Brant Isakson


  • PhD, University of Wyoming

Primary Appointment

  • Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics


Research Interest(s)

Intercellular communication in normal and disease state vasculature.

Research Description

My lab focuses on intercellular communication in the microvasculature and how this regulates the critical proces of vessel dilation and constriction--elucidating this fundamental proces is key to understanding such diseases as hypertention and the associated vascular dysfunction seen with obesity. To that end, our lab is keenly interested in the membrane bound proteins connexins (which link cellular cytoplasm together physically) and pannexins (which signal other cells by releasing ATP into the extracellular environment), as well as how nitric oxide may regulate these channels directly, or act independantly based on it's cellular localization in the vessel wall. Our lab utilizes everything from gene knockout animals and isolated intact blood vessels, to unique cell culture techniques and molecular biology, to biphysical techniques such as analytical size exclusion.  We believe this is the best way to tackle the most pressing and interesting biological questions. Lastly, we strive to place creativity over dogma.

Selected Publications

  • Billaud M, Johnstone S, Isakson B. Loss of compliance in small arteries, but not in conduit arteries, after 6 weeks exposure to high fat diet. Journal of cardiovascular translational research. 2012;5(3): 256-63. PMID: 22467359
  • Billaud M, Lohman A, Straub A, Parpaite T, Johnstone S, Isakson B. Characterization of the thoracodorsal artery: morphology and reactivity. Microcirculation (New York, N.Y. : 1994). 2012;19(4): 360-72. PMID: 22335567 | PMCID: PMC3335923
  • Billaud M, Sandilos J, Isakson B. Pannexin 1 in the regulation of vascular tone. Trends in cardiovascular medicine. 2012;22(3): 68-72. PMID: 22841835 | PMCID: PMC3455115
  • Heberlein K, Han J, Straub A, Best A, Kaun C, Wojta J, Isakson B. A novel mRNA binding protein complex promotes localized plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 accumulation at the myoendothelial junction. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. 2012;32(5): 1271-9. PMID: 22383705 | PMCID: PMC3331922
  • Lohman A, Billaud M, Isakson B. Mechanisms of ATP release and signalling in the blood vessel wall. Cardiovascular research. 2012;95(3): 269-80. PMID: 22678409 | PMCID: PMC3400358
  • Lohman A, Billaud M, Straub A, Johnstone S, Best A, Lee M, Barr K, Penuela S, Laird D, Isakson B. Expression of pannexin isoforms in the systemic murine arterial network. Journal of vascular research. 2012;49(5): 405-16. PMID: 22739252 | PMCID: PMC3482510
  • Montaniel K, Billaud M, Graham C, Kim S, Carlson M, Zeng W, Zeng O, Pan W, Isakson B, Hall J, Adhikari N. Smooth muscle specific deletion of Ndst1 leads to decreased vessel luminal area and no change in blood pressure in conscious mice. Journal of cardiovascular translational research. 2012;5(3): 274-9. PMID: 22555965 | PMCID: PMC3381738
  • Billaud M, Ross J, Greyson M, Bruce A, Seaman S, Heberlein K, Han J, Best A, Peirce S, Isakson B. A new method for in vivo visualization of vessel remodeling using a near-infrared dye. Microcirculation (New York, N.Y. : 1994). 2011;18(3): 163-71. PMID: 21418375 | PMCID: PMC3081403
  • Koval M, Billaud M, Straub A, Johnstone S, Zarbock A, Duling B, Isakson B. Spontaneous lung dysfunction and fibrosis in mice lacking connexin 40 and endothelial cell connexin 43. The American journal of pathology. 2011;178(6): 2536-46. PMID: 21641379 | PMCID: PMC3124229
  • Looft-Wilson R, Billaud M, Johnstone S, Straub A, Isakson B. Interaction between nitric oxide signaling and gap junctions: Effects on vascular function. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2011;1818(8): 1895-902. PMID: 21835160 | PMCID: PMC3229654
  • Straub A, Billaud M, Johnstone S, Best A, Yemen S, Dwyer S, Looft-Wilson R, Lysiak J, Gaston B, Palmer L, Isakson B. Compartmentalized connexin 43 s-nitrosylation/denitrosylation regulates heterocellular communication in the vessel wall. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. 2010;31(2): 399-407. PMID: 21071693 | PMCID: PMC3056333