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Implication of the bioactive sphingolipids in atherogenesis. Biophysical and cellular studies

14th national competition for scientific and technical research

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of atherosclerosis

Senior Researcher : Félix Goñi Urcelay

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Research Centre or Institution : Unidad de Biofísica. Centro Mixto CSIC-UPV/EHU. Lejona. Vizcaya.


Cardiovascular disease costs Spain nearly €7 billion a year, which is 7.1% of the entire national healthcare cost. According to researchers at Oxford University (United Kingdom), in the whole of the European Union, these costs amount to €181 billion. Specifically, atherosclerosis is the main cause of death in the industrialised world. However, despite the vast number of studies carried out world-wide, there is little knowledge regarding the molecular mechanisms that cause the formation of atheromata. Therefore, there is enormous interest, both social and financial, in establishing alternatives to improve the treatment of this disease. The high levels of blood cholesterol are the primary cause of the formation of atheromata. However, it is now known that there are other "fats", the sphingolipids, which are capable of controlling many of the processes involved in atherogenesis. The main aim of our research project is to determine the sphingolipids' role in the inflammatory response and the control of cell proliferation and death, all of which are extremely important factors in the development of atherogenic damage. The results obtained in this research could be extremely useful in designing new treatment strategies that help to control these types of diseases.

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