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Despite remarkable recent progress in molecular and vascular biology research, little has been achieved in adapting traditional imaging modalities to detect molecular pathobiology in vivo. Molecular imaging provides a unique opportunity to link vascular and molecular biology with imaging, ultimately leading to the development of novel imaging approaches both for research and clinical diagnostics.

Our research effort comprises of three inter-connected dimensions: a) Through basic vascular biology research we identify relevant molecular processes and potential targets for imaging (and therapeutics); b) We use the state-of-the-art technology to develop novel tracers targeted at relevant molecular markers, establishing innovative molecular vascular imaging protocols in animal models of human disease; c) We exploit these techniques to further advance vascular biology and clinical research. We have made significant progress towards achieving these goals in the past few years.

Our federally funded studies of the pathophysiology of vascular remodeling have led to the identification novel molecular markers, including a neuropilin-like protein, ESDN, as a potential target for diagnosis and therapy of vascular remodeling.

We have demonstrated that ESDN is upregulated in vascular remodeling, and have defined its function as regulator of vascular cell proliferation in vivo. We are currently in the process of defining other aspects of ESDN function, including its role in growth factor and integrin signaling pathways, and identification of ESDN ligands.

Related Citations

Li X, Jung JJ, Nie L, Razavian M, Zhang J, Samuel VT, Sadeghi MM: A neuropilin-like protein, ESDN regulates insulin signaling and sensitivity. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2016 Feb 26; 2016 Feb 26. PMID: 26921437

Nie L, Guo X, Esmailzadeh L, Zhang J, Asadi A, Collinge M, Li X, Kim JD, Woolls M, Jin SW, Dubrac A, Eichmann A, Simons M, Bender JR, Sadeghi MM: Transmembrane protein ESDN promotes endothelial VEGF signaling and regulates angiogenesis. J Clin Invest. 2013 Dec; 2013 Nov 1. PMID: 24177422

Zhang J, Silva T, Yarovinsky T, Manes TD, Tavakoli S, Nie L, Tellides G, Pober JS, Bender JR, Sadeghi MM: VEGF blockade inhibits lymphocyte recruitment and ameliorates immune-mediated vascular remodeling. Circ Res. 2010 Aug 6; 2010 Jun 10. PMID: 20538685

Guo X, Nie L, Esmailzadeh L, Zhang J, Bender JR, Sadeghi MM: Endothelial and smooth muscle-derived neuropilin-like protein regulates platelet-derived growth factor signaling in human vascular smooth muscle cells by modulating receptor ubiquitination. J Biol Chem. 2009 Oct 23; 2009 Aug 19. PMID: 19696027