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Email: gcavigiolio@chori.org
Phone: 510 4507630 (office)
510 4507633 (lab)
Fax: 510-450-7910


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Overview

The primary focus of Dr. Cavigiolio's research is lipoprotein metabolism and cardiovascular disease. Lipids (fats) are transported in blood in lipid-protein assemblies known as lipoproteins. The protein components of lipoproteins are called apolipoproteins. Dr. Cavigiolio seeks to identify the factors that lead to dysfunctional apolipoproteins, and understand the mechanisms whereby dysfunctional apolipoproteins contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

Atherosclerosis is a complex disease of the arteries that starts with the deposition of oxidized lipids inside the artery wall in an area known as the subendothelial space. In response, the immune system recruits a type of white blood cell called macrophages to the subendothelial space to clear lipid deposits. When macrophages become overloaded with oxidized lipids, however, they die and transform into "foam cells" that contribute to the growth of the atherosclerotic plaque. Lipid levels, local inflammation, and oxidation levels in the atherosclerotic arteries are all factors that participate in the progression of atherosclerosis to a potential life-threatening condition. Apolipoproteins are major players in controlling these factors.

Dr. Cavigiolio investigates the structural/functional factors that determine the fate, whether beneficial or detrimental, of apolipoproteins in atherosclerosis. The long-term goal of this research is to identify and eventually prevent apolipoprotein dysfunction, and thereby reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.

 

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