Mechanisms of heme toxicity on the cardiovascular system


Emanuela Tolosano

Heme (iron protoporphyrin IX) serves as the functional group of various proteins, including hemoglobin, myoglobin, nitric oxide synthase, and cytochromes, and is therefore essential for diverse biologic processes. On the other hand, heme that is not bound to proteins is a potential toxic molecule as it can promote the generation of reactive oxygen species, causing cellular and tissue damage. Our research is aimed at elucidating the mechanisms that regulates cellular and systemic heme metabolism. Ongoing research projects are the following:

  • Mechanisms of heme toxicity on the cardiovascular system
  • Impact of heme/iron metabolism on tumor cell growth and sensitivity to therapy
  • Identification and functional characterization of genes involved in heme-iron metabolism
  • Investigation of the molecular mechanisms linking heme metabolism to the degeneration of sensory neurons
Unit members