Frances Plane

Dr Frances Plane

Associate Professor

BSc (Hons) Applied Biology, Thames Polytechnic, London, U.K., 1986
PhD Pharmacology, University of London, London, U.K., 1992

Teaching:PMCOL344*, PMCOL425, PMCOL 301/302/401/402/498 projects

Research: Endothelial ion channels as drug targets for the treatment of cardiovascular disease

Research Interests / Laboratory Techniques

The goal of our research is to understand how blood vessels function under normal conditions with the aim of developing strategies to overcome vascular dysfunction in disease states such as diabetes.

The diameter of small blood vessels, resistance arteries, is the main factor determining arterial blood pressure and local tissue blood flow and so must be tightly controlled. The two main cell types that make up blood vessels are the endothelial cells lining the lumen and the smooth muscle cells which make up the wall. Communication between these two cell types is crucial for the appropriate regulation of resistance artery diameter: endothelial cells regulate the contractile state of the surrounding smooth muscle cells via the release of diffusible factors, such as nitric oxide (NO), and by direct electrical coupling with smooth muscle cells via myoendothelial gap junctions (MEGJs). Disruption of endothelial-smooth muscle cell communication is a hallmark of cardiovascular disease contributing to clinical manifestations such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, thrombosis and loss of limbs. Indeed, impairment of endothelium-dependent vasodilation can be used to identify individuals at increased risk for future cardiovascular events providing a "barometer" for vascular health.

We are currently using a combination of functional, electrophysiological and molecular techniques to further elucidate how endothelial and smooth muscle cells interact to regulate resistance artery diameter and to identify novel therapeutic targets to restore endothelial function in disease. Our current focus is on endothelial dysfunction associated with metabolic diseases and portal hypertension.

Selected Recent Publications

Aguirre JA, Lucchinetti E, Clanachan AS, Plane F and Zaugg M. (2016) Unraveling Interactions Between Anesthetics and the Endothelium: Update and Novel Insights. Anesth Analg 122(2):330-48. PMID: 26797549.

Kerr PM, Wei R, Tam R, Sandow SL, Murphy TV, Ondrusova K, Lunn SE, Tran CH, Welsh DG and Plane F. (2015) Activation of endothelial IKCa channels underlies NO-dependent myoendothelial feedback. Vascul Pharmacol 74:130-8. PMID: 26362477.

Lineker C, Kerr PM, Nguyen P, Bloor I, Astbury S, Patel N, Budge H, Hemmings DG, Plane F, Symonds ME and Bell RC. (2015) High fructose consumption in pregnancy alters the perinatal environment without increasing metabolic disease in the offspring. Reprod Fertil Dev 28(12) 2007-2015. PMID: 26143929.

Narang D, Kerr PM, Lunn SE, Beaudry R, Sigurdson J, Lalies MD, Hudson AL, Light PE, Holt A and Plane F. (2014) Modulation of Resistance Artery Tone by the Trace Amine beta-Phenylethylamine: Dual Indirect Sympathomimetic and alpha1-Adrenoceptor Blocking Actions. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 351 (1):164-171. PMID: 25118217.

Graham JE, Mayan M, McCargar LJ, Bell RC; Sweet Moms Team. (2013) Making compromises: a qualitative study of sugar consumption behaviors during pregnancy. J Nutr Educ Behav. 45(6):578-85. PMID: 23877052.

Narang D, Kerr PM, Baserman J, Tam R, Yang W, Searle G, Manning-Fox JE, Paulsen IM, Kozuska JL, MacDonald PE, Light PE, Holt A, Plane F. (2013) Triton X-100 inhibits L-type voltage-operated calcium channels. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 91(4):316-24. PMID: 23627843.

Kaur J, Bhardwaj A, Huang Z, Narang D, Chen TY, Plane F, Knaus EE. (2012) Synthesis and biological investigations of nitric oxide releasing nateglinide and meglitinide type II anti-diabetic prodrugs: In-Vivo anti-hyperglycemic activities and blood pressure lowering studies. J Med Chem. 55(17):7883-7891. PMID: 22916833.

Tran CH, Vigmond EJ, Goldman D, Plane F, Welsh DG. (2012) Electrical communication in branching arterial networks. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ Physiol. 303(6), H680-92. PMID: 22796538.

Kerr PM, Tam R, Narang D, Potts K, McMillan D, McMillian K, Plane F. (2012) Endothelial calcium-activated potassium channels as therapeutic targets to enhance availability of nitric oxide. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 90(6):739-752. PMID: 22626011.

Kerr PM, Tam R, Mittal R, Ondrusova K, Plane F. (2012) Endothelial feedback and the myoendothelial projection. Microcirculation 19(5):416-422. PMID: 22533804.

Tran CHT, Taylor M, Plane F, Tsoukias N, Vigmond E, Brigdam M, Welsh DG. (2012) Endothelial Ca2+ wavelets and the induction of myoendothelial feedback. Am J Physiol. 302(8):C1226-C1242. PMID: 22277756.

Kerr PM, Tam R, Plane F. Endothelium. In "Mechanisms of Vascular Disease: A Textbook for Vascular Surgeons", (2011) eds. Fitridge, R. & Thompson, M. Cambridge University Press, 1-20.

Sandow SL, Haddock RE, Hill CE, Chadha P, Kerr PM, Welsh DG, Plane F. (2009) What's where and why at a vascular myoendothelial microdomain signaling complex? Clin Ex. Physiol Pharmacol. 36(1):67-76. PMID: 19018806.

Wei R, Lunn SE, Tam R, Gust SL, Classen B, Kerr PM, Plane F. Vasoconstrictor stimulus determines the functional contribution of myoendothelial feedback to mesenteric arterial tone. J Physiol. 2018 Apr 1;596(7):1181-1197. PMID: 29411383