Gene LeSage

East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, United States

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Publications (100)729.38 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ (PPARδ) is a versatile regulator of distinct biological processes and overexpression of PPARδ in cancer may be partially related to its suppression of its own co-regulators.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The control of IL-10 production in Toll-like receptor (TLR) signals remains to be elucidated. Here, we report that β-arrestin 2 positively regulates TLR-triggered IL-10 production in a p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-dependent mechanism. In vitro studies with cells including peritoneal macrophages and HEK293/TLR4 cells have demonstrated that β-arrestin 2 forms complexes with p38 and facilitates p38 activation after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation. Deficiency of β-arrestin 2 and inhibition of p38 MAPK activity both ameliorate TLR4-stimulated IL-10 response. Additionally, in vivo experiments show that mice lacking β-arrestin 2 produce less amount of IL-10, and are more susceptible to LPS-induced septic shock which is further enhanced by blocking IL-10 signal. These results reveal a novel mechanism by which β-arrestin 2 negatively regulates TLR4-mediated inflammatory reactions.
    The Journal of biological chemistry. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Stress can either enhance or suppress immune functions depending on a variety of factors such as duration of stressful condition. Chronic stress has been demonstrated to exert a significant suppressive effect on immune function. However, the mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon remain to be elucidated. Here, male C57BL/6 mice were placed in a 50-ml conical centrifuge tube with multiple punctures to establish a chronic restraint stress model. Serum IL-10 levels, IL-10 production by the splenocytes, and activation of STAT3 in the mouse spleen were assessed. We demonstrate that IL-10/STAT3 axis was remarkably activated following chronic stress. Moreover, TLR4 and p38 MAPK play a pivotal role in the activation of IL-10/STAT3 signaling cascade. Interestingly, blocking antibody against IL-10 receptor and inhibition of STAT3 by STAT3 inhibitor S3I-201 attenuates stress-induced lymphocyte apoptosis. Inhibition of IL-10/STAT3 dramatically inhibits stress-induced reduction in IL-12 production. Furthermore, disequilibrium of Th1/Th2 cytokine balance caused by chronic stress was also rescued by blocking IL-10/STAT3 axis. These results yield insight into a new mechanism by which chronic stress regulates immune functions. IL-10/STAT3 pathway provides a novel relevant target for the manipulation of chronic stress-induced immune suppression.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 01/2014; 36:118–127. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cholangiocytes, bile duct lining cells, actively adjust the amount of cholesterol and bile acids in bile through expression of enzymes and channels involved in transportation and metabolism of the cholesterol and bile acids. Herein, we report molecular mechanisms regulating bile acid biosynthesis in cholangiocytes. Among the cytochrome p450 (Cyp) enzymes involved in bile acid biosynthesis, sterol 27-hydroxylase (Cyp27) that is the rate-limiting enzyme for the acidic pathway of bile acid biosynthesis expressed in cholangiocytes. Expression of other Cyp enzymes for the basic bile acid biosynthesis was hardly detected. The Cyp27 expression was negatively regulated by a hydrophobic bile acid through farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a nuclear receptor activated by bile acid ligands. Activated FXR exerted the negative effects by inducing an expression of fibroblast growth factor 15/19 (FGF15/19). Similar to its repressive function against cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (Cyp7a1) expression in hepatocytes, secreted FGF15/19 triggered Cyp27 repression in cholangiocytes through interaction with its cognate receptor fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4). The involvements of FXR and FGFR4 for the bile acid-induced Cyp27 repression were confirmed in vivo using knockout mouse models. Different from the signaling in hepatocytes, wherein the FGF15/19-induced repression signaling is mediated by c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), FGF15/19-induced Cyp27 repression in cholangiocytes was mediated by p38 kinase. Thus, the results collectively suggest that cholangiocytes may be able to actively regulate bile acid biosynthesis in cholangiocytes and even hepatocyte by secreting FGF15/19. We suggest the presence of cholangiocyte-mediated intrahepatic feedback loop in addition to the enterohepatic feedback loop against bile acid biosynthesis in the liver.
    Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 09/2013; · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mycotic hepatic artery aneurysm is a vascular pathology associated with bacterial endocarditis. It is rare in occurrence after the introduction of effective antibiotics. We present a young patient with injection drug abuse associated staphylococcal endocarditis which was successfully treated with antibiotics and valve replacement who presented with abdominal pain. He was found to have mycotic aneurysm of hepatic artery which was successfully treated with coil embolization.
    Case Reports in Hepatology. 05/2013; 2013.
