Qian Li

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (9)61.59 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Phosphorylation of eNOS, an important post-translational modulator of its enzymatic activity, is reduced in diabetes mellitus. We hypothesized that modulation of eNOS phosphorylation could overcome diabetic vascular dysfunction and improves the outcome to stroke. We used the db/db mouse model of type 2 diabetes mellitus. We mated db/db mice with eNOS knock-in mice that carry single amino acid mutations at the S1176 phosphorylation site; the phosphomimetic SD mutation (serine replaced by aspartate) shows increased eNOS enzymatic activity, whereas the unphosphorylatable SA mutation (serine replaced by alanine) shows decreased eNOS activity. We characterized the vascular anatomy, baseline physiological parameters, and vascular reactivity. We used the middle cerebral artery occlusion model of stroke and measured infarct volume and neurological deficits. db/db mice showed diminished eNOS phosphorylation at S1176. eNOS SD and SA mutations do not change the vascular anatomy at the Circle of Willis, brain capillary density, heart rate, or arterial blood gases of db/db mice. The eNOS SD mutation, but not the SA mutation, lowers blood pressure and improves vascular reactivity to acetylcholine in db/db mice. The eNOS SD mutation reduces stroke size and neurological deficit after middle cerebral artery occlusion. Diminished eNOS phosphorylation is a mechanism of vascular dysfunction in db/db mice. We show here that modulation of the eNOS S1176 phosphorylation site in db/db mice is associated with improved vascular reactivity and improved outcome to stroke after middle cerebral artery occlusion.
    Stroke 08/2013; 44(11). DOI:10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.002073 · 6.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) is an important regulator of its enzymatic activity. We generated knockin mice expressing phosphomimetic (SD) and unphosphorylatable (SA) eNOS mutations at S1176 to study the role of eNOS phosphorylation. The single amino acid SA mutation is associated with hypertension and decreased vascular reactivity, while the SD mutation results in increased basal and stimulated endothelial NO production. In addition to these vascular effects, modulation of the S1176 phosphorylation site resulted in unanticipated effects on metabolism. The eNOS SA mutation results in insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, adiposity, and increased weight gain on high fat. In contrast, the eNOS SD mutation is associated with decreased insulin levels and resistance to high fat-induced weight gain. These results demonstrate the importance of eNOS in regulation of insulin sensitivity, energy metabolism, and bodyweight regulation, and suggest eNOS phosphorylation as a novel target for the treatment of obesity and insulin resistance.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2013; 431(2). DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.12.110 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose. To correlate changes between vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression with systemic and retinal oxidative stress and inflammation in rodent models of obesity induced insulin resistance and diabetes. Methods. Retinal VEGF mRNA and protein levels were assessed by RT-PCR and VEGF ELISA, respectively. Urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), malondialdehyde (MDA) and CD11B/C positive cell ratio were used as systemic inflammatory markers. Retinal expression of Nox2, Nox4 and p47phox mRNA levels were measured as oxidative stress markers. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), inter-cellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), IL1β and activation of NF-κB were used as retinal inflammatory markers. Results. Retinal VEGF mRNA and protein expression increased in Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF(fa/fa)) rats and streptozotosin (STZ) induced diabetic SD rats, after two months of disease but not in Zucker fatty (ZF) rats. Systemic markers of oxidative stress and inflammation were elevated in insulin resistant and diabetic rats. TNF-α, IL-6, ICAM-1 and IL1-β were upregulated in the retina of ZDF(fa/fa) and STZ diabetic rats after four months of disease. In contrast, activation of NF-κB in the retina was observed in high-fat fed nondiabetic and diabetic cis-NF-κB(EGFP) mice, ZF, ZDF(fa/fa) and STZ-induced diabetic rats. Conclusion. Only persistent hyperglycemia and diabetes increased retinal VEGF expression. Some markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were elevated in the retina and systemic circulation of obese and insulin resistant rodents with and without diabetes. Induction of VEGF and its associated retinal pathologies by diabetes requires chronic hyperglycemia and factors in addition to inflammation and oxidative stress.