Inflammation and cardiovascular disease

We investigate the relationship between inflammation and cardiovascular disease, including measurement of biomarkers of inflammation in blood samples and studies of genetic risk factors predisposing to disease. 

We focus on two main groups of patients:

Patients with diabetes or arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis)

These patients have an increased level of inflammation in the body due to their chronic condition, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Better understanding of the mechanisms underlying this increased risk may lead to improved methods for diagnosis, treatment and prophylaxis. Several of our projects include participants from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT).

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Patients undergoing open-heart surgery

The body reacts to the operation with inflammation, which sometimes gets so strong that it leads to complications. We investigate the mechanisms underlying these reactions and whether it is possible to predict which patients are most likely to develop complications following open-heart surgery.

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Check out our risk calculator for complications following cardiac surgery.

Biomarkers

A large number of different cell types and molecules contribute to the complex reactions taking place during inflammation. The group has focused especially on two types of white blood cells (neutrophil granulocytes and monocytes), the biomarkers neopterin, lactoferrin, myeloperoxidase and C-reactive protein, and molecules of the complement system (e.g. mannose-binding lectin).

Collaborators at NTNU and St. Olavs Hospital HF

The research group is interdisciplinary, and collaborates closely with St. Olavs Hospital HF.

Important collaborators are:

  • Professor Rune Wiseth, Clinic of Cardiology, St. Olavs Hospital and Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, NTNU
  • Professor Roar Stenseth, Department of Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. St. Olavs Hospital and Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, NTNU
  • Head of Clinic Hilde Pleym, Clinic of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, St. Olavs Hospital and Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, NTNU
  • Professor Alexander Wahba, Department of Thoracic Surgery, St. Olavs Hospital and Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, NTNU
  • Head of Department Guri Greiff, Department of Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, St. Olavs Hospital
  • Consultant Physician Mari Hoff, Department of Rheumatology, St. Olavs Hospital and Department of Public Health and General Practice, NTNU
  • Professor Erney Mattsson, Department of Vascular Surgery, St. Olavs Hospital and Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, NTNU
  • HUNT (The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study)

We are also collaborating with international researchers from Copenhagen/Denmark, Brisbane/Australia, Manchester/Great Britain, and Barcelona/Spain.

Wed, 01 Jul 2015 08:48:36 +0200

Pipetting at the lab

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Inflammation contributes to cardiac disease

Inflammation is the body's basic reaction to damage. Inflammation contributes to cleaning up damaged tissue and starting repair, and is an important part of the defense systems during infections and other harmful situations. There is a large body of evidence showing that inflammation plays a central role in the development of cardiovascular disease. Risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, increased blood glucose and cholesterol damages the blood vessel walls and provoke chronic inflammation. Over time, changes in the vessel walls reduce the passage and decrease blood flow. The consequences may be angina, myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases.