Vascular Physiology

The group currently investigates the differential vascular haemodynamic profiles associated with ageing, exercise, hypertension, diabetes and chronic lung disease in collaboration with the Anglo Cardiff Collaborative Trial (Cardiff University and University of Cambridge). In addition, the group have particular interests in the complex interactions between macro and micro-vascular haemodynamics, which are thought to contribute to the development of target organ damage in the heart, eye, brain and kidney.

The recently-opened Health Assessment Suite in Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Department of Biomedical Sciences provides a state-of-the-art facility in which the group undertakes the majority of their vascular physiology research.

Collaborations and investigative studies are currently on-going and the group are always willing to collaborate further with interested partners.

Researchers

Dr Barry McDonnell (Principal Investigator)
Miss Laura Watkeys (Research and Lab Co-ordinator)
Dr Maria Kearney (Post-Doctoral/Research Associate)
Dr James Coulson (Visiting Clinical/Physician Cover)
Mr Stuart Ennis (PhD Student)
Mr Mansour Alghamdi (PhD Student, from Jan 2015)
Miss Niamh Chapman (Professional Training Year Student - Research)
Mr Michael Cummings (Professional Training Year Student - Research)
Professor John Cockcroft (Visiting Professor)

Measurement Techniques

Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity (SphygmoCor and Mobil-o-Graph)
Pulse Wave Analysis (SphygmoCor and Mobil-o-Graph)
24 hour Peripheral and Central Blood Pressure (Mobil-o-Graph)
Vascular Ultrasonography (Vivid Q, GE)
Transcranial Dopper Ultrasonography (DWL)
Renal Ultrasonography (Vivid Q, GE)
Retinal Ultrasonography (Vivid Q, GE)
Cardiac Function (Vivid Q, GE)
Biochemical Analysis

Current Internal Collaborators

Professor Rob Shave and Dr Eric Stohr, Exercise Physiology Group, Cardiff School of Sport, Cardiff Met
Professor Jorge Erusalimsky, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cardiff Met.
Dr Richard Webb, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cardiff Met.

Current External Collaborators

Professor John Cockcroft, Dr James Coulson and Margaret Munnery (Cardiff University), and
Professor Ian Wilkinson, Dr Carmel McEniery, Dr Yasmin and Dr Maki Petaja (University of Cambridge) as part of the Anglo Cardiff Collaborative Trial.
Professor Alberto Avolio and Dr Mark Butlin (Australian School of Advanced Medicine, MacQuarie University, Sydney, Australia).
Professor Damian Bailey (University of South Wales).
Dr Zaheer Yousef, University Hospital of Wales (Cardiff University).
Dr Sigfried Wassteurer (Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna, Austria).
Dr James Pearson (Colorado Springs University, Colorado, USA)

Research themes and ongoing projects

 

The “Anglo-Cardiff Collaboration Trial”

Our group work very closely and are consistently collaborating with Professor John Cockcroft from Cardiff University and Professor Ian Wilkinson’s research group from University of Cambridge as part of the Anglo Cardiff Collaborating Trial.
This trial has currently investigated over 12,000 individuals in an attempt to understand the pathophysiology associated with a number of age related and vascular stiffness related disease states (hypertension, diabetes, cardiac dysfunction and impaired lung function).
As part of this trial, the group have also collaborated with Professor Avolio and Dr Butlin at the Australian School of Advanced Medicine in MacQuarie University, Sydney, to investigate the specific interactions between macro and micro vascular haemodynamics in the retinal bed.

