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I. Airways require a thin coating of fluid to maintain healthy; too much, or fluid that contains too much mucus restricts airflow, or allows for the colonization by pathogenic bacteria. Many inflammatory processes combine to both increase the quantity of fluid, and alter its physical character. We are currently investigating the cellular mechanisms by which inflammation alters airway fluid as well as non-invasive methods of monitoring airway fluid composition. II. Blood pressure increases (on average) with adiposity; in Western societies, this means that blood pressure increases with the weight gain that accompanies aging. Renal function is altered in human and animal models of obesity (increased renal blood flow and glomerular filtration), as is renal structure (increased fat in the renal sinus, and increased medullary interstitial volume due to elevated levels of hyaluronic acid). We are studying the mechanisms by which the interstitium is altered, and the functional consequence of those changes.
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