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Prof. Dr. R. Meyer

Main focus of all ongoing projects is the physiology of the cardiovascular system

Three different fields are currently under investigation:

  • Cardiac excitation-contraction coupling
    We investigate how different action potential shapes and thus different time courses of ionic currents influence calcium homoeostasis and shortening. These experiments are performed on isolated cardiac myocytes of rodents by means of action potential clamp, intracellular calcium recordings by fura-2 and sarcomere shortening measurements. mRNA as well as protein expression are followed by rtPCR and western blotting.
  • Influence of gender and sex hormones on the cardiovascular system
    Gender influences heart weight, heart rate, and the ECG pattern, as well as the incidence and outcome of cardiovascular diseases. Sex hormones like estradiol and dihydrotestosteron bind to their intracellular receptors, which function as transcription factors. Thereby expression of various proteins is controlled, which may be responsible for gender differences in the cardiovascular system. The actions of sex hormones are investigated by means of estrogen receptor deficient mice. In vivo experiments are performed on mice by testing the influence of hormones and their receptors on cardiac hypertrophy induced by transverse aortic constriction. Blood pressure, ECG and cardiac contractility are recorded. Also isolated cardiac myocytes are investigated using the above mentioned methods.
  • The role of Toll-like receptors in the cardiovascular system
    Toll-like receptors play an important role in the innate immune system, but they are also expressed in cardiac myocytes. In cardiac depression during sepsis as well as during ischemia-reperfusion injury these receptors may be involved. To elucidate signal transduction of Toll-like receptor 2, 4 and 9 in the cardiovascular system the corresponding knock out mice are investigated in vivo. Ischemia-reperfusion injury is investigated in a closed chest model. Isolated organs as well as isolated cardiac cells are monitored in vitro. The applied methods are the same as mentioned above.