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An investigation into how a sugar-clearing protein affects heart disease

Associate Professor Christina Bursill, Institution: University of Adelaide

2020 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2021-2023


The aim of this project is to understand the importance of a protein called the asialoglycoprotein receptor 1 (ASGR1) in the development of heart disease. Historically, ASGR1 has been reported to remove unwanted sugars (glycans) from the blood stream but recent evidence from large-scale epidemiological testing and from our group support a new exciting role in heart disease. We will test the importance of ASGR1 in heart disease using mice that do not have ASGR1 and determine changes in the size of the fatty blockages in the blood vessels of the heart. By understanding how ASGR1 affects heart disease we hope to pave a pathway towards the development of a novel therapy that is an alternative to traditional cholesterol-lowering treatment approaches. In ASGR1-absent mice, we also aim to characterise alterations in the complex sugar communication network of the body (the glycome) that regulates a host of diseases. We will do this using the most cutting-edge analysis technology available in Australia. We anticipate this will reveal novel sugar-based biomarkers that can predict early disease or fatty plaques that are unstable and prone to causing heart attacks.

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