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    ABSTRACT: Microscopic Colitis (MC) is characterized by chronic watery diarrhea, grossly normal appearing colonic mucosa during conventional white light endoscopy, and biopsy showing microscopic inflammation. We report a case of collagenous colitis with gross endoscopic findings.
    Case Reports in Medicine 01/2013; 2013:461485.
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    ABSTRACT: Nuclear receptors (NRs) play crucial roles in regulation of hepatic cholesterol synthesis, metabolism and conversion to bile acids, but their actions in cholangiocytes have not been examined. In this study, we investigated the roles of NRs in cholangiocyte physiology and cholesterol metabolism and flux. We examined the expression of NRs and other genes involved in cholesterol homeostasis in freshly isolated and cultured rodent cholangiocytes and found that these cells express a specific subset of NRs which includes Liver X Receptor β (LXRβ) and Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor δ (PPARδ). Activation of LXRβ and/or PPARδ in cholangiocytes induces ATP-binding cassette cholesterol transporter A1 (ABCA1) and increases cholesterol export at the basolateral compartment in polarized cultured cholangiocytes. In addition, PPARδ induces Niemann Pick C1 Like L1 (NPC1L1), which imports cholesterol into cholangiocytes and is expressed on the apical cholangiocyte membrane, via specific interaction with a PPRE within the NPC1L1 promoter. Based on these studies, we propose that (i) LXRβ and PPARδ coordinate NPC1L1/ABCA1 dependent vectorial cholesterol flux from bile through cholangiocytes and (ii) manipulation of these processes may influence bile composition with important applications in cholestatic liver disease and gallstone disease, serious health concerns for humans. (Hepatology 2012.).
    Hepatology 06/2012; · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sepsis progresses from an early/acute hyperinflammatory to a late/chronic hypoinflammatory phase with immunosuppression. As a result of this phenotypic switch, mortality in late sepsis from persistent primary infection or opportunistic new infection often exceeds that in acute sepsis. Emerging data support that persistence of the hypoinflammatory (hyporesponsive) effector immune cells during late sepsis might involve alterations in myeloid differentiation/maturation that generate circulating repressor macrophages that do not readily clear active infection. Here, we used a cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) murine model of prolonged sepsis to show that adoptive transfer of CD34(+) hematopoietic stem-progenitor cells after CLP improves long-term survival by 65%. CD34(+) cell transfer corrected the immunosuppression of late sepsis by (i) producing significantly higher levels of proinflammatory mediators upon ex vivo stimulation with the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) agonist lipopolysaccharide, (ii) enhancing phagocytic activity of peritoneal macrophages, and (iii) clearing bacterial peritonitis. Improved immunity by CD34(+) cell transfer decreased inflammatory peritoneal exudate of surviving late-sepsis mice. Cell tracking experiments showed that the transferred CD34(+) cells first appeared in the bone marrow and then homed to the spleen and peritoneum. Because CD34(+) cells did not affect the early-phase hyperinflammatory response, it is likely that the newly incorporated pluripotent CD34(+) cells differentiated into competent immune cells in blood and tissue, thereby reversing or replacing the hyporesponsive endotoxin-tolerant cells that occur and persist after the initiation of early sepsis.
    Infection and immunity 12/2011; 80(2):602-11. · 4.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Opioids are powerful pain relievers, but also potent inducers of dependence and tolerance. Chronic morphine administration (via subcutaneous pellet) induces morphine dependence in the nucleus accumbens, an important dependence region in the brain, yet the cellular mechanisms are mostly unknown. Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) plays an essential function in controlling innate and inflammatory responses. Using a knockout mouse lacking TLR2, we assessed the contribution of TLR2 to microglia activation and development of morphine dependence. We report here that mice deficient in TLR2 inhibit morphine-induced the levels of microglia activation and proinflammatory cytokines. Moreover, in TLR2 knockout mice the main symptoms of morphine withdrawal were significantly attenuated. Our data reveal that TLR2 plays a critical role in morphine-induced microglia activation and dependence.
