The autonomic nervous system is the crucial link between the brain and the cardiovascular system. It is the final common pathway by which central disturbances - whether initiated by exogenous psychological or physical stress, or endogenous biochemical or structural perturbation - are translated into alterations in cardiac, endocrine, and vascular function. There is compelling evidence that disordered autonomic engagement of the heart and vasculature contributes importantly to many forms of cardiovascular disease: arrhythmias, hypertension, syncope, stroke, myocardial infarction, and sudden death. The goal of this Program Project is to achieve better understanding of how the brain exerts control over the autonomic nervous system. The integrating of the grant is autonomic cardiovascular regulation and the means by which the autonomic nervous system controls effector tissues. The rationale of the Program Project is the tightly coordinated testing of hypotheses addressing autonomic modulation of cardiovascular function in health and disease. Component projects address central and peripheral autonomic mechanisms, employing both integrated and reductionist approaches. The roles of specific body constituents (insulin, hormones, adrenoreceptors), endogenous mediators (nitric oxide, water), and afferent (osmopressor response), efferent (obesity hypertension), and endocrine (hypoglycemia, exercise, and hyperglycemia) mechanisms are examined. The programmatic approach facilitates the bidirectional transfer of information between the laboratory and the clinic because it brings together investigators with a wide range of skills who have a track record of discovering new fundamental knowledge and applying it to the creation of practical improvements in human health. This Program Project should lead directly to improved therapy in cardiovascular disease.

Public Health Relevance

The brain and nervous system control blood pressure and how the body handles sugar (glucose). The research we propose includes a team of scientists working together to find better ways to control autonomic regulation of glucose and blood pressure. With better ways to control blood pressure and blood sugar, we can improve we will be able to improve the health of many people with these diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Study Section
Heart, Lung, and Blood Initial Review Group (HLBP)
Program Officer
Maric-Bilkan, Christine
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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