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Photo of Bella T. Altura

Bella T. Altura, Ph.D.


Physiology and Pharmacology

Tel: (718) 270-2205 • e-mail:

Role of Magnesium in Cardiovascular Disease

My overall interest is the role of magnesium and dietary magnesium intake in vascular biology and disease processes such as ischemic heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes mellitus, migraine headaches; and diseases related to imbalance in female hormones. An additional major interest is the utilization of Mg2+ ion-selective electrodes in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease processes in human subjects.

Our laboratory is addressing several important etiological and treatment issues in stroke and other vascular-related disease processes: stroke mechanisms, mechanisms of vascular-based processes in headache, and diabetes mellitus. In addition, I am interested in the role of steroid hormones on Mg2+.

In order to understand the roles of Mg2+ in these disease processes, animal models, isolated organs and tissues, tissue culture, and human subjects are employed in our studies. Design and use of Mg2+ ion-selective electrodes has enabled us to more precisely assess the role and importance of magnesium ions and dietary intake of this vital mineral in etiology of disease processes. Cell culture techniques have enabled us to gain insight into the potential, putative signaling pathways that Mg2+ control.

Selected Publications

Altura, B. T., Shirey, T. L., Young, C. C., Dell'Orfano, K., Hiti, J., Welch, R., Yeh, Q., Barbour, R. L., and Altura, B. M. (1994). Characterization of a new ion-selective electrode for ionized magnesium in whole blood, plasma, serum and aqueous samples. Scand. J. Clin. Lab Invest. 54 (Suppl. 217), 21-36.

Altura, B. T., and Altura, B. M. (1994). A method for distinguishing ionized, complexed and protein-bound Mg in normal and diseased subjects. Scand. J. Clin. Lab. Invest. 54 (Suppl. 217), 83-88.

Mauskop, A., Altura, B. T., Cracco, R. Q., and Altura, B. M. (1995). Intravenous magnesium sulfate relieves migraine attacks in patients with low serum ionized magnesium levels: A pilot study. Clini Sci. 89, 633-636.

Altura, B. T., Memon, Z. S., Zhang, A., Cheng, T. P. O., Silverman, R., Cracco, R. Q., and Altura, B. M. (1997). Low levels of serum ionized magnesium are found in stroke patients early after stroke which results in rapid elevation in cytosolic free calcium and spasm in cerebral vascular muscle cells. Neurosci. Lett. 230, 37-40.

Muneyyrici-Delale, O., Nacharajce, V. L., Altura, B. M., and Altura, B. T. (1998). Sex steroid hormones modulate serum ionized magnesium and calcium levels throughout the menstrual cycle in women. Fertil. Ster. 69, 958-962.


Tao Zheng, M.D., Research Associate

Service Functions

Reviewer for various journals and funding organizations


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