    Neuroscience Letters 02/2011; 489(1):43-7. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Opioids have been widely applied in clinics as one of the most potent pain relievers for centuries, but their abuse has deleterious physiological effects beyond addiction. However, the underlying mechanism by which microglia in response to opioids remains largely unknown. Here we show that morphine induces the expression of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), a key mediator of innate immunity and inflammation. Interestingly, TLR9 deficiency significantly inhibited morphine-induced apoptosis in microglia. Similar results were obtained when endogenous TLR9 expression was suppressed by the TLR9 inhibitor CpGODN. Inhibition of p38 MAPK by its specific inhibitor SB203580 attenuated morphine-induced microglia apoptosis in wild type microglia. Morphine caused a dramatic decrease in Bcl-2 level but increase in Bax level in wild type microglia, but not in TLR9 deficient microglia. In addition, morphine treatment failed to induce an increased levels of phosphorylated p38 MAPK and MAP kinase kinase 3/6 (MKK3/6), the upstream MAPK kinase of p38 MAPK, in either TLR9 deficient or µ-opioid receptor (µOR) deficient primary microglia, suggesting an involvement of MAPK and µOR in morphine-mediated TLR9 signaling. Moreover, morphine-induced TLR9 expression and microglia apoptosis appears to require μOR. Collectively, these results reveal that opioids prime microglia to undergo apoptosis through TLR9 and µOR as well. Taken together, our data suggest that inhibition of TLR9 and/or blockage of µOR is capable of preventing opioid-induced brain damage.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(4):e18190. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Physical and psychological stress can alter the immune system in both humans and animals. Stress is a known risk factor for numerous human diseases, such as infectious and autoimmune diseases, and cancer. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a pivotal role in the induction of innate and adaptive immune response. Our previous studies have shown that TLR4 deficiency prevents stress-induced splenocyte reduction. However, the role of TLR2 in stress-mediated lymphocyte reduction is unknown. In this study, we investigated the effects of TLR2 ligands on stress-induced lymphocyte reduction. We also defined whether the phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks)/Akt pathway contributes to TLR2-mediated lymphocyte numbers altered by stress. Our data have shown that stimulation of TLR2 by TLR2 ligands peptidoglycan (PGN) or Pam3CSK4 (Pam3) attenuates stress-induced reduction in lymphocyte numbers. However, TLR2 ligand-induced protection from stress-induced lymphocyte reduction is lost in TLR2 deficiency in mice. Furthermore, stimulation of TLR2 by PGN induces protection from stress-induced reduction in the number of splenocytes through PI3K. Moreover, PGN dramatically increases the level of phosphorylation of Akt through a PI3K-dependent manner. Moreover, we found that stimulation of TLR2 by PGN induced protection from stress-induced reduction in splenocyte numbers is abolished in β-arrestin 2 deficient mice. In addition, PGN-induced immune protection in stress-induced changes of cytokine levels appears to require β-arrestin 2, a multifunctional adaptor and signal transducer. Collectively, our study thus demonstrates that stimulation of TLR2-mediated PI3K signaling attenuates splenocyte reduction induced by stress, and that β-arrestin 2 modulates TLR2-mediated immune response following stress.
    Journal of neuroimmunology 12/2010; 233(1-2):73-9. · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Opioids have been widely applied in clinics as one of the most potent pain relievers for centuries, but their abuse has deleterious physiological effects beyond addiction. We previously reported that opioids inhibit cell growth and trigger apoptosis in lymphocytes. However, the underlying mechanism by which microglia apoptosis in response to opioids is not yet known. In this study, we show that morphine induces microglia apoptosis and caspase-3 activation in an opioid-receptor dependent manner. Morphine decreased the levels of microglia phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt) and p-GSK-3β (glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta) in an opioid-receptor dependent manner. More interestingly, GSK-3β inhibitor SB216763 significantly increases morphine-induced apoptosis in both BV-2 microglia and mouse primary microglial cells. Moreover, co-treatment of microglia with SB216763 and morphine led to a significant synergistic effect on the level of phospho-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). In addition, inhibition of p38 MAPK by its specific inhibitor SB203580 significantly inhibited morphine-induced apoptosis and caspase-3 activation. Taken together, our data clearly demonstrates that morphine-induced apoptosis in microglial cells, which is mediated via GSK-3β and p38 MAPK pathways.
    Neuropharmacology 11/2010; 59(6):444-51. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), a key member of the TLR family, has been well characterized by its function in the induction of inflammatory products of innate immunity. However, the involvement of TLR4 in a variety of apoptotic events by an unknown mechanism has been the focus of great interest. Our investigation found that TLR4 promoted apoptotic signalling by affecting the glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta) pathway in a serum-deprivation-induced apoptotic paradigm. Serum deprivation induces GSK-3beta activation in a pathway that leads to subsequent cell apoptosis. Intriguingly, this apoptotic cascade is amplified in presence of TLR4 but greatly attenuated by beta-arrestin 2, another critical molecule implicated in TLR4-mediated immune responses. Our data suggest that the association of beta-arrestin 2 with GSK-3beta contributes to the stabilization of phospho-GSK-3beta, an inactive form of GSK-3beta. It becomes a critical determinant for the attenuation of TLR4-initiated apoptosis by beta-arrestin 2. Taken together, we demonstrate that the TLR4 possesses the capability of accelerating GSK-3beta activation thereby deteriorating serum-deprivation-induced apoptosis; beta-arrestin 2 represents an inhibitory effect on the TLR4-mediated apoptotic cascade, through controlling the homeostasis of activation and inactivation of GSK-3beta.
