Thomas Doetschman

Dr. Thomas Doetschman, PhD, Biochemistry & Biophysics, University of Connecticut, has been involved in cardiovascular research for over a decade through investigations into the cardiovascular roles of the three TGFβ ligands and FGF2 ligand isoforms in genetically engineered mice. These mice have determined that TGFβ2 plays major roles in heart and vascular development and for maintenance of valvular and large vessel integrity in the adult and that both the TGFβ1 and FGF2 are involved in adult heart disease.

His work has also demonstrated roles of TGFβ in cancer and immunology. He found that a major function of TGFβ1 is to inhibit autoimmunity and to establish homeostatic balance between immune regulatory and inflammatory cells. He has shown that an imbalance in the latter is critical in the tumor suppressor function of TGFβ in the colon.

Dr. Doetschman has also played an important role in the development of the mouse genetic engineering field. He has been responsible for the establishment of 3 mouse genetic engineering facilities, in Cincinnati OH, Singapore and the University of Arizona’s BIO5 Institute.
Cardiac Specific Inducible And Conditional Gene Targeting In Mice. Source: Circulation Research
May 25th, 2012 PMID: 22628574 Thomas Doetschman
Mouse genetic engineering has revolutionized our understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of heart development and disease. This technology involves conditional tissue-specific and temporal transgenic and gene targeting approaches, as well as introduction of polymorphisms into the mouse genome. These approaches are increasingly used to elucidate the genetic pathways underlying tissue homeostasis, physiology, and pathophysiology of adult heart. They have also led to the development of clinically relevant models of human cardiac diseases. Here, we review the technologies and their limitations in general and the cardiovascular research community in particular.<br /><br />
Generation Of Mice With A Conditional Allele For The Transforming Growth Factor Beta3 Gene. Source: Genesis (New York, N.Y. : 2000)
January 6th, 2012 PMID: 22223248 Thomas Doetschman
The transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) pathway is involved in embryonic development and several inherited and acquired human diseases. The gene for TGFβ3 (Tgfb3) encodes one of the three ligands for TGFβ receptors. It is widely expressed in the embryo and its mutation or misexpression is found in human diseases. Tgfb3-/- mice die at birth from cleft palate, precluding functional studies in adults. Here, we generated mice in which exon 6 of Tgfb3 was flanked with LoxP sites (Tgfb3flox/flox). The adult mice were normal and fertile. EIIa-Cre-mediated deletion of exon 6 in Tgfb3flox/flox mice efficiently generated Tgfb3 conditional knockout (Tgfb3cko/cko) mice which died at birth from the same cleft palate defect as Tgfb3-/- mice, indicating that the conditional and knockout alleles are functionally equivalent. This Tgfb3cko allele will now enable studies of TGFβ3 function in different cell or tissue types in embryonic development and during adulthood.<br /><br />
Transforming Growth Factor Beta Signaling In Adult Cardiovascular Diseases And Repair. Source: Cell And Tissue Research
September 28th, 2011 PMID: 21953136 Thomas Doetschman Raymond Runyan
The majority of children with congenital heart disease now live into adulthood due to the remarkable surgical and medical advances that have taken place over the past half century. Because of this, adults now represent the largest age group with adult cardiovascular diseases. It includes patients with heart diseases that were not detected or not treated during childhood, those whose defects were surgically corrected but now need revision due to maladaptive responses to the procedure, those with exercise problems and those with age-related degenerative diseases. Because adult cardiovascular diseases in this population are relatively new, they are not well understood. It is therefore necessary to understand the molecular and physiological pathways involved if we are to improve treatments. Since there is a developmental basis to adult cardiovascular disease, transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signaling pathways that are essential for proper cardiovascular development may also play critical roles in the homeostatic, repair and stress response processes involved in adult cardiovascular diseases. Consequently, we have chosen to summarize the current information on a subset of TGFβ ligand and receptor genes and related effector genes that, when dysregulated, are known to lead to cardiovascular diseases and adult cardiovascular deficiencies and/or pathologies. A better understanding of the TGFβ signaling network in cardiovascular disease and repair will impact genetic and physiologic investigations of cardiovascular diseases in elderly patients and lead to an improvement in clinical interventions.<br /><br />
Transforming Growth Factor Beta2 Is Required For Valve Remodeling During Heart Development. Source: Developmental Dynamics : An Official Publication Of The American Association Of Anatomists
Although the function of transforming growth factor beta2 (TGFβ2) in epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) is well studied, its role in valve remodeling remains to be fully explored. Here, we used histological, morphometric, immunohistochemical and molecular approaches and showed that significant dysregulation of major extracellular matrix (ECM) components contributed to valve remodeling defects in Tgfb2(-/-) embryos. The data indicated that cushion mesenchymal cell differentiation was impaired in Tgfb2(-/-) embryos. Hyaluronan and cartilage link protein-1 (CRTL1) were increased in hyperplastic valves of Tgfb2(-/-) embryos, indicating increased expansion and diversification of cushion mesenchyme into the cartilage cell lineage during heart development. Finally, Western blot and immunohistochemistry analyses indicate that the activation of SMAD2/3 was decreased in Tgfb2(-/-) embryos during valve remodeling. Collectively, the data indicate that TGFβ2 promotes valve remodeling and differentiation by inducing matrix organization and suppressing cushion mesenchyme differentiation into cartilage cell lineage during heart development.<br /><br />
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