Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Peking University Health Science Center (2013)
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Peking University Health Science Center (2008)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • Epigenetic Regulation of Phosphodiesterases 2A and 3A Underlies Compromised ß-Adrenergic Signaling in an iPSC Model of Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Cell stem cell Wu, H., Lee, J., Vincent, L. G., Wang, Q., Gu, M., Lan, F., Churko, J. M., Sallam, K. I., Matsa, E., Sharma, A., Gold, J. D., Engler, A. J., Xiang, Y. K., Bers, D. M., Wu, J. C. 2015; 17 (1): 89-100


    β-adrenergic signaling pathways mediate key aspects of cardiac function. Its dysregulation is associated with a range of cardiac diseases, including dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Previously, we established an iPSC model of familial DCM from patients with a mutation in TNNT2, a sarcomeric protein. Here, we found that the β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol induced mature β-adrenergic signaling in iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) but that this pathway was blunted in DCM iPSC-CMs. Although expression levels of several β-adrenergic signaling components were unaltered between control and DCM iPSC-CMs, we found that phosphodiesterases (PDEs) 2A and PDE3A were upregulated in DCM iPSC-CMs and that PDE2A was also upregulated in DCM patient tissue. We further discovered increased nuclear localization of mutant TNNT2 and epigenetic modifications of PDE genes in both DCM iPSC-CMs and patient tissue. Notably, pharmacologic inhibition of PDE2A and PDE3A restored cAMP levels and ameliorated the impaired β-adrenergic signaling of DCM iPSC-CMs, suggesting therapeutic potential.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2015.04.020

    View details for PubMedID 26095046

  • Pravastatin reverses obesity-induced dysfunction of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells via a nitric oxide-dependent mechanism. European heart journal Gu, M., Mordwinkin, N. M., Kooreman, N. G., Lee, J., Wu, H., Hu, S., Churko, J. M., Diecke, S., Burridge, P. W., He, C., Barron, F. E., Ong, S., Gold, J. D., Wu, J. C. 2015; 36 (13): 806-816


    High-fat diet-induced obesity (DIO) is a major contributor to type II diabetes and micro- and macro-vascular complications leading to peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Metabolic abnormalities of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells (iPSC-ECs) from obese individuals could potentially limit their therapeutic efficacy for PVD. The aim of this study was to compare the function of iPSC-ECs from normal and DIO mice using comprehensive in vitro and in vivo assays.Six-week-old C57Bl/6 mice were fed with a normal or high-fat diet. At 24 weeks, iPSCs were generated from tail tip fibroblasts and differentiated into iPSC-ECs using a directed monolayer approach. In vitro functional analysis revealed that iPSC-ECs from DIO mice had significantly decreased capacity to form capillary-like networks, diminished migration, and lower proliferation. Microarray and ELISA confirmed elevated apoptotic, inflammatory, and oxidative stress pathways in DIO iPSC-ECs. Following hindlimb ischaemia, mice receiving intramuscular injections of DIO iPSC-ECs had significantly decreased reperfusion compared with mice injected with control healthy iPSC-ECs. Hindlimb sections revealed increased muscle atrophy and presence of inflammatory cells in mice receiving DIO iPSC-ECs. When pravastatin was co-administered to mice receiving DIO iPSC-ECs, a significant increase in reperfusion was observed; however, this beneficial effect was blunted by co-administration of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, N(ω)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester.This is the first study to provide evidence that iPSC-ECs from DIO mice exhibit signs of endothelial dysfunction and have suboptimal efficacy following transplantation in a hindlimb ischaemia model. These findings may have important implications for future treatment of PVD using iPSC-ECs in the obese population.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/eurheartj/ehu411

    View details for PubMedID 25368203

  • Genome Editing of Isogenic Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Recapitulates Long QT Phenotype for Drug Testing. Journal of the American College of Cardiology Wang, Y., Liang, P., Lan, F., Wu, H., Lisowski, L., Gu, M., Hu, S., Kay, M. A., Urnov, F. D., Shinnawi, R., Gold, J. D., Gepstein, L., Wu, J. C. 2014; 64 (5): 451-459


    Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) play an important role in disease modeling and drug testing. However, the current methods are time-consuming and lack an isogenic control.This study sought to establish an efficient technology to generate human PSC-based disease models with isogenic control.The ion channel genes KCNQ1 and KCNH2 with dominant negative mutations causing long QT syndrome types 1 and 2, respectively, were stably integrated into a safe harbor AAVS1 locus using zinc finger nuclease technology.Patch-clamp recording revealed that the edited iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) displayed characteristic long QT syndrome phenotype and significant prolongation of the action potential duration compared with the unedited control cells. Finally, addition of nifedipine (L-type calcium channel blocker) or pinacidil (KATP-channel opener) shortened the action potential duration of iPSC-CMs, confirming the validity of isogenic iPSC lines for drug testing in the future.Our study demonstrates that iPSC-CM-based disease models can be rapidly generated by overexpression of dominant negative gene mutants.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.057

    View details for PubMedID 25082577

  • Microfluidic Single-Cell Analysis Shows That Porcine Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Endothelial Cells Improve Myocardial Function by Paracrine Activation CIRCULATION RESEARCH Gu, M., Nguyen, P. K., Lee, A. S., Xu, D., Hu, S., Plews, J. R., Han, L., Huber, B. C., Lee, W. H., Gong, Y., de Almeida, P. E., Lyons, J., Ikeno, F., Pacharinsak, C., Connolly, A. J., Gambhir, S. S., Robbins, R. C., Longaker, M. T., Wu, J. C. 2012; 111 (7): 882-893


    Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold great promise for the development of patient-specific therapies for cardiovascular disease. However, clinical translation will require preclinical optimization and validation of large-animal iPSC models.To successfully derive endothelial cells from porcine iPSCs and demonstrate their potential utility for the treatment of myocardial ischemia.Porcine adipose stromal cells were reprogrammed to generate porcine iPSCs (piPSCs). Immunohistochemistry, quantitative PCR, microarray hybridization, and angiogenic assays confirmed that piPSC-derived endothelial cells (piPSC-ECs) shared similar morphological and functional properties as endothelial cells isolated from the autologous pig aorta. To demonstrate their therapeutic potential, piPSC-ECs were transplanted into mice with myocardial infarction. Compared with control, animals transplanted with piPSC-ECs showed significant functional improvement measured by echocardiography (fractional shortening at week 4: 27.2±1.3% versus 22.3±1.1%; P<0.001) and MRI (ejection fraction at week 4: 45.8±1.3% versus 42.3±0.9%; P<0.05). Quantitative protein assays and microfluidic single-cell PCR profiling showed that piPSC-ECs released proangiogenic and antiapoptotic factors in the ischemic microenvironment, which promoted neovascularization and cardiomyocyte survival, respectively. Release of paracrine factors varied significantly among subpopulations of transplanted cells, suggesting that transplantation of specific cell populations may result in greater functional recovery.In summary, this is the first study to successfully differentiate piPSCs-ECs from piPSCs and demonstrate that transplantation of piPSC-ECs improved cardiac function after myocardial infarction via paracrine activation. Further development of these large animal iPSC models will yield significant insights into their therapeutic potential and accelerate the clinical translation of autologous iPSC-based therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.112.269001

    View details for Web of Science ID 000308868800015

    View details for PubMedID 22821929

  • Proteomic Analysis of Endothelial Lipid Rafts Reveals a Novel Role of Statins in Antioxidation JOURNAL OF PROTEOME RESEARCH Gu, M., Fu, Y., Sun, X., Ding, Y., Li, C., Pang, W., Pan, S., Zhu, Y. 2012; 11 (4): 2365-2373


    As inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, statins have pleiotropic vascular-protective effects, such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects. We investigated the short-term beneficial effects of statins on modulating the translocation of lipid-raft-related proteins in endothelial cells (ECs). Human umbilical vein ECs were treated with atorvastatin for 30 min or 2 h; lipid-raft proteins were isolated and examined by quantitative proteome assay. Functional classification of identified proteins in lipid rafts revealed upregulated antioxidative proteins; downregulated proteins were associated with inflammation and cell adhesion. Among proteins verified by Western blot analysis, endoplasmic reticulum protein 46 (ERp46) showed increased level in lipid rafts with atorvastatin. Further, atorvastatin inhibited the activation of membrane-bound NADPH oxidase in both untreated and angiotensin II-treated ECs, as shown by reduced reactive oxygen species production. Co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence experiments revealed that atorvastatin increased the association of ERp46 and Nox2, an NADPH oxidase isoform, in lipid rafts, thereby inhibiting Nox2 assembly with its regulatory subunits, such as p47phox and p67phox. Our results reveal a novel antioxidative role of atorvastatin by promoting the membrane translocation of ERp46 and its binding with Nox2 to inhibit Nox2 activity in ECs, which may offer another insight into the pleiotropic functions of statins.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/pr300098f

