Critical Importance Of In Situ And In Vivo Studies

Pharmacologists are often able to develop tissue and whole animal models of human disease. In some instances, studies on isolated tissues, such as blood vessels, heart muscle or brain slices, will allow a tissue or organ-specific understanding of the effects of potential new drugs. Cardiovascular pharmacologists often study isolated arteries, which are maintained in a physiological salt solution. Electric stimulation can induce contraction of the vascular smooth muscle, and the effects of hypertensive drugs on vascular contraction can then be measured. Historically, these systems were often used as primary drug screening tools. Because these methods are much less direct than molecular screening, they are now relegated to secondary or tertiary roles as validation of the targets or drugs discovered.

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