Science Signaling Podcast: 6 January 2015

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Sci. Signal.  06 Jan 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 358, pp. pc1
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa4797

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This Podcast features an interview with Scott Earley, author of a Research Article that appears in the 6 January 2015 issue of Science Signaling, about how reactive oxygen species (ROS) trigger dilation of cerebral arteries. ROS can damage cellular proteins and nucleic acids, but they can also act as signaling molecules. In the cerebral circulatory system, ROS trigger vasodilation, an increase in the diameter of blood vessels, which increases blood flow. In peripheral arteries, ROS trigger vasoconstriction, the narrowing of blood vessels, which reduces blood flow. Exactly how ROS elicits opposite effects in different types of blood vessels is not clear. Sullivan et al. found that localized sources of extracellular ROS in cerebral arteries oxidized plasma membrane lipids, which in turn promoted calcium influx through the ion channel TRPA1 in endothelial cells. This influx of calcium triggered opening of potassium channels, resulting in hyperpolarization of both endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cell membranes, thereby causing vasodilation.

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