Publications
a) McDonnell BJ, Pearson J and Cockcroft JR. Reflections on Vascular Ageing and Microvascular Pulsatility. J Hypertens. 2014 Sep; 32 (9):1907-8.
b) Barry J McDonnell, Kaisa M Maki-Petaja, Margaret Munnery, Yasmin, Ian B Wilkinson, John R Cockcroft, Carmel M McEniery. Habitual exercise and blood pressure: age dependency and underlying mechanisms.  American Journal of Hypertension 03/2013; 26(3):334-41.
c) Miles KL, McDonnell BJ, Maki-Petaja KM, Yasmin, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB, McEniery CM. The impact of birth weight on blood pressure and arterial stiffness in later life: The ENIGMA Study. J Hypertens. 2011.Oct; 29.
d) Hickson SS, Miles KL, McDonnell BJ, Yasmin, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB, McEniery CM; ENIGMA Study Investigators. Use of the oral contraceptive pill is associated with increased large artery stiffness in young women: the ENIGMA study. J Hypertens. 2011;29(6):1155-9.
e) Charlotte E. Bolton, Carmel M. McEniery, Vimal Raj, Barry J. McDonnell, Adrian K. Dixon, Margaret Munnery, Ramsey Sabit, Nicholas Screaton, Michael Stone, Ian B. Wilkinson, Dennis J. Shale, John R. Cockcroft. Aortic calcification, arterial stiffness and bone mineral density in patients with COPD. Artery Research. March 2011 (Vol. 5, Issue 1, Pages 30-36)
f) McEniery CM, Yasmin, Maki-Petaja KM, McDonnell BJ, Munnery M, Hickson SS, Franklin SS, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB; Anglo-Cardiff Collaboration Trial Investigators. The impact of cardiovascular risk factors on aortic stiffness and wave reflections depends on age: the Anglo-Cardiff Collaborative Trial (ACCT III). Hypertension. 2010 Oct;56(4):591-7.
g) Charlotte J. Richardson, Kaisa M. Maki-Petaja, Barry J. McDonnell, Stacey S. Hickson, Ian B. Wilkinson, Carmel M. McEniery. Comparison of estimates of central systolic blood pressure and peripheral augmentation index obtained from the Omron HEM-9000AI and SphygmoCor systems. Artery Research. February 2009 (Vol. 3, Issue 1, Pages 24-31)
h) Hickson SS, Butlin M, Mir FA, Graggaber J, Cheriyan J, Khan F, Grace AA, Yasmin, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB, McEniery CM; Anglo-Cardiff Collaboration Trial Investigators. The accuracy of central SBP determined from the second systolic peak of the peripheral pressure waveform. J Hypertens. 2009 Sep;27(9):1784-8.
i) Namasivayam M, McDonnell BJ, McEniery CM, O'Rourke MF; Anglo-Cardiff Collaborative Trial Study Investigators. Does wave reflection dominate age-related change in aortic blood pressure across the human life span? Hypertension. 2009 Jun;53(6):979-85.
j) McEniery CM, McDonnell BJ, So A, Aitken S, Bolton CE, Munnery M, Hickson SS, Yasmin, Maki-Petaja KM, Cockcroft JR, Dixon AK, Wilkinson IB; Anglo-Cardiff Collaboration Trial Investigators. Aortic calcification is associated with aortic stiffness and isolated systolic hypertension in healthy individuals. Hypertension. 2009 Mar;53(3):524-31.
k) McEniery CM, Yasmin, McDonnell B, Munnery M, Wallace SM, Rowe CV, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB; Anglo Cardiff Collaborative Trial Investigators. Central pressure: Variability and impact on cardiovascular risk factors: The Anglo-Cardiff Collaborative Trial II. Hypertension, 2008 Jun;51(6):1476-82. Epub 2008 Apr 21.
l) Smith J, McDonnell B, Retallick CJ, McEniery C, Carey C, Davies J.S, Cockcroft JR and Paisey R. Is arterial stiffness in Alstrom syndrome linked to the development of cardiomyopathy. Eur J Clin Invest. 2007;37(2):99-105.
m) Yasmin, McEniery CM, O'Shaughnessy KM, Harnett P, Arshad A, Wallace S, Maki-Petaja K, McDonnell B, Ashby MJ, Brown J, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB. Variation in the human matrix metalloproteinase-9 gene is associated with arterial stiffness in healthy individuals. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2006 Aug;26(8):1799-805. Epub 2006 May 18.
n) McEniery CM, Wallace S, Mackenzie IS, McDonnell B, Yasmin, Newby DE, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB. Endothelial function is associated with pulse pressure, pulse wave velocity, and augmentation index in healthy humans. Hypertension. 2006 Oct;48(4):602-8.
o) McEniery CM, Yasmin, Wallace S, Maki-Petaja K, McDonnell B, Sharman JE, Retallick C, Franklin SS, Brown MJ, Lloyd RC, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB; ENIGMA Study Investigators. Increased stroke volume and aortic stiffness contribute to isolated systolic hypertension in young adults. Hypertension. 2005 Jul;46 (1):221-6.


