Gang Su

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

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Publications (11)68.07 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether F-fluorodeoxyglucose (F-FDG) micro-positron emission tomography (micro-PET) can predict abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture. An infrarenal AAA model is needed to study inflammatory mechanisms that drive rupture. F-FDG PET can detect vascular inflammation in animal models and patients. After exposing Sprague-Dawley rats to intra-aortic porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE) (12 U/mL), AAA rupture was induced by daily, subcutaneous, β-aminopropionitrile (BAPN, 300 mg/kg, N = 24) administration. Negative control AAA animals (N = 15) underwent daily saline subcutaneous injection after PPE exposure. BAPN-exposed animals that did not rupture served as positive controls [nonruptured AAA (NRAAA) 14d, N = 9]. Rupture was witnessed using radiotelemetry. Maximum standard uptakes for F-FDG micro-PET studies were determined. Aortic wall PAI-1, uPA, and tPA concentrations were determined by western blot analyses. Interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-10, and MIP-2 were determined by Bio-Plex bead array. Neutrophil and macrophage populations per high-power field were quantified. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activities were determined by zymography. When comparing ruptured AAA (RAAA) to NRAAA 14d animals, increased focal F-FDG uptakes were detected at subsequent sites of rupture (P = 0.03). PAI-1 expression was significantly less in RAAA tissue (P = 0.01), with comparable uPA and decreased tPA levels (P = 0.02). IL-1β (P = 0.04), IL-6 (P = 0.001), IL-10 (P = 0.04), and MIP-2 (P = 0.02) expression, neutrophil (P = 0.02) and macrophage presence (P = 0.002), and MMP9 (P < 0.0001) activity were increased in RAAA tissue. With this AAA rupture model, increased prerupture F-FDG uptake on micro-PET imaging was associated with increased inflammation in the ruptured AAA wall. F-FDG PET imaging may be used to monitor inflammatory changes before AAA rupture.
    Annals of surgery 03/2014; · 7.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The protective effects of female gender on the development of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) have been attributed to anti-inflammatory effects of estrogen. Estrogen synthesis is dependent on the enzyme aromatase, which is located both centrally in the ovaries and peripherally in adipose tissue, bone, and vascular smooth muscle cells. It is hypothesized that deletion of aromatase in both ovarian and peripheral tissues would diminish the protective effect of female gender and would be associated with increased aortic diameter in female mice. Male and female 8- to 10-week-old mice with aromatase (wild type: WT) and without aromatase (ArKO) underwent elastase aortic perfusion with aortic harvest 14 days following. For the contribution of central and peripheral estrogen conversion to be evaluated, female WT mice were compared with female WT and ArKO mice that had undergone ovariectomy (ovx) at 6 weeks followed by elastase perfusion at 8 to 10 weeks. At aortic harvest, maximal aortic dilation was measured and samples were collected for immunohistochemistry and protein analysis. Serum was collected for serum estradiol concentrations. Groups were compared with analysis of variance. Human and mouse AAA cross sections were analyzed with confocal immunohistochemistry for aromatase, smooth muscle markers, and macrophage markers. Female WT mice had significant reduction in aortic dilation compared with male WT mice (F WT, 51.5% ± 15.1% vs M WT, 78.7% ± 14.9%; P < .005). The protective effects of female gender were completely eliminated with deletion of aromatase (F ArKO, 82.6% ± 13.8%; P < .05 vs F WT). Ovariectomy increased aortic dilation in WT mice (F WT ovx, 70.6% ± 11.7%; P < .05 vs F WT). Aromatase deletion with ovariectomy further increased aortic dilation compared with WT ovx mice (F ArKO ovx, 87.3% ± 14.7%, P < .001 vs F WT and P < .05 vs F WT ovx). Accordingly, female ArKO ovx mice had significantly higher levels of the proinflammatory cytokines monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 and interleukin-1β and were associated with increased macrophage staining and decreased elastin staining. Regarding serum hormone levels, decreasing estradiol levels correlated with increasing aortic diameter (R = -0.565; P < .01). By confocal immunohistochemistry, both human and mouse AAA smooth muscle cells (smooth muscle α-actin positive) and macrophages (CD68 positive or Mac-2 positive) expressed aromatase. The protective effect of female gender on AAAs is due to estrogen synthesis and requires the presence of both ovarian and extragonadal/peripheral aromatase. Peripheral estrogen synthesis accounts for roughly half of the protective effect of female gender. If peripheral aromatase could be targeted, high levels of local estrogen could be produced and may avoid the side effects of systemic estrogen.
    Journal of vascular surgery: official publication, the Society for Vascular Surgery [and] International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, North American Chapter 02/2014; · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is hypothesized that differential AKT phosphorylation between sexes is important in abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) formation. Male C57BL/6 mice undergoing elastase treatment showed a typical AAA phenotype (80% over baseline, P < 0.001) and significantly increased phosphorylated AKT-308 (p308) and total-AKT (T-AKT) at day 14 compared with female mice. Elastase-treated Raw cells produced increased p308 and significant amounts of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), and these effects were suppressed by LY294002 treatment, a known AKT inhibitor. Male and female rat aortic smooth muscle cells treated with elastase for 1, 6, or 24 hours demonstrated that the p308/T-AKT and AKT-Ser-473/T-AKT ratios peaked at 6 hours and were significantly higher in the elastase-treated cells compared with controls. Similarly, male cells had higher phosphorylated AKT/T-AKT levels than female cells. LY294002 also inhibited elastase-induced p308 formation more in female smooth muscle cells than in males, and the corresponding cell media had less pro-MMP-9. AKT siRNA significantly decreased secretion of pro-MMP-9, as well as pro-MMP-2 and active MMP-2 from elastase-treated male rat aortic smooth muscle cells. IHC of male mice AAA aortas showed increased p308, AKT-Ser-473, and T-AKT compared with female mice. Aortas from male AAA patients had a significantly higher p308/T-AKT ratio than female AAA tissues. These data suggest that AKT phosphorylation is important in the upstream regulation of MMP activity, and that differential phosphorylation may be important in sex differences in AAA.
    American Journal Of Pathology 01/2014; 184(1):148-158. · 4.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of these experiments was to test the hypothesis that dietary phytoestrogens would diminish experimental aortic aneurysm formation. Six-wk-old C57BL/6 mice were divided into groups, fed either a diet with minimal phytoestrogen content or a regular commercial rodent diet with high phytoestrogen content for 2 wk. At the age of 8 wk, aortic aneurysms were induced by infusing the isolated infrarenal abdominal aorta with 0.4% elastase for 5 min. Mice were recovered and the diameter of the infused aorta was measured at postoperative days 3, 7, and 14. Abdominal aorta samples were collected for histology, cytokine array, and gelatin zymography after aortic diameter measurement. Blood samples were also collected to determine serum phytoestrogens and estradiol levels. Multiple-group comparisons were done using an analysis of variance with post hoc Tukey tests. Compared with mice on a minimal phytoestrogen diet, mice on a regular rodent diet had higher levels of serum phytoestrogens (male, 1138 ± 846 ng/dL; female, 310 ± 295 ng/dL). These serum phytoestrogen levels were also much higher than their own endogenous estradiol levels (109-fold higher for males and 35.5-fold higher for females). Although aortic diameters of female mice were unaffected by the phytoestrogen concentration in the diets, male mice on the regular rodent diet (M+ group) developed smaller aortic aneurysms than male mice on the minimal phytoestrogen diet (M- group) on postoperative day 14 (M+ 54.8 ± 8.8% versus M- 109.3 ± 37.6%; P < 0.001). During aneurysm development (postoperative days 3 and 7), there were fewer neutrophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes in the aorta from the M+ group than from the M- group. Concentrations of multiple proinflammatory cytokines (matrix metalloproteinases [MMPs]; interleukin 1β [IL-1β]; IL-6; IL-17; IL-23; monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted; interferon γ; and tumor necrosis factor α) from aortas of the M+ group were also lower than those from the aortas of the M- group. Zymography also demonstrated that the M+ group had lower levels of aortic MMP-9s than the M- group on postoperative day 14 (P < 0.001 for pro-MMP-9, P < 0.001 for active MMP-9). These results suggest that dietary phytoestrogens inhibit experimental aortic aneurysm formation in male mice via a reduction of the inflammatory response in the aorta wall. The protective effect of dietary phytoestrogens on aneurysm formation warrants further investigation.
