Metabolism, inflammation and cardiac dysfunction

The combination of risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome (obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance) seriously increases the risk of developing heart failure. The pathogenic mechanism underlying the cardiac diastolic dysfunction frequently observed in this group of patients, remains largely elusive. Recent findings point to a close link between the dysregulation of cardiac metabolism and inflammatory processes as causative factors in cardiac pathogenesis.

In this context our research has focused on the role of nuclear hormone receptors, the PPAR’s in particular, acting both as transcriptional regulators of cardiac lipid metabolism and inhibitors of inflammatory signaling pathways in the cardiac muscle cell. Very recently, it became clear that the immune response is also directly affected by alterations in systemic metabolism and that this is likely to contribute to disease progression. These processes have been referred to as “metainflammation” and “immunometabolism”.

The research is performed in close collaboration with the group of Prof. Dr. Stephane Heymans from the Department of Cardiology. By combining molecular, cellular and physiological techniques and by making use of bioinformatic approaches, we are investigating the interaction between metabolism, on the one hand, and inflammation and immune response, on the other, in the onset and progression of cardiac disease.


Marc van Bilsen +31 43 3881204
Chantal Munts Research associate +31 43 3884520
Wouter Derks Department of Cardiology +31 43 3884306
Georg Summer Department of Cardiology +31 43 3882959