M G Nicholls

University of Otago, Taieri, Otago, New Zealand

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Publications (267)1393.63 Total impact

  • K H Lampinen · M Rönnback · P-H Groop · M G Nicholls · T G Yandle · R J Kaaja
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    ABSTRACT: A history of pre-eclampsia increases the risk of cardiovascular morbidity by mechanisms yet unknown. The aim of the present study was to assess whether plasma norepinephrine (NE) levels are increased 5-6 years after pre-eclamptic pregnancy and to investigate associations with pathophysiological mechanisms of cardiovascular disease: insulin sensitivity, vascular function and arterial pressure. A total of 28 women with previous pre-eclampsia and 20 controls were examined. Blood pressure (BP) and plasma levels of NE and endothelin-1 (ET-1) were measured at rest and after standing for 5 min. Insulin sensitivity was assessed with minimal model analysis and vascular function was assessed using venous occlusion plethysmography and pulse wave analysis. Twenty-four-hour BP measurements were carried out. Women with previous pre-eclampsia had higher levels of NE at rest (P=0.02), which did not associate significantly with insulin sensitivity or overall vasodilatory capacity. The 24-h mean of systolic and diastolic blood pressures (BPs) and heart rate did not differ between the groups (P=0.30, P=0.10 and P=0.46, respectively), and there was no significant association with NE levels. ET-1 levels were similar between the groups, but a positive correlation with systolic (P=0.04) and diastolic (P=0.03) BPs in the upright position was shown in the patient group. Increased levels of plasma NE are sustained in women with previous pre-eclampsia and may contribute to the increased risk for cardiovascular disease in these women.Journal of Human Hypertension advance online publication, 19 September 2013; doi:10.1038/jhh.2013.84.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Journal of human hypertension
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Association of maternal angiopoietin-like protein 6 (Angptl6) levels with subsequent development of pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). Methods: At 24 and 32 weeks of gestation in 47 relatively overweight (BMI ≥ 24 kg/m(2)), nulliparous pregnant women serum concentrations of Angptl6 were quantified prospectively. Insulin sensitivity and lipids were measured at 24 weeks. Results: Angptl6 levels at 24 weeks, but not at 32 weeks, were significantly higher in women with subsequent PIH. Metabolic factors at 24 weeks did not correlate with Angptl6 levels. Conclusion: This preliminary study suggests that in the second trimester, Angptl6 levels are higher in women with subsequent PIH.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Hypertension in Pregnancy
  • A.M. Richards · M.G. Nicholls

    No preview · Article · Jan 2010

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2008
  • M G Nicholls · C M Frampton · T G Yandle

    No preview · Article · Feb 2008 · Heart (British Cardiac Society)
  • M. G. Nicholls · C. M. Frampton · T. G. Yandle

