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Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology


Privatdozent Dr. Marco Cattaruzza



Completely unexpectedly PD Dr. Marco Cattaruzza passed away at the age of 46 on October 27, 2012.

Here, we would like to commemorate our esteemed colleague, a respected scientist and a dedicated teacher.

Following his studies in biology at Goethe University Frankfurt, Marco Cattaruzza worked as a PhD student in the group of Prof. Dr. Claudia Koch-Brandt at the Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Mainz University, where he studied the expression of the glycoprotein clusterin in apoptotic cells.

After completion of his doctorate he joined the recently founded group of Prof. Dr. Markus Hecker at the Center for Physiology and Pathophysiology at the University of Göttingen in 1996. Here he became particularly interested in the gene regulatory pathways in vascular cells and how they are controlled by biomechanical stimuli such as those exerted by elevated blood pressure. For his work on the vasoprotective effects of anti-hypertensive calcium antagonists he received the Wulf Vater-Dihydropyridine Research Award of Mainz University in 2000, together with Prof. Dr. Markus Hecker, Dr. Rolf Wachter and Dr. Andreas H. Wagner.

In 2004 Marco Cattaruzza was awarded the state doctorate in physiology by the University of Göttingen. In the following year, after the move of Prof. Hecker's entire group to the Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiologiy at Heidelberg University, he became Head of a working group in the Division of Cardiovascular Physiology, where he continued his work on mechanosensing and the sheer stress-dependent regulation of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase 3. With the adhesion protein zyxin, Marco Cattaruzza identified the first mechanosensitive modulator controling the expression of specific genes which are activated by rhythmic stretch.

Marco Cattaruzza was also very actively involved in teaching. As a university instructor he held lectures and supervised lab courses and seminars. A total of 4 science and medical doctoral candidates have worked in his group on their dissertations.

With his research Marco Cattaruzza contributed significantly to our understanding of the role biomechanical influences play during the pathophysiological remodeling of blood vessels. As a scientist he was mainly interested in the basic biological principles, yet he never lost sight of the potential later benefit for patients. It is in this spirit that staff members of the Division continue Marco Cattaruzza's studies.




Gasparitsch M, Schieber A, Schaubeck T, Keller U, Cattaruzza M, Lange-Sperandio B. Tyrphostin AG490 reduces inflammation and fibrosis in neonatal obstructive nephropathy. PLoS One. 2019 Dec 17;14(12):e0226675. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226675. eCollection 2019.


Engeman R, Cattaruzza R, Cattaruzza M, Fischer J. Photographic estimation of wild boar damage to alpine grazing pastures in the Carpathian Mountains of central Romania. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2016 Mar;23(5):4949-4952. Epub 2016 Jan 18.



Scherer C, Pfisterer L, Wagner AH, Hödebeck M, Cattaruzza M, Hecker M, Korff T. Arterial wall stress controls NFAT5 activity in vascular smooth muscle cells. J Am Heart Assoc. 2014 Mar 10;3(2):e000626. doi: 10.1161/​JAHA.113.000626.


Babu SS, Wojtowicz A, Freichel M, Birnbaumer L, Hecker M, Cattaruzza M. Mechanism of stretch-induced activation of the mechanotransducer zyxin in vascular cells. Sci Signal. 2012 Dec 11;5(254):ra91 doi: 10.1126/scisignal.2003173


Cattaruzza M, Nogoy N, Wojtowicz A, Hecker M. Zinc finger motif-1 antagonizes PDGF-BB-induced growth and dedifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells. FASEB J. 2012 Dec;26(12):4864-75. Epub 2012 Aug 20.


Cattaruzza M, Wagner AH, Hecker M. Mechanosensitive pro-inflammatory gene expression in vascular cells. In: Mechanical Stretch and Cytokines, Mechanosensitivity in Cells and Tissues, Vol. 5. A. Kamkin, I. Kiseleva (Eds.) Springer Science+Business Media B. V. 2012, pp. 59-86.


Wójtowicz A, Babu SS, Li L, Gretz N, Hecker M, Cattaruzza M. Zyxin mediation of stretch-induced gene expression in human endothelial cells. Circ Res. 2010 Oct 1;107(7):898-902. Epub 2010 Aug 12. Erratum in: Circ Res. 2010 Oct 29;107(9):e15-6.


Asif AR, Hecker M, Cattaruzza M. Disinhibition of SOD-2 expression to compensate for a genetically determined NO deficit in endothelial cells--brief report. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2009 Nov;29(11):1890-3. Epub 2009 Aug 20.


Asif AR, Oellerich M, Armstrong VW, Hecker M, Cattaruzza M. T-786C polymorphism of the NOS-3 gene and the endothelial cell response to fluid shear stress-a proteome analysis. J Proteome Res. 2009 Jun;8(6):3161-8.


