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 vitro with primary cells of heart valve tissue, in vivo in a mouse model and ex vivo in human heart tissue.


  • Dr. rer. nat. Mareike Barth
  • Dr. rer. nat. Jessica Isabel Selig
  • B.Sc. Caroline Küppers
  • cand. med. Felix Alexander Kraft
  • cand. med. Elena Adler


  • Prof. Dr. Margriet D. Ouwens, Dr. Stefan Lehr, Dr. Sonja Hartwig - Institut für Klinische Biochemie und Pathobiochemie, Deutsches Diabetes-Zentrum
  • Prof. Dr. Fischer - Institut für Pharmakologie, Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf
  • PD Dr. Kathrin Becker - Poliklinik für Kieferorthopädie, Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf
  • Dr. Nicole Rauch - Poliklinik für Zahnärztliche Chirurgie und Aufnahme, Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf

Awards & Funding

  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Förderung „Nachwuchsakademie Herzchirurgie“ 2019
  • Auszeichnung als Heine-Frau 2018 für außergewöhnliche Leistungen und soziales Engagement an der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
  • Dr. Rusche-Projektförderung der Deutschen Stiftung für Herzforschung (DSHF) 2016
  • Anschubförderung durch die Forschungskommission der medizinischen Fakultät der Heinrich-Heine-Universität 2013


  • Barth M, Mrozek L, Niazy N, Selig JI, Boeken U, Sugimura Y, Kalampokas N, Horn P, Westenfeld R, Kropil P, Aubin H, Lichtenberg A, Akhyari P (2022) Degenerative changes of the aortic valve during left ventricular assist device support. ESC Heart Fail, 9 (1), 270-282. doi: 10.1002/ehf2.13767
  • Selig JI, Boulgaropoulos J, Niazy N, Ouwens DM, Preuss K, Horn P, Westenfeld R, Lichtenberg A, Akhyari P, Barth M (2021) Crosstalk of Diabetic Conditions with Static Versus Dynamic Flow Environment-Impact on Aortic Valve Remodeling. Int J Mol Sci. 22 (13). doi: 10.3390/ijms22136976
  • Selig JI, Ouwens DM, Raschke S, Thoresen H, Fischer JW, Lichtenberg A, Akhyari P, Barth M (2019) Impact of hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia on valvular interstitial cells - A link between aortic heart valve degeneration and type 2 diabetes. BBA - Molecular Basis of Disease. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2019.05.019
  • Barth M, Selig JI, Klose S, Schomakers A, Kiene LS, Raschke S, Boeken U, Akhyari P, Fischer JW, Lichtenberg A (2018) Degenerative aortic valve disease and diabetes: Implications for a link between proteoglycans and diabetic disorders in the aortic valve. Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research. doi: 10.1177/1479164118817922
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