Our laboratory investigates neural circuitry mechanisms of cardiovascular metabolic diseases including hypertension, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases and Alzheimer’s diseases. We are currently interested in the physiological and pathophysiological role of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), (pro)renin receptor (PRR) and prorenin as a novel pathway for brain RAS. Briefly, we are investigating the importance of brain RAS in neurons, astrocyte, and microglial cells in mediating angiotensin II formation, and the neural circuits from the forebrain subfornical organ (SFO) and the paraventricular nucleus of hypothalamus (PVN) to the brainstem autonomic regulatory centers.
To achieve our goal, we utilize integrative physiological genomics and chemogenetic approaches, and take advantages of the commercialized and self-developed transgenic and knockout mouse models. We have also developed adeno-associated virus coding for gene of interests or shRNA to specifically target brain nuclei control by cell-specific promoters. Expertise in our laboratory includes but not limited to blood pressure, heart rate recording in conscious free moving mice using telemetry system; brain nuclei-targeted microinjection; sympathetic nerve activity recording and autonomic function assessment; electrophysiology, as well as high resolution confocal and ground state depletion (GSD/Storm) microscope, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscope to examine ion channel activity in neurons, routine cell and molecular biology techniques. These powerful tools allow us to dissect the neural mechanisms and signaling pathways of brain renin-angiotensin system and circuitry mechanisms in neurogenic hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.