Fat and blood vessels: growing old together?

The role of DNA damage and metabolic remodeling cross-talk between vascular and adipose tissue ageing

When we grow old we undergo changes in our metabolism in such way that our energy production pathways, such as mitochondrial respiration, damages our internal organs. Thus, it is hypothesised that changes in fat tissues, an energy depot, damages blood vessels, leading to diseases like infarctions, stroke and dementia. But bad blood vessel appear to damage fat tissue in return as well, creating a vicious circle.

To sustain health, this circle should be interrupted. The impact would be enormous: per year 18 million people die of cardiovascular diseases that cost the EU a staggering €210 billion. If the relationship between aging of fat and vascular tissue is better understood, the sustainment of health might be improved. 

This project will investigate if aging of fat tissue will lead to aging of vascular tissue and vice versa. Erasmus MC and UMC Groningen have developed techniques to let vascular or fat tissue age very fast by turning off DNA repair. These can be used as tools to increase our understanding of how the tissues age together. It is expected that mitochondria, our cellular energy factories, will fail during aging, and produce harmful metabolites. Sulfateq BV. invented a medicine that improves mitochondrial function, reduce these metabolites, and stop the aging process. The three parties they collaborate with so that at the end of the project they will know how vascular and fat tissue aging relate to each other, and if the new medicine actually works. These insights will help to find markers and new medicines to treat age-related disease. Thus, a fundament is constructed on which to build solutions to the health problems during aging. 

Both the aging of fat and blood vessels strongly undermine your health when you grow old. This project specifically lets the fat tissue age to see if the vascular tissue also ages, and vice versa, and the effect of a medicine with a possible anti-aging effect is tested.
Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
3 - 5
Time period
48 months