Intercellular communication in health and disease

Intercellular communication in health and disease

Laboratory for experimental neurocardiology

Intercellular communication in health and disease

  Međustanična komunikacija u zdravlju i bolesti

Head of the Lab
Assoc. prof. Natalija Filipović, PhD

Fundamental research and topics 
Cell-to-cell communication plays a significant role in different physiological processes and pathophysiology various diseases. Connexins and pannexins are families of transmembrane proteins that play a central role in intercellular communication. In our laboratory, we have extensively studied the expression of different types of connexins and pannexins in embryonic and fetal development and in different physiological and pathological conditions, including various complications of diabetes. The current focus of our research project is to elucidate in detail the role of connexins and pannexins in the intercellular communication of different cell types in pathophysiology of diabetic kidney disease, as one of the most serious complications of diabetes and the most common cause of end-stage renal disease worldwide. We combine several research approaches: detailed analysis of connexin/pannexin expression in tissue samples from patients with diabetes, using light/fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy, transcriptome analysis of individual kidney cell populations from mice with pharmacologically induced diabetes, and the use of animal models in which connexin/pannexin expression is selectively silenced in specific kidney cell populations. The results of these studies will provide us with a better understanding of the role of connexin/pannexin in the pathogenesis of DKD, as a prerequisite for the targeted and efficient use of modulation of connexin and pannexin channels as a therapeutic target in the prevention and treatment of DKD, as well as for the evaluation of potential adverse effects (eg, nephrotoxicity).

Intercellular communication in diabetic kidney disease - RENEX - IP-2022-10-7321]
Lead researcher: Natalija Filipović
Funded by Croatian Science Foundation - HrZZ
Duration: dec 2023 - dec 2027

Team members:
Assoc. prof. Natalija Filipović, PhD, DMV, head of lab
Prof. Katarina Vukojević, PhD, MD, associate
Prof. Boris Kablar, PhD, MD, associate
Prof. Mirna Saraga-Babić, PhD, MD, associate
Prof. Anita Markotić, associate
Prof. Ivana Bočina, associate
Prof. Merica Glavina Durdov, PhD, MD, associate
Assist. prof. Benjamin Benzon, PhD, MD, associate
Assist. prof. Nives Kević, associate
Assoc. prof. Nikolina Režić Mužinić, associate
Angela Mastelić, PhD, associate
Ivo Jeličić, PhD, MD, associate
Assist. prof. Ivana Restović, associate
Marica Maretić, Ing. chem., professional associate

Photo album

Future plans:
Uz istraživanja uloge koneksina/paneksina u dijabetičkoj bolesti bubrega, naša buduća istraživanja biti će usmjerena na ulogu međustanične komunikacije u drugim fiziološkim i patološkim procesima, kao što starenje, akutna ozljeda bubrega, druge mikro- i makrovaskularne komplikacije šećerne bolesti te metastaziranje tumora. 

Područja istraživanja:intercellular communication, connexins, pannexins, diabetic kidney disease, angiogenesis, metastasis

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