    No preview · Article · Jan 2008
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    ABSTRACT: This study documents the determinants and plasma levels of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) among hypertensive and normotensive subjects in a multi-ethnic population in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). We obtained demographic, anthropometric and clinical data, together with fasting NT-proBNP and biochemical indices from 128 hypertensive patients and 138 normotensive subjects matched for age, gender and ethnicity. Plasma NT-proBNP levels were significantly (P<0.001), and several-fold higher among hypertensives (median 5.92, inter quartile range (IQR): 1.79-18.48 pmol/l) than normotensives (median 1.78, IQR: 0.59-4.32 pmol/l) in the total study population, and the same was true for the ethnic groups separately. Similarly, plasma levels of glucose, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine, but not insulin, were significantly (P<0.05) higher among hypertensives than normotensives. For all subjects combined, log NT-proBNP correlated positively and significantly with age (P<0.01), log glucose (P<0.05), systolic blood pressure (SBP, P<0.001), log BUN (P<0.001) and log creatinine (P<0.001). Multivariate regression analysis showed that NT-proBNP levels were independently and positively correlated with SBP, age, gender, log BUN, Emirati and South East Asian ethnic groups and inversely associated with current exercise. In conclusion, we found circulating levels of NT-proBNP to be significantly increased in hypertensive versus normotensive subjects in the UAE and independently related to SBP, age, gender, indices of renal function and possibly exercise. Our results further suggest a possible modulating effect of ethnicity on NT-proBNP levels.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2007 · Journal of Human Hypertension
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    Full-text · Article · Jun 2007 · European Journal of Heart Failure Supplements
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    ABSTRACT: Patients who sustain an acute spinal cord injury (SCI) experience rapid dramatic reductions in bone mineral density (BMD), especially marked in sublesional areas and sometimes leading to hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria, as well as increased fracture risk. In this prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, we evaluated the hypothesis that oral alendronate administration would preserve BMD when administered soon after acute SCI. Thirty-one patients with acute SCI were randomly allocated to receive oral alendronate 70 mg/wk or placebo, within 10 d of acute SCI, for 12 months. At entry and at 3, 6, 12, and 18 months, total body bone density, lumbar and hip BMD, ultrasound of the calcaneus, 24-h urinary calcium, and serum C-telopeptide (betaCTX) were measured. At study entry, patients in the two groups were well matched for age, gender, severity of neurological deficit, BMD, urinary calcium, and betaCTX. BMD indices declined steadily in the placebo group, and this effect was attenuated significantly by alendronate. After 12 months, there was a 5.3% difference (P<0.001) in total body BMD and a 17.6% difference (P<0.001) in the total hip BMD between the two groups. Alendronate compared with placebo induced significant (P<0.001) reductions in urinary calcium excretion and serum betaCTX. No treatment-related side effects were noted. We conclude that alendronate therapy, 70 mg/wk, initiated soon after acute SCI, prevents bone loss and is not associated with side effects.
    Preview · Article · May 2007 · Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the effect of short-term statin treatment on impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilatation and haemodynamic abnormalities typically occurring in chronic heart failure (CHF). In a double-blind, crossover study endothelium-dependent vasodilatation was measured in conduit and resistance vessels of 23 patients with non-ischaemic CHF after 6 weeks of placebo and 40 mg atorvastatin. The haemodynamic impact was assessed by cardioendocrine hormones, echocardiography and clinical indicators of CHF. Cholesterol concentrations were population average (low density lipoprotein 3.56 (SEM 0.16) mmol/l, triglycerides 1.70 (0.20) mmol/l and high density lipoprotein 1.17 (0.07) mmol/l). In resistance vessels, the area under the curve ratio during acetylcholine infusion increased from 9.2 (1.9) with placebo to 12.2 (2.1) with statin (p < 0.01). This improvement was reversed during co-infusion with the nitric oxide antagonist N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine. In conduit arteries, flow-mediated dilatation increased from 5.64 (SEM 0.88)% with placebo to 6.83 (0.97)% with statin (p < 0.05). Endothelium-independent vasodilatation did not change (p = 0.68 for conduit and p = 0.45 for resistance vessels). Endothelin 1 and atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) decreased from 1.57 (0.08) and 51.3 (1.0) with placebo to 1.42 (0.09) pg/ml (p < 0.05) and 42.1 (7.5) pmol/l (p < 0.05), respectively, with statin. In patients with non-ischaemic CHF and population-average cholesterol concentrations, short-term statin treatment improves endothelial function in conduit and resistance vessels and lowers plasma endothelin 1 and ANP concentrations.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2006 · Heart (British Cardiac Society)
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    ABSTRACT: Plasma levels of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and its N-terminal propeptide (NT-BNP) are elevated in renal impairment and provide a robust prognostic index. The effect of peritoneal dialysis on plasma NT-BNP, however, is unknown. Furthermore, no information exists regarding levels of the N-terminal propeptide for C-type natriuretic peptide (NT-CNP) in renal failure and the effects of peritoneal dialysis. Accordingly, we documented venous levels of these peptides, and adrenomedullin, across peritoneal dialysis. We measured venous BNP, NT-BNP, NT-CNP, adrenomedullin, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine before, during and after completion of overnight peritoneal dialysis in 11 patients, and identical sampling was carried out in eight patients (controls) but between peritoneal dialysis treatments. Peptide levels were measured using well-validated, published methods. Baseline levels of NT-CNP (212, 150-303 pmol/l, median and 25th and 75th percentiles) were much higher than recorded previously in healthy volunteers or in heart failure, and correlated with plasma creatinine (rs=0.53, P<0.05). Peritoneal dialysis had no effect on plasma NT-CNP, nor on NT-BNP, BNP or adrenomedullin (all elevated above normal), whereas both BUN and creatinine levels, as expected, declined (P<0.001). We conclude that plasma levels of NT-CNP are grossly elevated in chronic renal failure and correlated with plasma creatinine, but are not altered by peritoneal dialysis. Likewise, BNP, NT-BNP and adrenomedullin are elevated but are not altered by peritoneal dialysis. This information is needed if levels of these hormones are to be used as prognostic indicators or as a guide to the management of patients with chronic renal failure.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2006 · Kidney International
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    C J Charles · D L Jardine · M G Nicholls · A M Richards