    Journal of Surgical Research 12/2013; · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: KLF4 mediates inflammatory responses after vascular injury/disease; however, the role of KLF4 in abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) remains unknown. The goals of the present study were to (1) determine the role of KLF4 in experimental AAA; and (2) determine the effect of KLF4 on smooth muscle (SM) cells in AAAs. KLF4 expression progressively increased at days 3, 7, and 14 after aortic elastase perfusion in C57BL/6 mice. Separately, loss of a KLF4 allele conferred AAA protection using ERTCre+ KLF4 flx/wt mice in the elastase AAA model. In a third set of experiments, SM-specific loss of 1 and 2 KLF4 alleles resulted in progressively greater protection using novel transgenic mice (MYHCre+ flx/flx, flx/wt, and wt/wt) in the elastase AAA model compared with control. Elastin degradation, MAC2, and cytokine production (MCP1, tumor necrosis factor-α, and interleukin-23) were significantly attenuated, whereas α-actin staining was increased in KLF4 knockout mice versus controls. Results were verified in global KLF4 and SM-specific knockout mice using an angiotensin II model of aneurysm formation. KLF4 inhibition with siRNA attenuated downregulation of SM gene expression in vitro, whereas in vivo studies demonstrated that KLF4 binds to promoters of SM genes by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis. Finally, human aortic aneurysms demonstrated significantly higher KLF4 expression that was localized to SM cells. KLF4 plays a critical role in aortic aneurysm formation via effects on SM cells. These results suggest that KLF4 regulates SM cell phenotypic switching and could be a potential therapeutic target for AAA disease.
    Circulation 09/2013; 128(26 Suppl 1):S163-74. · 15.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of the adenosine 2A receptor (A(2A)R) reduces inflammation in models of acute injury but contribution in development of chronic abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) is unknown. Elastase perfusion to induce AAA formation in A(2A)R-knockout (A(2A)RKO) and C57BL6/J wild-type (WT) mice resulted in nearly 100% larger aneurysms in A(2A)RKO compared to WT at d 14 (P<0.05), with evidence of greater elastin fragmentation, more immune cell infiltration, and increased matrix metallatoproteinase (MMP) 9 expression (P<0.05). Separately, exogenous A(2A)R antagonism in elastase-perfused WT mice also resulted in larger aneurysms (P<0.05), while A(2A)R agonism limited aortic dilatation (P<0.05). Activated Thy-1.2(+) T lymphocytes from WT mice treated in vitro with A(2A)R antagonist increased cytokine production, and treatment with A(2A)R agonist decreased cytokine production (P<0.05 for all). Primary activated CD4(+) T lymphocytes from A(2A)RKO mice exhibited greater chemotaxis (P<0.05). A(2A)R antagonist increased chemotaxis of activated CD4(+) cells from WT mice in vitro, and A(2A)R agonist reduced this effect (P<0.05). A(2A)R activation attenuates AAA formation partly by inhibiting immune cell recruitment and reducing elastin fragmentation. These findings support augmenting A(2A)R signaling as a putative target for limiting aneurysm formation.-Bhamidipati, C. M., Mehta, G. S., Moehle, C. W., Meher, A. K., Su, G., Vigneshwar, N. G., Barbery, C., Sharma, A. K., Kron, I. L., Laubach, V. E., Owens, G. K., Upchurch Jr., G. R., Ailawadi, G. Adenosine 2A receptor modulates inflammation and phenotype in experimental abdominal aortic aneurysms.
