Researchers working under Prof. Marten Hofker of the UMCG are to study chronic inflammation of the gut in relationship to the development of cardiovascular disease. CardioVasculair Onderzoek Nederland (CVON), an of the Dutch Heart Foundation, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (NOW/ZonMw), has granted funding worth approximately € 5 million. The initiators and universities will invest a total of € 48 million in five new cardiovascular projects at various institutes. Among them are several UMCG researchers, who will carry out research into the causes of pulmonary hypertension and sudden cardiac death.
Obesity is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease and is often linked to other well-known risk factors, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and high levels of cholesterol and fat in the blood. The common denominator in all these risk factors is the presence of a mild but progressive type of inflammation. In seriously obese people, this chronic inflammation is caused by an imbalance in the functions of the gut, liver and fatty tissue, and probably goes some way to explaining their increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Researchers led by Prof. Marten Hofker (UMCG) and Prof. Mihai Netea (UMC Nijmegen) will examine the interaction between the gut flora and the congenital immune system in the gut, fat and liver to see whether this plays a central role in the development of cardiovascular disease in seriously obese people. A better understanding of this mechanism will enable scientists to develop new foods and anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent cardiovascular disease. The research should also shed light on specific factors in the blood and tissue, which can be used to diagnose and monitor the development of cardiovascular disease.
Please contact the UMCG Press Office for more information, tel. (050) 361 22 00
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