Cardiovascular research

Myocardial diseases and atherosclerosis

team-item

Head

Paolo Camici

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The research activities of the group are focused on identifying mechanisms of cardiovascular impairment and specic therapeutic targets. Myocardial ischemia and occlusion/thrombosis of atherosclerotic arteries (leading cause of angina, acute myocardial infarction and stroke) are interconnected.

Research activity

Our main research activities are:

  • In myocardial diseases the role played by cardiac microvessels is assuming increasing importance. Abnormal functional and structural remodelling of coronary arterioles, detectable by coronary ow reserve measurement and by positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, is a major cause of coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) in both primary and secondary cardiomyopathies (e.g. hypertrophic and hypertensive cardiomyopathy, respectively) and CMD is an important determinant of long term prognosis. The mechanisms responsible for CMD remain incompletely understood. However, given their close proximity, microvessels and cardiomyocytes might reciprocally in uence themselves. The Unit is performing clinical and experimental studies to unravel causal/bio-molecular mechanisms at the base of microvascular remodelling and of cardiomyocytes alterations in cardiomyopathies. These investigations involve the determination of expressed genes and microRNAs.
  • Arterial microvessels density and features of carotid artery vulnerability are associated. Plaque destabilization involves rupture and exposure to blood ow of thrombogenic or pro/anti-in ammatory vascular components. The activities by the Unit include translational research on the role of extra- cardiac microvasculature in arterial disease and on the atherosclerotic plaque progression. In vivo imaging analyses of the microvascular network and bio-molecular studies exploiting new technologies applied to human vessel samples are performed to unravel the mechanisms of atherosclerotic plaque destabilization and vessel thrombogenicity.