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    ABSTRACT: The sympathetic nervous system and adrenomedullin (AM) both participate in the regulation of cardiac and circulatory function but their interaction remains uncertain. We have examined the effects of AM on cardiac sympathetic nerve activity (CSNA) and hemodynamics and contrasted these effects with pressure-matched nitro-prusside (NP) administration in normal conscious sheep. Compared with vehicle control, arterial pressure fell similarly with AM (P=0.04) and NP (P<0.001). Heart rate rose in response to both AM (P<0.001) and NP (P=0.002) but the rise with AM was significantly greater than that induced by NP (P<0.001). Cardiac output increased in response to AM compared with both control and NP (both P<0.001). CSNA burst frequency (bursts/min) were increased in response to both AM (P<0.001) and NP (P=0.005) with the rise in burst frequency being greater with AM compared with NP (P<0.001). CSNA burst area/min was also raised by both AM (P=0.03) and NP (P=0.002) with a trend for burst area being greater with AM than NP (P=0.07). CSNA burst incidence (bursts/100 beats) showed no significant differences between any treatment day. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that AM is associated with a greater increase in CSNA and heart rate for a given change in arterial pressure than seen with the classic balanced vasodilator NP.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2005 · Journal of Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: The time course of cardiac sympathetic nerve activity (CSNA) following acute myocardial infarction (MI) is unknown. We therefore undertook serial direct recordings of CSNA, arterial blood pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) in 11 conscious sheep before and after MI, and compared them with 10 controls. Conscious CSNA recordings were taken daily from electrodes glued into the thoracic cardiac nerves. Infarction was induced under pethidine and diazepam analgesia by applying tension to a coronary suture. MI size was assessed by left ventricular planimetry (%) at postmortem, peak troponin T and brain natriuretic peptide levels (BNP). Baroreflex slopes were assessed daily using phenylephrine-nitroprusside ramps. The mean infarcted area was 14.4 +/- 2.9%, troponin T 1.88 +/- 0.39 microg l(-1) and BNP 8.4 +/- 1.3 pmol l(-1). There were no differences in haemodynamic parameters or CSNA between groups at baseline. MAP and HR remained constant following MI. CSNA burst frequency increased from baseline levels of 55.8 +/- 7.1 bursts min(-1) to levels of 77.5 +/- 8.7 bursts min(-1) at 2 h post-MI, and remained elevated for 2 days (P < 0.001). CSNA burst area also increased and was sustained for 7 days following MI (P= 0.016). Baroreflex slopes for pulse interval and CSNA did not change. CSNA increases within 1 h of the onset of MI and is sustained for at least 7 days. The duration of this response may be longer because the recording fields decrease with time. This result is consistent with a sustained cardiac excitatory sympathetic reflex.
    Full-text · Article · May 2005 · The Journal of Physiology
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    E Kazzam · B A Ghurbana · E N Obineche · M G Nicholls
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    ABSTRACT: Hypertension has been the single most important risk factor for heart failure until the last few decades. Now, it is frequently claimed that atherosclerotic coronary artery disease dominates as the major underlying cause, and hypertension is of lesser importance. We here review evidence regarding the contribution of hypertension to heart failure in the recent decades. It is not possible, in our view, to be confident of the relative importance of hypertension and coronary artery disease since there are significant limitations in the available data. The often-questionable diagnostic criteria used in defining heart failure is one such limitation. The absence or inadequacy of blood pressure recordings over the years prior to a diagnosis of heart failure seriously hinders the reaching of firm conclusions in many reports. Extrapolations from aetiological observations in one racial group to those in other racial groups, and from highly selected study groups in tertiary referral centres to patients with heart failure in primary and secondary care, may not be justified. Finally, the situation of heart failure primarily due to impaired left ventricular diastolic function, where hypertension is a frequent precursor, is often ignored in discussions of aetiology. Our view is that hypertension remains and probably is the single most, important modifiable risk factor for cardiac failure in some races and countries, where the dominant cardiac abnormality is left ventricular diastolic dysfunction. The situation is less clear for patients with heart failure primarily due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction.
    Preview · Article · May 2005 · Journal of Human Hypertension
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    ABSTRACT: Adrenomedullin (AM) may play a role in the pathophysiology of heart failure. Plasma levels of AM are raised in cardiovascular disease in proportion to severity of cardiac dysfunction, and plasma AM levels measured in acute myocardial infarction and heart failure are a useful prognostic indicator of outcome. AM administration in both experimental and human heart failure induces a beneficial spectrum of biological action including reduced arterial and atrial pressures, improved cardiac output, inhibition of plasma aldosterone and preservation or augmentation of urinary sodium excretion. Combining AM administration with either angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition or neutral endopeptidase inhibition results in augmentation of the hemodynamic and renal effects of the individual treatments. Manipulating the AM system may prove beneficial as an adjunctive therapeutic strategy in cardiac disease.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2005 · Future Cardiology
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    R J Kaaja · A Leinonen · P Moore · T Yandle · C M Frampton · M G Nicholls
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the normality or otherwise of neurohormone indices, particularly the sympathetic nervous system, in pre-eclamptic patients and document whether changes in body posture magnify any differences between pre-eclamptic and normal women. We studied 11 women with pre-eclampsia and compared them with 17 matched normotensive pregnant women and eight nonpregnant women. Measurements of arterial pressure, heart rate and neurohormones were carried out with subjects in the left lateral position, then supine, left lateral, with upright posture and finally with assumption of the left lateral position again. Main outcome measures were arterial pressure, heart rate and hormones (plasma norepinephrine, renin activity, natriuretic peptides and endothelin-1). We observed that plasma norepinephrine levels were higher in pre-eclamptic than normotensive pregnant women and this was most obvious in the upright position. Plasma renin activity was likewise higher in pre-eclamptic than normotensive pregnant women, again most obvious with upright posture. Plasma natriuretic peptides and endothelin-1 levels were similar in pre-eclamptics and normotensive pregnant women. These data strengthen the premise that pre-eclampsia is associated with sympathetic overactivity as reflected by plasma norepinephrine levels, most obviously observed in the upright position.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2004 · Journal of Human Hypertension
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    M.G. Nicholls
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    ABSTRACT: Adrenomedullin, a 52-amino acid residue peptide, has numerous biological actions which are of potential importance to cardiovascular homeostasis, growth and development of cardiovascular tissues and bone, prevention of infection, and regulation of body fluid and electrolyte balance. Studies in man using intravenous infusion of the peptide have demonstrated that, at plasma levels detected after myocardial infarction or in heart failure, adrenomedullin reduces arterial pressure, increases heart rate and cardiac output, and activates the sympathetic and renin-angiotensin systems but suppresses aldosterone. The thresholds for these responses differ, being lower under some experimental circumstances for arterial pressure than for the other biological effects. Adrenomedullin administration inhibits the pressor and aldosterone-stimulating action of angiotensin II in man. By contrast, the pressor effect of norepinephrine is little altered by concomitant adrenomedullin administration. Although in the absence of a safe, specific antagonist of the actions of endogenous adrenomedullin it is difficult to be certain about the physiological and pathophysiological importance of this peptide in man, current evidence suggests that it serves to protect against cardiovascular overload and injury. Hope has been expressed that adrenomedullin or an agonist specific for adrenomedullin receptors might find a place in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2004 · Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
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    M G Nicholls