    Immunology 05/2010; 130(4):556-63. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although it is established that opioid and Mycobacterium tuberculosis are both public health problems, the mechanisms by which they affect lung functions remain elusive. We report here that mice subjected to chronic morphine administration and M. tuberculosis infection exhibited significant apoptosis in the lung in wild type mice as demonstrated by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling assay. Morphine and M. tuberculosis significantly induced the expression of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), a key mediator of innate immunity and inflammation. Interestingly, deficiency in TLR9 significantly inhibited the morphine and M. tuberculosis induced apoptosis in the lung. In addition, chronic morphine treatment and M. tuberculosis infection enhanced the levels of cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6) in wild type mice, but not in TLR9 knockout (KO) mice. The bacterial load was much lower in TLR9 KO mice compared with that in wild type mice following morphine and M. tuberculosis treatment. Morphine alone did not alter the bacterial load in either wild type or TLR9 KO mice. Moreover, administration of morphine and M. tuberculosis decreased the levels of phosphorylation of Akt and GSK3beta in the wild type mice, but not in TLR9 KO mice, suggesting an involvement of Akt/GSK3beta in morphine and M. tuberculosis-mediated TLR9 signaling. Furthermore, administration of morphine and M. tuberculosis caused a dramatic decrease in Bcl-2 level but increase in Bax level in wild type mice, but not in TLR9 KO mice, indicating a role of Bcl-2 family in TLR9-mediated apoptosis in the lung following morphine and M. tuberculosis administration. These data reveal a role for TLR9 in the immune response to opioids during M. tuberculosis infection.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(2):e9205. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), a key immune receptor in the TLR family, is widely expressed in various systems, including the immune and nervous systems and plays a critical role in controlling innate and adaptive immune responses. We previously reported that opioids inhibit cell growth and trigger apoptosis. However, the underlying mechanism by which TLR2 mediates apoptosis in response to opioids is not yet known. Here we show that chronic morphine treatment in primary neurons dramatically increased the expression of TLR2 at both the messenger RNA and protein levels. In addition, TLR2 deficiency significantly inhibited chronic morphine-induced apoptosis in primary neurons. Activation of caspase-3 after morphine treatment is impaired in TLR2 deficient primary neurons. Moreover, morphine treatment failed to induce an increased level of phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3beta) in TLR2 deficient primary neurons, suggesting an involvement of GSK3beta in morphine-mediated TLR2 signaling. These results thus demonstrate that opioids prime neurons to undergo apoptosis by inducing TLR2 expression. Our data suggest that inhibition of TLR2 is capable of preventing opioids-induced damage to neurons.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 11/2009; 391(1):426-30. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We previously reported that Dot1a.AF9 complex represses transcription of the epithelial Na(+) channel subunit alpha (alpha-ENaC) gene in mouse inner medullary collecting duct mIMCD3 cells and mouse kidney. Aldosterone relieves this repression by down-regulating the complex through various mechanisms. Whether these mechanisms are sufficient and conserved in human cells or can be applied to other aldosterone-regulated genes remains largely unknown. Here we demonstrate that human embryonic kidney 293T cells express the three ENaC subunits and all of the ENaC transcriptional regulators examined. These cells respond to aldosterone and display benzamil-sensitive Na(+) currents, as measured by whole-cell patch clamping. We also show that AF17 and AF9 competitively bind to the same domain of Dot1a in multiple assays and have antagonistic effects on expression of an alpha-ENaC promoter-luciferase construct. Overexpression of Dot1a or AF9 decreased mRNA expression of the ENaC subunits and their transcriptional regulators and reduced benzamil-sensitive Na(+) currents. AF17 overexpression caused the opposite effects, accompanied by redirection of Dot1a from the nucleus to the cytoplasm and reduction in histone H3 K79 methylation. The nuclear export inhibitor leptomycin B blocked the effect of AF17 overexpression on H3 K79 hypomethylation. RNAi-mediated knockdown of AF17 yielded nuclear enrichment of Dot1a and histone H3 K79 hypermethylation. As with AF9, AF17 displays nuclear and cytoplasmic co-localization with Sgk1. Therefore, AF17 competes with AF9 to bind Dot1a, decreases Dot1a nuclear expression by possibly facilitating its nuclear export, and relieves Dot1a.AF9-mediated repression of alpha-ENaC and other target genes.