Institute of Cellular Biology and Pathology "Nicolae Simionescu"

Lipidomics Department


Loredan Niculescu

Our research field is focused on cellular and molecular biology of the cardiovascular system in health and disease. In particular, I am interested in the molecular mechanisms involved in the miRNA-mediated regulation of coronary artery disease related to the lipoproteins metabolism dysfunction, in patients and hyperlipidemic animals.


Subject areas

  • Lipid metabolism in health and disease (dyslipidemia in diabetes, atherosclerosis and obesity): cellular and molecular biology of lipoproteins (Lp), dysfunctional HDL, entero-hepatic metabolism of Lp, in vivo and in vitro modification of LDL, interaction of Lp with the cells of the arterial wall, cellular cholesterol efflux.

  • Cellular biology and biochemistry of blood vessels: heart and cardiac valves in pathological conditions, (atherogenesis, heart failure, diabetes and obesity), experimental animal models of atherosclerosis.

  • Novel biomarkers for cardiovascular pathology: oxidized lipids, Lp-associated enzymes, inflammatory mediators, circulating non-coding RNAs (miRNAs).

  • Genetic mechanisms of atherosclerosis: functional analysis of miRNAs, gene polymorphisms.

Technical expertise

  • separation of lipoproteins: ultracentrifugation, gel permeation FPLC;

  • flow cytometry analysis of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) and monocytes;

  • chromatographic techniques: FPLC, UHPLC;

  • molecular biology techniques: miRNA/mRNA assays in blood/cells/tissues by PCR array, microarray technique, real-time PCR, Northern blot, in situ hybridization, cDNA/gDNA assay by SyBr Green/TaqMan; genotyping - PCR-RFLP technique; cloning (3’UTR plasmids);

  • in vivo experimental cardiovascular diseases models - diet-induced hyperlipidemic hamster, apoE/ldlr KO mice, echocardiography, in vivo imaging (IVIS);

  • bioinformatics: functional miRNA analysis;

  • biostatistics and advanced modelling analysis.

Interested in collaborating on

Non-coding RNA microarray and RNAseq (NGS) bioinformatic analysis.

Selected publications on ncRNA and cardiovascular disease

Inhibition of miR-486 and miR-92a decreases liver and plasma cholesterol levels by modulating lipid-related genes in hyperlipidemic hamsters
Niculescu LS, Simionescu N, Fuior EV, Stancu CS, Carnuta MG, Dulceanu MD, Raileanu M, Dragan E, Sima AV. Molec Biol Rep. 2018.

Microparticles of healthy origins improve endothelial progenitor cell dysfunction via microRNA transfer in an atherosclerotic hamster model
Alexandru N, Andrei E, Niculescu LS, Dragan E, Ristoiu V, Georgescu A. Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2017, 221(4): 230-249.

Hyperglycemia Determines Increased Specific MicroRNAs Levels in Sera and HDL of Acute Coronary Syndrome Patients and Stimulates MicroRNAs Production in Human Macrophages
Simionescu N, Niculescu LS, Carnuta MG, Sanda GM, Stancu CS, Popescu AC, Popescu MR, Vlad A, Dimulescu DR, Simionescu M, Sima AV. PLoS One. 2016, 12;11(8):e0161201. 

MiR-486 and miR-92a identified in circulating HDL discriminate between stable and vulnerable coronary artery disease patients
Niculescu LS, Simionescu N, Sanda GM, Carnuta MG, Stancu CS, Popescu AC, Popescu MR, Vlad A, Dimulescu DR, Simionescu M, Sima AV. PLoS One. 2015, 10(10):e0140958.

Analysis of circulating microRNAs that are specifically increased in hyperlipidemic and/or hyperglycemic sera
Simionescu N, Niculescu LS, Sanda GM, Margina D, Sima AV. Mol Biol Rep. 2014, 41(9):5765-73. 


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