Dr Olivier Meilhac (38 y.o) gained his master degree in 1994 from Paul Sabatier and Autonoma Universities (Toulouse, France and Madrid, Spain). He holds a PhD degree in Medical Biochemistry from Toulouse University. Currently, Dr Meilhac is Research Director at INSERM unit 698 in Paris, France (French National Institute of Health). He has published over 65 papers on cardiovascular diseases. Since 2001, Dr Meilhac’s research has focused on atherothrombosis in humans using proteomic tools.
Cardiovascular disease remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the western world, and atherothrombotic remodelling of the vascular wall is one of the main determinants of morbi-mortality, related to coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease or ischemic stroke. The search of biomarkers in atherosclerosis is of major importance in order to predict the onset of clinical complications, to evaluate the efficacy of treatments and to understand its pathophysiology, in order to define new therapeutic targets.
To specifically target potential biomarkers of atherothrombosis, we have developed an alternative approach to tissue extraction for the study of atherosclerotic plaques. We analyze the proteins released by normal and pathological arterial walls from patients affected by atherosclerosis. We hypothesized that the patterns of protein secretion could be different between atherosclerotic plaques and normal endarteries. By focusing only on the secreted proteins found in the tissue culture media, there is an intended bias toward those molecules that would have a higher probability of later being found in the plasma.
We have also developed a strategy focusing on high density lipoproteins (HDL) that diffuse directly from atherosclerotic lesions and isolated from plasma, that may be appropriate to discover new peptides/proteins associated with these lipoproteins and also to identify molecular effectors of anti-atherogenic properties of HDL, such as its recently described anti-protease effect.
Our aims are thus:
- to unravel proteins/peptides associated with HDL that could be used as biomarkers for cardiovascular pathologies and give insights in the pathophysiology of atherothrombosis.
- to use HDL as a vector of antiprotease in different pathologies where proteases are the driving force including abdominal aortic aneurysm, stroke and emphysema.