Shoukang Zhu

University of Miami, كورال غيبلز، فلوريدا, Florida, United States

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Publications (15)184.84 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Rationale: Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) contribute to the regeneration of endothelium. Aging-associated senescence results in reduced number and function of EPCs, potentially contributing to increased cardiac risk, reduced angiogenic capacity, and impaired cardiac repair effectiveness. The mechanisms underlying EPC senescence are unknown. Increasing evidence supports the role of microRNAs in regulating cellular senescence. Objective: We aimed to determine whether microRNAs regulated EPC senescence and, if so, what the underlying mechanisms are. Methods and results: To map the microRNA/gene expression signatures of EPC senescence, we performed microRNA profiling and microarray analysis in lineage-negative bone marrow cells from young and aged wild-type and apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. We identified 2 microRNAs, microRNA-10A* (miR-10A*), and miR-21, and their common target gene Hmga2 as critical regulators for EPC senescence. Overexpression of miR-10A* and miR-21 in young EPCs suppressed Hmga2 expression, caused EPC senescence, as evidenced by senescence-associated β-galactosidase upregulation, decreased self-renewal potential, increased p16(Ink4a)/p19(Arf) expression, and resulted in impaired EPC angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo, resembling EPCs derived from aged mice. In contrast, suppression of miR-10A* and miR-21 in aged EPCs increased Hmga2 expression, rejuvenated EPCs, resulting in decreased senescence-associated β-galactosidase expression, increased self-renewal potential, decreased p16(Ink4a)/p19(Arf) expression, and improved EPC angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, these phenotypic changes were rescued by miRNA-resistant Hmga2 cDNA overexpression. Conclusions: miR-10A* and miR-21 regulate EPC senescence via suppressing Hmga2 expression and modulation of microRNAs may represent a potential therapeutic intervention in improving EPC-mediated angiogenesis and vascular repair.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Circulation Research
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    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · Journal of the American College of Cardiology
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    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · Journal of the American College of Cardiology
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    ABSTRACT: Vein graft endothelial damage is a key step in the development of neointimal hyperplasia, leading to vein graft failure. We sought to determine whether exogenous endothelial progenitor cells could promote vein graft re-endothelialization, and thereby ameliorate neointimal hyperplasia. Carotid artery interposition grafting was performed with syngeneic inferior vena cavae in mice with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Lineage-negative human umbilical cord blood (hUCB) cells (or medium alone) were injected into vein-grafted mice intra-operatively and 2 weeks post-operatively. In vein grafts from hUCB cell-injected mice, we found human HLA-expressing endothelial cells, as well as increased levels of VEGF and FGF-2. Furthermore, hUCB cells secreted VEGF and FGF-2 in vitro. The markedly enhanced endothelial regeneration, likely resulting from both direct engraftment and paracrine actions of hUCB cells, inhibited inflammatory response, diminished intimal cell proliferation, and reduced neointimal hyperplasia in the vein grafts. hUCB cells may accelerate vein graft re-endothelialization via both direct differentiation into endothelial cells and release of paracrine factors to enhance endothelial regeneration and reduce inflammation. These data highlight a potential therapeutic role for cellular therapy in vessel injury.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2010 · Atherosclerosis
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    ABSTRACT: Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is the major AIDS-associated malignancy. It is characterized by the proliferation of spindle cells, inflammatory infiltrate, and aberrant angiogenesis caused by Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) infection. Small GTPase Rac1, an inflammatory signaling mediator triggering reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by NADPH-oxidases, is implicated in carcinogenesis and tumor angiogenesis. Here, we show that expression of a constitutively active Rac1 (RacCA) driven by the alpha-smooth muscle actin promoter in transgenic mice is sufficient to cause KS-like tumors through mechanisms involving ROS-driven proliferation, up-regulation of AKT signaling, and hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha-related angiogenesis. RacCA-induced tumors expressed KS phenotypic markers; displayed remarkable transcriptome overlap with KS lesions; and were, like KS, associated with male gender. The ROS scavenging agent N-acetyl-cysteine inhibited angiogenesis and completely abrogated transgenic RacCA tumor formation, indicating a causal role of ROS in tumorigenesis. Consistent with a pathogenic role in KS, immunohistochemical analysis revealed that Rac1 is overexpressed in KSHV(+) spindle cells of AIDS-KS biopsies. Our results demonstrate the direct oncogenicity of Rac1 and ROS and their contribution to a KS-like malignant phenotype, further underscoring the carcinogenic potential of oxidative stress in the context of chronic infection and inflammation. They define the RacCA transgenic mouse as a model suitable for studying the role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis and therapy of KS, with relevance to other inflammation-related malignancies. Our findings suggest host and viral genes triggering Rac1 or ROS production as key determinants of KS onset and potential KS chemopreventive or therapeutic targets.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2009 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) contribute to vascular regeneration/repair and thus may protect against scleroderma vasculopathy. We aimed to determine whether circulating EPCs were reduced in scleroderma, whether scleroderma sera could induce EPC apoptosis, and, if so, what the underlying apoptotic signaling pathway was. Circulating EPC levels were quantified in 54 patients with scleroderma and 18 healthy control subjects by colony-forming unit assay and flow cytometry, which revealed markedly decreased EPC levels in scleroderma patients relative to healthy subjects. Substantial apoptosis was detected in EPCs after culturing in the presence of scleroderma sera compared with normal sera. Intriguingly, depletion of the IgG fraction from scleroderma sera completely abolished the apoptotic effects. Furthermore, scleroderma sera inhibited the activation/phosphorylation of Akt, which in turn suppressed the phosphorylation and degradation of forkhead transcription factor FKHRL1 (FOXO3a), resulting in the upregulation of apoptotic protein Bim. siRNA-mediated FOXO3a and Bim knockdown substantially reduced scleroderma serum-induced EPC apoptosis. Importantly, Bim expression and baseline apoptosis were increased in EPCs freshly isolated from scleroderma patients relative to that obtained from healthy subjects. Scleroderma serum-induced EPC apoptosis is mediated chiefly by the Akt-FOXO3a-Bim pathway, which may account, at least in part, for the decreased circulating EPC levels in scleroderma patients.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2008 · Circulation
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    ABSTRACT: Our objective was to develop and assess a novel endogenous progenitor cell (EPC) assay based on aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity, and to define the relationship of ALDH-bright (ALDH(br)) cells with previously defined EPCs, patient age, and extent of coronary artery disease. Accurate assessment of circulating EPCs is of significant interest, yet current assays have limitations. Progenitor cells display high levels of ALDH activity. An assay based on ALDH activity may offer a simple means for enumerating EPCs. We simultaneously determined the numbers of EPCs based on ALDH activity and cell surface expression of CD133, CD34, and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 in 110 patients undergoing cardiac catheterization. We assessed the reproducibility of these estimates, correlation among EPC assays, and the association of ALDH(br) numbers with age and disease severity. Aldehyde dehydrogenase-bright cells were easily identified in nonmobilized peripheral blood with median and mean frequencies of 0.041% and 0.074%, respectively. Aldehyde dehydrogenase-bright cells expressed CD34 or CD133 cell surface markers (57.0% and 27.1%, respectively), correlated closely with CD133+CD34+ cells (r = 0.72; p < 0.001), and differentiated into endothelial cells with greater efficiency than CD133+CD34+ cells. Aldehyde dehydrogenase-bright cell numbers were inversely associated with patient age and coronary disease severity. Aldehyde dehydrogenase activity represents a novel simplified method for quantifying EPCs. The correlation of ALDH(br) cells with clinical factors and outcomes warrants further study.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2007 · Journal of the American College of Cardiology
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    ABSTRACT: We have demonstrated that bone marrow cells from young and wild-type (WT), but not old apoE-/-, mice are capable of preventing atherosclerosis. This study was performed to elucidate the numerical and functional changes underlying the efficacy difference between young and old bone marrow. CD34+/VEGFR2+ conventional endothelial progenitor cells and lin-/cKit+/Sca-1+ hematopoietic stem cells did not differ numerically or functionally between young and old apoE-/- bone marrow. Fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis, however, showed that a group of cells (simple little cells or SLCs), characteristically located in the lower left quadrant of forward scatter/side scatter flow cytometric plot, were markedly decreased in old WT and apoE-/- marrow, but abundantly present in young WT and apoE-/- bone marrow. The SLC fraction was mainly composed of lin-/cKit-/Sca-1- cells. In vitro differentiation assay demonstrated substantially more efficient endothelial differentiation of lin-/cKit-/Sca-1- SLCs than other bone marrow fractions at a single cell level and en masse. Furthermore, old lin-/cKit-/Sca-1- SLCs had a trend of decreased endothelial differentiation capability. Lin-/cKit-/Sca-1- SLCs may represent a previously unrecognized cell population, enriched for endothelial progenitors. The identification of these cells may help improve the efficacy of cell therapy.