Erika I. Boesen

Erika Boesen, PhD
Curriculum Vitae

Assistant Professor
Specialty: Renal Physiology
Major Interest: The endothelin system in renal ischemia-reperfusion injury; Inflammatory cytokines and renal function;Hypertension.

Our research interests center on the physiological and pathophysiological roles of the endothelin system and of inflammatory cytokines in renal and cardiovascular function. Current work in the lab has two main focuses:

1. Contribution of endothelin-1 to renal ischemia-reperfusion injury.
Renal ischemia-reperfusion injury is a major cause of acute renal failure in surgical and trauma patients, and causes poor kidney function in renal transplant patients. Prominent and prolonged upregulation of the peptide endothelin-1 (ET-1) occurs in the kidney following ischemic insults. This multifunctional peptide is a powerful vasoconstrictor, and promotes inflammation and production of diverse mediators including nitric oxide, eicosanoids and reactive oxygen species. Dysfunction of the endothelin system has also been implicated in salt-sensitive hypertension, and survivors of acute renal failure are at increased risk of later developing hypertension. Our goal is to understand how ET-1 contributes to renal injury and dysfunction, both in the peri-ischemic period and as recovery progresses.

2. Inflammatory cytokines: implications for renal function. 
There is mounting evidence that inflammatory cells and mediators play critical roles in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and renal disease. Despite this, specifically how pro-inflammatory cytokines affect long-term renal function is poorly understood. My research has shown that the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 upregulates the production of ET-1 and eicosanoids in the kidney. Current work in the lab is focused on understanding the effects of inflammatory cytokines on the renin-angiotensin system, a key system involved in cardio-renal homeostasis and disease.

Recent publications:

  1. EI Boesen, GR Crislip, JC Sullivan. Use of ultrasound to assess renal reperfusion and P-selectin expression following unilateral renal ischemia. American Journal of Physiology Renal
    303:F1333-F1340, 2012.  PMID: 22933301
  2. EI Boesen, KR Krishnan, JS Pollock, DM Pollock. ETA  Activation Mediates angiotensin II-induced Infiltration of Renal Cortical T Cells. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 22(12):2187-2192, 2011.  PMID: 22021713
  3. MA Saleh, EI Boesen, JS Pollock, VJ Savin, DM Pollock. Endothelin receptor-A-specific stimulation of glomerular inflammation and injury in a streptozotocin-induced rat model of diabetes. Diabetologia 54:979-988, 2011.  PMID: 21191784 
  4. EI Boesen. Chronic elevation of IL-1b induces diuresis via a cyclo-oxygenase 2-mediated mechanism. American Journal of Physiology Renal Physiology 305:F189-F198. 2013. PMID: 23657858

 Ultrasound image of a mouse kidney