Inflammation and cardiac mitochondrial dysfunction case study

A multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the links between obesity and cardiovascular disease

There is now a growing body of evidence showing a clear correlation between inflammation and the development of hypertrophy, fibrosis and left ventricular dysfunction, but the mechanisms involved remain largely unexplored.

One of our key areas of research, funded by the British Heart Foundation, is understanding how excessive nutrient intake is associated with ultrastructural remodelling of the myocardium and declining contractility, with a particular focus upon the development of dysfunctional mitochondrial dynamics and links to morphological rearrangements.

Employing an animal model of diet-induced obesity, coupled with in-vitro studies using human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes, we are also investigating links between the activation of inflammatory pathways and impaired mitochondrial dynamics.

We are applying a multi-disciplinary approach combining advanced 3D electron microscopy imaging techniques with molecular, biochemical, cell biology and proteomic methods.

We aim to deliver new insights into current understanding of immune-inflammation modulation of cardiomyocyte function, which may provide new directions for developing heart failure treatments and lead to improved outcomes.

Principal investigator

Dr Ashraf Kitmitto