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Neeraj K. Saxena

Neeraj K. Saxena Ph.D.

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Primary Appointment: Medicine
Location: UMMC N3W62
Phone: (410) 706-6949
Fax: (410) 328-8315

Research Interests:

Research in my lab examines the molecular mechanisms underlying links between obesity, adipocytokines and carcinogenesis. We have established from our previous studies leptin and adiponectin, play very critical roles in liver fibrosis and carcinogenesis. Leptin is found to be pro-fibrogenic and pro-cancerous while adiponectin has been found to have quite opposite effect. Adiponectin is inversely correlated with the various consequences of obesity including cancer.


F. A. Anania, L. Womack, M. Jiang and N. K. Saxena (2001). Aldehydes potentiate a2(I)collagen gene activity by JNK in hepatic stellate cells. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 2001, 30(8): 846-857.

N. K. Saxena, K. Ikeda, D. C. Rockey, S. L. Friedman, and F. A. Anania (2002). Leptin in Hepatic Fibrosis: Evidence for Increased Collagen Production in Stellate Cells and Lean Littermates of ob/ob mice. Hepatology, 2002 35(4): 762-771.

N. K. Saxena, M. A. Titus, X. Ding, J. Floyd, S. Srinivasan, S. V. Sitaraman, and F. A. Anania (2004). Leptin as a novel profibrogenic cytokine in hepatic stellate cells: Mitogenesis and inhibition of apoptosis mediated by extracellular regulated kinase (Erk) and Akt phosphorylation. FASEB Journal. 2004 Oct.; 18(13):1612-1614.

N. K. Saxena, G. Saliba, J. J. Floyd and F. A. Anania (2003). Leptin induces increased a2(I) collagen gene expression in cultured rat hepatic stellate cells. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 2003, 89: 311-320.

X. Ding*, N. K. Saxena*, S. Lin, A. Xu, S. Srinivasan, and F. A. Anania (2005). The role of leptin and adiponectin: a novel paradigm in adipocytokine regulation of liver fibrosis and stellate cell biology. American Journal of Pathology. 2005 June; 166 (6): 1655-1669.

X. A. Ding*, N. K. Saxena*, and F. A. Anania. (2006). Exendin-4, a Glucagon-Like Protein-1 (GLP-1) Receptor Agonist Reverses Hepatic Steatosis in ob/ob Mice. Hepatology. 2006, 43: 173-181. {PMID:16374859}.

D. Sharma, N. K. Saxena, N. E. Davidson, P. M. Vertino. (2006). Restoration of tamoxifen sensitivity in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cells: tamoxifen-bound reactivated ER recruits distinctive corepressor complexes. Cancer Research. 2006, 66(12): 6370-8.

D. Sharma, N. K. Saxena, P. M. Vertino, F. A. Anania (2006). Leptin promotes the proliferative response and invasiveness in human endometrial cancer cells by activating multiple signal-transduction pathways. Endocrine-Related Cancer. 2006, 13(2): 629-40.

S. S. Lin, X. A. Ding, N. K. Saxena, L. L. Stein, and F. A. Anania. (2006) Leptin increases Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase I (TIMP-1) gene expression by a dual Sp1/STAT3 mechanism. Molecular Endocrinology. 2006, 20(12): 3376-3388.

N. K. Saxena, D.Sharma, S. S. Lin, X. A. Ding, D. Merlin and F. A. Anania. (2007). Concomitant activation of the JAK/STAT, PI3K/AKT and ERK signaling is involved in leptin mediated promotion of invasion and migration of hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Cancer Research. 2007, 67(6): 2497-2507.

N. K. Saxena, P. M. Vertino, F. A. Anania and D. Sharma (2007). Leptin induced growth stimulation of breast cancer cells involves recruitment of histone acetyltransferases and mediator complex to cyclin D1 promoter via activation of Stat3. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2007, 282(18): 13316-13325.

N. K. Saxena*, L. Taliaferro Smith, B. Brandon, F. A. Anania and D. Sharma (2008). Bidirectional cross talk between leptin and IGF-1 signaling promotes invasion and migration of triple-negative breast cancer cells via transactivation of EGFR. Cancer Research. 2008, (68): 9712-9722.

L. Taliaferro-Smith, A. Nagalingam, D. Zhong, W. Zhou, N. K. Saxena* and Sharma D (2009). LKB1 is required for adiponectin-mediated inhibition of metastatic properties of breast cancer cells. Oncogene. 2009, 28(29): 2621-2633.

N. A. Gupta, J. E. Mells, R. M. Dunham, A. Grakoui, J. A. Handy, N. K. Saxena, and F. A. Anania. Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor (GLP-1R) is present on human hepatocytes and has a direct role in decreasing hepatic steatosis in vitro by modulating elements of the insulin signaling pathway. Hepatology. 2010, 51(5): 1584-92.

Neeraj K. Saxena and Dipali Sharma. Metastasis suppression by adiponectin: LKB1 rises up to the challenge. Cell Adhesion & Migration. 2010, 4(3):358-362.

J. A. Handy*, N. K. Saxena*, P. P. Fu, S. Lin, J. E. Mells, N. A. Gupta and F. A. Anania. Adiponectin activation of AMPK disrupts Leptin-mediated hepatic fibrosis via Suppressors of Cytokine Signaling-3 (SOCS-3). Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. 2010 Aug 1;110 (5):1195-207.

N. K. Saxena*, P.P.Fu, A. Nagalingam, J. Wang, J. A. Handy, C. Cohen, M. Tighiourat, D. Sharma and Frank. A. Anania. Adiponectin Modulates C-Jun N-Terminal Kinase and Mammalian Target of Rapamycin and inhibit hepatocellular carcinoma. Gastroenterology. 2010 Nov; 139(5):1762-1773.

Dipali Sharma, Jason Wang, Ping P. Fu, Shvetank Sharma, Arumugam Nagalingam, Jamie Mells, Jaffrey Handy, Andrew J. Page, Cynthia Cohen, Frank A. Anania, Neeraj K. Saxena. Adiponectin antagonizes the oncogenic actions of leptin in hepatocellular carcinogenesis. Hepatology. 2010 Nov; 52(5):1713-1722.

Kim S. H., Nagalingam, A., Saxena, N. K., Singh, S.V., Sharma, D. Benzyl isothiocyanate inhibits oncogenic actions of leptin in human breast cancer cells by suppressing activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3. Carcinogenesis. 2010 Dec 16 [Epub ahead of print]