Rongying Li

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, United States

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Publications (5)18.11 Total impact

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    Rongying Li, Kazuhiro Oka, Vijay Yechoor
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    ABSTRACT: Type 1 diabetes is caused by T cell-mediated autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Until now insulin replacement is still the major therapy, because islet transplantation has been limited by donor availability and by the need for long-term immunosuppression. Induced islet neogenesis by gene transfer of Neuogenin3 (Ngn3), the islet lineage-defining specific transcription factor and Betacellulin (Btc), an islet growth factor has the potential to cure type 1 diabetes. Adenoviral vectors (Ads) are highly efficient gene transfer vector; however, early generation Ads have several disadvantages for in vivo use. Helper-dependent Ads (HDAds) are the most advanced Ads that were developed to improve the safety profile of early generation of Ads and to prolong transgene expression(1). They lack chronic toxicity because they lack viral coding sequences(2-5) and retain only Ad cis elements necessary for vector replication and packaging. This allows cloning of up to 36 kb genes. In this protocol, we describe the method to generate HDAd-Ngn3 and HDAd-Btc and to deliver these vectors into STZ-induced diabetic mice. Our results show that co-injection of HDAd-Ngn3 and HDAd-Btc induces 'neo islets' in the liver and reverses hyperglycemia in diabetic mice.
    Journal of Visualized Experiments 01/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The circadian clock has been shown to regulate metabolic homeostasis. Mice with a deletion of Bmal1, a key component of the core molecular clock, develop hyperglycemia and hypoinsulinemia, suggesting β-cell dysfunction. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully known. In this study, we investigated the mechanisms underlying the regulation of β-cell function by Bmal1. We studied β-cell function in global Bmal1-/- mice, in vivo and in isolated islets ex vivo, as well as in rat insulinoma cell lines with shRNA-mediated Bmal1 knockdown. Global Bmal1-/- mice develop diabetes secondary to a significant impairment in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). There is a blunting of GSIS in both isolated Bmal1-/- islets and in Bmal1 knockdown cells, as compared to controls, suggesting that this is secondary to a loss of cell-autonomous effect of Bmal1. In contrast to previous studies, in these Bmal1-/- mice on a C57Bl/6 background, the loss of stimulated insulin secretion, interestingly, is with glucose but not to other depolarizing secretagogues, suggesting that events downstream of membrane depolarization are largely normal in Bmal1-/- islets. This defect in GSIS occurs as a result increased mitochondrial uncoupling with consequent impairment of glucose-induced mitochondrial potential generation and ATP synthesis, due to an upregulation of Ucp2. Inhibition of Ucp2, in isolated islets, leads to a rescue of the glucose-induced ATP production and insulin secretion in Bmal1-/- islets. Thus, Bmal1 regulates mitochondrial energy metabolism to maintain normal GSIS and its disruption leads to diabetes due to a loss of GSIS.
    Islets 11/2011; 3(6). · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A reduction in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or an increase in high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol can reduce the risk of development of atherosclerosis through overlapping or independent mechanisms. However, the clinical outcome of combined therapy remains in debate. In this study, we first characterized effects of various constructs of helper-dependent adenoviral vector (HDAd) expressing apolipoprotein E3 or LDL receptor (LDLR) in vivo on plasma cholesterol levels. Using this information, we designed experiments and compared the effects of long-term (28 weeks) LDL cholesterol lowering or raising HDL cholesterol, or a combination of both on advanced atherosclerosis in Ldlr(-/-) mice, a mouse model of familial hypercholesterolemia. Our major findings are: (i) various factors influence in vivo functional activity, which appear to be context dependent; (ii) apolipoprotein AI (APOAI) gene transfer, which raises HDL cholesterol, retards progression of atherosclerosis but does not induce regression; (iii) LDLR or LDLR and APOAI combination gene therapy induces lesion regression; however, LDLR gene transfer accounts for the majority of the effects of combined gene therapy; (iv) LDLR gene therapy reduces interleukin-7, which is a master regulator of T-cell homeostasis, but APOAI gene therapy does not. These results indicate that LDL cholesterol lowering is effective and sufficient in protection against atherosclerosis and induction of regression of pre-existing atherosclerosis.
    Journal of genetic syndrome & gene therapy. 09/2011; 2:106.
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    ABSTRACT: Aims Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is a master regulator of T-cell development and homoeostasis. Increased IL-7 levels are associated with inflammatory diseases. The aims of this study were to determine whether IL-7 is a biomarker for inflammatory conditions or an active participant in atherogenesis. Methods and results Advanced atherosclerotic lesions in Apoe(-/-) mice were regressed by long-term cholesterol lowering through treatment with a helper-dependent adenovirus expressing apolipoprotein E (n= 6-10). Using this model, gene expression patterns in the aorta were analysed at an early phase of regression by microarray. After stringent statistical analysis, we found that IL-7 expression is significantly reduced in response to lowering of cholesterol (n= 6). To understand the importance of IL-7 down-regulation for atherosclerotic regression, we studied the effects and mechanisms of action of IL-7 on endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro as well as in vivo. Our major findings are: (i) IL-7 up-regulates cell adhesion molecules and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 in ECs and promotes monocyte adhesion to ECs; (ii) this regulation is mediated by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT-dependent and -independent activation of NF-κB; (iii) elevation of plasma IL-7 induces recruitment of monocytes/macrophages to endothelium without affecting plasma cholesterol (n= 5, 6); and (4) lack of IL-7 in bone marrow-derived cells reduces migration of monocytes/macrophages to the lesions (n= 5, 6). Conclusion These results suggest that IL-7 inflames endothelium via PI3K/AKT-dependent and -independent activation of NF-κB and recruits monocytes/macrophages to the endothelium, thus playing an active role in atherogenesis.
    European Heart Journal 07/2011; · 14.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Very-low-density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR) is a multi ligand apolipoprotein E (apoE) receptor and is involved in brain development through Reelin signaling. Different forms of VLDLR can be generated by alternative splicing. VLDLR-I contains all exons. VLDLR-II lacks an O-linked sugar domain encoded by exon 16, while VLDLR-III lacks the third complement-type repeat in the ligand binding domain encoded by exon 4. We quantitatively compared lipoprotein binding to human VLDLR variants and analyzed their mRNA expression in both human cerebellum and mouse brain. VLDLR-III exhibited the highest capacity in binding to apoE enriched beta-VLDL in vitro and was more effective in removing apoE containing lipoproteins from the circulation than other variants in vivo. In human cerebellum, the major species was VLDLR-II, while the second most abundant species was a newly identified VLDLR-IV which lacks both exon 4 and 16. VLDLR-I was present at low levels. In adult mice, exon 4 skipping varied between 30 and 47% in different brain regions, while exon 16 skipping ranged by 51-76%. Significantly higher levels of VLDLR proteins were found in mouse cerebellum and cerebral cortex than other regions. The deletions of exon 4 and exon 16 frequently occurred in primary neurons, indicating that newly identified variant VLDLR-IV is abundant in neurons. In contrast, VLDLR mRNA lacking exon 4 was not detectable in primary astrocytes. Such cell type-specific splicing patterns were found in both mouse cerebellum and cerebral cortex. These results suggest that a VLDLR variant lacking the third complement-type repeat is generated by neuron-specific alternative splicing. Such differential splicing may result in different lipid uptake in neurons and astrocytes.
    Brain research 05/2009; 1276:11-21. · 2.46 Impact Factor