Published Conference Presentations
a) McEniery CM, Mackenzie IS, Yasmin, Wallace S, McDonnell B, Wilkinson IB, Cockcroft JR. Endothelial dysfunction is associated with increased central pulse pressure and arterial stiffness. J Hum Hypertens 2004; 18: S5-S6.
b) Pusalkar P, Sharman JE, McDonnell B, McEniery CM, Davies JS, Wilkinson IB, Cockcroft JR. Pulse pressure amplification during exercise is significantly reduced in uncomplicated type 2 diabetes. Proceedings ARTERY 4. Meeting of the Association for Research into Arterial Structure and Physiology London 4-5th October 2004. PB 23
c) McEniery CM, Mackenzie IS, Yasmin, Wallace S, McDonnell B, Wilkinson IB, Cockcroft JR. Endothelial  Meeting of the Association  for Research into Arterial Structure and Physiology London 4-5th October 2004.
d) McEniery CM, Mackenzie IS, Yasmin Y, Wallace S, McDonnell B, Wilkinson IB, Cockcroft JR. Endothelial dysfunction is associated with increased central pulse pressure and arterial stiffness. J Hypertens 2005; 23 (Suppl 2): S140-S141.
e) Smith JC, Retallick C, McDonnell B, Carey C, Cockcroft JR, Paisey R. The assessment of arterial stiffness and wave reflections in alstrom syndrome. Proceedings ARTERY 5 Meeting Paris Sept 30th-Oct 1st 2005 P15.
f) McDonnell B, Maki-Petaja K, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB, McEniery CM. The influence of regular exercise on pulse pressure and arterial stiffness. Proceedings ARTERY 5 Meeting Paris Sept 30th-Oct 1st 2005 P27.
g) McDonnell B, Stainsby R, Maki-Petaja K, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB, McEniery CM. The influence of regular exercise on pulse pressure and arterial stiffness (submitted European Society of Hypertension Meeting Madrid June 2006)
h) Retallick CJ, Rowe D, Thomas N, Cockcroft JR, McDonnell B, Munnery M, Williams R, Davies B, Baker JS, Whitcombe D, Williams SRP and the ENIGMA study Investigators. Obesity prevalence estimates in children and adolescents in Wales UK: a comparison of standards based on BMI and waist girth. (submitted International Association for the Study of Obesity Conference Sydney 2006)
i) Sabit R, Bolton CE, McDonnell B, Wilkinson IB, McEniery CM, Cockcroft JR, Shale DJ. Increased arterial stiffness in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). (submitted European Society of Respiratory Disease 2006)
j) Retallick CJ, Rowe D, Thomas N, Cockcroft JR, McDonnell B, Munnery M, Williams R, Gravenor MB, Davies B, Baker JS, Whitcombe D, Williams SRP and the ENIGMA study Investigators. Prevalence estimates of the metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents in Wales UK. (submitted International Association for the Study of Obesity Conference Sydney 2006)
k) McDonnell B, Munnery M, Yasmin, McEniery CM, Wilkinson IB, Cockcroft JR. The effect of fasting blood glucose levels on arterial stiffness. (Submitted to European Society of Hypertension, Milan. 2007. Oral presentation)
l) McDonnell B, Pusalkar P, McEniery CM, Wilkinson IB, Cockcroft JR. The influence of ethnicity on Femoral-Dorsalis Pedis Pulse Wave Velocity. A study comparing South Asians and Caucasians. (Submitted to Artery 7, Prague. 2007)
m) McDonnell B, So A, Bolton C, Munnery M, Yasmin, Poole K, McEniery CM, Wilkinson IB, Cockcroft JR. Osteoporosis is associated with increased aortic pulse wave velocity. Artery Research, 2007; 1(2):68-68. Presented at Artery 7, Prague. 2007.
n) McEniery CM, Yasmin Y, Munnery M, Wallace, SML, McDonnell B, Maki-petaja K, Hickson S, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB.The influence of Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors on Age-Related Changes in Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity. Artery Research, 2007; 1(2):49-50.
o) Hickson S, Miles K, McDonnell BJ, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB, McEniery CM. The influence of peripheral vascular resistance on systolic blood pressure. Journal of Human Hypertension, 2008; 22(10):717-717. Presented at the British Hypertension Society meeting, Cambridge, 2008).
