Metabolically Induced Cardiovascular Degeneration

Cardiovascular diseases are a serious element in increasing costs in health care systems. The degenerative aortic valve disease is the leading diagnose and a replacement of the valve is often indispensable. Diabetes mellitus is one of the risk factors of the disease and will be in focus of cardiovascular research since its prevalence is rising. The processes taking place in the development and progression of the degenerative aortic valve disease particularly in relation to Diabetes mellitus are still not fully understood yet. Promising candidates are molecules of the extracellular matrix, especially glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans. Therefore, in our working group we investigate the mechanisms of these processes in vitrowith primary cells of heart valve tissue, in vivo in a mouse model and ex vivo in human heart tissue. Here, methods like gene expression analyses, colorimetric assays, protein biochemistry and (immune-) histochemistry are used.


  • Dr. rer. nat. Mareike Barth
  • Jessica Isabel Selig
  • Britta Blume
  • Sebastian Bauer
  • Franziska Japes
  • Elisabeth Pracht
  • Linus Mrozek
  • Neslihan Odabasi

Previous members: Antje Schomakers, Svenja Klose, Michael Sarter, Nadine Müller


  • Research Commission of the University of Duesseldorf (2013)
  • German Heart Foundation (Dr. Rusche Grant 2016)


  • The adhering junctions of valvular interstitial cells: molecular composition in fetal and adult hearts and the comings and goings of plakophilin-2 in situ, in cell culture and upon re-association with scaffolds. Barth M, Rickelt S, Noffz E, Winter-Simanowski S, Niemann H, Akhyari P, Lichtenberg A, Franke WW. Cell Tissue Res. 2012 May;348(2):295-307.
  • Cordial connections: molecular ensembles and structures of adhering junctions connecting interstitial cells of cardiac valves in situ and in cell culture. Barth M, Schumacher H, Kuhn C, Akhyari P, Lichtenberg A, Franke WW. Cell Tissue Res. 2009 Jul;337(1):63-77.
  • Influence of the fat mass and obesity-associated (Fto) gene on the degeneration of heart valve prosthesis material. Jessica I. Selig, Michael Sarter, Mareike Barth, Antje Schomakers, Stefanie Seehaus, Ulrich Rüther, Artur Lichtenberg, Payam Akhyari. Presented at 83rd annual meeting of the German Cardiac Society (DGK) 19.-22.April 2017, Mannheim, Germany.
  • Biglycan is involved in degenerative aortic valve disease in diabetic disorders. Barth M., Selig J.I., Klose S., Kiene L.S., Raschke S., Akhyari P., Fischer J.W., Lichtenberg A. Presented at 46th annual meeting of the German Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (DGTHG), 11.-14.February 2017, Leipzig, Germany.
  • Can a valve become resistant to insulin? Influence of type 2 diabetes mimicking conditions on valvular interstitial cells. Selig J.I., Raschke S., Ouwens D.M., Lichtenberg A., Akhyari P., Barth M. Presented at 46th annual meeting oft he German Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (DGTHG), 11.-14.February 2017, Leipzig, Germany.
  • Insulin resistance in valvular interstitial cells – an in vitro model for type 2 diabetes in degenerative aortic valve disease. Jessica I. Selig, Silja Raschke, Payam Akhyari., Artur Lichtenberg, Mareike Barth. Presented at 52nd Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 12.-16.Sept. 2016, Munich, Germany.
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