The main research goal of the Goulopoulou Lab is to delineate mechanisms of maternal cardiovascular complications during pregnancy and identify targets for therapeutic strategies that can be safely administered to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity during pregnancy and postpartum. Our research efforts concentrate on maternal vascular physiology of healthy and complicated pregnancies. Our laboratory is funded by the National Institute of Health and intramural grants.
Approach:To address our research questions a) we use a combination of in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo approaches and well-established techniques, b) we develop innovative protocols and utilize novel methods, and c) we recruit and work with multidisciplinary collaborators.
Project 1: Crosstalk between placental cells and maternal vascular cells
- Determine the role of mitochondrial DNA/Toll-like receptor 9 axis activation in the development of maternal vascular dysfunction during pregnancy.
- Determine mechanisms of DNA fragment release from the placenta to the maternal circulation.
- Determine the contribution of circulating mitochondrial DNA to the development of preeclampsia.
Project 2: Mechanisms of uterine artery blood flow adaptations
- Determine the vasoactive role of perivascular adipose tissue in uterine circulation
- Wire and pressure myography (vascular reactivity in isolated vessels)
- Blood pressure measurements:
- Continuous monitoring of blood pressure and heart rate in conscious animals (telemetry)
- Tail cuff blood pressure measurements
- Isolation and characterization of exosomes
- Absolute quantification of circulating mitochondrial DNA in human and rodent blood fractions
- Protein and gene expression measurements
- Other biochemical analyses