    The FASEB Journal 02/2013; · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are common, but their exact pathogenesis remains unknown and no specific medical therapies are available. We sought to evaluate interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and interleukin-1 receptor (IL-1R) in an experimental AAA model to identify novel therapeutic targets for AAA treatment. METHODS AND RESULTS: IL-1β mRNA and protein levels were significantly elevated in abdominal aortas of 8- to 12-week-old male C57Bl/6 mice after elastase aortic perfusion (wild-type [WT]) compared with saline perfusion. Mice with genetic deletion of IL-1β (IL-1β knockout [KO]) or IL-1R (IL-1R KO) that underwent elastase perfusion demonstrated significant protection against AAA formation, with maximal aortic dilations of 38.0±5.5% for IL-1β KO and 52.5±4.6% for IL-1R KO compared with 89.4±4.0% for WT mice (P<0.005). Correspondingly, IL-1β KO and IL-1R KO aortas had reduced macrophage and neutrophil staining with greater elastin preservation compared with WT. In WT mice pretreated with escalating doses of the IL-1R antagonist anakinra, there was a dose-dependent decrease in maximal aortic dilation (R=-0.676; P<0.0005). Increasing anakinra doses correlated with decreasing macrophage staining and elastin fragmentation. Lastly, WT mice treated with anakinra 3 or 7 days after AAA initiation with elastase demonstrated significant protection against AAA progression and had decreased aortic dilation compared with control mice. CONCLUSIONS: IL-1β is critical for AAA initiation and progression, and IL-1β neutralization through genetic deletion or receptor antagonism attenuates experimental AAA formation. Disrupting IL-1β signaling offers a novel pathway for AAA treatment.
    Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 01/2013; · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) formation is characterized by inflammation, smooth muscle activation and matrix degradation. This study tests the hypothesis that CD4+ T-cell-produced IL-17 modulates inflammation and smooth muscle cell activation, leading to the pathogenesis of AAA and that human mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) treatment can attenuate IL-17 production and AAA formation. Human aortic tissue demonstrated a significant increase in IL-17 and IL-23 expression in AAA patients compared with control subjects as analyzed by RT-PCR and ELISA. AAA formation was assessed in C57BL/6 (wild-type; WT), IL-23(-/-) or IL-17(-/-) mice using an elastase-perfusion model. Heat-inactivated elastase was used as control. On days 3, 7, and 14 after perfusion, abdominal aorta diameter was measured by video micrometry, and aortic tissue was analyzed for cytokines, cell counts, and IL-17-producing CD4+ T cells. Aortic diameter and cytokine production (MCP-1, RANTES, KC, TNF-α, MIP-1α, and IFN-γ) was significantly attenuated in elastase-perfused IL-17(-/-) and IL-23(-/-) mice compared with WT mice on day 14. Cellular infiltration (especially IL-17-producing CD4+ T cells) was significantly attenuated in elastase-perfused IL-17(-/-) mice compared with WT mice on day 14. Primary aortic smooth muscle cells were significantly activated by elastase or IL-17 treatment. Furthermore, MSC treatment significantly attenuated AAA formation and IL-17 production in elastase-perfused WT mice. These results demonstrate that CD4+ T-cell-produced IL-17 plays a critical role in promoting inflammation during AAA formation and that immunomodulation of IL-17 by MSCs can offer protection against AAA formation.
