Michael E. Widlansky, MD, MPH

Associate Professor, Medicine/Cardiovascular Medicine

(414) 955-6716

Widlansky Lab Members

Michael E. Widlansky, MD, MPH


The vascular endothelium, once thought to be a thin layer of quiescent cells present only to allow smooth, laminar blood flow has been discovered to be a central regulator of vascular homeostasis. Both traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors have been shown to induce the endothelium to take on a phenotype characterized by inflammation, pro-thrombotic stimuli, and vasoconstriction.

This state of endothelial “dysfunction” has been shown to precede the development of atherosclerosis and portend cardiovascular events in both those with and without clinically evident cardiovascular disease. Endothelium-derived nitric oxide (EDNO) has been shown to be a central paracrine hormone in the maintenance of normal endothelial function, and a central characteristic of endothelial dysfunction is a reduction in bioavailable EDNO. Measuring EDNO bioavailability in larger conduit vessels and in the microvasculature in vivo can be accomplished by multiple modalities, including high-resolution vascular ultrasound and venous plethysmography.

We employ these methodologies to investigate the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the development of endothelial dysfunction in humans with a variety of disease states, including coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Current Investigations

  1. The role of disturbances in mitochondrial homeostasis in the development of endothelial dysfunction in humans with type 2 diabetes.
  2. The mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction related to the development of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.
  3. The role of aldosterone in mediating the endothelial dysfunction of African Americans with hypertension.


Our human vascular research laboratory has been formed to foster collaboration with investigators from other disciplines interested in the impact of vascular function on disease states relevant to their fields of interest. Current collaborative efforts include work with investigators from disciplines including Orthopedics, Geriatrics, Endocrinology, Pediatric Endocrinology, and Pediatric Cardiology. We have also established collaborative relationships with investigators at UW-Milwaukee on projects related to the effect of exercise on vascular endothelial function in older adults.

Selected Publications

  • Strande JL, Widlansky ME, Su J, Hsu A, Wang J, Routhu KV, Baker JE. Parstatin: a cryptic peptide involved in cardioprotection after ischemia and reperfusion injury. Cardiovasc Res 2009, 83(2):325-34.
  • Hamburg, NM, Larson MG, Vita JA, Vasan RS, Keyes MJ, Widlansky ME, Fox CS, Mitchell GF, Levy D, Meigs JB, Benjamin EJ. Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance and Brachial Artery Vasodilator Function in Framingham Offspring Participants without Clinical Evidence of Cardiovascular Disease. Am J Cardiol 2008,101(1):82-88.
  • Hamburg NM, McMackin CJ, Huang AL, Shenouda SM, Widlansky ME, Schulz E, Gokce N, Ruderman NB, Keaney JF Jr, Vita JA. Physical Inactivity Rapidly Induces Insulin Resistance and Microvascular Dysfunction in Healthy Volunteers. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2007, 27(12): 2650-2656.
  • Widlansky ME, Vita JA, Keyes MJ, Larson MG, Hamburg NM, Levy D, Mitchell GF, Osypiuk EW, Vasan RS, Benjamin EJ. Relation of Season and Temperature to Endothelium-Dependent Flow-Mediated Vasodilation in Subjects Without Clinical Evidence of Cardiovascular Disease (From The Framingham Heart Study.) Am J Cardiol 2007, 100(3):518-23.
  • McMackin CJ, Widlansky ME, Hamburg NM, Huang AL, Weller S, Holbrook M, Gokce N, Hagen TM, Keaney JF, Jr., Vita JA. Effect of combined treatment with alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine on vascular function and blood pressure in coronary artery disease patients. J Clin Hypertens 2007, 9(4): 249-255.
  • Widlansky ME, Hamburg NM, Anter E, Holbrook M, Kahn DF, Elliott JG,Keaney JF, Jr, Vita JA. Acute EGCG supplementation reverses endothelial dysfunction in patients with coronary artery disease J Am Coll Nutr 2007, 26(2):95-102.

Publications as listed in PubMed

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