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Studying changes in cell volume will help find new targets for drug development


Researchers from Siberian State Medical University (SibMed) are studying how cells can change their volume. The obtained findings will help find new targets for development of drugs to treat high blood pressure.

 “Cardiovascular diseases are polygenic; they are influenced by numerous factors. We are studying why and in what way the volume of vascular smooth muscle cells can change, since this is the factor that directly impacts systemic and pulmonary blood pressure,” says Viktoria Rydchenko, graduate student at the SibMed Department of Biophysics and Functional Diagnostics.

Cells in a human body are constantly influenced by numerous factors, which impacts their state and activity. Changes in the fluid and electrolyte balance and diseases may result in cells changing their volume. Smooth muscle cells can contract, which allows vessels to change their diameter, contract or relax.

Recently scientists have found out that vascular contraction can be influenced by gasotransmitters - small molecules of such chemical compounds as hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide and nitric oxide. Gasotransmitters perform signaling functions, causing physiological and biochemical changes in the body and contributing to regulation of different processes. These molecules are produced in the body.

 “It is important to understand how exactly gasotransmitters influence cell volume and its contracting activity. In particular, they can relax vessels, therefore, they can be used to develop drugs to treat high blood pressure,” said Viktoria Rydchenko. She also stressed that until recently such studies have been carried out on vessels of systemic circulation, while researchers from SibMed are studying the functional activity of pulmonary circulation vessels.

Tomsk project “Studying the mechanisms of volume-dependent regulation of smooth muscle contraction with gasotransmitters” was supported by the grant of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research.