    Circulation 09/2012; 126(11 Suppl 1):S38-45. · 15.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to test a novel model of inducing abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) in different mouse strains and genders. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Male and female C57BL/6 and B6129 mice (n = 5 per group) underwent periaortic dissection and porcine pancreatic elastase (30 μL) or inactivated elastase application (5 min) to the aorta. Aortic measurements were taken on days 0 and 14. Aortic samples were analyzed for histology and zymography for matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity. Comparison statistics were performed using unpaired t-test. RESULTS: AAA phenotype (50% aortic increase) occurred in external elastase-treated males (100%) and females (90%). No control animals developed AAAs. The aortic diameter was larger in C57BL/6 and B6129 elastase-treated versus control males (P = 0.0028 and P < 0.0001, respectively) and females (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0458, respectively). Histology verified phenotype via disrupted internal elastic laminae. Macrophage counts in elastase-treated animals were >6-fold higher than in controls (all groups significant). MMP9 activity was greater in elastase-treated males and females in C57BL/6 (P = 0.0031, P = 0.0004) and B6129 (P = 0.025, P = 0.2) mice; MMP2 activity was greater in C57BL/6 versus B6129 male elastase-treated mice. CONCLUSIONS: This rodent model produced AAAs in both genders and strains of mice. This model is simple, has little variability, and occurs in the infrarenal aorta, substantiating the external elastase model for future studies.
    Journal of Surgical Research 05/2012; · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The serine proteases, along with their inhibitor plasmin activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), have been shown to play a role in abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) formation. The aim of this study is to determine if PAI-1 may be a protective factor for AAA formation and partially responsible for the gender difference observed in AAAs. Male and female wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 and PAI-1(-/-) mice 8-12 wk of age underwent aortic perfusion with porcine pancreatic elastase. Animals were harvested 14 days following perfusion and analyzed for phenotype, PAI-1 protein levels, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and -2 activity. WT males had an average increase in aortic diameter of 80%, whereas females only increased 32% (P < 0.001). PAI-1(-/-) males increased 204% and females 161%, significantly more than their WT counterparts (P < 0.001). Western blot revealed 61% higher PAI-1 protein levels in the WT females compared with the WT males (P = 0.01). Zymography revealed higher levels of pro-MMP-2 and active MMP-2 in the PAI-1(-/-) males and females compared with their WT counterparts. PAI-1(-/-) females had significantly higher serum plasmin levels compared with WT females (P = 0.003). In conclusion, WT female mice are protected from aneurysm formation and have higher levels of PAI-1 compared with males during experimental aneurysm formation. Additionally, both male and female PAI-1(-/-) animals develop significantly larger aneurysms than WT animals, correlating with higher pro- and active MMP-2 levels. These findings suggest that PAI-1 is protective for aneurysm formation in the elastase model of AAA and plays a role in the gender differences seen in AAA formation.
    AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology 02/2012; 302(7):H1378-86. · 3.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In humans, there is a 4:1 male:female ratio in the incidence of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). c-Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) is an important upstream regulator of several enzymes involved in AAA formation, including the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a gender difference between males and females in JNK during AAA formation. Male and female C57/B6 mice underwent aortic perfusion with elastase or heat inactivated elastase with aortas harvested at d 3 and 14 for phenotype determination, RT-PCR, Western blot, and zymography. Additionally, in vitro experiments using siRNA were conducted to define JNK regulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). A t-test was used to compare between groups. Males formed larger AAAs at d 14 compared with females (P < 0.001), with significantly higher levels of JNK1 protein, proMMP9, proMMP2, and active MMP2. At d 3, males had more JNK1 mRNA, protein, and MMP activity. Knockdown of JNK 1 or 2 in vitro decreased MMP activity, while knockdown of JNK 1 and 2 together blocked all MMP activity. Alterations in JNK between genders is partially responsible for the differential rates of experimental AAA formation, likely through differential regulation of MMPs.
    Journal of Surgical Research 12/2011; 176(2):687-95. · 2.02 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

25 Citations
68.07 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2014
    • University of Virginia
      • • Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
      • • Department of Surgery
      Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
  • 2013
    • Virginia Department of Health
      Richmond, Virginia, United States
  • 2011–2012
    • University of Michigan
      • Department of Surgery
      Ann Arbor, MI, United States