R O'Neill

Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis, MO, United States

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Publications (34)258.12 Total impact

  • Gastroenterology 01/2010; 138(5). · 12.82 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 01/2008; 134(4). · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatic stellate cells (HSC) play a key role in hepatic fibrogenesis and thus, it is important to understand the intracellular signalling pathways that influence their behaviour. This study investigated the expression and regulation of protein kinase C (PKC) in HSC. Western blot analysis indicates that rat HSC express at least four PKC isoforms, PKC-alpha, PKC-delta, PKC-epsilon and PKC-zeta. PKC-alpha and PKC-zeta were located predominantly in the cytosol and were redistributed to the membrane by the PKC agonist, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), while PKC-delta and PKC-epsilon were highly membrane-bound and did not undergo translocation by PMA. PKC-alpha, PKC-delta and PKC-zeta were rapidly downregulated by PMA. However, PKC-epsilon was resistant to downregulation. We also examined phosphorylation of myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate (MARCKS), a specific substrate of PKC, as another approach to assess activation of PKC. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and PMA increased the phosphorylation of MARCKS, suggesting that PDGF can induce PKC activation. PDGF-induced stimulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and p70-S6 kinase was not abrogated by downregulation of PKC-alpha, PKC-delta and PKC-zeta. Prolonged PKC inhibition did not inhibit the fibrogenic phenotype. Multiple PKC isoforms are expressed in rat HSC and are differentially regulated by PMA. PDGF activates certain mitogenic signalling pathways independent of PKC-alpha, PKC-delta and PKC-zeta. Specific PKC isoforms may modulate different cell functions in HSC.
    Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 11/2007; 27(8):1066-75. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proliferation of activated hepatic stellate cells (HSC) is an important event in the development of hepatic fibrosis. Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) has been shown to be mitogenic for HSC, but the intracellular signaling pathways involved have not been fully characterized. Thus, the aims of the current study were to examine the roles of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) and p70-S6 kinase (p70-S6-K) signaling pathways in IGF-1- and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced mitogenic signaling of HSC and to examine the potential crosstalk between these pathways. Both IGF-1 and PDGF increased ERK, PI3-K and p70-S6-K activity. When evaluating potential crosstalk between these signaling pathways, we observed that PI3-K is required for p70-S6-K activation by IGF-1 and PDGF, and is partially responsible for PDGF-induced ERK activation. PDGF and IGF-1 also increased the levels of cyclin D1 and phospho-glycogen synthase kinase-3beta. Coordinate activation of ERK, PI3-K and p70-S6-K is important for perpetuating the activated state of HSC during fibrogenesis.
    Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 06/2006; 147(5):234-41. · 2.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic ethanol consumption can result in hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis. In addition to oxidative metabolism, ethanol can be metabolized by esterification with fatty acids to form fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) such as linolenic acid ethyl ester (LAEE). We have previously demonstrated that LAEE has promitogeinc and activating effects on hepatic stellate cells (HSC), but the mechanisms of these actions are not known. Intracellular signaling through MAP kinase pathways, including extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) can influence the activity of the transcription factor AP-1, while cell-cycle regulatory proteins such as cyclin E and cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK), play an important role in cell proliferation. In this study, we demonstrate that treatment of HSC with LAEE increases cyclin E expression and cyclin E/CDK2 activity, which may underlie the promitogenic effects of this compound. In addition, LAEE increases ERK and JNK activity, and these pathways play an important role in the activation of AP-1-dependent gene expression by LAEE. The stimulation of intracellular signaling pathways in HSC by this well-characterized ethanol metabolite may contribute to ethanol-induced hepatic fibrogenesis.
    Life Sciences 08/2003; 73(9):1083-96. · 2.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein kinase C (PKC) may play a role in the intracellular signaling pathways responsible for transforming hepatic stellate cells into myofibroblasts. This study examined the effects of inhibitors and activators of PKC on hepatic stellate cell activation. Stellate cells isolated from normal rats were incubated with either 10(-5) M chelerythrine, 10(-7) M bisindolylmaleimide I hydrochloride (BIM), or 10(-6) M staurosporine (PKC inhibitors), or 10(-7) M phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) or 10(-6) M thymeleatoxin (PKC activators). Chelerythrine suppressed alpha-smooth muscle actin expression and proliferation by 49% and 33%, respectively. BIM inhibited alpha-smooth muscle actin expression by 60%, but had no significant effect on proliferation. Staurosporine decreased proliferation by 86% and completely prevented alpha-smooth muscle actin expression. PKC activators had divergent effects on proliferation and alpha-smooth muscle actin expression. PMA and thymeleatoxin caused a 2.8- to 3.2-fold increase in proliferation, while suppressing alpha-smooth muscle actin expression by 50-70%. The demonstration that hepatic stellate cell activation can be suppressed by PKC inhibitors suggests a role for PKC in the regulation of hepatic stellate cell activation.
    Digestive Diseases and Sciences 05/2003; 48(4):790-6. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSC) results in the transdifferentiation of the resting (quiescent) phenotype to one characterized by loss of vitamin A droplets, increased alpha-smooth muscle actin (SMA) expression and increased collagen production. Aldehydic products of lipid peroxidation have been shown to increase collagen production by cultured fibroblasts and by passaged HSC, but it is unclear whether these products of lipid peroxidation can initiate the activation of HSC. In the present study the effects were examined of two aldehydic products of lipid peroxidation, malondialdehyde (MDA) and 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE), on activation of rat HSC in early culture as measured by SMA and desmin expression, and collagen production. The HSC from normal rat liver were plated in plastic wells and exposed to either MDA (5-200 micromol/L), HNE (0.1-20 micromol/L) or vehicle for either 3 or 7 days. The cells were then harvested; SMA and desmin levels were measured by western blotting. Collagen production was measured by radiolabeled proline incorporation after 6 h of aldehyde exposure. Malondialdehyde (100 and 200 micromol/L) decreased SMA expression during the 3-day and 7-day exposures compared with controls. 4-Hydroxynonenal (20 micromol/L) decreased SMA expression significantly while no effects were observed with lower concentrations compared with controls during the 3-day exposure. Seven-day exposure to HNE (0.1-20 micromol/L) failed to alter SMA expression compared with controls. Exposure to MDA or HNE did not influence desmin expression or collagen production. Aldehydic products of lipid peroxidation do not directly activate HSC in early culture and alternative pathways may be responsible for HSC activation during oxidative stress.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 08/2002; 17(7):785-90. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One function of Kupffer cells is the phagocytosis of nonviable hepatocytes. Our aims were to develop a model for phagocytosis of damaged hepatocytes by rat Kupffer cells in vitro, and to characterise prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), prostacyclin (PGI), and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) production in this model. Kupffer cells were incubated alone or with damaged hepatocytes for up to 18 h, then washed and cultured for up to 66 h. To compare mediator responses produced during inert particle phagocytosis, Kupffer cells were also incubated with latex beads. Phagocytic uptake of hepatocyte debris was confirmed in at least 50% of Kupffer cells. A dissociation between TNF and PGI responses was found for both latex beads and damaged hepatocytes, such that a TNF secretory response was not triggered by either stimulus whereas PGI production was increased for both. Although phagocytosis of beads increased PGE2 production, phagocytosis of hepatocytes did not. Phagocytosis of damaged hepatocytes by Kupffer cells results in the production of PGI but not PGE2 or TNF.
    Liver International 11/1999; 19(5):418-22.
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    ABSTRACT: Increased iron is suspected to enhance hepatic injury associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFL). We evaluated the impact of iron accumulation on the outcome of NAFL. Patients with NAFL were identified from our database. Twenty-two clinicodemographic and 19 pathological features were available for each patient. Histological staining (Perls' Prussian blue), hepatic iron concentration (HIC), and hepatic iron index (HII) were determined. Data on follow-up, mortality, and cause of death were analyzed. In 65 patients with available liver biopsy blocks, HIC and HII were 1,171 +/- 717 microgram/g dry weight and 0.43 +/- 0.30 micromol/g/yr, respectively. Males had more iron accumulation (HIC: 1,514 +/- 836 vs. 859 +/- 389, P =.0001; and HII: 0.58 +/- 0.35 vs. 0.29 +/- 0.16, P =.0001). In type II diabetics, both HIC (977 +/- 769 vs. 1,301 +/- 659; P <.05) and HII (0.30 +/- 0.23 vs. 0.52 +/- 0.32; P <.05) were lower. Iron accumulation was not related to other variables analyzed. Increased iron was not seen in those with higher grades of fibrosis or other pathological features associated with the aggressive form of NAFL (hepatocyte necrosis, fibrosis, ballooning degeneration, and Mallory hyaline). Iron accumulation was not associated with increased overall mortality, liver-related mortality, or development of cirrhosis. In summary, in most patients with NAFL, significant iron accumulation is not seen. Additionally, in our series of patients with NAFL, iron is not associated with poor clinical or pathological outcomes.
