The Chen Lab

The Chen lab focuses on:

1) How autonomic neurons of the hypothalamus, particularly the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) is involved in the development of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension. Currently, we are focused on three main projects in the PVN region. The first is exploring how increases in salt consumption leads to increases in sympathetic tone and alterations in small conductance calcium activated potassium channels (SK). Our second area involves both increases in salt consumption and increases in circulating angiotensin II and those contributions to increases in sympathetic outflow from the PVN. Our third project explores endoplasmic reticulum stress and modulation of intracellular calcium stores on excitability and sympathetic outflow of PVN neurons which may contribute to hypertension.

2) How autonomic neurons of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) are involved in increases of sympathetic outflow due to the ethanol metabolite, acetate. This project is aimed at identifying the underlying neuronal mechanisms for increases in sympathetic outflow following ethanol consumption.