Two Groups in Trieste operate in the field of cardiovascular disease. The Molecular Medicine Group (Giacca) aims to identify proteins and microRNAs controlling cardiac protection and regeneration that might be exploited for the therapy of heart diseases. In this group, the Molecular Cardiology Unit (Loffredo) specifically investigates pathways that regulate cardiac ageing. The Cardiovascular Biology Group (Zacchigna) aims to characterise the mechanisms that hamper the formation of new blood vessels in the heart after myocardial infarction and to develop innovative strategies to revascularise ischaemic tissues. Recent work by the two Groups have addressed mechanisms of disease onset and progression during COVID-19 pandemics.
Two studies involving these Groups in Trieste exploited a lineage tracing system to definitively show that the adult heart is not able to form new blood vessels in response to pro-angiogenic stimuli and set European standards for the use of echocardiography in rodent models of cardiac disease (Kocijan et al. 2021, Cardiovasc Res, 117, 1, 256-270; Zacchigna et al. 2021, Cardiovasc Res, 117, 1, 43-59). In addition, Zacchigna and Giacca collaborated on the characterisation of viral persistence and tissue damage in the lung of COVID-19 patients (Bussani et al. 2020, EBioMedicine, 61:103104).