, and inflammation.