Biomedical Research Infrastructure Center

Azeez Aileru, Ph.D.

Azeez Aileru PhD photoHypertension is a pervasive disease that disproportionately affects African Americans. Evidence suggests that a genetic predisposition to hypertension may underlie this health disparity. Many studies suggest that hypertensive humans and animal models of hypertension exhibit increased sympathetic nervous system activity (SNA). However, little is known of the events that underlie elevated SNA and its significance in the genesis and maintenance of hypertension. Primary research focus in my laboratory employs a multi-disciplinary approach to neural control of cardiovascular system during hypertension. The focus is to understand the mechanisms by which high blood pressure produces profound changes in the physiology of autonomic synaptic transmission. The approach is to monitor the activity-dependent changes in neuroplasticity of sympathetic ganglia from acquired and/or inherited models of hypertension and to monitor the excitability/responsiveness of postganglionic neurons. Current projects are designed to provide information about the relationships between apparent enhancements of sympathetic nerve activity, an activated brain and/or peripheral renin-angiotensin system and regulation of ganglionic transmission. We are interested in identifying specific synaptic elements and the role of tachykinins in the autonomic synaptic transmission as well as how these peptides alter plasticity of sympathetic ganglia and manifest in hypertension. The study uses a variety of electrophysiological techniques in concert with acquired and genetic model of hypertension to learn how genesis and maintenance of high blood pressure alter the function of peripheral neural elements in autonomic ganglia. Other projects primarily focus on the effects of hypertension on the efficiency of nicotinic synaptic transmission in ganglia isolated from inherited and acquired forms of hypertension, namely, ouabain and mRen2 transgenic models. The research involves in-vitro electrophysiological recording from ganglion cells along with CNS drug administration and pharmacological tools to manipulate neuroplasticity. Some of the work, in collaboration with my colleagues at Wake Forest University Health Sciences utilizes radio immunoassay to quantify neuromodulators such as substance P, Indolamines, and angiotension receptors that may be responsible for alteration in sympathetic synaptic transmission during sustained high blood pressure.

Selected peer-reviewed publications.

Pulgar VM, Jeffers AB, Rashad HM, Diz DI, Aileru, AA. Increased Constrictor Tone Induced by Ouabain Treatment in Rats. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2013 Aug;62(2):174-83.

Logan,EM, Aileru, AA, Shaltout, HA, Averill  DB and Diz  DI.  The Functional Role of PI3K in Maintenance of Blood Pressure and Baroreflex Suppression in (mRen2)27 and mRen2.Lewis Rat.  J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2011;58(4):367-73

Aileru, AA; Logan, EM; Callahan, MF; Ferrario, CM; Ganten, D; and Diz, DI. Alterations in Sympathetic Ganglionic Transmission in Response to Angiotensin II in (mRen-2)27 Transgenic Rats. Hypertension. 2004; 43:270-75

Aileru, A.A; Albuquerque, M; Hamlyn, JM; A; Manunta, P; Shah, M. Hamilton, and Weinreich, D. Synaptic Plasticity in Sympathetic Ganglia From Acquired and Inherited Forms of Ouabain-dependent Hypertension. Am. J. Physol. Regulatory Integrative Comp Physiol. 281: R635-R644, 2001.

Carpentier, A.G., Aileru, A.A., and Carpentier, R.G. Arrhythmogenic and Antiarrhythmic Actions of Substances of Abuse: Effects on Triggered Activity. J. Electrocardiology 30(2):137-142, 1997.

Aileru, A.A. and Carpentier, R. G. Mechanisms of the in vitro effects of Amphetamine on Rat Sinus Node Automaticity and Membrane Potentials of Atrial Fibers. J. Electrocardiology 29:123-130, 1996.

Watkinson, W. P., Wiester, M. J., Highfill, J. W., Aileru, A. A., Campen, M. J., Tepper, J. S., and Costa, D. L. Thermoregulatory Considerations Affecting Both Acute and Prolonged Exposures to Ozone in Rodents. In: Thermal Balance in Health and Disease. (E. Zeisberger, E. Schonbaum, and P. Lomax, eds.), pp. 509-514, Birkhauser-Verlag, Berlin, 1994.

Watkinson, W. P., Aileru, A. A., and Tepper, J. S. Acute Effects of Ozone on Heart Rate and Body Temperature in the Unanesthetized, Unrestrained Rat Maintained at Different Ambient Temperatures. Inhalation Toxicol. 5:129-147, 1993.

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