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The inner workings of blood vessels

Project summary

Cells that line the inside of blood vessels can become damaged in people with diabetes. Dr Aranzazu Chamorro Jorganes is zooming in on the careful balance of molecules inside those cells, to find out how diabetes throws the balance off. Understanding more about blood vessel damage on a molecular level could uncover new ways to restore blood vessels back to full health in people with diabetes.

Background to research

All of the blood vessels in our bodies are lined with a type of cell called endothelial cells. We need healthy endothelial cells in order for our blood vessels to work properly. Endothelial cells need to be kept healthy, and this involves a delicate balance of molecules. High blood sugar levels can upset this balance and lead to blood vessel related diabetes complications, such as sight loss or heart disease.

Dr Chamorro Jorganes wants to investigate how diabetes upsets the molecular balance inside endothelial cells in more detail – an area of research yet to be explored.

Research aims

Dr Chamorro Jorganes will grow endothelial cells in the lab and expose them to high levels of sugar. She has already found specific molecules that she would like to study in more detail, including one called m6A.

Dr Chamorro Jorganes will look at how high levels of sugar affect m6A, perhaps changing the way it behaves or modifying its structure. She also wants to find out how m6A interacts with other important chemicals involved in keeping the endothelial cells healthy. 

Overall, Dr Chamorro Jorganes’ research will create a picture of how high blood sugar levels affect the different molecules needed to protect endothelial cells from damage.

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

Damage to blood vessels is common in people with diabetes, and it can lead to complications like sight loss or kidney disease. Understanding the molecular changes inside blood vessels will help scientists to uncover ways to prevent the damage from happening, and restore blood vessels back to full health.

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