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2009; 284(51):35659-69. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As resveratrol derivatives, resveratrol aliphatic acids were synthesized in our laboratory. Previously, we reported the improved pharmaceutical properties of the compounds compared to resveratrol, including better solubility in water and much tighter binding with human serum albumin. Here, we investigate the role of resveratrol aliphatic acids in Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2)-mediated apoptosis. We showed that resveratrol aliphatic acid (R6A) significantly inhibits the expression of TLR2. In addition, overexpression of TLR2 in HEK293 cells caused a significant decrease in apoptosis after R6A treatment. Moreover, inhibition of TLR2 by R6A decreases serum deprivation-reduced the levels of phosphorylated Akt and phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK3beta). Our study thus demonstrates that the resveratrol aliphatic acid inhibits cell apoptosis through TLR2 by the involvement of Akt/GSK3beta pathway.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 08/2009; 17(13):4378-82. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms by which opioids affect progression of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection are not well-defined. HIV-1 gp120 is important in the apoptotic death of uninfected, bystander T cells. In this study, we show that co-treatment of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) with HIV-1 gp120/morphine synergistically induces apoptosis in PBMC. Co-treatment of murine splenocytes from mu opiate receptor knockout mice with gp120/morphine resulted in decreased apoptosis when compared to splenocytes from wild type mice. Co-treatment of human PBMC or murine splenocytes with gp120/morphine led to decreased expression of beta-arrestin 2, a protein required for opioid-mediated signaling. The role of beta-arrestin 2 was confirmed in Jurkat lymphocytes, in which 1) over-expression of beta-arrestin 2 inhibited gp120/morphine-induced apoptosis and 2) RNA interference of beta-arrestin 2 expression enhanced gp120/morphine-induced apoptosis. These data suggest a novel mechanism by which HIV-1 gp120 and opioids induce lymphocyte cell death.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 06/2009; 1793(8):1366-71. · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 01/2008; 134(4). · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cholangiopathies are characterized by a predominantly bile duct-directed inflammatory response that leads to bile duct injury and, if the injury is persistent, bile duct loss and the chance of developing bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma). Although the cholangiopathies have broad range of etiologies and pathogenesis (e.g., inherited disorders, autoimmune disorders, infections, drug-induced, ischemia, and unknown etiology), all share the common pathogenetic target-the biliary epithelial cell (cholangiocyte). For the most part, the pathogenesis of these diseases is poorly understood, which correspondingly has restricted clinicians to nonspecific and usually ineffective therapies for these disorders. Nevertheless, significant advances toward the understanding of the mechanisms involved in cholangiocyte-directed inflammation, biliary fibrosis, cholangiocyte death, and cholangiocarcinoma have unfolded over the past 15 years that may provide us new hopes and schemes for treatment of these disorders.
    Seminars in Liver Disease 12/2007; 27(4):401-12. · 8.27 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
729.38 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2014
    • East Tennessee State University
      • • Department of Internal Medicine
      • • Division of General Internal Medicine
      Johnson City, Tennessee, United States
  • 2012
    • Weill Cornell Medical College
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2011
    • Sun Yat-Sen University
      Shengcheng, Guangdong, China
  • 2010
    • Shandong University
      • Department of Neurology
      Jinan, Shandong Sheng, China
    • Huazhong University of Science and Technology
      Wu-han-shih, Hubei, China
  • 2007
    • University of Houston
      Houston, Texas, United States
  • 2004–2007
    • University of Texas Medical School
      • Department of Internal Medicine
      Houston, Texas, United States
    • N-Com, Inc.
      Lubbock, Texas, United States
  • 2006
    • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
      • Department of Internal Medicine
      Houston, Texas, United States
  • 1999–2006
    • Texas A&M University System Health Science Center
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Internal Medicine
      • • College of Medicine
      Bryan, TX, United States
  • 2001–2003
    • Texas A&M University System
      Temple, Texas, United States
  • 1990–2001
    • Scott & White
      Temple, Texas, United States
  • 1996–1997
    • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
      • Mayo Medical School
      Rochester, Michigan, United States