Medical College of Wisconsin Human Vascular Translation Research Center (HVTRC)

The development of vascular endothelial dysfunction and adverse vascular remodeling have been demonstrated to be proximal steps in the ultimate development of clinical manifestations of atherosclerotic diseases, including acute coronary syndromes, strokes, and peripheral arterial disease. Detection of vascular endothelial dysfunction and adverse vascular remodeling by imaging technology available through Human Vascular Translational Research Center (HVTRC) at the Medical College of Wisconsin has been demonstrated to predict adverse cardiovascular risk. The HVTRC is a core laboratory of MCW’s Clinical Translational Research Institute (CTSI) and is available as a resource to all those with a faculty appointment at MCW or the CTSI. Modalities available for assessment of vascular health and common measurements available through the HVTRC include:

High Frequency and Resolution Vascular Ultrasound
Brachial Artery Reactivity Testing
Carotid Intima-Medial Thickness

Digitally Automated Venous Plethysmography
Limb (forearm, lower extremity) Blood Flow

Fingertip Tonometry
Measurements of pulse wave amplitude during reactive hyperemia

Digitally Automated Peripheral
Tonometry for Measurements of Vascular Stiffness
Pulse Wave Velocity
Augmentation Index

Primary Mission

  • To investigate the mechanisms behind the development of vascular endothelial dysfunction and adverse vascular remodeling in humans with and without atherosclerotic disease. This includes small clinical trials evaluating the effect non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions on these measurements.
  • To encourage and foster collaborative research projects between Departments at the Medical College of Wisconsin that focus on vascular function.

Current research projects reflect these two missions. Current projects include investigations into the role of mitochondrial function in the development of vascular endothelial dysfunction and the protective effects of exercise on endothelial dysfunction. Collaborative relationships between the HVTRC and the Departments of Surgery, Medicine, and Pediatrics have lead to novel projects involving the assessments of endothelial function in children with diabetes, postmenopausal women and hypertensive adults. Other populations of interest include those with coronary artery disease and peripheral arterial disease. A list of currently active protocols and a sample of recent publications is included below.

Full time technicians trained in these modalities acquire and analyze all of the data, and also offer aid in the analysis and interpretation of data acquired. The HVTRC operates in conjunction with the Adult Translational Research Unit.

Current Active Protocols

  1. The Importance of Mitochondrial Dysfunction to the Development of Endothelial Dysfunction in Humans with Type II Diabetes. PI: Michael Widlansky, MD, MPH (Cardiology)
  2. The Protective Effect of Exercise Against Vascular Endothelial Dysfunction During Oral Glucose and High Fat Load. PI: David Gutterman, MD (Cardiology)
  3. Folic Acid Treatment in Female Ballet Dancers with Triad/Tetrad Characteristics. PI: Anne Hoch, DO (Orthopedic Surgery)
  4. The effect of metformin and glipizide on endothelial and mitochondrial function in Type II Diabetics. PI: Michael Widlansky, MD, MPH (Cardiology)
  5. A pilot study to explore associations between longitudinal visual and verbal memory and body fat distribution, vascular, genetic and inflammatory markers in postmenopausal women. PI: Diane Kerwin, MD (Geriatrics)
  6. Prevalence of Endothelial Dysfunction, Increased Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness, and Biomarkers of Vascular Inflammation in Pre-Adolescents with Type-1 Diabetes Mellitus. PI: Ramin Alemzadeh, MD (Pediatric Endocrinology)
  7. Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (cMRI) Assessment of Early Atherosclerosis in Pediatric Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, Type II Diabetes Mellitus, and Metabolic Syndrome. PI: Margaret Samyn, MD (Pediatric Cardiology)

Representative Reference List

  1. Zeni HA, Dempsey RL, Carrera GF, Wilson CR, Chen EH, Barnabei VM, Sandford PR, Ryan TA, Gutterman DD. Is there an association between athletic amenorrhea and endothelial cell dysfunction? Med Sci Sports Exerc 2003 March; 35(3): 377-83.
  2. Jurva JW, Phillips SA, Syed AQ, Syed AY, Pitt S, Weaver A, Gutterman DD. The effect of exertional hypertension evoked by weight lifting on vascular endothelial function. J Am Coll Cardiol 2006 August 1; 48(3): 588-9
  3. Phillips SA, Jurva JW, Syed AQ, Syed AQ, Kulinski JP, Pleuss J, Hoffmann RG, Gutterman DD. Benefit of low-fat over low-carbohydrate diet on endothelial health in obesity. Hypertension 2008 February; 51(2): 376-82.

Contact Us

We encourage those interested in human vascular research in novel populations to contact Michael Widlansky, MD, MPH, HVTRC Director, at