p) Howard J, Hickson S, Maki-Petaja, McDonnell B, Munnery M, Yasmin Y, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB, McEniery CM. The impact of ageing on haemodynamic mechanisms underlying increased pulse pressure. Journal of Hypertension, 2008; 26(1): S100-S100. (Presented at the European Society of Hypertension, Berlin, 2008).
q) McEniery CM, Yasmin Y, McDonnell BJ, Munnery M, Maki-Petaja K, Hickson S, Wilkinson IB, Cockcroft J. The influence of cardiovascular disease and risk factors on age-related changes in aortic stiffness and wave reflections. Journal of Hypertension, 2008; 26(1): S100-S109. (Presented at the European Society of Hypertension, Berlin, 2008).
r) McEniery CM, Atkin S, So A, Bolton C, McDonnell BJ, Munnery M, Maki-Petaja K, Wallace S, Hickson S, Dixon A, Cockcroft J, Wilkinson IB. Aortic calcification in arterial stiffness is associated with aortic stiffness and isolated systolic hypertension in healthy individuals. Journal of Hypertension, 2008; 26(1): S32-S329. (Presented at the European Society of Hypertension, Berlin, 2008).
s) Namasivayam M, McDonnell BJ, McEniery CM, O’Rourke MF. Wave reflection remains important to age-related aortic blood pressure elevation across the human lifespan. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2009; 53(10): A215-A215. (Presented at the 58th scientific session of the American College of Cardiology meeting, Orlando, 2009).
t) B. J. McDonnell, J. Coulson, M. Munnery, N. S. Gale, K. Mortlock, I. Munnery, I. B. Wilkinson, C. M. McEniery, J. R. Cockcroft.  The relationship between large artery stiffness, wave reflection and pulsatility in the micro-circulation: new insights into the management of both hypertension and diabetes.  Artery Research 01/2009; 3(4):155-155.
u) K. L. Miles, B. J. McDonnell, J. R. Cockcroft, I. B. Wilkinson, C. M. McEniery. Impact of borth weight on blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Artery Research 01/2009; 3(4):182-182.
v) L. A. Tomlinson, Y. Yasmin, K. Maki-Petaja, S. S. Hickson, B. J. McDonnell, C. M. McEniery, J. R. Cockcroft, I. B. Wilkinson. Arterial stiffness is related to renal function in the general population. Artery Research 01/2009; 3(4):151-151.
w) McDonnell BJ, Coulson J, Munnery M, Gale N, Mortlock K, Munnery I, McEniery CM, Wilkinson IB, Cockcroft JR. The relationship between large artery stiffness, wave reflection and pulsatility in the micro-circulation: New insights into the management of both hypertension and diabetes. Journal of Hypertension, 2010; 28(A): E166-E167. Presented at the European Society of Hypertension, Oslo, 2010. Winner of the ESH Best Abstract and Presentation.
x) McEniery CM, Miles K, McDonnell BJ, Yasmin Y, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB. Hypertension in normal-weight versus obese individuals is associated with different haemodynamic mechanisms. Journal of Hypertension, 2010; 28(A): E143-E143. (Presented at the European Society of Hypertension, Oslo, 2010).
y) McEniery CM, McDonnell BJ, Miles K, Yasmin Y, Cockcroft JR, Wilkinson IB. Normal Blood Pressure in obesity is associated with reduced peripheral vascular resistance. Journal of Hypertension, 2010; 28(A): E422-E422. (Presented at the European Society of Hypertension, Oslo, 2010).
z) McDonnell BJ, Coulson J, Zagura M, Munnery M, Stohr EJ, Shave R, McEniery CM, Wilkinson IB, Cockcroft JR. Mechanistic insights into the relationship between wave reflection and retinal artery flow pulsatility. Journal of Human Hypertension, 2011; 25(10):625-626. (Presented at the British Hypertension Society meeting, Cambridge, 2011).
aa) Barry J. McDonnell, Lee Butcher, John R. Cockcroft, Carmel M. McEniery, Ian B. Wilkinson, Jorge D. Erusalimsky, Yasmin. The age dependent association between aortic pulse wave velocity and telomere length. Journal of the American Society of Hypertension. 01/2014; 8(4):e1.

