Vascular & Smooth Muscle Physiology

This themed meeting of the Physiological Society was held in the Surgeons’ Hall, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (6th-8th Dec 2011).  The three day event covered a range of topics within an obvious focus on Ca++ signalling and KV channels.


Nanospaces was a new topic for me and so the introductory lecture by Casey van Breemen was a welcome start.  These nanospaces create microdomains in which the smallest of changes in ionic balance can result in profound changes in local concentration.  These nanospaces were beautifully modelled by Nicola Farneli who also suggested that a 1 ion change in a nanospace can cause a 2uM change in concentration!


Michael Sanderson showed some amazing images of Ca++ waves in bronchial smooth muscle.  The technique of imaging whole tissue slices of lung was fascinating.  MS also showed some nice experiments which distinguished Ca++ level from Ca++ sensitivity.  Sticking with the lung; Mark Evans talked on Ca++ signalling in pulmonary vascular smooth muscle.  


Moving away from Ca++; Fiona Lynch delivered an excellent presentation on the importance of perivascular fat, and in particular adiponectin, on the regulation of vascular tone.


Overall, this was an excellent meeting covering many aspects of the cardiovascular system.  The pubs in Edinburgh provided a welcome respite from the high brow science.

Author: Craig