    Hepatology 11/1999; 30(4):847-50. · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is a common autosomal recessive disease characterized by increased iron absorption and progressive iron storage that results in damage to major organs in the body. Recently, a candidate gene for HH called HFE encoding a major histocompatibility complex class I-like protein was identified by positional cloning. Nearly 90% of Caucasian HH patients have been found to be homozygous for the same mutation (C282Y) in the HFE gene. To test the hypothesis that the HFE gene is involved in regulation of iron homeostasis, we studied the effects of a targeted disruption of the murine homologue of the HFE gene. The HFE-deficient mice showed profound differences in parameters of iron homeostasis. Even on a standard diet, by 10 weeks of age, fasting transferrin saturation was significantly elevated compared with normal littermates (96 +/- 5% vs. 77 +/- 3%, P < 0.007), and hepatic iron concentration was 8-fold higher than that of wild-type littermates (2,071 +/- 450 vs. 255 +/- 23 microg/g dry wt, P < 0.002). Stainable hepatic iron in the HFE mutant mice was predominantly in hepatocytes in a periportal distribution. Iron concentrations in spleen, heart, and kidney were not significantly different. Erythroid parameters were normal, indicating that the anemia did not contribute to the increased iron storage. This study shows that the HFE protein is involved in the regulation of iron homeostasis and that mutations in this gene are responsible for HH. The knockout mouse model of HH will facilitate investigation into the pathogenesis of increased iron accumulation in HH and provide opportunities to evaluate therapeutic strategies for prevention or correction of iron overload.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/1998; 95(5):2492-7. · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 01/1998; 114. · 12.82 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 01/1998; 114. · 12.82 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 01/1998; 114. · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been suggested that lipid peroxidation plays an important role in hepatic fibrogenesis resulting from chronic iron overload. Vitamin E is an important lipid-soluble antioxidant that has been shown to be decreased in patients with hereditary hemochromatosis and in experimental iron overload. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of vitamin E supplementation on hepatic lipid peroxidation and fibrogenesis in an animal model of chronic iron overload. Rats were fed the following diets for 4, 8, or 14 mo: standard laboratory diet (control), diet with supplemental vitamin E (200 IU/kg, control + E), diet with carbonyl iron (Fe), and diet with carbonyl iron supplemented with vitamin E (200 IU/kg. Fe + E). Iron loading resulted in significant decreases in hepatic and plasma vitamin E levels at all time points, which were overcome by vitamin E supplementation. Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (an index of lipid peroxidation) were increased three- to fivefold in the iron-loaded livers; supplementation with vitamin E reduced these levels by at least 50% at all time points. Hepatic hydroxyproline levels were increased twofold by iron loading. Vitamin E did not affect hydroxyproline content at 4 or 8 mo but caused an 18% reduction at 14 mo in iron-loaded livers. At 8 and 14 mo, vitamin E decreased the number of alpha-smooth muscle actin-positive stellate cells in iron-loaded livers. These results demonstrate a dissociation between lipid peroxidation and collagen production and suggest that the profibrogenic action of iron in this model is mediated through effects which cannot be completely suppressed by vitamin E.
    The American journal of physiology 02/1997; 272(1 Pt 1):G116-23. · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Stellate cells play an important role in the production and turnover of the normal extracellular matrix of the liver and are key effector cells in the hepatic fibrogenesis that occurs in response to liver injury. In the present study, we used a rat model of long term dietary iron supplementation to identify stellate cell genes that are expressed during chronic hepatic iron overload. Using a subtraction cloning strategy, we identified a rat isoform of the complement C4 protein gene whose expression was strongly induced in stellate cells after iron overload. Highly purified, cultured stellate cells synthesized the C4 precursor protein and released its subunits into the culture medium. The C4 protein secreted in vitro was biologically active in a C4-specific hemolytic assay. C4 mRNA expression was minimal in freshly isolated stellate cells and increased between days 3 and 7 of primary culture, coincident with the expression of smooth muscle alpha-actin (alpha-SMA), a marker of cellular activation. C4 expression was absent in strongly alpha-SMA-positive, passaged cells, but was induced by IFN-gamma, which simultaneously inhibited alpha-SMA expression. Our studies establish hepatic stellate cells as a previously unrecognized source of C4 and raise the possibility that complement protein expression by the cells plays a role in the hepatic injury response and in fibrogenesis. Our in vitro data point to the presence of two distinct stimulatory pathways for C4 expression in stellate cells that differ with regard to their sensitivity to IFN-gamma and their relationship to cellular activation.
