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Cambridge Cardiovascular



Vascular smooth muscle cells derived from human atherosclerotic plaques show multiple characteristics of senescence, both in vitro and in vivo. Identifying the mechanisms that control this process is crucial to understand their impact on atherogenesis and to develop potentially new anti-atherosclerotic strategies. Sirtuins, a class of enzymes with deacetylase and ADP-ribosyltransferase activity, are expressed in human atherosclerotic plaques and have been implicated in organism longevity, genomic stability, apoptosis, and energy metabolism. Previous work at our laboratory has shown that Sirtuin 1 protects against an unstable atherosclerotic plaque phenotype in mice. Therefore, we investigate their role in vascular smooth muscle cells in regulating DNA damage, senescence, apoptosis and lipid metabolism using different mouse models of atherosclerosis.


Key publications: 

Vascular smooth muscle cell death, autophagy and senescence in atherosclerosis. Grootaert MOJ, Moulis M, Roth L, Martinet W, Vindis C, Bennett MR, De Meyer GRY. Cardiovascular Research, 2018 Mar 15; 114 (4); 622-634.

Defective autophagy in atherosclerosis: to die or to senesce? Grootaert MOJ, Roth L, Schrijvers DM, De Meyer GRY, Martinet W.  Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2018 Feb 26; doi 10.1155/2018/7687083.

SIRT6 protects smooth muscle cells from senescence and reduces atherosclerosis. Grootaert MOJ, Finigan A, Figg NL, Uryga AK, Bennett MR. Circulation Research, 2021 Feb 19; 128: 474-491

Vascular smooth muscle cells in atherosclerosis: time for a re-assessment. Grootaert MOJ and Bennett MR. Cardiovascular Research 2021 Feb 22; doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvab046

Impact of myeloid RIPK1 gene deletion on atherosclerosis in ApoE-deficient mice. Coornaert I, Puylaert P, Marcasolli G, Grootaert MOJ, Vandenabeele P, De Meyer GRY, Martinet W. Atherosclerosis, 2021 April 1; 322: 51-60.

Telomere damage promotes vascular smooth muscle cell senescence and recruitment of immune cells  after vessel injury. Uryga AK*, Grootaert MOJ*, Garrido AM, Oc S, Foot K, Chappell J, Finigan A, Rossiello F, d’Adda di Fagagna F, Aravani D, Jorgensen HF, Bennett MR. Nature Communications Biology, 2021 May 21; 4: 611.




Research Associate
Dr Mandy O J Grootaert


Collaborator profiles: 
Person keywords: 
vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC)