Team 1: Cardiovascular Immunobiology

Group leaders: Giuseppina CALIGIURI & Antonino NICOLETTI

The research in this team is devoted to study the multiple mechanisms through which the immune system

interacts with diseased vessels and we design new vascular-protective immunointervention strategies. Our research program relies on specific skills and tools: experimental animal models, tissue biobank, (immuno-)histology, and up-to-date flow cytometry core.


In the recent years, we have:

  • Identified the CD31 as a molecule of pacification of the blood-vessel interface and have brought the proof of concept of its therapeutic potential;
  • Deciphered local immune responses around atherothrombotic vessels and defined novel pathogenic immune pathways in the advanced stages of atherothrombotic disease;
  • Targeted the neutrophils and their molecular effectors in stroke.

Our current major research focuses are: 

  • To suppress adverse vascular effects of reperfusion in brain, heart, intestine, and lungs;
  • To evaluate new immune-related pathways and immunointervention strategies;
  • To investigate the causal link between atherothrombosis and periodontal diseases;
  • To evaluate the role of CD31 in transplantation;
  • To discover new cellular and molecular pathways leading to aortic valve calcification.

Since 2012, we have filed 6 patents:

  • Caligiuri G, Nicoletti A. 2012. “Use of CD31 peptides in the treatment of atherothrombosis and autoimmune disorders”. PCT/EP2009058188 / WO 2010/000741 A1.
  • Caligiuri G, Nicoletti A. 2012. “Improved CD31 peptides”. PCT/EP2013/062806 / WO2013190014 A1.
  • Caligiuri G, Nicoletti A. 2015. “Detection of shed CD31, diagnosis of atherothrombosis and autoimmune disorders, and methods for analyzing signaling pathways”. PCT/EPT2009/58220 / WO 2010/000756 A1.
  • Caligiuri G, Nicoletti A. 2015. “Detection of platelet-derived shed CD31”. PCT/EP2013/055489 / WO2013152919 A1.
  • Caligiuri G, Nicoletti A, Le Guludec D, Bay S. 2016. “CD31shed as a molecular target for imaging of inflammation”. EP16305516.
  • Caligiuri G, Nicoletti A, Michel JB. 2016. “CD31shed agonists for use in the prevention and/or treatment of reperfusion injury”. EP16305311.
Family name
First name