Inflammation and hypertension case study

Investigating the links between perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) and hypertension.

Heart failure is highly prevalent in people over 60, the fastest-growing age group worldwide.

However, the global epidemic in obesity and type 2 diabetes is also changing the demographics and adding to the rising cardiovascular burden. Multi-morbidities in people with cardiovascular disease make approaches to treatment more complicated and impact on heart failure outcomes.

Inflammation is a common factor in these chronic conditions, yet its role in multi-morbidities and cardiovascular disease is relatively unexplored.

A common pathogenic link between chronic diseases is inflammation with patients exhibiting a ‘low-grade pro-inflammatory state’. It has been known for many years that the innate immune response is linked to the progression of heart failure, with elevated levels of cytokines detected in heart failure patients.

However, the inflammatory signalling pathways and contribution to disease trajectory are not fully understood.

Both obesity and diabetes are also driving the cases of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Much less is known about this heart failure phenotype compared to heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), with fewer treatment options available.

Therefore, new insights into the intersection between inflammation, obesity/diabetes and development of HFpEF holds potential for discovering novel therapeutic targets for improved treatments.

Areas of research include investigations of cardiac immmunometabolic mechanisms, mitochondrial dysfunction and structural remodelling in obesity/diabetes-linked cardiomyopathy.

We are also studying the development of hypertension and the role of perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) and eosinophils.