University of California San Francisco

Atherosclerosis Research Lab - Homepage

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Robert Raffai, PhD

Principal Investigator, Atherosclerosis Research Lab
Professor of Surgery
Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

Extracellular Vesicles and Metabolic Regulation of Immunity in Atherosclerosis & Cardiometabolic Diseases 

Our research program investigates the role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) including exosomes as biomarkers and effectors in the pathogenesis of cardiometabolic diseases. Our teams’ recent studies pioneered the study of hyperglycemia and cytokine signaling in modulating the regulated release of microRNA from macrophages into exosomes. Our findings provided the first evidence documenting a role for high glucose-exposed macrophage exosomes as contributors to cardiovascular inflammation and atherosclerosis in diabetes. They also demonstrated that exosomes produced by IL4-exposed macrophages can serve to overcome cardiometabolic inflammation, improve insulin resistance, and resolve atherosclerosis in obese diabetic mice. 

Our ongoing studies point to ApoE and as a critical modulators of exosome inflammatory activity in the cardiovascular and neurologic systems. We are interested to know if ApoE4 causes macrophages and microglial cells to produce exosomes that can accelerate inflammation and pathologies in these compartments. Our long-term goal is to develop macrophage exosomes as novel therapeutics to control human cardiometabolic and neuroinflammatory diseases. 


Raffai Lab Reports the use of IL4-Polarized Human Macrophage Exosomes as Novel Biologics to Control Cardiometabolic Inflammation & Diabetes 
Read more: IL-4 polarized human macrophage exosomes control cardiometabolic inflammation and diabetes in obesity

Raffai Lab About US

Our laboratory pioneered novel approaches to isolate Exosomes from conditioned cell culture media and biofluids for their subsequent study as biomarkers and contributors to cardiovascular inflammation and atherosclerosis.

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Recent Publications

  1. The EV antibody database: An interactive database of curated antibodies for extracellular vesicle and nanoparticle research.
    2024 | View in PubMed
  2. Abstract A046: nSMase2-generated ceramide promotes PDA aggression through exosome reprogramming of the stroma.
    2024 | View in PubMed
  3. Exomap1 mouse: A transgenic model for in vivo studies of exosome biology.
    2023 | View in PubMed
  4. Polarized macrophages regulate fibro/adipogenic progenitor (FAP) adipogenesis through exosomes.
    2023 | View in PubMed
  5. ApoE enhances mitochondrial metabolism via microRNA-142a/146a-regulated circuits that suppress hematopoiesis and inflammation in hyperlipidemia.
    2023 | View in PubMed

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