Curt D Sigmund, PhD

Internal Medicine, Cardiology
Professor, Roy J. Carver Chair in Hypertension Research
Summary statement: 

Neural Control of Blood Pressure Regulation

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The mechanism controlling cell-specific Ang-II production in the brain remains unclear despite evidence supporting neuron-specific reninand glial- and neuronal-specific angiotensinogen expression. We generated double transgenic mice (termed SRA) expressing human renin (hREN) rom a neuron-specific promoter and human angiotensinogen (hAGT) from its own promoter to emulate this expression. SRA mice exhibited an increase in water and salt intake and urinary volume which was significantly reduced after chronic intracerebroventricular delivery of Losartan. Ang-II-like immunoreactivity was markedly increased in the subfornical organ (SFO). To further evaluate the physiological importance of de novo Ang-II production specifically in the SFO, we utilized a transgenic mouse model expressing a "floxed" version of hAGTflox so deletions could be induced with Cre-recombinase. We targeted SFO- specific ablation of hAGTflox by microinjection of an adenovirus encoding Cre-recombinase AdCre). SRA flox mice exhibited a marked increase in drinking at baseline and a significant decrease in water intake after AdCre/AdeGFP, but not after AdeGFP alone. This decrease only occurred when Cre-recombinase correctly targeted the SFO and correlated with a loss of hAGT and angiotensin peptide immunostaining in the SFO. These data provide strong genetic evidence implicating de novo synthesis of Ang-II in the SFO as an integral player in fluid homeostasis. The results of this study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (117:1088-1095, 2007) was the topic of an editorial in the journal and illustrates how we use a combination of high tech genetics, genetic techniques and integrative physiology to make fundamental discoveries on the neural control of blood pressure regulation.

“Coming from the west coast, I was apprehensive about life in the mid-west, but I can honestly say that I absolutely love Iowa City.  It is a great and easy place to live and go to school, and has a wide variety of extra-curricular activities – from music to outdoor activities, there is a ton going on! Additionally, everyone really is quite nice, and there is an easy-going, collaborative feel at the University that I really appreciate.”