In particular, we study the concept that cardiac proteoglycans are active and central signal mediators of myocardial remodeling. Proteoglycans are highly glycosylated proteins localized to the cell membranes and the extracellular matrix (ECM).
By examining the unique properties of transmembrane proteoglycans we have discovered that the proteoglycan syndecan-4 is a mechanical stress-sensor in cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts and involved in signalling causing heart failure. One important ECM-localized molecule is lumican and we have shown that it regulates cardiac remodelling and heart failure. Currently we are testing promising drugs to treat heart failure by targeting mechanisms identified by our group. The ultimate goal of our research is to improve the well-being and prognosis of patients.
The work in this group is supervised by professor Geir Christensen. The group consists of scientists from IEMR that collaborate closely with Department of Thoracic Surgery (Professor Theis Tønnessen) and Department of Cardiology at Oslo University Hospital (Professor Lars Gullestad). In addition to top-of-the-range international scientists from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, among others, who are world leading in their field.