Szalai, Alexander J., PhD

ThoseProfessor of Medicine 

 

Address: 

Shelby Building, Room 214
1825 University Boulevard
35294-2182

Telephone:(205) 975-6241
Email: AlexSzalai@uab.edu

 

Education


BSc
(Dean's Honor List), University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, 1979
MSc, (ZoologyUniversity of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, 1986
PhD, (Immunoparasitology) University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, 1990,
Research Fellow, Department of Microbiology, The University of Mississippi Medical Center, 1990-1992

 

Research Description

 
The overarching goal of my research is to understand the biological role of C-reactive protein (CRP) in maintenance of health and propagation of disease. Diseases of interest include: systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, and microbial infection. We use a multi-faceted approach that entails studies of CRP biology in transgenic and knockout mice, bolstered by translational studies with human cells and DNA in vitro aimed at revealing CRP genetic and phenotypic associations with disease. Our latest work is geared towards development of CRP lowering drugs, understanding the role of CRP in cardiometabolic disease, and deciphering the contribution of CRP to cerebral malaria. Ligand-bound CRP activates the complement system and binds to Fcg receptors; therefore we also study these two effector pathways.

 

Potential projects for trainees

 
Investigating the role of C-reactive protein in translational studies of :

  • cardiovascular disease
  • ischemia-reperfusion injury
  • diabetes
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • systemic lupus
  • septic arthritis
  • cerebral malaria
  • arteriovenous fistula failure
  • multiple sclerosis

 

Selected Publications

 

Szalai AJ, Wu J, Lange EM, McCrory MA, Langefeld CD, Williams A, Zakharkin SO, George V, Allison DB, Cooper GS, Xie F, Fan Z, Edberg JC, Kimberly RP. 2005. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the C-reactive protein (CRP) gene promoter that affect transcription factor binding, alter transcriptional activity, and associate with differences in baseline serum CRP level. Journal of Molecular Medicine, 83:440-447 (issue highlight and COVER) PMID: 15778807

 

Szalai AJ, GS Alarcon, J Calvo-Alen, SMA Toloza, MA McCrory, JC Edberg, G McGwin, Jr., HM Bastian, BJ Fessler, LM Vila, RP Kimberly, and JD Reveille. 2005. Systemic lupus erythematosus in a multiethnic US cohort (LUMINA) XXX: Association between C-reactive protein (CRP) gene polymorphism and vascular events. Rheumatology, 2005; 44:864-868 PMID: 15797975

 

AJ Szalai, X Hu, C Raman, SR Barnum. 2005. Requirement of the Fc receptor common g-chain for gd T cell-mediated promotion of murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. European Journal of Immunology, 35:3487-3492 PMID: 16278814

 

Chen K, Li F, Li J, Cai H, Strom S, Bisello A, Kelley DE, Friedman-Einat M, Skibinski GA, McCrory MA, Szalai AJ, Zhao AZ. 2006. Induction of leptin resistance through direct interaction of C-reactive protein with leptin. Nature Medicine, 12:425-432. PMID: 16582918

 

Szalai AJ, X Hu, JE Adams, SR Barnum. 2007. Complement in experimental autoimmune encephalo-myelitis revisited: C3 is required for development of maximal disease. Molecular Immunology, 44:3132-3136. PMID: 17353050

 

Xing D, Hage FG, Chen YF, McCrory MA, Feng W, Skibinski GA, Majid-Hassan E, Oparill S, AJ Szalai. 2008. Exxagerated neointima formation in human C-reactive protein transgenic mice is immunoglobulin Fcg receptor I (FcgRI) dependent. The American Journal of Pathology. 172:22-30 (issue highlight and COVER) PMID: 18063701

 

Smith SS, Ludwig M, Wohler JE, Bullard DC, Szalai AJ, Barnum SR. 2008. Deletion of both ICAM-1 and C3 enhances severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis compared to C3-deficient mice. Neurosci Lett. 442:158-60. PMID: 18634851

 

R Zhang, YY Zhang, XR Huang, Y Wu , AC Chung, EX Wu, AJ Szalai, BC Wong, CP Lau, HY Lan. 2010. C- reactive protein Promotes Cardiac Fibrosis and Inflammation in Angiotensin II-Induced Hypertensive Cardiac Disease.  Hypertension. 55:953-60 PMID: 20157054

 

Fadi G. Hage, Suzanne Oparil, Dongqi Xing, Yiu-Fai Chen, Mark A. McCrory, and Alexander J. Szalai. 2010. C-Reactive Protein Mediated Vascular Injury Requires Complement.  Arterios Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 30: 1189-1195. PMID: 20339115

 

Li J, Wang JP, Ghiran I, Cerny A, Szalai AJ, Briles DE, Finberg RW.2010. Complement receptor 1 expression on mouse erythrocytes mediates clearance of Streptococcus pneumoniae by immune adherence.Infect Immun. 78(7):3129-35PMID: 20439480

 

&Hu XZ, Wright TT, Jones NR, Ramos TN, Skibinski GA, McCrory MA, Barnum SR, Szalai AJ. 2011. Inhibition of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis in Human C-Reactive Protein Transgenic Mice Is FcγRIIB Dependent. Autoimmune Dis. 2011:484936. PMID: 21151582

 

Li Z, Chung AC, Zhou L, Huang XR, Liu F, Fu P, Fan JM, Szalai AJ, Lan HY. 2011. C-reactive protein promotes acute renal inflammation and fibrosis in unilateral ureteral obstructive nephropathy in mice. Lab Invest. 91(6):837-51. PMID: 21383672

 

Jones NR, Pegues MA, McCrory MA, Kerr SW, Jiang H, Sellati R, Berger V, Villalona J, Parikh R, McFarland M, Pantages L, Madwed JB, Szalai AJ. 2011. Collagen-induced arthritis is exacerbated in C-reactive protein deficient mice. Arthritis Rheum. 63(9):2641-50. PMID: 21567377

 

Jones NR, MA Pegues, MA McCrory, W Singleton, C Bethune, BF Baker, DA Norris, RM Crooke, MJ Graham and AJ Szalai. 2012. A Selective Inhibitor of Human C-reactive Protein Translation Is Efficacious In Vitro and in C-reactive Protein Transgenic Mice and Humans Molecular Therapy Nucleic Acids1, e52; doi:10.1038/mtna.2012.44 http://www.nature.com/mtna/journal/v1/n11/abs/mtna201244a.html

 

Zhou J, Ouyang X, Schoeb TR, Bolisetty S, Cui X, Mrug S, Yoder BK, Johnson MR, Szalai AJ, Mrug M. 2012. Kidney injury accelerates cystogenesis via pathways modulated by heme oxygenase and complement. J Am Soc Nephrol. 23(7):1161-71. PMID:22518005

 

Ashraf AP, Fisher G, Alvarez J, Dudenbostel T, Calhoun DA, Szalai AJ, Gower BA. 2012. Associations of C-Reactive Protein to Indices of Vascular Health and the Influence of Serum 25(OH)D Status in Healthy Adults. J Nutr Metab. 2012:475975. PMID:23029606

 

Mukerji R, Mirza S, Roche AM, Widener RW, Croney CM, Rhee DK, Weiser JN, Szalai AJ, Briles DE. 2012. Pneumococcal surface protein A inhibits complement deposition on the pneumococcal surface by competing with the binding of C-reactive protein to cell-surface phosphocholine. J Immunol. 189(11):5327-35. PMID:23105137

 

Pegues MA, McCrory MA, Zarjou A, Szalai AJ. 2013. C-reactive protein exacerbates renal ischemia-reperfusion injury. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 304(11):F1358-65. PMID:23535585

 

Zhou Y, Wu J, Kucik DF, White NB, Redden DT, Szalai AJ, Bullard DC, Edberg JC. 2013. Multiple Lupus-Associated ITGAM Variants Alter Mac-1 Functions on Neutrophils. Arthritis Rheum. 65(11):2907-16. PMID:23918739

 

Tang Y, Huang XR, Lv J, Chung AC, Zhang Y, Chen JZ, Szalai AJ, Xu A, Lan HY. 2013. C-reactive protein promotes acute kidney injury by impairing the G1/S-dependent tubular epithelial cell regeneration. Clin Sci (Lond). 2013 Nov 8. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:24206243

 

 

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