The importance of red blood cell dysfunction for cardiovascular complications in diabetes

Professor John Pernow
Karolinska Institutet
2 000 000 SEK - 2019

Background: Diabetes is a major risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as myocardial infarction.
We have recently discovery that red blood cells (RBCs) seem to be an important mediator of injury to
the blood vessel wall. This projectis therefore focused on identifying the role of RBCs as a cause of
cardiovascular complications in diabetes and to develop new treatments that prevent these

Aim: To explore the novelconcept that RBCs are important mediator of cardiovascular injury in
diabetes. Specifically, we address the roles of the enzyme arginase and free radicals in RBCs for
development of heart and vessel injury, and whether blockade of these changes prevents
cardiovascular complications in diabetes.

Work plan: We investigate how the RBCs from patients with diabetes cause injury to the blood
vesselsand the heart. The role of arginase and free radicals in RBCs for the development of
cardiovascular injury is determined in patients with diabetes.

Significance: The project may lead to new treatment of vascular complications in diabetes.