Pulmonary hypertension is a potentially fatal disease that has been shown to be caused by an imbalance of reactive oxygen species and antioxidant defenses, causing vasoconstriction and abnormalities in the vascular wall. In many studies, the use of antioxidants as a therapeutic treatment has been capable of attenuating the oxidative stress that causes the progression of pulmonary hypertension. Recent screenings of botanical peptides identified peptides that promote the activity of free radical scavengers, such as superoxide dismutase and other compounds with similar properties. Another antioxidant enzyme, catalase, works in conjunction with superoxide dismutase to protect cells by decomposing hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. Further research into the free radical scavenging properties of botanical peptides and their similarities to catalase could be used to develop a potential treatment option for pulmonary hypertension. The challenge to studying the corresponding characteristics of catalase and botanical peptides is to find a test that would not only examine the properties of botanical peptides, but would also evaluate multiple samples at once. An additional, high-throughput assay was developed and validated for the purpose of evaluating antioxidant activity similar to that of catalase in botanical peptides. The botanical peptides tested could then be examined in cell and animal models in order to develop a nutraceutical for pulmonary hypertension.
Clint McDaniel, ’17
Sponsor: Barbara Christie-Pope