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Atherosclerosis and related metabolic disorders

Cardiovascular disease and related metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. They have many common features, such as dyslipidemia and inflammation.

About the group

By exploring these processes through translational research, connecting basic science and the clinic, we wish to build a foundation for the development of new diagnostic and treatment targets for these conditions.

Our research group works in the cross-section between molecular biology and biochemistry, and cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and endocrine medicine. Our ambitious goal is to delineate novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers. 

The group uses different research approaches, ranging from analyses of blood and tissue samples from patients, to studies in genetically modified mice using advanced cellular and molecular biology. The group consists of people with different educational background and includes medical doctors, nutritionists, molecular biologists, biochemists and engineers. Such multidisciplinary competence is a great strength of our research group.

The research group is a part of the Research Institute of internal medicine at Rikshospitalet.

Long term objectives

  • To implement imaging in clinical, preclinical models and cell systems
  • Intervention study


  • T cell signaling in obesity and cardiometabolic disease
  • Cytokines and chemokines in ischemic heart disease and stroke
  • Platelet-mediated inflammation
  • NAD in atherosclerosis and metabolic disease
  • Legumain in atherosclerosis
  • DNA repair enzymes in atherosclerosis and metabolic disease
  • RNA modifications in atherosclerosis



  • Lars Gullestad, UoO/OUH
  • Kjetil Taskén, UoO/OUH
  • Kåre Birkeland/ Hanne Gulseth, UoO/OUH
  • Kirsten B. Holven, UoO/OUH
  • Arild Rustan, UoO
  • Leiv Arne Rosseland, UoO/OUH
  • David Russell, UoO/OUH
  • Terje Espevik, NTNU
  • Rolf Berge, UoB
  • Christopher Sivert Nielsen, NIPH
  • Rigmor Solberg, UoO
  • Harald Thidemann Johansen, UoO
  • Ingrun Alseth, OUH


  • Erik Biessen, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
  • Harry Björkbacka, University of Lund, Sweden
  • Jan Boren, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Eicke Latz, University of Bonn, Germany
  • Patrick Rensen, Leiden University, the Netherlands

