- Professor, Associate Department Head for Graduate Programs, AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow
- 214C Cater-Mattil
- Graduate Education
- M.D. from Beijing Medical University, Beijing, China
- Ph.D. from University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
- Postdoctoral fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
Areas of Expertise
• Effects of dietary interventions on glycemic regulation, energy metabolism, and immune programming
• Obesity, Diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease
• Immuno-metabolism, inflamm-aging, neuro-inflammation
• Healthy aging interventions for lifespan and healthspan
Nutrient-sensing hormone ghrelin is one of the “big three” most important metabolic hormones (insulin, leptin, and ghrelin) in the body, and it has important functions in both central and peripheral tissues. We generated a series of mouse models for ghrelin and ghrelin receptor GHSR, and discovered the novel functions of ghrelin signaling in diabetes, thermogenesis, inflammation, and aging.
The current research in the lab involves the exciting interdisciplinary fields of immuno-metabolism, inflamm-aging and neuro-inflammation, which are the new frontiers of biological research currently. Specifically, we study the roles and mechanisms of ghrelin signaling in the following diseases/conditions: 1) Nutritional regulation, energy- and glucose-hemostasis; 2) Macrophage-mediated adipose tissue inflammation, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease; 3) Neuro-inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Our new findings indicate that GHSR is not only a nutrient sensor, but also a major metabolic and immune regulator; ghrelin signaling links nutrient sensing to metabolism and immunity. GHSR suppression shifts the metabolic state from obesogenesis to thermogenesis, and the inflammation state from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory. The novel findings suggest that GHSR may serve as an exciting drug target for prevention/treatment of metabolic and inflammatory diseases. Since metabolic impairment and inflammation are hallmarks of aging, GHSR may also provide an immunotherapeutic strategy for combating age-associated diseases, thus improving healthspan.
The following publications are related to ongoing studies:
- Lin L, Saha PK, Ma X, Henshaw IO, Shao L, Chang BH, Buras ED, Tong Q, Chan L, McGuinness OP, Sun Y (2011). Ablation of ghrelin receptor reduces adiposity and improves insulin sensitivity during aging by regulating fat metabolism in white and brown adipose tissues. Aging Cell. 10:996-1010.
- Lin L, Lee JH, Buras ED, Smith CW, Wu H, Sheikh-Hamad D, Sun Y (2016). Ghrelin receptor regulates adipose tissue inflammation in aging. Aging 8:178-191.
- Lee, J.H., Lin, L., Xu, P., Saito, K., Wei, Q., Meadows, A.G., Bongmba, O.Y., Pradhan, G., Zheng, H., Xu, Y. and Sun, Y (2016) Neuronal Deletion of Ghrelin Receptor Almost Completely Prevents Diet-Induced Obesity. Diabetes 65:2169–2178.
- Chuo Fang, Hang Xu, Shaodong Guo, Susanne M. Talcott and Yuxiang Sun (2018). “Ghrelin signaling in immunometabolism and inflamm-aging”, Adv Exp Med Biol. 2018;1090:165-182. PMID: 30390290
- Wu CS, Wei Q, Wang H, Kim DM, Balderas M, Wu G, Lawler J, Safe S, Guo S, Devaraj S, Chen Z, Sun Y (2020). Protective effects of ghrelin on fasting-induced muscle atrophy in aging mice. J of Gerontol. 75: 621-630.
- Chia-Shan Wu, Sai Deepak Venkata Muthyala, Cory Klemashevich, Arinzechukwu Uchenna Ufondu, Rani Menon, Zheng Chen, Sridevi Devaraj, Arul Jayaraman, Yuxiang Sun (2021). Age-dependent remodeling of gut microbiome and host serum metabolome in mice. Aging 13:6330-6345.
- Ji Yeon Noh, Chia-Shan Wu, Jennifer A. A. DeLuca, Sridevi Devaraj, Arul Jayaraman, Robert C. Alaniz, Xiao-Di Tan, Clinton D. Allred and Yuxiang Sun (2022). Novel Role of Ghrelin Receptor in Gut Dysbiosis and Experimental Colitis in Aging. J. Mol. Sci. 23, 2219
- Ellie Tuchaai, Valerie Endres, Brock Jones, Smriti Shankar, Cory Klemashevich, Yuxiang Sun* and Chia-Shan Wu* (2022) Deletion of ghrelin alters tryptophan metabolism and exacerbates experimental ulcerative colitis in aged mice. Experimental Biology and Medicine 247:1558-1569 (*Corresponding authors)
- Rachel M. Kratofil, Hanjoo B. Shim, Raymond Shim, Woo Yong Lee, Elodie Labit, Sarthak Sinha, Catherine M. Keenan, Bas G.J. Surewaard, Ji Yeon Noh, Yuxiang Sun, Keith A. Sharkey, Matthias Mack, Jeff Biernaskie, Justin F. Deniset, and Paul Kubes (2022). A monocyte-leptin-angiogenesis pathway critical for repair post-infection. Nature 609:166-173.
- Ji Yeon Noh, Matthew Herrera, Bhimanagouda S. Patil, Xiao-Di Tan, Gus A. Wright and Yuxiang Sun (2022). The expression and function of growth hormone secretagogue receptor in immune cells: a current perspective. Experimental Biology and Medicine 247:2184-2191
- Wanbao Yang, Da Mi Kim, Wen Jiang, Weiqi Ai, Quan Pan, Shahina Rahman, James J. Cai, Wesley A. Brashear, Yuxiang Sun* and Shaodong Guo* (2023). Suppression of FOXO1 attenuates inflamm-aging and improves liver function during aging. Aging Cell (*Corresponding authors)
- Ye X, Liu Z, Han HW, Noh JY, Shen Z, Kim DM, Wang H, Guo H, Ballard J, Golovko A, Morpurgo B, Sun Y (2023). Nutrient-Sensing Ghrelin Receptor in Macrophages Modulates Bisphenol A-Induced Intestinal Inflammation in Mice. Genes 14:1455.
Please see other publications at https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=AvEn46EAAAAJ&hl=en