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Leducq Network: Clonal hematopoiesis and atherosclerosis

  • Speaker-EU: Prof. Andrés Hidalgo
  • Institution: IPEK and Universität Madrid
  • Promotion by Fondation Leducq: since 2018

An international consortium with researchers from the Munich DZHK has received 6 million dollars from the French-American Leducq Foundation. Researchers are studying the role of clonal proliferation of white blood cells in the development of atherosclerosis.

Only recently was it found that clonal hematopoiesis, the proliferation of individual white blood cells, is an important genetic risk factor for atherosclerosis. In contrast, most traditional risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as nicotine use or an unbalanced diet, are acquired during life. The consortium, in which the DZHK professor Oliver Söhnlein and the DZHK principle researcher Steffen Massberg (both University Hospital Munich) are involved, wants to find out how clonal hematopoiesis contributes to the development of atherosclerosis by investigating three gene mutations in genetically modified mice. Similar to humans, such gene mutations in animals can change various white blood cells such as monocytes, macrophages and neutrophils, but also platelets.

In addition, researchers have access to patient cohorts and human plaque samples. With the help of single-cell analyzes it is investigated how mutations during clonal hematopoiesis change the inflammatory processes in the plaque. The discovery of the mechanisms will form the basis for new therapies for atherosclerosis.

Source: Hospital of the University of Munich