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Molecular & Cellular Biology Group

Respiratory & Cardiovascular Diseases

Darryl Zeldin
Darryl Zeldin, M.D.
Principal Investigator

Tel (919) 541-1169
Fax (919) 541-4133

P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop A3-05
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
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Research Summary

The Molecular and Cellular Biology Group conducts basic and clinical/translational research to better understand the role of the environment in the etiology and pathogenesis of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases such as asthma, adult respiratory distress syndrome, atherosclerosis, hypertension and ischemic heart disease.

image for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases

The group has a major research interest in eicosanoids, with an emphasis on how they function in the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. The group has identified a family of cytochrome P450 enzymes that are abundant in cardiovascular tissues and active in the metabolism of arachidonic acid to epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), which are potent vasodilators and cardiovascular protective agents. To study the effects of altered expression of cytochromes P450 on cardiovascular function, the group developed transgenic murine models. Opportunities for translational research in this area include development of new drugs for blood pressure control, atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease. Identification of individuals at increased risk for these disorders due to P450 genetic variation may also lead to new approaches to disease prevention.

The group has also conducted studies to examine the role of cyclooxygenases in lung function and disease. The work, based on the hypothesis that cyclooxygenase-derived eicosanoids (prostaglandins) are important modulators of the lung immune response to environmental agents such as allergens and bacterial lipopolysaccharide, involves development and phenotypic characterization of new transgenic murine models. This research will lead to additional opportunities for mechanistic and translational research in a variety of inflammatory lung diseases.

Finally, the group studies basic mechanisms which underlie sex differences in the response of the lung to environmental agents such as indoor allergens, bacterial lipopolysacchride, respiratory viruses and fibrotic agents.

Major areas of research:

Current projects:

  • Understanding the role of cytochrome P450-derived eicosanoids in cardiovascular homeostasis and in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension and ischemic heart disease
  • Elucidating the role of cyclooxygenase-derived eicosanoids in lung function and disease
  • Examining the basic mechanisms for sex differences in the response of the lung to a variety of environmental agents such as indoor allergens, bacterial lipopolysacchride, respiratory viruses and profibrotic agents

Darryl C. Zeldin, M.D., head of the Molecular & Cellular Biology Group, earned a B.A. in chemistry from Boston University in 1982 and an M.D. from Indiana University School of Medicine in 1986.  He completed a Residency in Internal Medicine at Duke University in 1989 and a Fellowship in Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University in 1993.  Zeldin, a physician-scientist who is internationally recognized for his contributions to the fields of environmental health, respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease, is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), a Fellow in the American College of Chest Physicians and a Fellow in the American Heart Association. He has served on NIH and foundation study sections and is a member of the editorial boards of several scientific journals. He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles in leading biomedical journals as well as numerous reviews and book chapters. In addition, Zeldin is on staff at Duke University Medical Center, where he serves as a member of the pulmonary consult service and the medical intensive care unit.


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Last Reviewed: January 29, 2008