Physiology Research

Norman K Hollenberg, MD, PhD
Principal Investigator

Ebrahim Barkoudah, MD, MPH
Co-Principal Investigator

Overview

Our lab specializes in research related to the renin-angiotensin-system (RAS) and hemodynamic response in various populations. Using a unique auto analyzer assay method allows us to measure kidney function through the analysis of renal plasma flow (RPF) and glomerular filtration rate (GFR). These assay methods have been paramount in the study of the human kidney. Other methods of kidney study have focused on kidney hormones and measurements of plasma renin, renin activity (PRA) prorenin, aldosterone and angiotensin II (Ang II).

The Renin System: Renal and Vascular Pharmacology

Our first major line of investigation involves the role of the renin angiotensin system in hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Specific foci include:

  • Pharmacological interruption of the renin angiotensin system

  • Renal and hormonal response to investigational pharmacological intervention

  • Intrarenal angiotensin II generation in control of the renal circulation

  • Genetic mechanisms in diabetic nephropathy

  • Measurement of renal plasma flow (RPF) and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) to assess kidney function and interventional outcomes

Measurement of Renal Plasma Flow (RPF)
Our lab uses an Auto Analyzer assay technique to measure the clearance of para-aminohippuric acid (PAH) to assess renal plasma flow.

Measurement of Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
Our lab uses an Auto Analyzer assay technique to measure the clearance of Inutest to assess glomerular filtration rate. 
Flavanoids, Cocoa, and Nitric Oxide Synthesis

Our second line of investigation involves the role of nitric oxide synthesis in the control of several regional circulations in the human and the influence of flavanoids on the state of these circulations, specifically in response to nitric oxide synthesis activation. The richest supply of plant flavanoids identified to date has come from flavanol-rich cocoa -- minimally processed. In a parallel investigation performed in Panama, we have identified a strikingly lower frequency of ischemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and cancer in inhabitants who ingest a very high flavanoid intake, largely cocoa. Specific foci include:

  • Control of the circulation of the brain, the kidney, and the extremity 
  • Renal and hormonal response following consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa

Contact

Norman K Hollenberg, MD, PhD
Director, Physiologic Research Division
Department of Radiology
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: (617) 732-6682

Ebrahim Barkoudah, MD, MPH
Associate Physician
General Medicine Division
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Instructor in Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: (617) 278-0055
http://scholar.harvard.edu/barkoudah/home

Location

Our lab is located at 15 Francis Street in the Peter Bent Building at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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