Jenny (Zhiying) Shan

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Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences


Hypertension is the major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States. Thus effective treatment for hypertension is critical for reducing the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and solving the public health problem. However, despite considerable therapeutic advances, primary hypertension is controlled in only ~45% of those treated. Neurogenic hypertension involving increased sympathetic activity and impaired baroreflex sensitivity may account for the majority of non-responsive patients. Thus exploration of the molecular mechanism of neurogenic hypertension may find new target for hypertension treatment.

Dr. Shan’s research interests focus on the neurogenic mechanisms of hypertension and associated cardiovascular diseases with particular emphasis on developing novel targets for disease treatment and management. Currently, the research work in her group has established that the brain (pro)renin receptor (PRR), a new member of renin angiotensin system, is involved in blood pressure regulation and cardiovascular homeostasis. PRR is a single trans-membrane protein which binds both prorenin and renin with comparable affinity, facilitating localized AngII generation.  In addition, the (pro)renin-PRR complex triggers a signal transduction cascade to mediate regulation of downstream genes independently of AngII. Dr. Shan’s group has demonstrated that PRR has a profound effect on systemic blood pressure, baroreflex sensitivity and brain inflammatory mediators, using gene transfer and genetic knockdown technologies. In addition, her recent preliminary data have shown that PRR in specific brain area is also involved in the regulation of peripheral inflammation and blood glucose levels. Furthermore, PRR expression is significantly increased in the heart of myocardial infarction animal model.  Thus, her research goal will focus on the role of PRR and other members of renin angiotensin system in the development of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart failure.

Research Interests

  • Molecular mechanism of hypertension and cardiovascular disease
  • Neuronal control of diabetes
  • Neuronal mechanism of obesity

Recent Publications

  • Qi X, Shan Z, Ji Y, Guerra V, Alexander JC, Ormerod BK, Bruijnzeel AW. Sustained AAV-mediated overexpression of CRF in the central amygdala diminishes the depressive-like state associated with nicotine withdrawal. Transl Psychiatry. 4: e385, 2014.
  • Shan Z, Zubcevic J, Shi P, Jun JY, Dong Y, Murça TM, Lamont GJ, Cuadra A, Yuan W, Qi Y, Li Q, Paton JF, Katovich MJ, Sumners C, Raizada MK. Chronic knockdown of the nucleus of the solitary tract AT1 receptors increases blood inflammatory-endothelial progenitor cell ratio and exacerbates hypertension in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Hypertension, 61(6):1328-1333. 2013.
  • Zubcevic J, Jun JY, Lamont GL, Murca Tatiane, Shi P, Carvajal JM, Lin F, Li Q, Raizada MK, Shan Z. NTS (pro)renin receptor (PRR)-mediated antihypertensive effect involves NF-KappaB-cytokine signaling in the spontaneously hypertensive rats. Hypertension, 61:622-627. 2013.
  • Agassandian K, Shan Z, Raizada MK, Sved AF, Card JP. C1 Catecholamine neurons form local circuit synaptic connections within the rostroventrolateral medulla of rat. Neuroscience, Neuroscience. 27;227:247-59.2012.
  • Verma A, Shan Z, Lei B, Yuan L, Liu X, Nakagawa T, Grant MB, Lewin AS, Hauswirth WW, Raizada MK, Li Q . ACE2 and Ang-(1-7) Confer Protection Against Development of Diabetic Retinopathy. 20, 28-36. Mol Ther. 2012.
  • Shan Z, Shi P, Cuadra AE, Dong Y, Lamont GJ, Li Q, Navar LG, Katovich MJ, Sumners C and Raizada MK. Involvement of the brain (pro)renin receptor in cardiovascular homeostasis. Circulation Research, 107, 934-938. 2010.