Principal Investigator

YANG Zhihong

Associate Professor of Physiology


  Research Topics • Atherosclerosis
• Cardiovascular physiology
• Vascular biology
  Subtopics • Circadian Regulation of Vascular Functions
• Metabolic stress- and Aging-Associated Vascular Diseases

Questions addressed

Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. It is characterized by formation of the so-called atheromata or atherosclerotic plaques which are initiated and driven by chronic inflammations, leading to functional changes of vascular cells. Recent studies suggest that vascular injury occurs not only from the endothelial layer but may also from the adventitial layer including periadventitial adipose tissues. Indeed, the inflammatory cells such as monocytes/macrophages and T-lymphocytes are accumulated in the intima as well as in adventitia/periadventitial adipose tissues in atherosclerosis. Aging and obesity are, among others, the important risk factors for atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. Our ongoing projects are using integrative research approaches ranging from genetic modifications, to signal transductions, to cellular functional analysis, and to whole body in vivo (physio)pathological experimental models to investigate the following aspects of pathogenesis of vascular disease.
Atherosclerosis and risk factors:
► 1) How do endothelial cells and macrophages regulate atherosclerotic plaque formation and stability?
► 2) How do aging, insulin resistance under metabolic stress conditions, and circadian gene defect impact vascular cell, adipocyte and inflammatory cell functions?
► 3) How do the functional changes occur under the conditions and what are the underlying signal transduction mechanisms?
► 4) Do interventions of the signal transductions pathways in vascular cells and inflammatory cells modify cell-cell interactions and protect against cardiovascular diseases under the pathological conditions?

  Keywords • Adipocyte biology
• Aging
• Endothelial function
• Insulin resistance
• Macrophage phenotype
• Oxidative stress
• Signal transduction
  Contact Email address zhihong.yang [at] unifr.ch  
  Personal site Physiology ► Group Yang
Laboratory of Vascular Biology


University of Fribourg  •  Faculty of science  •  Department of Medicine  •  Ch. du Musée 8  •  CH-1700 Fribourg
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