Hungarian Acadamy of Science
József Balla and his colleagues observed that heme and hemoglobin provoke oxidative cellular damage and mediate oxidation of lipoproteins and atherosclerotic plaque lipid. His research is devoted to explore heme and hemoglobin stress in various vascular diseases and adaptation against such an insult. They revealed the accumulation of various forms of oxidized hemoglobin in vascular lesions and demonstrated its pro-oxidant and pro-inflammatory features. They identified a cytoprotective adaptation against heme/hemoglobin induced oxidative damage based on heme oxygenase-1 and ferritin. Regulation of osteoblastic differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells by ferritin and its ferroxidase activity as well as by hydrogen sulfide was revealed by his group.