Coral Murrant

My main research focus centres around the issue of how contracting skeletal muscle can communicate with blood vessels in order to ensure adequate blood flow to the working skeletal muscle cells. There is a direct relationship between skeletal muscle metabolic rate and blood flow. This type of relationship requires that active skeletal muscle cells communicate their need for blood flow to the cells of the vasculature, endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells, and that these cells alter their function in order to ensure the proper blood flow delivery. I am interested in this intercellular communication. The current thinking is that skeletal muscle cells release vasodilatory products which are end products of metabolism, and these products diffuse to effect the vasculature. Currently we are testing this hypothesis by contracting the skeletal muscle in various ways as to change its metabolism and determining how the different metabolic rates alter the microvasculature. We are also testing for what these specific diffusable products are and how they alter endothelial cell or vasculature smooth muscle cell function.

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