Chuhan Chung MD
Associate Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases)
Matricellular proteins; Endogenous angiogenic inhibitors; Pigment Epithelium-Derived Factor (PEDF); Thrombospondin-1
Osteodystrophy related to chronic gastrointestinal/liver diseases.
Obesity is a risk factor for diseases such as diabetes and the development of cancer. We are studying the role of angiogenesis in these processes. Angiogenesis is usually quiescent in the adult human but becomes disturbed in disease conditions. In diseases characterized by fat accumulation, the endogenous levels of angiogenic inhibitors are decreased or lost. We are evaluating the loss of these endogenous inhibitors of angiogenesis in animal models and measuring their levels in the serum of patients with metabolic diseases.
Extensive Research Description
My academic interest focuses on the role of angiogenic factors in metabolic disorders. Clinically, the rise in obesity in the US increases the risk of developing diseases such as the metabolic syndrome and various gastrointestinal malignancies. Several areas of research are being pursued in relation to these findings.
First, the function of endogenous inhibitors of angiogenesis is being evaluated in animal models with genetic deletion of specific angiogenic inhibitors. Loss of several angiogenic inhibitors such as pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) is associated with ectopic lipid accumulation in animals. Our studies suggest that endogenous inhibitors of angiogenesis serve an important homeostatic function in lipid metabolism.
Second, in collaboration with members of the Sections of Endocrinology and Digestive Diseases, we are evaluating serum angiogenic profiles in patients with metabolic dysfunction. This data may determine whether a serum 'angiogenic score' correlates with different features of metabolism including obesity, insulin resistance and others.
Finally, we have collaborated with the Department of Biomedical Engineering to create PEDF-containing microspheres that can release protein over several weeks. These have been used in animal studies to determine whether PEDF delivery can inhibit tumor growth in vivo.