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The role of DNA damage and mitochondrial function in vascular, immune and neurological ageing

Age-related vascular diseases can be prevented

The world population is getting older and older. Unfortunately this increased life expectancy is generally associated by so-called age-related vascular diseases, such as dementia, heart infarct and stroke. However, these age-related chronic disorders can be delayed or even prevented by interference with common critical mechanisms underlying these diseases. Neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases share an underlying, mechanistic framework with involvement of increased oxidative stress, inflammation and insulin resistance.

Unrepaired DNA damage

In this project the researchers have strong indications that vascular ageing is caused by accumulation of unrepaired DNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction in the vessel wall, which both increase with age. The project therefore proposes that age-related chronic disorders, despite their very diverse symptom profiles, share vascular ageing as common factor. These events induce progressive aging, inflammation and functional loss of the vessel wall, which eventually will manifest as cardiovascular dysfunction or neurodegeneration, two hallmarks of ageing.

International collaboration of researchers

In this Dutch-Brazilian NWO-FAPESP project, experts in the field of ageing, DNA damage and repair, mitochondrial dysfunction and cardiovascular inflammation will collaborate to establish this age-related cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease axis, to detect signs of (accelerated) ageing at an earliest possible stage, and intend to design precision medicine. To do so they will combine cutting edge technologies.

Reducing age-related diseases in the future

The insights gained in this project will be used to design new biomarkers of vascular ageing and for new therapeutic measures to turn back the harmful causes. By targeting a unique common mechanism in vascular ageing we expect that this project will help to reduce these age-related diseases thus improving quality of life for the elderly, and bringing the vista of healthy ageing within reach.


Looptijd: 81%
Looptijd: 81 %
Onderdeel van programma:
Gerelateerde subsidieronde:
Projectleider en penvoerder:
prof. dr. J.H.J. Hoeijmakers
Verantwoordelijke organisatie:
Erasmus Medisch Centrum