Coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction

Coronary Artery Disease Map

Coronary artery disease (CAD) morbidity and mortality pose a major public health burden worldwide, since deaths from cardiovascular disease are still increasing, 41% between 1990 and 2013. CAD is a multifactorial disease in which cholesterol and fatty material are built up within the coronary arteries (atherosclerosis), leading to a narrowing of the arteries and reduced or stopped blood flow. Such blocking of the coronary arteries subsequently leads to a myocardial infarction (MI) which has to be surgically treated quickly to avoid death and minimize serious heart damage. Over time, this condition can weaken the heart and lead to heart failure.

Myocardial infarction has a complex and heterogenic etiology involving numerous environmental and genetic factors. Known risk factors for the development are age, gender, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, being physically inactive, and family history of CAD. To evaluate and estimate the risk in patients, several risk scores were developed to determine an individual’s chances of developing CAD in a certain time frame based on the classical cardiovascular risk factors.

At the University Heart Center Hamburg, Germany, we are investigating the pathophysiology and the molecular mechanisms of CAD and MI using genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, and clinics using translational apporaches in systems medicine. In this project, we review CAD and MI-relevant pathways and mechanisms based on literature, databases, and clinical experience. We aim at identifying and specifying pathways, their pathophysiological role and molecular mechanisms in the development of CAD. The ultimate goal is a deeper understanding of CAD and its possible translation into a clinical setting.

Development team

Daniela Börnigen Daniela Börnigen, PhD
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
Senior Researcher
Department of General and Interventional Cardology, University Heart Center Hamburg GmbH (UHZ)
Tanja Zeller Tanja Zeller, PhD
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
Professor for Genomics and Systems Biology, DZHK Professor
Department of General and Interventional Cardology, University Heart Center Hamburg GmbH (UHZ)