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2007 · Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is characterized by excessive fibrosis and obliterative vascular lesions. Abnormal TGFbeta activation is implicated in the pathogenesis of SSc. Aberrant TGFbeta/Smad signaling can be controlled by stabilization of microtubules with paclitaxel. SSc and healthy human skin biopsies were incubated in the presence or absence of paclitaxel followed by transplantation into severe combined immunodeficient mice. TGFbeta signaling, fibrosis, and neovessel formation were evaluated by quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemical staining. Paclitaxel markedly suppressed Smad2 and Smad3 phosphorylation and collagen deposition in SSc grafts. As a result, the autonomous maintenance/reconstitution of the SSc phenotype was prevented. Remarkably, SSc grafts showed a 2-fold increase in neovessel formation relative to normal grafts, regardless of paclitaxel treatment. Angiogenesis in SSc grafts was associated with a substantial increase in mouse PECAM-1 expression, indicating the mouse origin of the neovascular cells. Low-dose paclitaxel can significantly suppress TGFbeta/Smad activity and lessen fibrosis in SCID mice. Transplantation of SSc skin into SCID mice elicits a strong angiogenesis-an effect not affected by paclitaxel. Although prolonged chemotherapy with paclitaxel at higher doses is associated with pro-fibrotic and anti-angiogenic changes, the findings described here indicate that low-dose paclitaxel may have therapeutic benefits for SSc via modulating TGFbeta signaling.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2006 · PLoS Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO) production by endothelial cell nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in sinusoidal endothelial cells is reduced in the injured liver and leads to intrahepatic portal hypertension. We sought to understand the mechanism underlying defective eNOS function. Phosphorylation of the serine-threonine kinase Akt, which activates eNOS, was substantially reduced in sinusoidal endothelial cells from injured livers. Overexpression of Akt in vivo restored phosphorylation of Akt and production of NO and reduced portal pressure in portal hypertensive rats. We found that Akt physically interacts with G-protein-coupled receptor kinase-2 (GRK2), and that this interaction inhibits Akt activity. Furthermore, GRK2 expression increased in sinusoidal endothelial cells from portal hypertensive rats and knockdown of GRK2 restored Akt phosphorylation and NO production, and normalized portal pressure. Finally, after liver injury, GRK2-deficient mice developed less severe portal hypertension than control mice. Thus, an important mechanism underlying impaired activity of eNOS in injured sinusoidal endothelial cells is defective phosphorylation of Akt caused by overexpression of GRK2 after injury.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2005 · Nature Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) mediate lactate transport across the plasma membrane of cells. The molecular mechanisms regulating monocarboxylate transport in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) remain poorly characterized. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of DNA methylation on MCT expression and lactate transport in SMCs in relation to atherosclerosis. MCT expression was determined by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry in SMCs isolated from human aortas and coronary arteries. Bisulfite sequencing and confocal microscopic analysis were used to study DNA methylation and lactate transport in SMCs, respectively. Downregulation of MCT3 and impaired lactate transport were detected in proliferating/synthetic SMCs, relative to the contractile phenotype. A passage number- and atherosclerotic lesion-dependent methylation pattern of MCT3 was demonstrated in the CpG island located in exon 2. Treatment of SMCs with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine restored MCT3 expression and normalized lactate transport. Furthermore, small interfering RNA-mediated specific MCT3 knockdown substantially stimulated SMC proliferation. These data indicate that DNA methylation may modify monocarboxylate transport by suppressing MCT3 expression, which could be important in regulating SMC function and the development of atherosclerosis.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2005 · Circulation
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    ABSTRACT: The expression of muscle-specific genes associated with myogenesis is controlled by several myogenic transcription factors, including myogenin and MEF2D. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) has been shown to inhibit myogenesis, yet the molecular mechanisms underlying such inhibition are not known. In the present study, TGF-beta was shown to inhibit myogenin and MEF2D expression and myotube formation in C2C12 myoblasts cultured in differentiation medium in a cell density-dependent manner. Transfection of C2C12 cells with Smad7, an antagonist for TGF-beta/Smad signaling, restored the capacity of these cells to differentiate in the presence of TGF-beta or when cultured in growth medium at low confluence, conditions that hinder muscle differentiation. Moreover, nocodazole, a microtubule-destabilizing agent, enhanced the inhibition of myogenesis exerted by TGF-beta, an effect that could be restored by tubulin-polymerizing agent taxol, both of which have been shown to affect Smad-microtubule interaction and regulate TGF-beta/Smad signaling. Our results indicate that TGF-beta inhibits myogenesis, at least in part, via Smad pathway, and provide evidence that low-dose pharmacological agents taxol and nocodazole can be used as a means to modulate myogenesis without affecting cell survival.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2004 · Circulation Research
