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Immunity and atherosclerosis. New connections between the lipidic metabolism and microbial infections

14th national competition for scientific and technical research

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of atherosclerosis

Senior Researcher : Antonio Castrillo Viguera

Research Centre or Institution : Facultad de Medicina. Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria


Cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes are currently the leading cause of death and morbidity in the industrialised world. Obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and inflammation are decisive factors in the development of arteriosclerosis. Therefore, the physiopathological study of these metabolic and immune symptoms has become a priority objective for biomedicine. In this respect, our project will endeavour to study in greater depth the connections between the immune system and cholesterol metabolism, through different cellular and animal models.

More specifically, the Liver X Receptors, LXR-alpha and LXR-beta are members of the superfamily of nuclear receptors that play an essential role in cholesterol metabolism in vertebrates. In general, LXR activation generates changes that are considered anti-atherosclerotic, eliminating cholesterol from the arteries by increasing the "good cholesterol, HDL". However, bacterial and viral infections can inhibit the metabolic activity of LXR, which could be considered as having a detrimental effect and can accelerate cardiovascular disease. Our project will study this hypothesis and will analyse the molecular mechanisms that link lipidic metabolism and infections.

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