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The function and biomarker potential of mitochondrial microRNAs in hypertension

Project description

MicroRNA biomarkers for hypertension

Hypertension is the main cause of cardiovascular disease, affecting nearly one third of the world's adult population. With diagnosis and therapies having remained unchanged for years, scientists of the EU-funded MITO project are investigating novel methods to improve the healthcare of hypertensive patients. The work will focus on the discovery of mitochondrial microRNAs in the blood of subjects with hypertension. These small regulatory molecules constitute an accessible source of biomarkers and have been widely used as therapeutic targets in clinical applications. Researchers are also interested in investigating the role of microRNAs in hypertension development, paving the way for the discovery of new anti-hypertensive therapies.


Hypertension is an extreme public health problem affecting nearly one third of the World’s adult population. Most cardiovascular diseases are provoked by hypertension resulting in an estimated 9.4 million deaths every year. Surprisingly, the diagnosis of hypertension has changed very little over the past 100 years - just using a stethoscope definitely needs refining. Furthermore, the epidemic proportion of hypertension worldwide pinpoints the necessity for the discovery of fresh antihypertensive therapies. Thus the main objective of the MITO project is to discover novel methods to improve healthcare of hypertension patients. For this we will investigate the circulating pool of microRNAs (small RNA molecules present in the blood, regulating gene expression) - we hypothesize that particularly mitochondrial microRNAs play a critical role in hypertension development. Easily obtainable in the blood, microRNAs constitute an accessible source of biomarkers and therapeutic targets for clinical application. The research plan envisages three scientific work packages dedicated (1) to the discovery of candidate microRNAs associated with hypertension by using small RNA sequencing in 30 hypertensive patients and 30 controls, (2) the validation of candidate microRNAs in a group of 540 participants (paying attention to sex specificities), and (3) to the functional assessment of the role of microRNAs in hypertension development. While the first two parts of the project will be conducted at the host institution in Luxembourg, functional studies will involve three secondments to partner institutions in Denmark, Germany, and France. A successful outcome will have implications ranging from contributing to satisfy the need for novel methods to stop the progression of hypertension, to a better understanding of the role of microRNAs in hypertension development, to the training of a young East European researcher to pioneer development in a research field just emerging in her home country.


Net EU contribution
€ 178 320,00
1445 Strassen

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Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 178 320,00