Biomedical Research Infrastructure Center

Errol Thompson, Ph.D

Errol Thompson PhD photo

Physiologists Dr. Azeez Aileru and Dr. Errol Thompson have developed an intra-departmental collaboration during their tenures at WSSU. They and their research partners are studying the effect of blood pressure on the efficiency of autonomic synaptic transmission and how neuroplastic behavior can be modulated for preventive and therapeutic purposes. The general approach is to:

  1. monitor the activity-dependent and activity-independent changes in neuroplasticity of the sympathetic ganglia isolated from hypertensive rat
  2. monitor the excitability of postganglionic neuron of acutely isolated ganglion cells and their responsiveness during sustained high blood pressure

Preliminary results show that there are dramatic changes in the electrophysiological behavior of sympathetic ganglion neurons ranging from alterations in the pattern of action potential activity recorded in postganglionic neurons to an enhanced efficacy of synaptic transmission in animal models of hypertension. The central hypotheses are:

  1. hypertension induces modulation of synaptic efficacy in sympathetic ganglia
  2. Angiotensin II (AngII) contributes to the alterations in ganglionic function, either by long term actions at the ganglion or by increased activation of sympathetic nervous system outflow from the central nervous system

Knowing more about the alteration of synaptic plasticity in hypertension will lead to new strategies that can be used to prevent or treat hypertension, thus reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with high blood pressure. The proposed work is innovative because it capitalizes on the autonomic control of hypertension. The researchers expect a better understanding of how autonomic ganglia function to regulate blood pressure or vice versa. This developmental project uses electrophysiological techniques, receptor autoradiography techniques and neurotransmitter pharmacology in concert with genetic strains of hypertensive animals to learn how genesis and maintenance of high blood pressure alter the function of peripheral neural elements in autonomic ganglia. Newly discovered outcomes will suggest novel targets for preventive and therapeutic interventions. Data obtained in the latter part of the project will put the researchers in an excellent position to generate new proposals to continue their work.

Selected Publications

Canada, R.G., Saway, W., Thompson, E.G. "Interaction of adriamycin with a calcium binding site." Biochemical and Biophysical Research communications, vol. 151, No. 2, pp. 679-685 (1988).

Russell, H.F., Harris, B.J., Hood, D.B., Thompson, E.G., Watkins, A.D. and Williams, R.D., "5-substituted indoles via sodium indole-2-sulfonate. A re-examination," Organic Preparations and Procedures Inc, Vol. 17, No. 6,pp. 391-399, (1985).

Meltzer, R.H., Thompson, E.G., Soman, K., Song, X., Wensel, T.G., Briggs, J.M., Pederson, S.E., Electrostatic steering at acetylcholine binding sites. Biophys J. 2006 Aug 15; 91(4):1143-4.

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