Heart failure is one of the primary causes of mortality and hospitalization in Western countries in general and Spain in particular. The Myocardial Remodeling laboratories focus on the characterization of the primary structural alterations in the myocardium that underlie functional deterioration of the heart and are involved in the development and progression of heart failure.
Our projects analyze the mechanisms responsible for these alterations in different cardiomyopathies, as well as their impact on cardiac function, in order to understand the pathophysiological basis of heart failure and to identify the key molecules involved. In this context, the group is exploring new treatment strategies directed at correcting the structural alterations in the myocardium in patients with heart failure. Also assessed are the effects of different drugs used in the treatment of heart failure on the hearts of such patients.
In addition, we have also addressed the development of non invasive circulating biomarkers that enable the primary structural alterations in the myocardium of patients with different degrees of cardiac disease to be evaluated in a reproducible, sensitive and specific manner. The purpose is to allow for early diagnosis of these alterations and personalized therapy directed at correcting deficiencies.
In order to carry out these projects, we have a multidisciplinary team and a translational research program that includes both analysis of samples from heart failure patients as well as different experimental models (from cultured heart cells to transgenic rats with genetic hypertension or induced heart failure). Our studies address characterization of the alterations present on molecular, cellular and tissue levels, as well as using imaging techniques to assess the functional impact of the alterations on the myocardium. We have the tools necessary to identify new therapeutic targets and develop possible inhibitors. In addition, we have experience in validating circulating biomarkers from different aspects of myocardial remodeling and in developing measurement methods.
The primary areas of research are the following:
Study of the role of the cardiac extracellular matrix in the development of heart failure of different origins (mainly that involving normal ejection fraction).
Development of a panel of circulating markers that evaluate the different components of myocardial remodeling (i.e. involvement of both the extracellular matrix and cardiomyocytes) in patients with heart failure and different levels of cardiac involvement.
Evaluation of the effect of metabolic alterations (e.g. diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, obesity) on the development of myocardial remodeling and heart failure.
Studies with specific molecules directed against new molecular targets in order to develop new pharmacological interventions that prevent or reverse myocardial damage in heart failure.