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Ronald J. Korthuis, PhD

Bolm Distinguished Professor
Chairman, Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology
Office Location: MA415 Health Sciences Center
Office Phone: 573-882-8059

Research Interests

Microvascular responses to ischemia/reperfusion; leukocyte/endothelial cell adhesive interactions; arteriolar vasoregulatory function

Research Description

Korthuis' research focuses on the mechanisms underlying the inflammatory responses to ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) and how blood vessels in the microcirculation (arterioles, capillaries, and venules) can be preconditioned to resist the deleterious proinflammatory effects of I/R. When the blood supply is reduced (ischemia) and then subsequently reestablished (reperfusion), the ability of arterioles to regulate the distribution of blood flow is impaired, many capillaries fail to perfuse (capillary no-reflow), and white blood cells become adherent to and emigrate across the walls of postcapillary venules. Once in the tissues, these inflammatory phagocytes attack parenchymal cells, thereby exacerbating injury induced by ischemia. In addition, the permeability of the cells lining capillaries and postcapillary venules is increased, leading to edema formation.

Korthuis' lab is studying how white blood cells which adhere to and emigrate across the walls of postcapillary venules alter vasoregulatory function in arterioles, cause no-reflow in capillaries, and increase permeability in postcapillary venules.

Another line of investigation focuses on understanding how exposing tissues to preconditioning stimuli such as short periods of ischemia or by ingestion of ethanol (at doses equivalent to drinking one to two alcoholic beverages) 24 hours prior to the onset of prolonged ischemia followed by reperfusion prevents microvascular dysfunction.Using a variety of pharmacologic and biochemical approaches, quantitative computerized image analyses, and mutant mouse models, Korthuis is examining the signaling mechanisms that are triggered by exposure to preconditioning stimuli to induce the expression of protective proteins such as heme oxygenase.

Professional Background

  • Obtained BS in zoology, Michigan State University.
  • Obtained PhD in physiology, Michigan State University.
  • Completed a Parker B. Francis Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of South Alabama.
  • Recipient of an Established Investigatorship from the American Heart Association.
  • Past President of the Executive Board of the American Heart Association, Southeast Affiliate.
  • Member of editorial boards for Microcirculation and American Journal of Physiology.
  • Member of the Cardiovascular and Renal B and F10 Fellowship study sections of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Executive Council Member for The Microcirculatory Society.
  • Joint Programming Committee Member for The American Physiological Society.
  • Research funded by the NIH and the American Heart Association.

Selected Publications

Published by Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, 134 Research Park Dr., Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: 573-882-7588 | Fax: 573-884-4232 | Email: