Sirius Red staining showing red collagen fibrils in a liver section from mice with Fatty Liver Disease

Syn Basic Research Lab

Wing Kin Syn, MBBS, Ph.D.

Wing-Kin Syn, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor
Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Basic Science: focus on understanding pathogenic mechanisms that modulate liver fibrosis. Previously, we showed that hedgehog signaling plays an important role in fibrosis progression of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and demonstrated crosstalk between hedgehog signaling and natural killer T (NKT) cells. Recently, we reported that osteopontin (OPN) (a cytokine and matrix molecule) is upregulated during chronic liver disease and directly activates hepatic stellate cells (HSC), the primary fibrogenic effector in the injured liver. We further showed that OPN can amplify the ductular reaction during liver injury, which leads to an exaggerated fibrogenic response.

Currently, we have 3 research projects: a) the first extends on previous work, and aims to evaluate the role of OPN in liver inflammation. Specifically, we are studying how OPN modulates cholangiocytes to secrete chemokines that recruit pro-inflammatory cells. b) The second focuses on the role of hormonal signals in modulating liver outcomes. We recently identified the expression of thyroid hormone receptor alpha on liver progenitors and HSC, and are elucidating mechanisms by which thyroid hormone regulates fibrogenesis. c) The third evaluates the role of the non-conventional motor myosin 1c in liver fibrosis (withDr. Nihalani, Nephrology).

Publications

PubMed Collection

Senior Author Publications:

Senior Author PubMed Collection (senior author publications are most often associated with mentored projects)