Joonhee Jang, a senior in Notre Dame’s upper division, was listed as one of the authors of an article posted by ScienceDirect, a leading platform of peer-reviewed scholarly literature published In "Experimental Eye Research" by Elsevier Research Selection (ERS), a bi-weekly newsletter for (science) journalists who receive updates about recently published research.
Joonhee spent part of his summer of 2016 in South Korea working in a lab. Some of his work is reflected in this research.
The research and subsequent article was titled, “Statins reduce TGF-beta2-modulation of the extracellular matrix in cultured astrocytes of the human optic nerve head,” and Joonhee shared authorship with Mi-Lyang Kim and Jin A. Shin, from the Biomedical Research Center, College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea; Kyung Rim Sung, from the Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea; and Joo Young Yoon, from the College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Seoul, South Korea.
The article and research abstract:
“Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs and have shown beneficial effects on glaucoma. With regard to the mechanism of statin action on glaucoma, we investigated the effects of statins on transforming growth factor-beta 2 (TGF-b2)-induced expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in human astrocytes of the optic nerve head (ONH) lamina cribrosa (LC). By using primary human ONH astrocytes, we found that both simvastatin and lovastatin inhibited TGF-b2-mediated expression of ECM proteins such as connective tissue growth factor, collagen I, fibronectin, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1. Suppression of ECM related proteins is due to inhibition of Smad2/3 activation as statins inhibit TGF-b2-induced Smad2 phosphorylation and Smad2/3 nuclear accumulation. In ONH astrocytes, TGF-b2 does not induce MAPK activation. In this study we found an anti-fibrotic effect of statins in human astrocytes of the ONH and identified TGF-b2 as a mediator of statin action, which may support a beneficial role for statins in blocking glaucomatous axonal damage induced by ECM remodeling.”
Article and research conclusions:
The research conducted by Joonhee and his fellow authors concluded that “the antifibrotic effects of statins in human astrocytes of the ONH and identified TGF-b2 as a mediator of statin action. This evidence is in line with the reported beneficial effects of statins on glaucoma. Given that TGF-b2 expression is increased in glaucomatous astrocytes and that TGF-b2-mediated ECM remodeling is a pathological feature of glaucomatous ONH, our current study sheds light on the mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of statins on glaucoma. Future analysis of the in vivo effects of statins on ECM remodeling should be performed to translate these findings into clinical practice.”
The entire article is available here.
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Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.