Investigation of the relationship between ventricular function and large artery haemodynamics through ageing, hypertension and exercise

Together with colleagues in the Cardiff School of Sport, our research focus is currently investigating the interactions between the cardiac system (LV function) and vascular haemodynamics (aPWV, CPP and AIx). These interactions are currently being investigated in different ages, in individuals with hypertension and in individuals with varying degrees of cardio respiratory fitness. Understanding these complex interactions may prove to be clinically very important in the pathophysiology and understanding of cardiovascular risk.

Publications
a) Stöhr EJ, McDonnell B, Thompson J, Stone K, Bull T, Houston R, Cockcroft J, Shave R. Left ventricular mechanics in humans with high aerobic fitness: adaptation independent of structural remodelling, arterial haemodynamics and heart rate. J Physiol. 2012 May 1;590(Pt 9):2107-19.

Conference Presentations
a) Stöhr EJ, McDonnell B, Thompson J, Stone K, Bull T, Houston R, Cockcroft J, Shave R. Left ventricular mechanics in humans with high aerobic fitness: adaptation independent of structural remodelling, arterial haemodynamics and heart rate. Artery Conference, Paris 2011. Winner of Best Abstract Award.

Cellular ageing and arterial stiffness

Our group are currently investigating the links between vascular haemodynamics and biomarkers of cellular ageing e.g. Telomere length. This work has been undertaken in collaboration with the Anglo Cardiff Collaborative Trial.

Publications
a) Paper under review.

Conference Presentations
a) Barry J. McDonnell, Lee Butcher, John R. Cockcroft, Carmel M. McEniery, Ian B. Wilkinson, Jorge D. Erusalimsky, Yasmin. The age dependent association between aortic pulse wave velocity and telomere length. Journal of the American Society of Hypertension. 01/2014; 8(4):e1.

Community-based exercise and vascular function

Our group are currently investigating the biomolecular mechanisms by which exercise improves and affects vascular function, arterial stiffness and cardiovascular risk. In particular, the group are interested in how specific genes which are up-regulated by exercise may be playing a pivotal role in reducing vascular stiffness and decreasing cardiovascular risk.

Publications
a) Thompson JE, Webb R, Hewlett P, Llewellyn D, McDonnell BJ. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 and augmentation index are reduced with an 8-week green-exercise walking programme. Journal of Hypertension. 2013. 2(4): 127-133.
b) Paper in preparation. 


Conference Presentations
a) Webb, R., Thompson, J.E.S., Hewlett, P., Llewellyn, D., McDonnell, B.J.  “The Effect of an 8-week Green-Exercise Programme on Markers of Cardiovascular Risk”. Poster presented at The Welsh Environment as a National Health Resource national conference (Snowdonia National Park Conference centre, April 2014).
b) Thompson, J.E.S., Webb, R., Hewlett, P., Llewellyn, D., McDonnell, B.J.  “The Effect of an 8-week Moderate-Intensity, Green-Exercise Intervention on MMP-9 and Vascular Haemodynamics”. Seminar presented at 23rd European Meeting on Hypertension and Cardiovascular Protection; European Society of Hypertension (Milan, June 2013).
c) Thompson, J.E.S., Webb, R., Llewellyn, D., Hewlett, P., McDonnell, B.J.  “The Effect of an 8-week Green Exercise Programme on Markers of Mental and Vascular Health”.  Poster presented at 18th Annual Meeting of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS) (Barcelona, June 2013).
d) Thompson, J.E.S., McDonnell, B.J., Hewlett, P., Webb, R.  “Translating Exercise-Derived Health Benefits from the Laboratory into the Community”.  Seminar presented at 8th Annual Symposium of Health Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA) Europe, The World Health Organisation (Cardiff, September 2012). 

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