Homepage » Research Units » Unit of Cardiopreservation and Cardiac Regeneration

History and Achievements

This research unit has been founded in 1993 in the Dept of Pharmacology in collaboration with the Onassis Cardiac Center in order to promote innovative  research from the cell to humans.

The laboratory was designed to develop experimental settings and techniques which mimic clinical conditions and thus, address everyday problems in cardiology and cardiac surgery.

Hearts from small animals can be studied outside the animal body and subjected to ischemia and reperfusion closely mimicking the acute myocardial infarction in patients, cardiac bypass surgery and the donor heart for transplantation.  This allows the study of potential pharmacologic interventions that could limit the injury and preserve the myocardium under ischemic conditions.

The research in this field has resulted in the discovery that hormones which were critical in building the myocardium during birth can rebuild it when it is damaged later in adult life.  In this context, thyroid hormone is shown to have reparative properties beyond its role in development and promote recovery of  cardiac function after ischemia and limit tissue injury. The recognition that the body has its own ‘black box of repair’  will dramatically change the therapies for heart diseases.

Based on this innovation, a clinical trial has been designed aiming to test the efficacy of T3 as a novel therapeutic agent for promoting cardiac repair in patients with acute myocardial infarction.This study has already been approved by the Greek Medicinal Agency) and has been registered in the European Clinical Trials Database of EMEA (EudraCT:2016-000631-40).


Research Interests and Goals

  • The role of  thyroid hormone in cardiac repair/regeneration (experimental model of ischemia-reperfusion injury) Image 1, Image 2, Image 3
  • The role of thyroid hormone receptor α1 (TR α1) as pharmacological target for repair/regeneration after tissue injury. Image 4, Image 5
  • The role of thyroid hormone in tissue repair after neural injury (Image 6) and pancreatic injury (Image 7)
  • The role of thyroid hormone in cancer therapy. Image 8, Image 9
  • Investigation of the role of old and new pharmacological approaches in tissue repair after injury (ranolazine, amiodarone, dronedarone, trimetazidine, dobutamine, clenbuterol, phenylephrine, sildenafil, morphine). Image 10
  • Computational modeling


Research Infrastructure

A.Experimental Laboratory for small rodents for in vivo and ex vivo studies

Includes  1. experimental operating room,  2. Apparatus for perfusion of isolated rat hearts Langendorff,  3. Exercise testing for small animals (Stoelting ST58700), 4. Ultrasound system for Echocardiography (Vivid 7 version Pro i13L GE Healthcare).

 B. Molecular Biology Laboratory

 C. Cell Culture Laboratory

 D. Biochemistry



European Programs

  • “Open semantically-enabled, social-aware access to scientific data”  (OPENSCIENCELINK), FP7 Program. 2013-2016.
    In the context of this program, a new journal the  Biomedical Data Journal was published.
  • BIOASQ, FP7 Program. 2013-2014
  • “Efficient Patient Recruitment for Innovative Clinical Trials of Existing Drugs to other Indications”  (PONTE), FP7 Program, 2010-2013


Research Programs in collaboration with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies

  • “Development of innovative  diagnostic and therapeutic tools for cardiomyopathies and heart failure”   Uni-Pharma (2012-2015)
  • The role of ranolazine in cardiac remodeling after acute myocardial infarction in normal and diabetic rats."  Menarini International, Italy  and Gilead Sciences (Fremont, Silicon Valley, USA), (2011-2013), Publication
  • "Developement of molecular fluorescent probes for in vivo and ex vivo detection of apoptosis." Quidd, Rouen, France (2007-2009). Publication
  •  “Mechanism of action of trimetazidine in ischemia-reperfusion", Research Labs Servier France, (2002), Publication
  •  “The role of renin-angiotensin system in thyroxine-induced hypertrophy and the response of the normal and hyperthyroid heart to ischemia after irbesartan treatment." Research Laboratories Sanofi- Aventis (2001). Publication
  •  “The role of amiodarone and dronedarone in the response of the normal and hyperthyroid heart to ischemia."  Research Laboratories Sanofi- Aventis, Montpellier (1999). Publication


Congress organized by the Department of Pharmacology

  • 2015- International meeting entitled "Translating thyroid hormone action in non-thyroid care setting: Current options and future perspectivesunder the auspices of European Thyroid Association (Delphi, Greece)
  • 2008- The Congress of International Society of Heart Research European Section (Athens).
  • 2002-2009- Annual international scientific meetings under the auspices of International Society for Heart Research, department of Pharmacology and Hellenic Cardiology Society (Athens, Greece). "Athens Exchange of Cardiovascular Research Ideas" (Workshop)




Research Programs funded from sponsors

  • "New therapeutic approaches for repair and regeneration of the ischemic myocardium"" Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation
  • " The role of thyroid hormone in the formation of bio-engineered heart muscle from neonatal cardiomyocytes” S. Niarchos Public Benefit Foundation

  • “Cardiac remodeling after myocardial infarction: Experimental study of novel approaches in rat hearts and isolated cardiomyocytes.” S. Niarchos Public Benefit Foundation
  • "Development of experimental models of developmental biology in cell cultures"  Bodosakis Public Benefit Foundation