Meyerhoff Graduate Fellows Program

Student Profiles

Brandiese Jacobs
Molecular Medicine

Area of Doctoral Study: Molecular Medicine, UMB
Undergraduate Institute: University of Pittsburg

Research Advisor: John M. Hamlyn, Ph.D.

Description of Research

Ouabain-like inhibitors are elevated in approximately 50% of patients with essential hypertension and patients with pregnancy-induced hypertension.  These materials inhibit the alpha-2 isoform of the Na/K-ATPase in vascular myocytes and increase intracellular sodium levels.  The latter enhances calcium entry mediated by the Na/Ca Exchanger (NCX) and results in increased blood pressure.  Indeed, prolonged administration of ouabain induces hypertension in Sprague Dawley rats.  Paradoxically, normal pregnancy is also associated with an increase in ouabain-like inhibitors, yet blood pressure decreases.  My research is focused on the mechanism by which normal pregnant rats become resistant to ouabain-induced hypertension, and the role of NCX and pregnancy hormones in mediating this effect.
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