Three major areas of investigation focus on the following:
1. Angiogenesis in the lung depends upon systemic vascularization to regions that have no pulmonary perfusion. Using a murine model, we’ve demonstrated that left pulmonary artery obstruction leads to prompt neovascularization from adjacent intercostal vessels. Ongoing research is focused on determining the molecular mechanisms responsible for this neovascularization, effects of chemotherapeutic agents on angiogenesis, differences in systemic vs pulmonary endothelial cell potential for growth, and physiologic characterization of the new vasculature.
2. The bronchial vasculature is permissive in allowing airways inflammation and is a major factor controlling the extent of inflammatory cell influx to the airway wall. Specific studies are focused on determining: a) whether changes in bronchial blood flow, volume, and permeability during an antigen induced inflammatory condition will cause airway luminal narrowing; b) the effects of altered airway blood flow, increased permeability, and induction of endothelial adhesion molecule expression after cytokine and antigen challenge on leukocyte transit through the bronchial vasculature; c) rolling, adhesion and migration of leukocytes in tracheal post-capillary venules, and d) inflammatory factors that specifically alter bronchial endothelial permeability and leukocyte migration.
3. An additional research interest is to examine the role of the bronchial circulation in the uptake of soluble, hydrophilic particles delivered to the airway surface. The impact of changes in the bronchial vasculature on the airway clearance of soluble, inert and vasoreactive particles is under investigation.