Molecular Mechanisms of Cardiovascular Diseases

Henrique Girão

PhD, Principal Investigator

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and represent a major burden for health care systems. To boost the existing capacities and competencies, crossing canonical and static boundaries between disciplines we have implemented a coherent and inclusive approach that brings together basic researchers and clinicians, allowing a strategy "from bench to bedside and back again". In terms of basic research, the group has been investigating the strategies whereby cardiac cells communicate and the mechanisms involved in the maintenance of a healthy proteome. More specifically, we aim to elucidate how the disturbance of protein degradation and intercellular communication systems can contribute to CVD, with a particular focus on autophagy and communication, either direct, between neighbour cells, through gap junctions and tunnelling nanotubes, or at long distances via extracellular vesicles.

In terms of clinical competencies, the group has two highly differentiated areas:

  1. Heart failure;
  2. Transplantation and interventional cardiology.

The team integrates competencies and resources on:

  1. Advanced HF & transplantation;
  2. Coronary care;
  3. Percutaneous structural cardiac intervention;
  4. Advanced electrophysiology;
  5. Pulmonary hypertension;
  6. Congenital heart diseases;
  7. Advanced imaging capabilities;
  8. Syncope;
  9. Telemedicine & telemonitorization.

Members of the group are involved in National Reference Centers for cardiovascular structural intervention, pulmonary hypertension, congenital heart diseases, and heart transplantation, which give us privileged access to human samples. We have developed fruitful collaborations with other groups, namely in the field of metabolism, regenerative medicine, computer modelling for drug dispersion after DES stents implantation, telemonitoring, and psychological aspects of cardiovascular diseases.

Group Members

Group Members

Group members are: Henrique Girão (PhD, Group Leader), Ana Sofia Brigas, Beatriz Cristovão, Carla Marques (PhD), Carlos Pita, Cátia Ferreira, Daniela Almeid, Elisabete Jorge (PhD), Gonçalo Coutinho (PhD), Joana Silva, Jorge Silva, Luís Leite, Luís Paiva, Manuel Antunes (PhD), Maria Margarida Gonçalo (PhD), Maria Vasconcelos-Cardoso, Mónica Abreu (PhD), Mónica Zuzarte (PhD), Natália António (PhD), Neuza Domingues (PhD), Nuno Coutinho (PhD), Patrícia Mendes, Pedro Monteiro (PhD), Pedro Antunes (PhD), Rogério Teixeira (PhD), Rui Baptista (PhD), Steve Catarino (PhD), Tânia Marques (PhD), Tatiana Estima, Teresa Rodrigues.

Selected Publications

Martins-Marques T, Ribeiro-Rodrigues T, de Jager SC, Zuzarte M, Ferreira C, Cruz P, Reis L, Baptista R, Gonçalves L, Sluijter JPG, Girao H. Myocardial infarction affects Cx43 content of extracellular vesicles secreted by cardiomyocytes. Life Sci Alliance 2020 (accepted for publication, DOI: 10.26508/lsa.202000821).

Santos-Ferreira C, Abreu M, Marques C, Gonçalves L, Baptista R, Girão H. MicroRNA analysis in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: current knowledge and challenges. JACC: Basic to Translational Science. 2020 (accepted for publication doi.org/10.1016/j.jacbts.2020.07.008).

Martins-Marques T, Catarino S, Gonçalves A, Miranda-Silva D, Gonçalves LM, Antunes PE, Coutinho G, Leite-Moreira A, Falcão-Pires I, Girao H. EHD1 Modulates Cx43 Gap Junction Remodeling Associated with Cardiac Diseases. Circulation Research. 2020; 126:e97-e113.

Baptista R, Marques C, J. Enguita FJ, Matafome P, Zuzarte M, Costa MC, Castro G, Monteiro P, Reis A, Pereira P, Pêgo M, Girão H. miRNA-424(322) as a new marker of disease progression in pulmonary arterial hypertension and its role in right ventricular hypertrophy by targeting SMURF1. Cardiovasc Res 2018,114:53-64.

Ribeiro-Rodrigues TM, Laundos TL, Pereira-Carvalho R, Batista-Almeida D, Pereira R, Coelho-Santos V, Silva AP, Fernandes R, Zuzarte M, Enguita FJ, Costa MC, Pinto-do-O P, Pinto MT, Gouveia P, Ferreira L, Mason JC, Pereira P, Kwak BR, Nascimento DS, Girao H. Exosomes secreted by cardiomyocytes subjected to ischemia promote cardiac angiogenesis. Cardiovasc Res 2017, 113:1338-1350.

Selected Grants

Re-PAIR: A novel mechanism to re-pair HFpEF and endothelial damage. FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (2018-2020); On the right side: unveiling the mechanisms of pulmonary hypertension reversability and the heart failure progression. FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (2018-2021).

On the right side: unveiling the mechanisms of pulmonary hypertension reversability and the heart failure progression. FCT/PT2020 - 02/SAICT/2017_434 (240,000 €). 2018-2021 (PI Rui Baptista).

Go to top