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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01667

Reducing salt intake and exercising regularly: implications from molecular dynamics simulations of endothelial glycocalyx

  • 1University College London, United Kingdom

It is widely accepted that salt intake reduction and regular exercise is a healthy lifestyle, which can prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Meanwhile, there is evidence that the endothelial glycocalyx layer (EGL) is related to CVD. However, how such a healthy lifestyle helps to prevent CVD via the function of the EGL has not been scientifically established. In this research, a series of large-scale molecular dynamics simulations have been conducted to study ion transport inside the endothelial glycocalyx layer under varying flow velocities. Results show that a fast blood flow velocity favors the Na+ transport out of the EGL, which can explain the increase in the thickness of an exclusion layer between red blood cells and the EGL under fast blood flow situations, as witnessed in some previous experiments. Based on findings from this fundamental research, a theory is proposed, which can answer the open-ended question “Why do we need to reduce salt intake and exercise regularly” . The findings may also have implications for other therapies to combat cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: Endothelial glycocalyx layer, lifestyle, molecular dynamics, Ion Transport, Sodium intake

Received: 22 Jul 2018; Accepted: 06 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

John D. Imig, Medical College of Wisconsin, United States

Reviewed by:

Pingnian He, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, United States
Ozlem Yalcin, School of Medicine, Koç University, Turkey  

Copyright: © 2018 Jiang, Luo and Ventikos. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Kai H. Luo, University College London, London, United Kingdom, k.luo@ucl.ac.uk
Prof. Yiannis Ventikos, University College London, London, United Kingdom, y.ventikos@ucl.ac.uk