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31.12.07 - The selection committee proposes to award a special mention to Michèle Koenigsberger’s thesis which was classified in the 4th (no cash contribution). Thesis EPFL, no 3685 (2006). Dir.: Jean-Jacques Meister.

A theoretical model of the cellular calcium dynamics and vasomotion in muscular arteries.

Muscular arteries possess the ability to control actively their lumen by altering the tone of the smooth muscle cells of the arterial wall, a property which is vital for a large number of the hemodynamical functions of the body. Arterial contraction is due to an increase in the smooth muscle cytosolic calcium concentration. Abnormalities in the contractile mechanisms of arteries contribute to a variety of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension. The understanding of the mechanisms of vascular smooth muscle functions can therefore contribute to a better diagnosis and treatment of such diseases. Muscular arteries, arterioles and capillaries display also slow rhythmic diameter variations, called vasomotion, independent on other rhythms in the body (cardiac, respiratory, circadian). It is well established that vasomotion is due to the contractile activity of vascular smooth muscle cells, but its underlying mechanisms are not well understood. The aim of the present thesis is to develop a theoretical model to get a better understanding of vasomotion in muscular arteries and arterioles.

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