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K-State Today

September 30, 2015

Students publish in prestigious physiology journal

Submitted by Jane P. Marshall

Students Angela Glean, kinesiology, and Scott Ferguson, anatomy and physiology, are lead authors on a paper published this month in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, a high-profile physiology journal with substantial impact on the field.

Other students collaborating with the work in the lab of David Poole and Tim Musch, professors in the kinesiology department, were Trenton Colburn, kinesiology; Alex Fees, nutrition and health; Clark Holdsworth, anatomy and physiology; and Jennifer Wright, veterinary medicine.

The paper is "Effects of nitrite infusion on skeletal muscle vascular control during exercise in rate with chronic heart failure."

The central mission of therapy for heart failure patients is improvement of muscle oxygen delivery, which translates directly to improved quality of life and longevity. Impaired oxygen delivery is the consequence of reduced nitric oxide bioavailability: a primary vasodilator that acts to open muscle blood vessels during exercise.

This paper demonstrates that supplying the nitric oxide precursor nitrate directly into the blood stream improves skeletal muscle vascular function during exercise in rats with chronic heart failure.

Because the exercising muscles of heart failure patients are extremely hypoxic, or low oxygen, the conversion of nitrate to its biologically active form as nitric oxide is enhanced. This effect targets where patients need increased oxygen delivery the most.