Cattaruzza M, Hecker M. Protein carbonylation and decarboylation: a new twist to the complex response of vascular cells to oxidative stress. Circ Res. 2008 Feb 15;102(3):273-4.


Melchers I, Cattaruzza M. Gendefekt im Promoter der endothelialen NO-Synthase als Risikofaktor für Rheumatoide Arthritis. [A gene defect in the promoter of the endothelial NO synthase as a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis.] Z Rheumatol. 2007 Jul;66(4):326-7. Review.


Melchers I, Blaschke S, Hecker M, Cattaruzza M. The -786C/T single-nucleotide polymorphism in the promoter of the gene for endothelial nitric oxide synthase: insensitivity to physiologic stimuli as a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Oct;54(10):3144-51.


Liakopoulos OJ, Dörge H, Popov AF, Schmitto JD, Cattaruzza M, Schoendube FA. Influence of eNOS gene polymorphisms (894G/T; - 786C/T) on postoperative hemodynamics after cardiac surgery. Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2006 Jun;54(4):233-8.


Cattaruzza M, Guzik TJ, Słodowski W, Pelvan A, Becker J, Halle M, Buchwald AB, Channon KM, Hecker M. Shear stress insensitivity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression as a genetic risk factor for coronary heart disease. Circ Res. 2004 Oct 15;95(8):841-7. Epub 2004 Sep 16.


Cattaruzza M, Lattrich C, Hecker M. Focal adhesion protein zyxin is a mechanosensitive modulator of gene expression in vascular smooth muscle cells. Hypertension. 2004 Apr;43(4):726-30. Epub 2004 Feb 16.


Cattaruzza M, Słodowski W, Stojakovic M, Krzesz R, Hecker M. Interleukin-10 induction of nitric-oxide synthase expression attenuates CD40-mediated interleukin-12 synthesis in human endothelial cells. J Biol Chem. 2003 Sep 26;278(39):37874-80. Epub 2003 Jul 11.


Schweyer S, Soruri A, Baumhoer D, Peters J, Cattaruzza M, Radzun HJ, Fayyazi A. Expression of CXC chemokine IP-10 in testicular germ cell tumours. J Pathol. 2002 May;197(1):89-97.


Cattaruzza M, Berger MM, Ochs M, Fayyazi A, Füzesi L, Richter J, Hecker M. Deformation-induced endothelin B receptor-mediated smooth muscle cell apoptosis is matrix-dependent. Cell Death Differ. 2002 Feb;9(2):219-26.


Cattaruzza M, Schäfer K, Hecker M. Cytokine-induced down-regulation of zfm1/splicing factor-1 promotes smooth muscle cell proliferation. J Biol Chem. 2002 Feb 22;277(8):6582-9. Epub 2001 Dec 17.


Cattaruzza M, Eberhardt I, Hecker M. Mechanosensitive transcription factors involved in endothelin B receptor expression. J Biol Chem. 2001 Oct 5;276(40):36999-7003. Epub 2001 Jul 16.


Bach UC, Baiersdörfer M, Klock G, Cattaruzza M, Post A, Koch-Brandt C. Apoptotic cell debris and phosphatidylserine-containing lipid vesicles induce apolipoprotein J (clusterin) gene expression in vital fibroblasts. Exp Cell Res. 2001 Apr 15;265(1):11-20.


Lauth M, Cattaruzza M, Hecker M. ACE inhibitor and AT1 antagonist blockade of deformation-induced gene expression in the rabbit jugular vein through B2 receptor activation. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2001 Jan;21(1):61-6.


Lauth M, Wagner AH, Cattaruzza M, Orzechowski HD, Paul M, Hecker M. Transcriptional control of deformation-induced preproendothelin-1 gene expression in endothelial cells. J Mol Med. 2000;78(8):441-50.


Wagner AH, Krzesz R, Gao D, Schroeder C, Cattaruzza M, Hecker M. Decoy oligodeoxynucleotide characterization of transcription factors controlling endothelin-B receptor expression in vascular smooth muscle cells. Mol Pharmacol. 2000 Dec;58(6):1333-40.


Schubert A, Cattaruzza M, Hecker M, Darmer D, Holtz J, Morawietz H. Shear stress-dependent regulation of the human beta-tubulin folding cofactor D gene. Circ Res. 2000 Dec 8;87(12):1188-94.


Cattaruzza M, Dimigen C, Ehrenreich H, Hecker M. Stretch-induced endothelin B receptor-mediated apoptosis in vascular smooth muscle cells. FASEB J. 2000 May;14(7):991-8.


Cattaruzza M, Wachter R, Wagner AH, Hecker M. Modulation by dihydropyridine-type calcium channel antagonists of cytokine-inducible gene expression in vascular smooth muscle cells. Br J Pharmacol. 2000 Mar;129(6):1155-62.


