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Evaluating the effects of hypoxia on macrophages and their interactions with cardiomyocytes

  • Author(s): Niu, Ashley Vivian
  • Advisor(s): Liu, Wendy
  • et al.

Macrophages are highly plastic and versatile cells that adjust their function to the surrounding environment. Recently, several studies have found SARS-CoV-2 causing areas of decreased oxygen and a hyperinflammatory response leading to stress and damage to the heart in patients with COVID-19. Exploring how hypoxia affects macrophages will help better understand the underlying mechanism and its interactions with cardiomyocytes in ischemic tissue from COVID-19. Presently, co-culture of cardiomyocytes and macrophages has not been extensively implemented due to technical challenges, so the first section explores whether different culture mediums can affect macrophage behavior in in vitro culture. Different media change cytokine secretion towards a pro-inflammatory phenotype of macrophages. Similarly, the second section evaluates how hypoxia treatment through a hypoxia chamber model affects macrophages and cardiomyocytes through cytokine secretion. Hypoxia modifies the release of cytokines in macrophages and cardiomyocytes and shifts both towards a greater inflammatory response. This further lays the groundwork to see how macrophages react to hypoxia while interacting with cardiomyocytes.

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