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    ABSTRACT: Plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) is the primary physiologic inhibitor of plasminogen activator in vivo. Increased PAI-1 expression is associated with arteriosclerosis. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) induces PAI-1 production via Smads. In vivo, TGF-beta receptors (TbetaRs), Smad2, Smad3, and Smad4, PAI-1, and Smad2 phosphorylation were examined by immunohistochemistry in 3 native aortas, 14 rat aortic syngrafts, and 19 allografts collected at 15, 30, and 45 days post-transplantation. In vitro, phosphorylation of Smad2 and induction of PAI-1 mRNA in human aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in response to TGF-beta treatment were detected by Western blot and by TaqMan real-time RT-PCR, respectively. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that vascular parenchymal cells contained TbetaRI, TbetaRII, Smad2, Smad3, and Smad4, known signaling transducers for TGF-beta/Smad pathway, in all samples. Intense staining for phospho-Smad2 was observed in 94% of endothelial cells (ECs), 86% of intimal cells, 27% of medial SMCs, and 38% of adventitial cells at all 3 time points in all aortic allografts, but only in 5% of ECs in syngrafts. PAI-1 immunoreactivity was detected in similar number of cells, and from consecutive sections, phospho-Smad2 colocalized with PAI-1, in the aortic allografts. Low basal level PAI-1 expression was observed in aortic syngrafts and native vessels. Smad2 phosphorylation and time-dependent PAI-1 induction were detected in cultured SMCs upon TGF-beta treatment. Phospho-Smad2 staining in aortic allografts indicates the activation of TGF-beta signaling in allo-transplantation; and co-localization of PAI-1 and phospho-Smad2 suggests that PAI-1 upregulation is mediated mainly by TGF-beta/Smad pathway in aortic allografts.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2002 · The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) is the primary physiologic inhibitor of plasminogen activator in vivo. Increased PAI-1 expression is associated with arteriosclerosis. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) induces PAI-1 production via Smads. Methods: In vivo, TGF-β receptors (TβRs), Smad2, Smad3, and Smad4, PAI-1, and Smad2 phosphorylation were examined by immunohistochemistry in 3 native aortas, 14 rat aortic syngrafts, and 19 allografts collected at 15, 30, and 45 days post-transplantation. In vitro, phosphorylation of Smad2 and induction of PAI-1 mRNA in human aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in response to TGF-β treatment were detected by Western blot and by TaqMan real-time RT-PCR, respectively. Results: Immunohistochemical staining revealed that vascular parenchymal cells contained TβRI, TβRII, Smad2, Smad3, and Smad4, known signaling transducers for TGF-β/Smad pathway, in all samples. Intense staining for phospho-Smad2 was observed in 94% of endothelial cells (ECs), 86% of intimal cells, 27% of medial SMCs, and 38% of adventitial cells at all 3 time points in all aortic allografts, but only in 5% of ECs in syngrafts. PAI-1 immunoreactivity was detected in similar number of cells, and from consecutive sections, phospho-Smad2 colocalized with PAI-1, in the aortic allografts. Low basal level PAI-1 expression was observed in aortic syngrafts and native vessels. Smad2 phosphorylation and time-dependent PAI-1 induction were detected in cultured SMCs upon TGF-β treatment. Conclusions: Phospho-Smad2 staining in aortic allografts indicates the activation of TGF-β signaling in allo-transplantation; and co-localization of PAI-1 and phospho-Smad2 suggests that PAI-1 upregulation is mediated mainly by TGF-β/Smad pathway in aortic allografts.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2002 · The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
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    ABSTRACT: Scleroderma is a chronic systemic disease that leads to fibrosis of affected organs. Transforming growth factor (TGF) beta has been implicated in the pathogenesis of scleroderma. Smad proteins are signaling transducers downstream from TGF-beta receptors. Three families of Smads have been identified: (i) receptor-regulated Smad2 and -3 (R-Smads); (ii) common partner Smad4 (Co-Smad); and (iii) inhibitory Smad6 and -7 (I-Smads, part of a negative feedback loop). We have investigated the signaling components for the TGF-beta pathway and TGF-beta activity in scleroderma lesions in vivo and in scleroderma fibroblasts in vitro. Basal level and TGF-beta-inducible expression of Smad7 are selectively decreased, whereas Smad3 expression is increased both in scleroderma skin and in explanted scleroderma fibroblasts in culture. TGF-beta signaling events, including phosphorylation of Smad2 and -3, and transcription of the PAI-1 gene are increased in scleroderma fibroblasts, relative to normal fibroblasts. In vitro adenoviral gene transfer with Smad7 restores normal TGF-beta signaling in scleroderma fibroblasts. These results suggest that alterations in the Smad pathway, including marked Smad7 deficiency and Smad3 up-regulation, may be responsible for TGF-beta hyperresponsiveness observed in scleroderma.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2002 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Publication Stats

761 Citations
184.84 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010-2012
    • University of Miami
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Miller School of Medicine
      كورال غيبلز، فلوريدا, Florida, United States
  • 2009
    • Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
      Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
  • 2002-2007
    • Duke University Medical Center
      • • Division of Cardiology
      • • Department of Medicine
      Durham, North Carolina, United States