Linking metabolic alterations to abnormal vascular function in the horse.
My lab is interested in the connections between equine metabolic function and vascular function, particularly the effects of altered metabolic states on smooth muscle signaling pathways in equine laminar vessels. Obesity and inflammation-related insulin resistance are increasingly recognized in the horse. Insulin resistance is a major component of the pathogenesis of metabolic disease in horses, and it is increasingly recognized as a major component of the pathogenesis of sepsis. A growing body of evidence is linking systemic inflammation related to obesity with key molecules referred to as adipokines secreted from adipose tissue. Of these molecules, the adipokine adiponectin is of particular interest because it is a specific marker of metabolic disease in humans and directly controls insulin signaling. Adiponectin increases insulin sensitivity and there is an emerging role of adiponectin as an anti-inflammatory signaling protein and as a modulator of endothelial function and blood flow. I am collaborating with Dr. Robert Judd from the Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology to study adiponectin in the horse and to investigate links between adipokine signaling and altered vascular function that is part of the pathophysiology of diseases such as laminitis.