Vascular and cellular networks

Spontaneous onset of intercellular synchronization in smooth muscle cells of the arteriolar wall underlies the transient phenomenon known a vasomotion. Since synchronization is a hallmark of smooth muscle tissue in many organs, the vascular wall may serve as a model tissue in this respect and thus we have been interested in modeling the synchronization process in detail.

Hypertension, in both mild and severe forms, is a major cause of cardiovascular disease including heart disease and stroke. The microcirculatory bed in hypertension is characterized by specific morphological changes. In essential hypertension these changes include vascular remodeling. The latter may however, represent a somewhat pathological result of a normo-physiological adaptation potential ubiquitously present in our microcirculation. This ability of the microcirculation to adapt is necessary in order for the microcirculation to continuously meet the changing demands of the tissue; hence we are interested in how vascular networks are able to actively change their structure in both normo- and hypertension.

In more severe forms of acute hypertension vessels may display a pattern of alternating constricted and dilated areas known as sausage-string formation. The emergence of this pattern has been an enigma for many years - however modeling suggests that it may be due to instability of the vascular wall present during high levels of smooth muscle activation.

Get to know more about the research area by contacting Jens Christian Brings Jacobsen, Assistant professor.