Lipoproteins and apolipoproteins are well known to contribute to the development of several diseases, including cardiovascular disease. There is evidence that alterations of these proteins are part of the immune response in infections and are essential for the protection of the host. However, the importance of their role in infectious diseases and inflammation in general is still underrated - although these could play an essential role in understanding the pathophysiology of several diseases. Lipoproteins and apolipoproteins could be relevant in the susceptibility and progression of infectious diseases. There is evidence that persistent low-grade inflammation is associated with the pathogenesis of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and aging-related diseases. Complement and lipoproteins might be essential for the susceptibility of infectious and inflammatory diseases. To what extend lipoproteins and complement are involved in different types of infections remains unclear.
One objective of this research project is to investigate whether lipoproteins are a susceptibility factor for different diseases. The role of lipoproteins might be further investigated in large cohorts. In survival analysis, the influence of components of the lipoprotein metabolism will be investigated in context of mortality (due to infections) and other outcomes such as hospitalizations due to infections of various etiologies. Special focus of this project is on genetic causes underlying these potential associations. A further task will be to analyze genome-wide association studies to search for genetic variants associated with the findings.
In summary, the main objective of this PhD project is to analyze the lipid metabolism in context of infectious diseases and inflammation. These parameters are investigated in large cohorts not only on protein level, but also on genetic level including experiments based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA basis. Results of these analyses might provide important insight in the biological background underlying the diseases.