Kumar Lab

Sex-specific Hypertension Mechanisms

Traditionally, it has been assumed that cardiovascular and metabolic function, and the basis of hypertension and diabetes are the same in males and females; just the magnitude of the response differs. The work of the lab is investigating the roles of adrenal and gonadal hormones, genes, and inflammatory factors in understanding sex effects in hypertension and diabetes. We have shown that the gonadal hormones play a key role in sex differences in the development of hypertension and that, in the endothelium, there are selective impairments in EDHF-mediated vasodilator pathways in males, and nitric oxide-mediated relaxation systems in females. We believe that an understanding of these hormonal and genetic pathways will provide knowledge for the development of sex-specific drug discovery and other treatments for these disorders.

Future studies are done with the following specific objectives:

  1. Evaluate the unique sex-specific vascular smooth muscle contractile signaling — protein kinase C, cyclic AMP and intracellular Ca2+ mechanisms.
  2. Dissect the sex-specific mechanisms of endothelial functions — EDHF-, NO- and prostacyclin-mediated vasodilator pathways and signaling mechanisms.
  3. Examine the mechanistic basis of why men and women are at different risks for  metabolic disorders.