MCW Cardiovascular Center Pulmonary Affinity Group

The Cardiovascular Center has initiated AFFINITY GROUPS to stimulate and foster greater interaction and collaborations between CVC investigators and other investigators from MCW departments and outside institutions, such as Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the University of Georgia.

The members of the Pulmonary Focus Group are Said Audi, PhD, Dara Frank, PhD, Elizabeth Jacobs, MD, Ganesh Konduri, MD, Meetha Medhora, PhD, Marilyn Merker, PhD, Kirkwood Pritchard, PhD, and Yang (Scarlet) Shi, PhD. This group will examine overwhelming infections, called sepsis, that frequently lead to lung failure (called Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or RDS). These conditions consistently lead as causes of admission to Intensive Care Units. Despite administration of antibiotics and the best therapy available, roughly 30% of patients with sepsis or RDS do not survive. Because low oxygen tensions in the blood (hypoxemia) is a hallmark of these disorders, patients with lung failure are necessarily treated with high fractions of inhaled oxygen.

Lung injury in patients with RDS is attributable in part to increased generation of unstable oxygen products (reactive oxygen species). Although high fractions of oxygen are required to sustain life in these conditions, treatment with Pulmonary x-rayhigh fractions of oxygen may increase lung injury above that expected by oxygen or sepsis alone. Infants and adults both develop lung injury in response to sepsis, but the probability is that processes leading to lung injury are different because 1) infants have immature immune systems; and 2) before birth, infants’ lungs are optimized to function with very low oxygen levels compared to adults’ lungs.

It is the overarching goal of this project to learn more about the interaction of high fractions of oxygen or unstable oxygen products and sepsis in infants and adults. The benefit of treatment with two products that may protect lungs through novel means based upon our preliminary data will be explored.

Experimental models ranging from cells in culture derived from the lining of lung arteries in fetal lambs, to whole lungs and heart isolated and perfused in the lab, to images of cells of lung slices exposed to high fractions of oxygen in incubators will be used. This approach is called “vertically integrated” because a problem is studied from the perspective of whole lungs down to the level of parts of cells.

All labs will use a substance called “lipopolysaccharide,” or LPS, to mimic sepsis. LPS is a product of many bacteria, and is responsible for triggering much of the tissue injury.

Cardiovascular Annual Report 2010

CVC Research Contact Information

Allison DeVan, PhD
Academic Program and Research Consultant
(414) 955-5617 |

Cardiovascular Center
Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509



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