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 11/2012; 53(13). DOI:10.1167/iovs.12-10207 · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To characterize glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 signaling and its effect on renal endothelial dysfunction and glomerulopathy. We studied the expression and signaling of GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) on glomerular endothelial cells and the novel finding of protein kinase A-dependent phosphorylation of c-Raf at Ser259 and its inhibition of angiotensin II (Ang II) phospho-c-Raf(Ser338) and Erk1/2 phosphorylation. Mice overexpressing protein kinase C (PKC)β2 in endothelial cells (EC-PKCβ2Tg) were established. Ang II and GLP-1 actions in glomerular endothelial cells were analyzed with small interfering RNA of GLP-1R. PKCβ isoform activation induced by diabetes decreased GLP-1R expression and protective action on the renal endothelium by increasing its degradation via ubiquitination and enhancing phospho-c-Raf(Ser338) and Ang II activation of phospho-Erk1/2. EC-PKCβ2Tg mice exhibited decreased GLP-1R expression and increased phospho-c-Raf(Ser338), leading to enhanced effects of Ang II. Diabetic EC-PKCβ2Tg mice exhibited greater loss of endothelial GLP-1R expression and exendin-4-protective actions and exhibited more albuminuria and mesangial expansion than diabetic controls. These results showed that the renal protective effects of GLP-1 were mediated via the inhibition of Ang II actions on cRaf(Ser259) and diminished by diabetes because of PKCβ activation and the increased degradation of GLP-1R in the glomerular endothelial cells.
    Diabetes 07/2012; 61(11):2967-79. DOI:10.2337/db11-1824 · 7.90 Impact Factor
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format
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    ABSTRACT: This study characterizes the effect of glucose-induced activation of protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ) and Src homology-2 domain-containing phosphatase-1 (SHP-1) expression on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) actions in glomerular podocytes in cultures and in glomeruli of diabetic rodents. Elevation of glucose levels induced PKCδ and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) to increase SHP-1 expression, increased podocyte apoptosis, and inhibited VEGF activation in podocytes and glomerular endothelial cells. The adverse effects of high glucose levels can be negated by molecular inhibitors of PKCδ, p38MAPK, and SHP-1 and only partially reduced by antioxidants and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) inhibitor. Increased PKCδ activation and SHP-1 expression correlated with loss of VEGF signaling and podocyte numbers in the glomeruli of diabetic rats and mice. In contrast, diabetic PKCδ-knockout (Prkcd(-/-)) mice did not exhibit activation of p38 MAPK and SHP-1 or inhibition of VEGF signaling in renal glomeruli. Functionally, diabetic Prkcd(-/-) mice had decreased expressions of TGFβ, VEGF, and extracellular matrix and less albuminuria than diabetic Prkcd(+/+) mice. Hyperglycemia and diabetes can cause glomerular podocyte apoptosis and endothelial dysfunction partly due to increased PKCδ/p38 MAPK activation and the expression of SHP-1 to cause VEGF resistance, independent of NF-κB activation.
    The FASEB Journal 04/2012; 26(7):2963-74. DOI:10.1096/fj.11-202994 · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The regulation of endothelial function by insulin is consistently abnormal in insulin-resistant states and diabetes. Protein kinase C (PKC) activation has been reported to inhibit insulin signaling selectively in endothelial cells via the insulin receptor substrate/PI3K/Akt pathway to reduce the activation of endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS). In this study, it was observed that PKC activation differentially inhibited insulin receptor substrate 1/2 (IRS1/2) signaling of insulin's activation of PI3K/eNOS by decreasing only tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS2. In addition, PKC activation, by general activator and specifically by angiotensin II, increased the phosphorylation of p85/PI3K, which decreases its association with IRS1 and activation. Thr-86 of p85/PI3K was identified to be phosphorylated by PKC activation and confirmed to affect IRS1-mediated activation of Akt/eNOS by insulin and VEGF using a deletion mutant of the Thr-86 region of p85/PI3K. Thus, PKC and angiotensin-induced phosphorylation of Thr-86 of p85/PI3K may partially inhibit the activation of PI3K/eNOS by multiple cytokines and contribute to endothelial dysfunction in metabolic disorders.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2011; 287(7):4518-30. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M111.286591 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Insulin resistance has been associated with the progression of chronic kidney disease in both diabetes and obesity. In order to determine the cellular mechanisms contributing to this, we characterized insulin signaling in renal tubules and glomeruli during diabetic and insulin-resistant states using streptozotocin-diabetic and Zucker fatty-insulin-resistant rats. Compared with nondiabetic and Zucker lean rats, the insulin-induced phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS1), Akt, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and glycogen synthase kinase 3α were selectively inhibited in the glomeruli but not in the renal tubules of both respective models. Protein, but not mRNA levels of IRS1, was decreased only in the glomeruli of streptozotocin-diabetic rats likely due to increased ubiquitination. Treatment with the protein kinase C-β inhibitor, ruboxistaurin, enhanced insulin actions and elevated IRS1 expression. In glomerular endothelial cells, high glucose inhibited the phosphorylation of Akt, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and glycogen synthase kinase 3α; decreased IRS1 protein expression and increased its association with ubiquitin. Overexpression of IRS1 or the addition of ruboxistaurin reversed the inhibitory effects of high glucose. Thus, loss of insulin's effect on endothelial nitric oxide synthase and glycogen synthase kinase 3α activation may contribute to the glomerulopathy observed in diabetes and obesity.
