University of Missouri School of Medicine MU Health School of Medicine

Luis A. Martinez-Lemus, PhD, DVM

Luis A. Martinez-Lemus, PhD

Associate Professor

Research Interests

My research is focused on the mechanisms responsible for the architectural transformation of blood vessels also known as vascular remodeling. Vascular remodeling is a hallmark for numerous cardiovascular diseases, yet numerous questions remain to be answered regarding this process. What stimuli drive the remodeling process? How do blood vessels detect those stimuli? What are the mechanisms initiating the remodeling and under which conditions are they counterproductive participating in disease states?

Currently funded research in my laboratory is focused at determining the changes in the position and function of cells within the intact blood vessel wall that occur in response to common mechanical and vasoactive biochemical stimuli. Our studies indicate that cells within the vascular wall rapidly change their position in response to stimulation in as little as four hours. This adaptive cell behavior appears to allow the vessel to maintain a reduced diameter for extended periods of time with reduced levels of activation and energy expenditure. An additional goal is focused at determining the changes in the structure and compliance of the extracellular matrix that occur during the initial stages of the remodeling process.

Professional Background

  • Received D.V.M. from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.
  • M.S. from Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.
  • Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
  • AHA Sponsored Postdoctoral Fellow. Cardiovascular Research Institute, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
  • Joined the Department in 2005.
  • Recipient of the American Physiological Society Research Career Enhancement Award.
  • Member of the European Society for Microcirculation, the American Physiological Society, the Poultry Science Association, and the Microcirculatory Society.
  • Associate Editor for the Physiology Section of the journal Poultry Science
  • Reviewer of several physiological journals.

Selected Publications

  • Waitkus-Edwards K. R., L. A. Martinez-Lemus, X. Wu, J. P. Trzeciakowski, M. J. Davis, G. E. Davis, and G. A. Meininger, 2002. a4b1 Integrin activation of L-type calcium channels in vascular smooth muscle causes arteriole vasoconstriction. Circ. Res. 90:473-480. (Featured in cover and editorial).
  • Martinez-Lemus, L.A., X. Wu, E. Wilson, M. A. Hill, M. J. Davis, G. E. Davis, and G. A. Meininger, 2003. Integrins as unique receptors for vascular control. J. Vasc. Res. 40:211-233.
  • Martinez-Lemus, L.A., M.A. Hill, S.S. Bolz, U. Pohl, and G.A. Meininger, 2004. Acute Mechanoadaptation of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells in Response to Continuous Arteriolar Vasoconstriction: Implications for Functional Remodeling. FASEB J. 18:708-710.
  • Martinez-Lemus, L.A., T. Crow, M.J. Davis, G.A. Meininger, 2005. a5b1 and avb3 integrin blockade inhibit the myogenic response of skeletal muscle resistance arterioles. Am. J. Physiol. 289:H322-H329.


The experimental methodologies used in my laboratory include the isolation of microvessels for cannulation, perfusion and visualization while in culture ex-vivo. This technique is combined with molecular approaches to manipulate the genetic makeup of the cells in order to prevent, accentuate or reverse the remodeling process. Confocal and multiphoton microscopy is used to visualize and record the behavior of the living cells within the wall of the isolated microvessel, and for determining the structural changes of the extracellular matrix supporting the cells within the vascular wall. Using these approaches a comprehensive description of the remodeling process and its consequences may be attained from the stimuli that initiates it to the structural changes that characterize it going through the cellular signals that govern the phenomenon.


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