Naikui Liu, M.D., Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery

Ph.D. Beijing Medical University  (1994)

Neuroprotection and Molecular Mechanism following Spinal Cord Injury
My research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of spinal cord injury (SCI), neuroprotection and recovery of function following injuries to the CNS particularly to the spinal cord. First project is to study whether phospholipase A2 (PLA2) is a therapeutic target for SCI; In second project, we are current exploring the molecular role of anionic phospholipids, particularly mitochondria-specific carddiolpin in the signaling pathway of neuronal death after SCI; Third, we are investigating role of miRNAs in pathogenesis of SCI. The goal is to develop a novel repair strategy to improve anatomical reorganization and functional recovery after SCI.

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Selected Peer-reviewed Publications (descending):

  1. Gianaris A, Liu NK, Wang XF, Oakes E, Brenia J, Gianaris T, Ruan Y, Deng LX, Goetz M, Vega-Alvarez S, Lu QB, Shi R, Xu XM (2016). Unilateral microinjection of acrolein into thoracic spinal cord produces acute and chronic injury and functional deficits. Neuroscience, 326: 84-94.

  2. Wang H, Liu NK, Zhang YP, Deng L, Lu QB, Shields CB, Walker MJ, Li J, Xu XM (2015). Treadmill training induced lumbar motoneuron dendritic plasticity and behavior recovery in adult rats after a thoracic contusive spinal cord injury. Exp Neurol., 271:368-78.

  3. Walker CL, Wang X, Bullis C, Liu NK, Lu QB, Fry C, Deng L, Xu XM (2015). Biphasic bisperoxovanadium administration and Schwann cell  transplantation for repair after cervical contusive spinal cord injury. Exp Neurol., 264: 163-172.

  4. Liu NK, Byers JS, Lam T, Lu QB, Sengelaub DR, Xu XM (2014). Inhibition of cPLA2 has neuroprotective effects on motoneuron and muscle atrophy following spinal cord injury. J Neurotrauma, Nov 11. [Epub ahead of print]

  5. Liu NK, Zhang YP, Zou J, Verhovshek T, Chen C, Lu QB, Walker CL, Shields CB, Xu XM (2014). A semicircular controlled cortical impact Produces long-term motor and cognitive dysfunction that Correlates well with damage to both the sensorimotor cortex and hippocampus. Brain Res., 1576:18-26.

  6. Liu NK, Deng LX, Zhang YP, Lu QB, Wang XF, Hu JG, Oakes E, Bonventre JV, Shields CB, Xu XM (2014). cPLA2 protein as a novel therapeutic target for spinal cord injury, Ann Neurol., 75(5):644-58.

  7. Deng LX, Deng P, Ruan Y, Xu ZC, Liu NK, Wen X, Smith GM, Xu XM (2013). A Novel Growth-Promoting Pathway Formed by GDNF Overexpressing Schwann Cells Promotes Propriospinal Axonal Regeneration, Synapse Formation, and Partial Recovery of Function after Spinal Cord Injury. The Journal of Neuroscience,33(13):5655–5667.

  8. Hu JG, Wang XF, Deng LX, Liu NK, Gao X, Chen JH, Zhou FC, Xu XM (2013). Co-transplantation of glial restricted precursor cells and Schwann cells promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury. Cell Transplant, 22: 2219–2236.

  9. Liu NK, Zhang YP, O’Connor J, Gianaris A, Oakes E, Lu QB, Verhovshek T, Walker C, Shields CB,  Xu XM (2013). A Bilateral Head Injury that Shows Graded Brain Damage and Behavioral Deficits in Adult Mice, Brain Research, 1499: 121-128.

  10. Walker CL, Walker MJ, Liu NK, Risberg EC, Gao X, Chen J, Xu XM (2012).  Systemic Bisperoxovanadium Activates Akt/mTOR, Reduces Autophagy, and Enhances Recovery following Cervical Spinal Cord Injury.  PLoS ONE, 7(1): e30012.

  11. Liu NK, Titsworth WL, Zhang YP, Xhafa AI, Shields CB, Xu XM (2011). Characterizing Phospholipase A2-Induced Spinal Cord Injury—A Comparison with Contusive Spinal Cord Injury in Adult Rats Translational Stroke Research, 2(4):608-618.

  12. Deng LX, Hu J, Liu NK, Wang X, Smith GM, Wen X, Xu XM (2011). GDNF modifies reactive astrogliosis allowing robust axonal regeneration through Schwann cell-seeded guidance channels after spinal cord injury. Exp Neurol., 229(2):238-50.

  13. Brittain JM, Duarte DB, Wilson SM, Zhu W, Ballard C, Johnson PL, Liu NK, et al (2011). Suppression of inflammatory and neuropathic pain by uncoupling CRMP-2 from the presynaptic Ca(2+) channel complex. Nat Med., 17(7):822-9.

  14. Zhao Z, Liu NK, Huang J, Lu PH, Xu XM (2011) Inhibition of cPLA2 activation by Ginkgo biloba extract protects spinal cord neurons from glutamate excitotoxicity and oxidative stress-induced cell death. J Neurochem. 116(6):1057-65.

  15. Liu NK, Wang XF, Lu QB, Xu XM (2009) Altered microRNA expression following traumatic spinal cord injury. Exp Neurol. 219(2):424-429.

  16. Titsworth WL, Cheng X, Ke Y, Deng L, Burckardt KA, Pendleton C, Liu NK, Shao H, Cao QL, Xu XM (2009) Differential expression of sPLA(2) following spinal cord injury and a functional role for sPLA(2)-IIA in mediating oligodendrocyte death. Glia. 57(14):1521-37.

  17. Liu NK, Zhang YP, Han S, Pei JP, Xu YL, Lu PH, Shields CB, Xu XM (2007): Annexin A1 reduces inflammatory reaction and tissue damage through inhibition of phospholipase A2 activation in adult rats following spinal cord injury. Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology, 66: 932-943.

  18. Liu NK,   Zhang YP, Titsworth WL, Jiang X, Han S, Lu PH, Shields CB, Xu XM (2006):A novel role of phospholipase A2 in mediating spinal cord secondary injury. Annals of Neurology, 59(4):606-619.

  19. Liu NK and Xu XM (2006). b-tubulin is a more suitable internal control than b-actin in western blot analysis of spinal cord tissues after traumatic injury. J Neurotrauma., 23(12):1794-801.

  20. Liu NK, Han S, Lu PH, Xu XM(2004): Upregulation of annexins I, II and V following traumatic spinal cord injury in adult rats. J Neuroscience Res.,  77:391-401.

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