Project: Duchenne muscular dystrophy cardiomyopathy; the role of ENdocannabinoids and IMmune regulation

Acronym DENIM
Duration 01/05/2019 - 30/04/2021
Project Topic Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a genetic condition that causes muscles to degenerate and it affects young boys and some of their mothers. It is of great importance to find new therapies for MD, since existing therapy has limited effect and one of the leading causes of death is premature heart failure. Endocannabinoids are lipids in the human body that regulate many body processes by activating two types of cannabinoid receptor. We use heart cells made from MD patients’ stem cells to recreate MD heart disease in the lab. Using these patients’ ‘hearts-in-dishes’ we showed that levels of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors were changed. We also uncovered that modulating cannabinoid receptors protected MD heart cells and a non-psychoactive plant cannabinoid compound prevented the death of MD heart cells. Another aspect of our research shows that the immune system contributes to MD heart disease, thus we will incorporate immune cells to our model; forming a superior multi-cell MD heart disease model. We will test the protective effects of cannabinoid-based compounds in this ‘heart-in-a-dish’ MD model and in MD mice.
Network ERA-CVD
Call Joint Transnational Call for Proposal 2018 (JTC 2018)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 IRCCS Centro Cardiologico Monzino Coordinator Italy
2 INSERM, Institute of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases Partner France
3 University Hospital Jena Partner Germany
4 IRCCS Centro Cardiologico Monzino Partner Italy