    The Journal of Immunology 10/1996; 157(6):2601-9. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of ferritin in lipocyte activation is unknown. This study examined the effect of rat liver ferritin (RLF), human recombinant H-ferritin (HrHF), human recombinant L-ferritin (HrLF), apo-ferritin (apo-RLF), and hemin on lipocyte activation. Lipocytes were cultured on uncoated plastic and were incubated with these agents for 7 days, at concentrations ranging from 10(-14) to 10(-7) M (0.5 to 50 microM for hemin). Collagen/noncollagen protein production and lipocyte proliferation were determined by [3H]proline and [3H]thymidine incorporation, respectively, and the expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) and desmin was determined by Western blot. RLF, at concentrations ranging from 10(-10) to 10(-7) M, decreased alpha-SMA expression by 65-88%. Apo-RLF, HrHF, and HrLF decreased alpha-SMA by 17-45% at 10(-7) and 10(-8) M. Hemin (10 or 50 microM) inhibited alpha-SMA by 37 and 54%, respectively. Desmin expression was not altered by ferritin or hemin. Collagen and noncollagen protein production were not altered by either RLF or apo-RLF. Lipocyte proliferation was decreased by 54, 32, and 40%, by 10(-7) M RLF, HrHF, and HrLF, respectively, whereas apo-RLF had no effect. Thus RLF inhibited lipocyte alpha-SMA expression, which may be due to an effect of sequestered iron, since neither apo-RLF, HrHF, nor HrLF had a potent effect on alpha-SMA expression and all are essentially iron-free. The inhibitory effect of iron-loaded RLF on alpha-SMA expression suggests that tissue ferritin does not initiate lipocyte activation in iron overload, but rather may have a suppressive action on this process.
    The American journal of physiology 03/1996; 270(2 Pt 1):G370-5. · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatic iron overload can cause lipid peroxidation with the formation of aldehydic products, hepatocellular injury, and fibrosis. Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) may prevent peroxidation-induced hepatic damage. We used confocal laser scanning microscopy, digital image analysis, and immunohistochemical methods to quantitate aldehyde-derived peroxidation products in the liver of rats with experimental iron overload with or without supplemental vitamin E. A strong autofluorescent reaction colocalizing with iron deposits was present in the livers of iron-loaded rats. Fluorescent granules were unevenly distributed in the cytosol of both hepatocytes and Kupffer cells in the periportal regions. Immunohistochemical studies revealed the presence of malon-dialdehyde adducts in the periportal regions of the ironloaded rats. Vitamin E supplementation markedly reduced the fluorescence intensity and the amount of aldehyde-derived peroxidation products and changed the distribution of stainable iron and iron-associated peroxidation products such that their levels were much decreased in Kupffer cells. These results indicate that aldehyde-derived covalent chemical addition products are formed in the liver in iron overload. Vitamin E supplementation markedly reduces the amount of these compounds and changes their cellular distribution. These findings should be implicated in the role of antioxidant therapy in conditions causing iron overload and lipid peroxidation.
    The American journal of physiology 03/1996; 270(2 Pt 1):G376-84. · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were to determine whether chronic ethanol consumption potentiates mitochondrial lipid peroxidation or impairment of mitochondrial oxidative metabolism in rats with chronic iron overload. Experimental iron overload was induced by feeding rats a chow diet supplemented with 2.5% carbonyl iron. After 8 to 12 weeks, half of the iron-loaded and control animals were changed to a liquid diet containing ethanol for 4 to 5 weeks. The remaining animals were fed an isocaloric amount of diet containing dextrin-maltose instead of ethanol for 4 to 5 weeks. Iron-supplemented animals had a 20-fold increase in hepatic iron concentration as compared with controls. Iron and ethanol independently increased plasma alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels (p < 0.05) while the combination resulted in an additive increase in ALT levels (p < 0.01). Although iron overload increased the levels of mitochondrial conjugated dienes and significantly reduced the mitochondrial respiratory control ratio, ethanol administration did not affect these parameters in animals with or without iron overload. Livers from iron-loaded rats that received ethanol showed mild to moderate steatosis with scattered necroinflammatory foci. There was no significant increase in necroinflammatory foci in the livers of the iron plus ethanol group as compared with the iron group. In conclusion, we have demonstrated an additive increase in hepatocellular injury when ethanol is fed to iron-loaded rats, as evidenced by an increase in plasma ALT level. However, there were no additive or synergistic effects of iron and ethanol on either mitochondrial lipid peroxidation or mitochondrial oxidative metabolism.
    Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 12/1995; 126(6):597-602. · 2.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lipocytes have been classified as vitamin A-storing, desmin-positive cells. In hepatic fibrogenesis, lipocytes transform into myofibroblasts, which express alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) and produce increased amounts of collagen. We isolated a population of vitamin A-poor lipocytes (VAPL) from normal rat liver and examined the morphological and biochemical differences between VAPL and vitamin A-replete lipocytes (VARL). Desmin and alpha-SMA expression were determined by Western blot in quiescent cells and in cells activated by culture on uncoated plastic. Both cell types were alpha-SMA-negative; however, in contrast to VARL, freshly isolated VAPL did not contain desmin. Desmin expression was induced in VAPL on activation. With time in culture, both VAPL and VARL expressed alpha-SMA and produced collagen, indicative of transformation to myofibroblasts. Ferritin receptor expression was demonstrated in cultured VARL after 1 day and in VAPL after 5 days, indicating that this is an early marker of lipocyte activation. After 7 days, VARL and VAPL were indistinguishable in terms of desmin, ferritin receptor expression, and collagen production. This study demonstrates the first isolation and characterization of two distinct quiescent subpopulations of lipocytes from normal rat liver: desmin-negative VAPL and desmin-positive VARL. Both populations of cells can be activated to myofibroblasts, the phenotype associated with hepatic fibrogenesis.
    The American journal of physiology 11/1995; 269(4 Pt 1):G532-41. · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic iron overload can result in hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis. Activated lipocytes, through increased production of collagen and extracellular matrix, play an important role in hepatic fibrogenesis in several types of experimental liver injury, but their contribution to hepatic injury after iron overload is unknown. This study examines the effect of iron overload on lipocyte activation, in vivo. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a chow diet supplemented with 1% carbonyl iron for up to 20 mo. Controls were fed the chow diet alone. Lipocytes were prepared by sequential pronase and collagenase perfusion of the livers, followed by density-gradient centrifugation. Lipocyte activation was assessed by immunohistochemistry of liver sections and by Western blot analysis of alpha-smooth muscle actin expression in freshly isolated lipocytes. In addition, to measure the biosynthetic capability of these lipocytes, collagen and noncollagen protein production was determined after 3 days in culture, using [3H]proline incorporation. The hepatic iron concentration was increased by eightfold in the iron-loaded rats, and lipocytes from these animals expressed alpha-smooth muscle actin. Collagen production was increased by 2.5-fold, and noncollagen protein production was elevated by twofold in lipocytes isolated from iron-loaded rats. In the iron-loaded livers, autofluorescent material with the characteristics of lipofusion was present in periportal zones. Chronic iron overload expression results in the activation of lipocytes, as determined by increased expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin and by increased production of both collagen and noncollagen protein. This activation may contribute to iron-induced hepatic fibrogenesis.
    The American journal of physiology 04/1995; 268(3 Pt 1):G451-8. · 3.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

986 Citations
258.12 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1995–2007
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      • Division of Gastroenterology
      Saint Louis, MO, United States
  • 2003
    • East Carolina University
      • Department of Internal Medicine
      Greenville, NC, United States
  • 2002
    • University of Western Australia
      • School of Medicine and Pharmacology
      Perth City, Western Australia, Australia
  • 1999
    • Fremantle Hospital and Health Service
      Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
    • Saint Louis University
      • Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
      Saint Louis, MI, United States
  • 1994–1997
    • University of Missouri - St. Louis
      Saint Louis, Michigan, United States
  • 1996
    • University of Oulu
      Uleoborg, Oulu, Finland
  • 1991
    • Louisiana State University in Shreveport
      Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
  • 1989–1990
    • Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
      • Department of Medicine
      Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • 1985–1989
    • Case Western Reserve University
      • School of Medicine
      Cleveland, OH, United States