    Kidney International 01/2011; 79(8):883-96. DOI:10.1038/ki.2010.526 · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide mediates endothelium-dependent vasodilation, modulates cerebral blood flow, and determines stroke outcome. Nitric oxide signals in part by stimulating soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) to synthesize cGMP. To study the role of sGC in stroke injury, we compared the outcome of cerebral ischemia and reperfusion in mice deficient in the alpha(1) subunit of sGC (sGCalpha(1)(-/-)) with that in wild-type mice. Blood pressure, cerebrovascular anatomy, and vasoreactivity of pressurized carotid arteries were compared in both mouse genotypes. Cerebral blood flow was measured before and during middle cerebral artery occlusion and reperfusion. We then assessed neurological deficit and infarct volume after 1 hour of occlusion and 23 hours of reperfusion and after 24 hours of occlusion. Blood pressure and cerebrovascular anatomy were similar between genotypes. We found that vasodilation of carotid arteries in response to acetylcholine or sodium nitroprusside was diminished in sGCalpha(1)(-/-) compared with wild-type mice. Cerebral blood flow deficits did not differ between the genotypes during occlusion, but during reperfusion, cerebral blood flow was 45% less in sGCalpha(1)(-/-) mice. Infarct volumes and neurological deficits were similar after 24 hours of occlusion in both genotypes. After 1 hour of ischemia and 23 hours of reperfusion, infarct volumes were 2-fold larger and neurological deficits were worse in sGCalpha(1)(-/-) than in the wild-type mice. sGCalpha(1) deficiency impairs vascular reactivity to nitric oxide and is associated with incomplete reperfusion, larger infarct size, and worse neurological damage, suggesting that cGMP generated by sGCalpha(1)beta(1) is protective in ischemic stroke.
    Stroke 08/2010; 41(8):1815-9. DOI:10.1161/STROKEAHA.109.577635 · 6.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether insulin action on endothelial cells promotes or protects against atherosclerosis, we generated apolipoprotein E null mice in which the insulin receptor gene was intact or conditionally deleted in vascular endothelial cells. Insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, plasma lipids, and blood pressure were not different between the two groups, but atherosclerotic lesion size was more than 2-fold higher in mice lacking endothelial insulin signaling. Endothelium-dependent vasodilation was impaired and endothelial cell VCAM-1 expression was increased in these animals. Adhesion of mononuclear cells to endothelium in vivo was increased 4-fold compared with controls but reduced to below control values by a VCAM-1-blocking antibody. These results provide definitive evidence that loss of insulin signaling in endothelium, in the absence of competing systemic risk factors, accelerates atherosclerosis. Therefore, improving insulin sensitivity in the endothelium of patients with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes may prevent cardiovascular complications.
    Cell metabolism 05/2010; 11(5):379-89. DOI:10.1016/j.cmet.2010.03.013 · 17.35 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

206 Citations
61.59 Total Impact Points


  • 2010–2013
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • Division of Cardiology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2012
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2011–2012
    • Joslin Diabetes Center
      • Section on Vascular Cell Biology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States