LEAN (Leducq Epigenetics of Atherosclerosis Network) Defining and targeting epigenetic pathways in monocytes and macrophages that contribute to cardiovascular disease.

European Coordinator:
  • Menno de WINTHER, Academic Medical center, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
North American Coordinator:
  • Christopher K. GLASS , The Regents of the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA (USA)
  • Ronald EVANS, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA (USA)
  • Frederic GEISSMANN, MSKCC, New York, NY (USA)
  • Udo OPPERMANN, University of Oxford (UK)
  • Bart STAELS, INSERM, Lille (France)
  • Sam TSIMIKAS, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA (USA)
  • Seppo YLA-HERTTUALA, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio (Finland)



Lipid-lowering therapy has been an effective mainstay in the clinical treatment of atherosclerosis. Even with optimal treatment, however, patients suffer recurrent cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, with rates in Western societies approaching 10-25% over 3-5 years. Improving upon these numbers will require new insights into the mechanisms driving atherosclerotic disease. The members of the Leducq Epigenetics of Atherosclerosis Network propose to concentrate on inflammation, a crucial determinant in this disease process. Bringing together top clinical investigators in the fields of lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis with leading experts in the fields of epigenetics, transcriptional regulation and inflammation, this network will investigate the role of inflammatory cells, particularly macrophages, in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. A description of the epigenetic pathways underlying CVD will lead to new opportunities for improved diagnostics and therapeutics to further reduce the incidence of CVD and its complications.