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Role of Nrf2 transcription factor in diabetic vasculopathy, oxidative stress and inflammation (Nrfdiabvasc)
Start date: Jun 1, 2008, End date: Jul 31, 2009 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Vascular diseases represent the main cause of disability and mortality linked with long-term diabetes mellitus, a metabolic disease affecting around 20% of total world population. Diabetic vessels undergo both functional and structural changes, rendering them prone to cardiovascular pathology, including atherosclerosis, hypertension or myocardial infarction. Hyperglycemia, together with inflammation, play a key role by altering cell metabolism and different signal transduction pathways in vascular cells. These mechanisms share a net increase of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the vasculature. The present proposal will focus on the role of an impaired balance of ROS and the antioxidant cellular defences and the key biological role of the Nrf2 transcription factor. The working hypothesis is that Nrf2 signaling play a critical role in the vasculature by contributing to maintenance of vascular homeostasis and protecting vascular dysfunction upon hyperglycemia and pro-inflammatory signals as occurs in diabetes. To this aim, we will address the essential role of Nrf2 in antioxidant gene expression and cell fate upon glucose and pro-inflammatory cytokines treatment in vascular cells, and determine vascular reactivity of an altered expression of antioxidant stress proteins in a model of type 1 diabetes in Nrf2 knockout mice. Taken together, the completion of this proposal will establish the biological significance of depletion of antioxidant genes and its consequence in the diabetic vasculature in a Nrf2 knockout mice type 1 model of diabetes.
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