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Research Interests

The research interests of Dr. Huo's laboratory are to study metabolic aspects of human diseases in animal models.

These studies include examination of metabolic effect on leukocyte recruitment and activation, fibroblast activation, activation and proliferation of vascular cells in animal models of atherosclerosis, thrombosis, diabetes/obesity, pulmonary hypertension, retinopathy, cardiac hypertrophy and renal fibrosis. The above diseases develop and progress because of metabolic modulation in relevant cells. Dr. Huo's laboratory developed in-vitro, ex-vivo, and in-vivo animal models and various engineered mice. Using these animal disease models, epifluorescence intravital microscopy, FCAS and histological approaches as well as various molecular/genetic assays, the phenotypes of disease models are characterized and the underlying molecular mechanisms are studied. Current studies assess the involvement of AMPK, adenosine/adenosine receptors, PFKFB3, ATIC and sirtuins in the development and progression of above diseases. These studies are expected to augment basic understanding of metabolic aspect involved in these diseases, and may lead to the development of metabolic therapy for future clinical use in patients.


Adenosine receptor 2A in subretinal fibrosis
The propose of this project will test the hypothesis that adenosine receptor 2A (Adora2a) mediated hypoxia inducible factor (Hif) signaling in choroidal endothelial cells (CECs) and infiltrated macrophages enhance fibrotic effects leading to increased formation of fibrotic lesions in choroidal neovascularization (CNV).

Myeloid PFKFB3 in Subretinal Fibrosis
The propose of this project will test the hypothesis that Pfkfb3-mediated glycolysis in macrophages induces their transition to mesenchymal cells and/or myofibroblasts and their production of profibrotic and proinflammatory factors by activating HIFs pathways, eventually leading to subretinal fibrosis formation.

Targeting myeloid glycolysis in pathological ocular angiogenesis
The aims of this project are to investigate the role of PFKFB3 in myeloid cells in retinal endothelial proliferation, migration as well as sprouting.

VSMC PFKFB3 in atherogenesis
This project is to study whether PFKFB3 deficiency in VSMCs inhibits VSMC proliferation, migration and foam cell formation, ultimately reducing the formation of atherosclerotic lesions in mice.

Mechanisms of myeloperoxidase and Nox4 interactions in abdominal aortic aneurysm
The purpose of this project is to determine how myeloperoxidase gets into the aortic wall to cause aneurysms and explore whether medications that block white blood cells from releasing myeloperoxidase can be used to treat aortic aneurysms.

Spotlight Publications

Drs. Qian Ma and Yuqing Huo pose for photo in lab.

New target in the fight against heart disease

New target in the fight against heart disease
Drs. Caldwell, Huo and Liu

New Treatment targets found for blinding retinal disease

New Treatment targets found for blinding retinal disease
Dr. Huo- article on hypertension in bull's eye

New pulmonary hypertension treatment target in the bull’s-eye

New pulmonary hypertension treatment target in the bull’s-eye

News Mentions

MCG scientists find new target in fight against heart disease

December 30, 2022WFJB.com | News Channel 6

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States…and in the CSRA. Scientists at MCG have discovered a new target in the treatment of the incurable disease. And regulating that target could save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Coronary artery disease- the most common type of heart disease- occurs when cholesterol and fat block the passage of blood flow to your heart. Scientists at MCG have found that the smooth muscle cells that give those blood vessels strength respond by getting bigger and multiplying. Unfortunately, this further contributes to the disease.

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Recent Publications

Ma Q, Yang Q, Xu J, Sellers HG, Brown ZL, Liu Z, Bordan Z, Shi X, Zhao D, Cai Y, Pareek V, Zhang C, Wu G, Dong Z, Verin AD, Gan L, Du Q, Benkovic SJ, Xu S, Asara JM, Ben-Sahra I, Barman S, Su Y, Fulton DJR, Huo Y. Purine synthesis suppression reduces the development and progression of pulmonary hypertension in rodent models. Eur Heart J. 2023 Jan 31:ehad044. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehad044. Online ahead of print.PMID: 36721994

Liu Z, Shi H, Xu J, Yang Q, Ma Q, Mao X, Xu Z, Zhou Y, Da Q, Cai Y, Fulton DJ, Dong Z, Sodhi A, Caldwell RB, Huo Y.  Single-cell transcriptome analyses reveal microglia types associated with proliferative retinopathy. JCI Insight. 2022 Dec 8;7(23):e160940. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.160940.PMID: 36264636

Ma Q, Yang Q, Xu J, Zhang X, Kim D, Liu Z, Da Q, Mao X, Zhou Y, Cai Y, Pareek V, Kim HW, Wu G, Dong Z, Song WL, Gan L, Zhang C, Hong M, Benkovic SJ, Weintraub NL, Fulton D Jr, Asara JM, Ben-Sahra I, Huo Y. ATIC-Associated De Novo Purine Synthesis Is Critically Involved in Proliferative Arterial Disease. Circulation. 2022 Nov 8;146(19):1444-1460. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.058901. Epub 2022 Sep 8.PMID: 36073366