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Steven S. Segal, PhD

Professor of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology
Office Location: Ma438 Medical Science Bldg
Office Phone: 573-882-2553

Research Interests

Blood Flow Control, Cardiovascular Regulation, Cell-Cell Signaling, Exercise, Microcirculation

Research Description

Segal's research is focused on understanding the control of tissue blood flow in light of how oxygen delivery increases in response to metabolic demand. During exercise, the recruitment of skeletal muscle fibers (motor units) generates electrical and chemical signals in endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells of the microvessels that control the distribution and magnitude of muscle blood flow.

Segal's experiments center on elucidating the cellular and molecular events which initiate these signals, how such signals are transmitted from cell to cell to orchestrate vasodilation and vasoconstriction in microvascular networks, and how these integrative processes are governed by the nervous system. Intravital video microscopy enables direct observations of blood flow control in the mammalian microcirculation. Histochemistry and vascular casting are used to quantify the architecture of neural and microvascular networks. Intracellular recording with dye labeling reveals cell-specific electrical signals which determine the contractile status of smooth muscle and its regulation by the endothelium. Calcium imaging provides unique insight into cellular responses which reflect the activity of ion channels and key regulatory enzymes. Complementary studies of isolated microvessels and their constitutive cells enable even greater resolution of specific regulatory processes.

Pharmacology, immunolabeling, and Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction are used to resolve the functional expression of proteins which mediate cell-to-cell coupling through gap junctions and electrical signaling through ion channels. Collaborative studies using transgenic mice afford unique insight into how particular signaling pathways affect control processes within the microcirculation. In turn, these basic relationships are being explored in light of how aging affects microvascular structure and function.

Opportunities for graduate and postdoctoral training include: molecular physiology of vascular cells, electrical and optical monitoring of cell signaling, microsurgery and microdissection, intravital video microscopy, conventional and immunohistochemistry, evaluation of gene expression, and modeling the biophysical properties of cells and tissues.

Professional Background

  • BA and MA in Physical Education/Exercise Physiology, UC Berkeley
  • PhD in Physiology and Education, University of Michigan
  • Postdoctoral National Research Service Award (Microcirculation), University of Virginia
  • Joined the Department in 2006
  • Established Investigator of the American Heart Association
  • Fellow of The American College of Sports Medicine
  • Fellow of the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences, American Heart Association
  • Fellow of the Cardiovascular Section of the American Physiological Society
  • Past President, The Microcirculatory Society, Inc.
  • Ad hoc member of NIH Study Sections: Hypertension & Microcirculation, Bioengineering Partnership Special Emphasis Panel
  • Research funded by the National Institutes of Health

Selected Publications


    • Emerson, G.G. and S.S. Segal.  Electrical coupling between endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells in hamster feed arteries: role in vasomotor control.  Circ. Res. 87: 474-479, 2000. PMID: 10988239
    • VanTeeffelen, J.W.G.E. and S.S. Segal. Interaction between sympathetic nerve activation and muscle fibre contraction in resistance vessels of hamster retractor muscle. J. Physiol. 550.2: 563-574, 2003. PMC2343056 
    • Looft-Wilson, R.C., G.W. Payne, and S.S. Segal. Connexin expression and conducted vasodilation along arteriolar endothelium in mouse skeletal muscle. J. Appl. Physiol. 97:1152-1158, 2004. PMID: 15169746
    • Haug, S.J. and S.S. Segal. Sympathetic neural inhibition of conducted vasodilatation along hamster feed arteries: Complementary effects of α1- and α2-adrenoreceptor activation. J. Physiol. 563.2: 541–555, 2005. PMC1665587
    • Domeier, T.L. and S.S. Segal. Electromechanical and pharmacomechanical signaling pathways for conducted vasodilatation along endothelium of hamster feed arteries. J. Physiol. 579.1:175-186, 2007. PMC2075370
    • Uhrenholt, T.R., T.L. Domeier and S.S. Segal. Propagation of calcium waves along endothelium of hamster feed arteries. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 292: H1634-H1640, 2007. PMID: 17098832  
    • Hakim, C.H., W.F. Jackson and S.S. Segal. Connexin Isoform Expression in Smooth Muscle Cells and Endothelial Cells of Hamster Cheek Pouch Arteries and Retractor Feed Arteries. Microcirculation 15:503-514, 2008. PMC2761760
    • Jackson D.N., A.W. Moore and S.S. Segal. Blunting of rapid onset vasodilatation and blood flow restriction in arterioles of exercising skeletal muscle with ageing in mice. J. Physiol. 588.12:2269-2282, 2010. PMC2911225
    • Moore A.W., S.E. Bearden and S.S. Segal. Regional activation of rapid onset vasodilatation in mouse skeletal muscle: Regulation through α-adrenoreceptors. J. Physiol. 588.17:3321-3331, 2010. PMC2976025 
    • Bagher P, Davis MJ and Segal SS. Visualizing calcium responses to acetylcholine convection along endothelium of arteriolar networks in Cx40BAC GCaMP2 transgenic mice. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 301:H794-H802, 2011. PMC3191093
    • Behringer EJ, Socha MJ, Polo-Parada L and Segal SS. Electrical conduction along endothelial cell tubes from mouse feed arteries: Confounding actions of glycyrrhetinic acid derivatives. Brit J Pharmacol 166:774-787, 2012.  PMC3417504
    • Correa D and Segal SS. Neurovascular proximity in the diaphragm muscle of adult mice. Microcirculation 19: 306–315, 2012. PMC3336045
    • Behringer EJ and Segal SS. Tuning electrical conduction along endothelium of resistance arteries through Ca2+-activated K+ channels. Circ Res 110:1311-1321, 2012. PMC3467972
    • Socha MJ, Domeier TL, Behringer EJ and Segal SS. Coordination of Intercellular Ca2+ Signaling in Endothelial Cell Tubes of Mouse Resistance Arteries. Microcirculation 19:715-770, 2012.  PMC3502682
    • Behringer EJ, Shaw RL, Socha MJ, W and Segal SS. Aging Impairs Electrical Conduction Along Endothelium of Resistance Arteries Through Enhanced Ca2+-Activated K+ Channel Activation. Arterio Thromb Vasc Biol 33:1892-1901, 2013. PMC3769416  

    • Turlo KA, Scapa J, Bagher P, Jones AW, Feil R, Korthuis RJ, Segal SS and Iruela-Arispe ML. β1-integrin is essential for vasoregulation and smooth muscle survival in vivo. Arterio Thromb Vasc Biol 33:2325-2335, 2013. PMID: 23887637 (PMC Journal – In Process)                         

    • Socha MJ and Segal SS. Isolation of Microvascular Endothelial Tubes from Mouse Resistance Arteries. J Vis Exp 81: e50759, 2013 (PMC Journal – In Process)

    • Westcott EB and Segal SS. Ageing alters perivascular nerve function of mouse mesenteric arteries in vivo. J Physiol 591.5:1251-1263, 2013. PMC3607869

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