Abnormal response to vasoactive agents in pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension (PHT) is a life-threatening disease; people with PHT experience shortness of breath, chest pain and fainting and live an average of 2.5 years after diagnosis. The disease involves increased production of endothelins in the lungs, which constrict blood vessels in the lungs. Endothelin is a potent vasoconstrictor (constrictor of blood vessels). Xing Cheng is investigating how certain substances produced in the lungs with PHT influence the ability of endothelin to constrict blood vessels. She is also examining how anti-inflammatory drugs that inhibit the formation of these substances affect production of endothelin. Her research will help identify drug combinations that may reverse the cardiovascular abnormalities causing pulmonary hypertension.