Selected Publications

  • Lunde NN, Gregersen I, Ueland T, Shetelig C, Holm S, Kong XY, Michelsen AE, Otterdal K, Yndestad A, Broch K, Gullestad L, Nyman TA, Bendz B, Eritsland J, Hoffmann P, Skagen K, Gonçalves I, Nilsson J, Grenegård M, Poreba M, Drag M, Seljeflot I, Sporsheim B, Espevik T, Skjelland M, Johansen HT, Solberg R, Aukrust P, Björkbacka H, Andersen GØ, Halvorsen B (2019). Legumain is upregulated in acute cardiovascular events and associated with improved outcome - potentially related to anti-inflammatory effects on macrophages. Atherosclerosis. pii: S0021-9150(19)31626-0.
  • Fosshaug LE, Colas RA, Anstensrud AK, Gregersen I, Nymo S, Sagen EL, Michelsen A, Vinge LE, Øie E, Gullestad L, Halvorsen B, Hansen TV, Aukrust P, Dalli J, Yndestad A (2019). Early increase of specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction. EBioMedicine. Aug;46:264-273. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.07.024.
  • Narverud I, Bogsrud MP, Øyri LKL, Ulven SM, Retterstøl K, Ueland T, Mulder M, Roeters van Lennep J, Halvorsen B, Aukrust P, Veierød MB, Holven KB (2019). Lipoprotein(a) concentration is associated with plasma arachidonic acid in subjects with familial hypercholesterolaemia. Br J Nutr. 2019 Jul 2:1-10. doi: 10.1017/S0007114519001600.
  • Orrem HL, Nilsson PH, Pischke SE, Kleveland O, Yndestad A, Ekholt K, Damås JK, Espevik T, Bendz B, Halvorsen B, Gregersen I, Wiseth R, Andersen GØ, Ueland T, Gullestad L, Aukrust P, Barratt-Due A, Mollnes TE (2018). IL-6 Receptor Inhibition by Tocilizumab Attenuated Expression of C5a Receptor 1 and 2 in Non-ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction. Front Immunol. 2018 Sep 12;9:2035
  • Skarpengland T, Skjelland M, Kong XY, Skagen K, Holm S, Otterdal K, Dahl CP, Krohg-Sørensen K, Sagen EL, Bjerkeli V, Aamodt AH, Abbas A, Gregersen I, Aukrust P, Halvorsen B, Dahl TB (2018). Increased Levels of Lectin-Like Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor-1 in Ischemic Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 12;7(2). pii: e006479.
  • Gregersen I, Sandanger Ø, Askevold ET, Sagen EL, Yang K, Holm S, Pedersen TM, Skjelland M, Krohg-Sørensen K, Hansen TV, Dahl TB, Otterdal K, Espevik T, Aukrust P, Yndestad A, Halvorsen B (2017) Interleukin 27 is increased in carotid atherosclerosis and promotes NLRP3 inflammasome activation. PLoS One, 12 (11), e0188387
  • Christensen JJ, Ulven SM, Retterstøl K, Narverud I, Bogsrud MP, Henriksen T, Bollerslev J, Halvorsen B, Aukrust P, Holven KB (2017). Comprehensive lipid and metabolite profiling of children with and without familial hypercholesterolemia: A cross-sectional study. Atherosclerosis, 266, 48-57.
  • Bakke SS, Aune MH, Niyonzima N, Pilely K, Ryan L, Skjelland M, Garred P, Aukrust P, Halvorsen B, Latz E, Damås JK, Mollnes TE, Espevik T (2017). Cyclodextrin Reduces Cholesterol Crystal-Induced Inflammation by Modulating Complement Activation. J Immunol, 199 (8), 2910-2920.
  • Espada S, Stavik B, Holm S, Sagen EL, Bjerkeli V, Skjelland M, Dahl TB, Espevik T, Kanse S, Sandset PM, Skretting G, Halvorsen B (2017). Tissue factor pathway inhibitor attenuates ER stress-induced inflammation in human M2-polarized macrophages. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 491 (2), 442-448
  • Retterstøl K, Narverud I, Selmer R, Berge KE, Osnes IV, Ulven SM, Halvorsen B, Aukrust P, Holven KB, Iversen PO (2017). Severe hypertriglyceridemia in Norway: prevalence, clinical and genetic characteristics. Lipids Health Dis, 16 (1), 115
  • Stavik B, Holm S, Espada S, Iversen N, Sporsheim B, Bjerkeli V, Dahl TB, Sandset PM, Skjelland M, Espevik T, Skretting G, Halvorsen B (2017). Increased expression of TFPI in human carotid stenosis. Thromb Res, 155, 31-37
  • Bermudez B, Dahl TB, Medina I, Groeneweg M, Holm S, Montserrat-de la Paz S, Rousch M, Otten J, Herias V, Varela LM, Ranheim T, Yndestad A, Ortega-Gomez A, Abia R, Nagy L, Aukrust P, Muriana FJG, Halvorsen B, Biessen EAL (2017) Leukocyte Overexpression of Intracellular NAMPT Attenuates Atherosclerosis by Regulating PPARγ-Dependent Monocyte Differentiation and Function. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, 37 (6), 1157-1167
  • Bjørklund KB and Halvorsen B (2017). “Aterosklerose fra epidemiologi til patofysiologi» Chapter 54, Indremedisin I og II. Birkeland KI, Gullestad, Aabakken  L (2017). Forlaget Vett&Viten. ISBN: 978-82-412-0764-8



Published Aug. 10, 2018 10:23 AM - Last modified May 12, 2020 10:32 AM


Group Leader


Detailed list of participants