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The glucocorticoid receptor is found in nearly every cell type. It is the receptor for the body's endogenous steroid (cortisol) as well as for the many synthetic steroids (prednisone, dexamethasone) that are used therapeutically for a variety of conditions. Studies have clearly shown that this receptor has tissue-specific functions and that loss of the receptor in specific tissues produces profound and unexpected phenotypes. We are interested in determining the role of this receptor in several relevant tissues including the endothelium (cells lining the blood vessels) and podocytes (cells comprising the filtration barrier in the kidney). These two cell types are at the interface of the cardiovascular-renal health connection and potentially represent an important site of therapeutic intervention. Data gathered from ongoing work support the role of tissue-specific steroid delivery methods in the treatment of many cardiovascular and renal diseases which would likely result in fewer systemic adverse effects.

Using a variety of techniques including novel mouse models, next-generation genomic sequencing, molecular biology and physiologic assays we are investigating this receptor in a number of ongoing projects including:

  • Role of the endothelial glucocorticoid receptor in the development of atherosclerosis and vascular inflammation;
  • Role of the podocyte glucocorticoid receptor in the development of the nephrotic syndrome;
  • Role of both the endothelial and podocyte glucocorticoid receptors in the development and progression of diabetic renal fibrosis;
  • Effects of the endothelial glucocorticoid receptor on angiogenesis;
  • Interaction of endothelial glucocorticoid receptor and Wnt signaling pathway in lipid metabolism, vascular inflammation, and fibrosis.