Leenen, Frans

Overview 

Dr. Frans Leenen is Director of the Hypertension Clinic and Hypertension Research at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology in the Departments of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Background 

Dr. Leenen received his PhD and MD from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. He completed residencies in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University of Utrecht Medical School and its teaching hospitals. He obtained post-doctoral research training at the University of Utrecht and the University of Pittsburgh.

For many years, he was a Career Investigator of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. In 2004, he was the first recipient of the Pfizer Research Chair in Hypertension, an endowed chair supported by Pfizer Canada, the Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is also the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Dedicated Service Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. He has been listed in American Men and Women of Science and Canadian Who’s Who, and he has published more than 260 peer-reviewed papers in respected journals.

Research & Clinical Interests 

Dr. Leenen’s team is involved in two types of human research: mechanistic and therapeutic. By looking at mechanisms that influence high blood pressure, researchers hope to understand the causes of hypertension. For example, the sympathetic nervous system regulates blood pressure and heart rate. This system becomes activated in people with high blood pressure and heart disease. By looking at the effect certain medications have on the sympathetic nervous system, the researchers discovered that the nervous system responds differently in young people than in older people. With further studies, they hope to learn why the responses differ in the two age groups.

Mechanistic Studies

When the heart is damaged, it often becomes enlarged and is unable to pump the amount of blood the body needs, resulting in water retention, shortness of breath and fatigue. The sympathetic nervous system regulates heart function; therefore, it plays an important role in heart failure. By comparing medications or different doses of medications used to treat heart failure, Dr. Leenen’s unit hopes to see what effect the medications have on the sympathetic nervous system and the function of the heart. His team is also trying to determine what role certain hormones play in the progression of heart failure by comparing hormone levels in the heart itself.

Therapeutic Studies

A large part of Dr. Leenen’s research deals with evaluating existing medications and the effect they have on the sympathetic nervous system, blood pressure and heart. For example, they may compare the effect of different doses of certain medications or different combinations of medications on the sympathetic nervous system. Dr. Leenen’s team participated in the ALLHAT trial: the largest study ever done in people with high blood pressure. Over 600 clinics in Canada and the United States participated, enrolling more than 42,000 volunteers.

Publications 

LATEST PUBLICATIONS

  • McInnis NH, Fodor G, Moy Lum-Kwong M, Leenen FHH. Antihypertensive medication use and blood pressure control: a community-based cross-sectional survey (ON-BP). Am J Hypertens 2008;21:1210-1215.
  • Mussivand T, Alshaer H, Haddad H, Beanlands DS, Beanlands R, Chan KL, Higginson L, Leenen F, Ruddy TD, Mesana T, Silver MA. Thermal therapy: a viable adjunct in the treatment of heart failure? Congest Heart Fail 2008;14:180-186.
  • Fodor G, Leenen FHH, Helis E, Turton P. 2006 Ontario survey on the prevalence and control of hypertension (ON-BP): rationale and design of a community-based cross-sectional survey. Can J Cardiol 2008;24:503-505.
  • Huang B, White R, Ahmad M, Jeng A, Leenen FHH. Central infusion of aldosterone synthase inhibitor prevents sympathetic hyperactivity and hypertension by central Na+ in Wistar rats. Am J Physiol 2008;295:R166-172.
  • Ahmad M, White R, Tan JB, Huang BS, Leenen FHH. ACE-inhibitors, inhibition of brain and peripheral ACE and LV dysfunction in rats post MI. J Cardiovasc Pharm 2008;51:565-572.
  • Leenen FHH, Dumais J, McInnis NH, Turton P, Stratychuk L, Nemeth K, Lum-Kwong MM, Fodor G. Results of the Ontario survey on the prevalence and control of hypertension. Can Med Assoc J 2008;178:1441-1449.

FULL LIST OF PAPERS IN REFEREED JOURNALS

  • McInnis NH, Fodor G, Moy Lum-Kwong M, Leenen FHH. Antihypertensive medication use and blood pressure control: A community based cross sectional survey (ON-BP). Am J Hypertens. 21:1210-1215, 2008.
  • Mussivand T, Alshaer H, Haddad H, Beanlands DS, Beanlands R, Chan KL, Higginson L, Leenen F, Ruddy TD, Mesana T, Silver MA. Thermal therapy: a viable adjunct in the treatment of heart failure? Congest Heart Fail. 14:180-186, 2008.
  • Fodor G, Leenen FHH, Helis E, Turton P. 2006 Ontario Survey on the Prevalence and Control of Hypertension (ON-BP): rationale and design of a community-based cross-sectional survey. Can J Cardiol. 24:503-505, 2008.
  • Huang B, White R, Ahmad M, Jeng A, Leenen FHH. Central infusion of aldosterone synthase inhibitor prevents sympathetic hyperactivity and hypertension by central Na+ in Wistar rats. Am J Physiol. 295:R166-172, 2008.
  • Ahmad M, White R, Tan J, B, Huang BS, Leenen FHH. ACE-inhibitors, Inhibition of Brain and Peripheral ACE and LV dysfunction in rats post MI. J Cardiovasc Pharm. 51:565-572, 2008.
  • Leenen FHH, Dumais J, McInnis NH, Turton P, Stratychuk L, Nemeth K, Lum-Kwong MM, Fodor G. Results of the Ontario Survey on the Prevalence and Control of Hypertension. Can Med Assoc J. 178:1441-1449, 2008.
  • B Liang, Leenen FHH. Prevention of Salt Induced Hypertension and Fibrosis by AT1-receptor Blockers in Dahl S Rats. J Cardiovasc Pharm. 51:457-466, 2008.
  • Myers MG, McInnis NH, Fodor GJ, Leenen FHH. Comparison between an Automated and Manual Sphygmomanometer in a Population Survey. Am J Hypertens. 21:280-283, 2008.

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