Lauth M, Berger MM, Cattaruzza M, Hecker M. Elevated perfusion pressure upregulates endothelin-1 and endothelin B receptor expression in the rabbit carotid artery. Hypertension. 2000 Feb;35(2):648-54.


Lauth M, Berger MM, Cattaruzza M, Hecker M. Pressure-induced upregulation of preproendothelin-1 and endothelin B receptor expression in rabbit jugular vein in situ : implications for vein graft failure? Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2000 Jan;20(1):96-103.


Krzesz R, Wagner AH, Cattaruzza M, Hecker M. Cytokine-inducible CD40 gene expression in vascular smooth muscle cells is mediated by nuclear factor kappaB and signal transducer and activation of transcription-1. FEBS Lett. 1999 Jun 18;453(1-2):191-6.


Hecker M, Cattaruzza M, Wagner AH. Regulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase gene expression in vascular smooth muscle cells. Gen Pharmacol. 1999 Jan;32(1):9-16. Review.


Flach R, Cattaruzza M, Koch-Brandt C. Clusterin gene expression in apoptotic MDCK cells is dependent on the apoptosis-inducing stimulus. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1995 Sep 21;1268(3):325-8.

Recent Publications


Alginate hydrogel polymers enable efficient delivery of a vascular-targeted AAV vector into aortic tissue. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2021 Jun 11;21:83-93. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2021.02.017. eCollection 2021 Jun 11.


Microglia and lipids: how metabolism controls brain innate immunity. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2021 Apr;112:137-144. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2020.08.001. Epub 2020 Aug 15.


Editorial: Calcium Homeostasis in Skeletal Muscle Function, Plasticity, and Disease. Front Physiol. 2021 Mar 26;12:671292. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.671292. eCollection 2021.


Absence of neocytolysis in humans returning from a 3-week high-altitude sojourn. Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2021 Mar 17:e13647. doi: 10.1111/apha.13647. Online ahead of print.


Cardiomyocyte depolarization triggers NOS-dependent NO transient after calcium release, reducing the subsequent calcium transient. Basic Res Cardiol. 2021 Mar 17;116(1):18. doi: 10.1007/s00395-021-00860-0.


Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs); generation and enrichment protocols, immature and mature structure and function. In: Recent Advances in iPSC-Derived Cell Types, Volume 4, 1st Edition (Birbrair A, ed.) Academic Press 2021, pp. 191-226. Paperback ISBN 9780128222300; eBook ISBN 9780128224540


Simulation of Air Travel-Related Irradiation Exposure of Cryopreserved Mouse Germplasm Samples. Biopreserv Biobank. 2021 Mar 1. doi: 10.1089/bio.2020.0046. Online ahead of print.


Anesthetics and plants: no pain, no brain, and therefore no consciousness. Protoplasma. 2021 Mar;258(2):239-248. doi: 10.1007/s00709-020-01550-9. Epub 2020 Sep 2.


Epigenetic regulation of cardiac electrophysiology in atrial fibrillation: HDAC2 determines action potential duration and suppresses NRSF in cardiomyocytes. Basic Res Cardiol. 2021 Feb 25;116(1):13. doi: 10.1007/s00395-021-00855-x. PMID: 33630168


Endothelial cells control vascular smooth muscle cell cholesterol levels by regulating 24-dehydrocholesterol reductase expression. Exp Cell Res. 2021 Feb 15;399(2):112446. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2020.112446. Epub 2021 Jan 7.


A New Apparatus for Recording Evoked Responses to Painful and Non-painful Sensory Stimulation in Freely Moving Mice. Front Neurosci. 2021 Feb 12;15:613801. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2021.613801. eCollection 2021.


Inhibition of cyclooxygenase activity by diclofenac attenuates varicose remodeling of mouse veins. Vessel Plus 2021 Feb 7;5:7. doi: 10.20517/2574-1209.2020.52.


Integrated information theory does not make plant consciousness more convincing. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2021 Jan 21:S0006-291X(21)00057-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2021.01.022. Online ahead of print.


AAV-mediated AP-1 decoy oligonucleotide expression inhibits aortic elastolysis in a mouse model of marfan syndrome. Cardiovasc Res. 2021 Jan 20:cvab012. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvab012. Online ahead of print.


Assessable learning outcomes for the EU Education and Training Framework core and Function A specific modules: Report of an ETPLAS WORKING Group. Lab Anim. 2020 Dec 7:23677220968589. doi: 10.1177/0023677220968589. Online ahead of print.


Debunking a myth: plant consciousness. Protoplasma. 2020 Nov 16. doi: 10.1007/s00709-020-01579-w. Review. Online ahead of print.

Institute of
Physiology and Pathophysiology

Heidelberg University

Im Neuenheimer Feld 326

69120 Heidelberg


Phone:+49 6221 54-4056
Fax:+49 6221 54-6364