Dr. Yue Feng with her former trainee Youyi Zhang discovered a novel mechanism and therapeutic candidate for stress-induced heart inflammation
Collaboration between the research team led by Dr. Youyi Zhang (pictured left) from the Institute of Vascular Medicine at Peking University Third Hospital and her former postdoc advisor Dr. Yue Feng at Emory pharmacology discovered a novel mechanism underlying cardiac inflammation due to adrenergic insult. They found that rapid activation of interleukin-18 (IL-18) within cardiomyocytes is the trigger for cascades of inflammatory cytokines and pathological remodeling of the heart upon exacerbated activation of the sympathetic nervous system (European Heart Journal, Jan 1, 2018). Moreover, acute coronary syndrome patients with higher IL-18 levels display reduced heart function. Importantly, early blockade of IL-18 activity by a neutralizing antibody that is investigated in clinical trials reduces inflammatory responses and heart malfunction in mice. This study identified IL-18 as a novel candidate of selective therapeutic intervention for stress-induced inflammatory heart diseases. Presentation of this work by the first author was granted Young Investigator Award at the China-USA Cardiovascular Symposium, a Satellite Symposium of American Heart Association (AHA) 2017. These findings were published in the European Heart Journal, January 2018.
IL-18 cleavage triggers cardiac inflammation and fibrosis upon β-adrenergic insult. Han Xiao HaoLi Jing-Jing Wang Jian-Shu Zhang Jing Shen Xiang-Bo An Cong-Cong Zhang Ji-Min Wu Yao Song Xin-Yu Wang Hai-Yi Yu Xiang-Ning Deng Zi-Jian Li Ming Xu Zhi-Zhen Lu JieDu Wei Gao Ai-Hua Zhang Yue Feng You-Yi Zhang. European Heart Journal, Volume 39, Issue 1, 1 January 2018, Pages 60–69.