    Preview · Article · Jun 2004 · Journal of Human Hypertension
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    ABSTRACT: By monitoring efferent cardiac sympathetic nerve activity (CSNA) directly in a conscious animal we observed, for the first time, that ventricular fibrillation (VF) following myocardial infarction (MI) was preceded by a paroxysm of CSNA which was not baroreflexmodulated. This observation has potential therapeutic implications.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2003 · Clinical Autonomic Research

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2003 · Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Publication Stats

7k Citations
1,393.63 Total Impact Points


  • 1992-2013
    • University of Otago
      • Department of Medicine (Dunedin)
      Taieri, Otago, New Zealand
  • 1975-2008
    • Canterbury District Health Board
      • • Department of Nephrology
      • • Lipid and Diabetes Research Group
      • • Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
      • • Department of Nuclear Medicine
      Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
  • 2004-2005
    • United Arab Emirates University
      • Department of Internal Medicine
      Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
    • Emirates University
      Arab, Alabama, United States
  • 1997
    • Tulane University
      • Department of Medicine
      New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • 1990-1996
    • Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong
      Chiu-lung, Kowloon City, Hong Kong
  • 1989-1995
    • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
      • • Department of Chemical Pathology
      • • Department of Clinical Pharmacology
      • • Prince of Wales Hospital
      • • Faculty of Medicine
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 1974-1993
    • The Princess Margaret Hospital
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 1981
    • University of Szeged
      Algyő, Csongrád, Hungary
    • Concordia University–Ann Arbor
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • 1979
    • Medical Research Council (UK)
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom