Kazyuo Yamaji-Kegan, PhD

Dr. Kazuyo Kegan is an assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The goal of Dr. Kegan’s research program is to understand the mechanisms, regulation, and functional outcomes of Th2 immune responses in the pulmonary vasculature during the development of pulmonary hypertension (PH). Dr. Kegan has successfully demonstrated the direct connection between Th2 cytokine interleukin (IL)-4 and pulmonary vascular growth response in animal models of PH. Specifically, Dr. Kegan’s group has found that the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway is critically regulated by IL-4 in the lung vasculature under hypoxic conditions and inflammation. Her interest is in the mechanism of endothelial cell injury and subsequent Th2 immune response, and in understanding its signaling pathways and its contribution to human cardiopulmonary diseases, particularly PH.

Dr. Kegan and her colleagues have also discovered and published the role of inflammatory stimuli, particularly IL-4, in mediating FIZZ/resistin family proteins in lung inflammation and vasculogenesis. She has strong expertise in vascular biology and has focused on the role of inflammatory mediators in lung vasculogenesis and remodeling. She is currently focusing on pulmonary vascular angiogenesis, vasculogenesis, and inflammation using in vivo physiology, in vitro cell biology, and genetic and biochemical approaches.

Key Associates
Roger A. Johns, MD, MHS. Professor, Group leader, Collaborator

Professional Activities
American Heart Association
American Thoracic Society
Pulmonary Hypertension Association

Selected Publications

  1. Maruyama I, Nakata M, Yamaji K. Effect of leptin in platelet and endothelial cells. Obesity and arterial thrombosis. Ann N Y Acad Sci 902:315-319, 2000.
  2. Yamaji K, Sarker KP, Kawahara K, Iino S, Yamakuchi M, Abeyama K, Hashiguchi T, Maruyama I. Anandamide induces apoptosis in human endothelial cells: Its regulation system and clinical implications.  Thromb Haemost 89:875-884, 2003.
  • This article was featured in the Thrombosis and Haemostasis’s editorial topic and reviewed in that issue (Review article PMID: 12719771).
  1. Yamaji K, Wang Y, Liu Y, Abeyama K, Hashiguchi T, Uchimura T, Krishna Biswas K, Iwamoto H, Maruyama I. Activated protein C, a natural anticoagulant protein, has antioxidant properties and inhibits lipid peroxidation and advanced glycation end products formation.  Thromb Res 115(4):319-325, 2005.
  2. Yamaji-Kegan K, Su Q, Angelini DJ, Champion HC, Johns RA. Hypoxia-induced mitogenic factor has proangiogenic and proinflammatory effects in the lung via VEGF and VEGF receptor-2.  Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 291(6):L1159-L1168, 2006.
  3. Yamaji-Kegan K, Su Q, Angelini DJ, Johns RA. Interleukin-4 is proangiogenic in the lung under hypoxic conditions. J Immunol 182:5469-5476, 2009.
  4. Johns RA, Yamaji-Kegan K. Unveiling cell phenotypes in lung vascular remodeling. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 297:L1056-L1058, 2009. Review article
  5. Yamaji-Kegan K, Su Q, Angelini DJ, Myers AC, Cheadle C, Johns RA. Hypoxia-induced mitogenic factor (HIMF/FIZZ1/RELMα) increases lung inflammation and activates pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells via an IL-4-dependent mechanism. J Immunol 185(9):5539-5548, 2010.
  • This article was featured in the Journal of Immunology’s editorial topic that highlights articles that are among the top 10% of articles published in the journal, and featured by the Faculty of 1000 Biology (F1000).

Awards and Honors (Selected)

  • Young Investigator Award, 1st Blood Vessel Orbis Meeting, Japan (2003)
  • ATS/Pulmonary Hypertension Association/Pfizer Research Fellowships in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (2011-2013)