Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Lipids

Head of Lab: Ulrich Kintscher

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Research Projects Kintscher's lab

The focus of the Kintscher lab is the characterization of molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases in obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus. The aim is the identification of new pharmacological target molecules for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. We focus on lipid metabolism in the myocardium and other organs.

Cardiovascular disease and adipose tissue in the focus of pharmacological research

Our research currently focuses on the process of lipolysis - the enzymatic release of fatty acids and glycerol from storage fat in the heart and adipose tissue. It is known that lipolytic processes are substantially stimulated during the development of chronic heart failure. However, the effects of increased fatty acid release on myocardial function and morphology are still largely unknown. Since fatty acids can also alter the signaling pathways of pharmacologically-relevant receptors, these processes also play an important role in the pharmacological efficacy of drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. We focus our work on a key enzyme of lipolysis, the adipose triglyceride lipase - ATGL, and its regulation in the adipose tissue / heart, as well as on a systems-biological approach of lipid analysis, called lipidomics, by which a large number of complex lipid species in blood and tissues are analysed in a mass spectrometry – based approach. The cardiac effects of important fatty acids or newly identified lipid species are investigated in functional, molecular biology experiments in cardiomyocytes. Different in vivo disease models in the mouse are available. Recently, with the aid of the DZHK, we have started a Cardiovascular Fly Lab, where we are now able to perform the cardiac phenotyping of Drosophila melanogaster, a model which is ideal for the analysis of tissue-specific genetic changes and their effects on cardiac function.

Furthermore, the focus of our molecular work is on nuclear hormone receptors. Within the scope of these studies, we investigate the importance of new pharmacological interventions for the modulation of the mineralocorticoid receptor and different estrogen receptors in heart failure and obesity.

 

Experimental Cardiovascular Imaging

The visualization for the heart and blood vessels for the evaluation of their form and function is part of the standard investigations in both clinical practice and basic research. High-resoluting echocardiography in small animals (https://www.ccr.charite.de/en/services/echocardiography_core_facility/) is in the center of our research focus for many years, especially to determine the pharmacological efficacy of new drugs in different mouse models. In this context, we utilize modern approaches such as 3D ultrasound or speckle-tracking echocardiography; MRI and PET-CT in small animal imaging are available in cooperation with partner institutions.