Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, congenital heart disease occurs in 0.4-1.2% of all live births, and is a suspected leading cause of miscarriages. Consequently, gaining an understanding of the molecular signaling events that regulate cardiovascular development is of critical importance.Catecholamine hormones, such as epinephrine and/or norepinephrine, are produced locally within the developing heart to stimulate cardiac beating activity.
In adult mammals, the heart is exposed to epinephrine following its secretion into the bloodstream from the adrenal gland, and norepinephrine following sympathetic nerve activation. Both catecholamines strongly stimulate the rate and force of cardiac contractions, thereby increasing cardiac output during stressful events. Our work has shown that the embryonic heart itself is capable of producing these hormones/neurotransmitters beginning at about the time that the heart first starts to beat. This intrinsic cardiac production of catecholamines precedes any innervation of the heart and occurs several days before the adrenal gland is even formed. Thus, local production of catecholamines by the embryonic heart may provide a stimulus for the development of cardiac function.We use a variety of molecular and cellular biology techniques together with in vivo imaging, electrophysiological, and genetic engineering approaches to study the role of catecholamine hormones and the cells that produce them in the developing heart from early embryological stages into adulthood.
Recent Publications
  1. Baker CN, Katsandris R, Van C, and Ebert SN (2014) Adrenaline and Stress-Induced Cardiomyopathies: Three Competing Hypotheses for Mechanism(s) of Action. Chapter 4 (pp. 81-116) in book entitled, “Adrenaline: Production, Role in Disease and Stress, Effects on the Mind and Body”. Alfred Bennun, Editor. Nova Scientific Publishers, Inc.
  2. Varudkar N, Emrani H, Ebert SN, and Madan A (2014) Endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease: Critical target for cell-based therapies. British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research 4:3042-3058.
  3. Baker CN and Ebert SN (2013) Development of aerobic metabolism in utero: requirement for mitochondrial function during embryonic and foetal periods. OA Biotechnology 2:16.
  4. Owji A, Varudkar N, and Ebert SN (2013) Therapeutic potential of Pnmt+ primer cells for neuro/cardio regeneration. American Journal of Stem Cells 2:137-54.
  5. Xia J, Varudkar N, Baker C, Abukenda I, Martinez C, Natarajan A, Grinberg A, Pfeifer K, and Ebert SN (2013) Targeting of the Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein Reporter to Adrenergic Cells in Mice. Molecular Biotechnology 54:350-60.
  6. Osuala K, Baker C, Nguyen HL, Martinez C, Weinshenker D, and Ebert SN (2012) Physiological and genomic consequences of adrenergic deficiency during embryonic/fetal development in mice: impact on retinoic acid metabolism. Physiological Genomics 44:934-947.
  7. Baker CN, Taylor DG, Osuala K, Natarajan A, Molnar PJ, Hickman J, Alam S, Moscato B, Weinshenker D, and Ebert SN (2012) Adrenergic Deficiency Leads to Impaired Electrical Conduction and Increased Arrhythmic Potential in the Embryonic Mouse Heart.Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 423: 536-41.
  8. Ebert SN (2012) Tbx3: A new trick for an old myocyte? Cardiovascular Research 94:398-9.
  9. Sharara-Chami RI, Zhou Y, Ebert S, Pacak K, Ozcan U, and Mazjoub JA (2012) Epinephrine Deficiency Results In Intact Glucose Counter-Regulation, Severe Hepatic Steatosis And Possible Defective Autophagy In Fasting Mice. The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology44:905-13.
  10. Osuala K, Telusma K, Khan SM, Wu S, Shah M, Baker C, Alam S, Abukenda I, Fuentes A, Seifein HB, Ebert SN (2011) Distinctive left-sided distribution of adrenergic-derived cells in the adult mouse heart.  PLoS One 2011;6(7):e22811.
  11. Xia J, Martinez A, Daniell H, and Ebert SN (2011) Evaluation of biolistic gene transfer methods in vivo using non-invasive bioluminescent imaging techniques. BMC Biotechnology 11:62.
  12. Sharara-Chami RI, Joachim M, Mulcahey M, Ebert S, Majzoub JA (2010) Effect of epinephrine deficiency on cold tolerance and on brown adipose tissue. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 328:34-9.
  13. Lymperopoulos A, Rengo G, Gao E, Ebert SN, Dorn GW 2nd, Koch WJ (2010) Reduction of sympathetic activity via adrenal-targeted GRK2 gene deletion attenuates heart failure progression and improves cardiac function after myocardial infarction. J Biol Chem. 285:16378-86.
  14. Kamilli RK, Taylor DG, Osuala K, Thompson K, Menick DR, and Ebert SN (2010) Generation of novel reporter stem cells and their application for molecular imaging of cardiac-differentiated stem cells in vivo. Stem Cells & Development 19:1437-1448.(COVER ILLUSTRATION)

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