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302388100028

    View details for PubMedID 22428589

  • A Novel Mechanism of gamma/delta T-Lymphocyte and Endothelial Activation by Shear Stress The Role of Ecto-ATP Synthase beta Chain CIRCULATION RESEARCH Fu, Y., Hou, Y., Fu, C., Gu, M., Li, C., Kong, W., Wang, X., Shyy, J. Y., Zhu, Y. 2011; 108 (4): 410-417


    Endothelial cells (ECs) have distinct mechanotransduction mechanisms responding to laminar versus disturbed flow patterns. Endothelial dysfunction, affected by imposed flow, is one of the earliest events leading to atherogenesis. The involvement of γ/δ T lymphocytes in endothelial dysfunction under flow is largely unknown.To investigate whether shear stress regulates membrane translocation of ATP synthase β chain (ATPSβ) in ECs, leading to the increased γ/δ T-lymphocyte adhesion and the related functions.We applied different flow patterns to cultured ECs. Laminar flow decreased the level of membrane-bound ATPSβ (ecto-ATPSβ) and depleted membrane cholesterol, whereas oscillatory flow increased the level of ecto-ATPSβ and membrane cholesterol. Incubating ECs with cholesterol or depleting cellular cholesterol with β-cyclodextrin mimicked the effect of oscillatory or laminar flow, respectively. Knockdown caveolin-1 by small interfering RNA prevented ATPSβ translocation in response to laminar flow. Importantly, oscillatory flow or cholesterol treatment elevated the number of γ/δ T cells binding to ECs, which was blocked by anti-ATPSβ antibody. Furthermore, the incubation of γ/δ T cells with ECs increased tumor necrosis fact α and interferon-γ secretion from T cells and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression in ECs. In vivo, γ/δ T-cell adhesion and ATPSβ membrane translocation was elevated in the aortic inner curvature and disturbed flow areas in partially ligated carotid arteries of ApoE(-/-) mice fed a high-fat diet.This study provides evidence that disturbed flow and hypercholesterolemia synergistically promote γ/δ T-lymphocyte activation by the membrane translocation of ATPSβ in ECs and in vivo in mice, which is a novel mechanism of endothelial activation.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.110.230151

    View details for Web of Science ID 000287484200007

    View details for PubMedID 21193741

  • Elafin Reverses Pulmonary Hypertension via Caveolin-1-Dependent Bone Morphogenetic Protein Signaling AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE Nickel, N. P., Spiekerkoetter, E., Gu, M., Li, C. G., Li, H., Kaschwich, M., Diebold, I., Hennigs, J. K., Kim, K., Miyagawa, K., Wang, L., Cao, A., Sa, S., Jiang, X., Stockstill, R. W., Nicolls, M. R., Zamanian, R. T., Bland, R. D., Rabinovitch, M. 2015; 191 (11): 1273-1286


    Pulmonary arterial hypertension is characterized by endothelial cell dysfunction, impaired BMPR2 signaling, and increased elastase activity. Synthetic elastase inhibitors reverse experimental pulmonary hypertension but cause hepatotoxicity in clinical studies. The endogenous elastase inhibitor elafin attenuates the development of hypoxic pulmonary hypertension in mice, but its potential to improve endothelial cell function and BMPR2 signaling, and to reverse severe experimental pulmonary hypertension or vascular pathology in the human disease was unknown.To assess elafin-mediated regression of pulmonary vascular pathology in rats with pulmonary hypertension induced by VEGF receptor blockade and hypoxia (Sugen/Hypoxia), and in lung explants from pulmonary hypertension patients. To determine if elafin amplifies BMPR2 signaling in pulmonary artery endothelial cells from controls and patients, and to elucidate the underlying mechanism. Methods, Measurements and Main Results: In Sugen/Hypoxia rats, elafin reduced elastase activity and reversed pulmonary hypertension, judged by regression of right ventricular systolic pressure and hypertrophy and pulmonary artery occlusive changes. Elafin improved endothelial function by increasing apelin, a product of BMPR2 signaling. Elafin induced apoptosis in human pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells and in lung organ culture elafin decreased neointimal lesions. In normal and patient pulmonary artery endothelial cells, elafin enhanced survival and promoted angiogenesis by increasing pSMAD dependent and independent BMPR2 signaling. This was linked mechanistically to augmented interaction of BMPR2 with caveolin-1 via elafin-mediated stabilization of caveolin-1 on endothelial surfaces.Elafin reverses obliterative changes in rat and human pulmonary arteries via elastase inhibition and caveolin-1 dependent amplification of BMPR2 signaling.

    View details for DOI 10.1164/rccm.201412-2291OC

    View details for Web of Science ID 000356105000014

    View details for PubMedID 25853696

  • RNAseq Reveals a Novel Pathway of Endothelial Dysfunction in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine Rhodes, C. J., Im, H., Cao, A., Hennigs, J. K., Wang, L., Sa, S., Chen, P. I., Nickel, N. P., Miyagawa, K., Hopper, R. K., Tojais, N. F., Li, C. G., Gu, M., Spiekerkoetter, E., Xian, Z., Chen, R., Zhao, M., Kaschwich, M., Del Rosario, P. A., Bernstein, D., Zamanian, R. T., Wu, J. C., Snyder, M., Rabinovitch, M. 2015


    Pulmonary arterial hypertension is characterized by endothelial dysregulation, but global changes in gene expression have not been related to perturbations in function.RNA sequencing was utilized to discriminate changes in transcriptomes of endothelial cells cultured from lungs of patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension vs. controls and to assess the functional significance of major differentially expressed transcripts.The endothelial transcriptomes from seven control and six idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension patients' lungs were analyzed. Differentially expressed genes were related to BMPR2 signaling. Those downregulated were assessed for function in cultured cells, and in a transgenic mouse.Fold-differences in ten genes were significant (p<0.05), four increased and six decreased in patients vs.No patient was mutant for BMPR2. However, knockdown of BMPR2 by siRNA in control pulmonary arterial endothelial cells recapitulated six/ten patient-related gene changes, including decreased collagen IV (COL4A1, COL4A2) and ephrinA1 (EFNA1). Reduction of BMPR2 regulated transcripts was related to decreased β-catenin. Reducing COL4A1, COL4A2 and EFNA1 by siRNA inhibited pulmonary endothelial adhesion, migration and tube formation. In mice null for the EFNA1 receptor, EphA2, vs. controls, VEGF receptor blockade and hypoxia caused more severe pulmonary hypertension, judged by elevated right ventricular systolic pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy and loss of small arteries.The novel relationship between BMPR2 dysfunction and reduced expression of endothelial COL4 and EFNA1 may underlie vulnerability to injury in pulmonary arterial hypertension.

    View details for DOI 10.1164/rccm.201408-1528OC

    View details for PubMedID 26030479

  • Large animal induced pluripotent stem cells as pre-clinical models for studying human disease JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE Plews, J. R., Gu, M., Longaker, M. T., Wu, J. C. 2012; 16 (6): 1196-1202


    The path to induced pluripotency Discovery of a pan-species pluripotency network Animal iPSCs and disease modelling Issues with large animal iPSCs Conclusions The derivation of human embryonic stem cells and subsequently human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has energized regenerative medicine research and enabled seemingly limitless applications. Although small animal models, such as mouse models, have played an important role in the progression of the field, typically, they are poor representations of the human disease phenotype. As an alternative, large animal models should be explored as a potentially better approach for clinical translation of cellular therapies. However, only fragmented information regarding the derivation, characterization and clinical usefulness of pluripotent large animal cells is currently available. Here, we briefly review the latest advances regarding the derivation and use of large animal iPSCs.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2012.01521.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304468600005

    View details for PubMedID 22212700

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