Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Project funded by the European Commission – Programme for Research and Innovation “Horizon 2020” in the framework of Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (Individual Fellowship)

Cardiovascular complications in rheumatoid arthritis patients: induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes as an experimental model

In this project we wish to identify mechanisms that might be associated with the development of heart disease in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, such as damage to mitochondrial function and cellular metabolism. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, generating the energy needed for our cells to do their job. Studies have suggested that impaired mitochondrial functions and altered metabolic fingerprints may be useful in predicting the development of many human diseases, as well as in the evaluation of the treatment response. Therefore in this study we will examine the interplay between inflammation and mitochondrial metabolism in promoting cardiovascular complications in arthritis. Furthermore, we will test if currently available treatment strategies used in RA are protective or cytotoxic for cardiac cell functions. It will be investigated by using cardiac cells, joint cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Knowledge of the predictors of cardiovascular risk, the effects of inflammation-modulated mitochondrial functions and drug-specific effects will likely improve the recognition and management of cardiovascular risk in patients with RA. As cardiovascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis share genetic and environmental risk factors, our goal is to describe whether “what is good for the heart is good for the joint and vice versa”. Finally, the findings from our research may open a new avenue towards iPSC therapy trials for heart and joint diseases.


Duration of the project:  February 2020 – January 2022

Principal Investigator: dr Monika Biniecka, PhD –Silesian Park of Medical Technology Kardio Med Silesia, Zabrze; Poland

Project value: € 149 625, 60

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