Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine - Faculty
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Masao Kaneki, MD, PhD

Masao Kaneki, MD, PhD


Director, Signal Transduction Laboratory; Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

Professional Activities

Research Areas

  1. Modulation of mevalonate pathway and sepsis
  2. Burn injury-induced insulin resistance and muscle wasting
  3. Inducible nitric oxide synthase in stress- and obesity-induced insulin resistance and diabetes

The research efforts in my research team have been focused on acute and chronic activation of stress/inflammatory signaling pathways in human diseases, including sepsis, major trauma (e.g., burn injury), and obesity-induced diabetes. Inflammation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many human diseases. Despite intense investigation for a number of years, two fundamental questions remain to be determined: (1) How activation of inflammatory/stress signaling pathways is initiated and sustained; and (2) What are downstream executioners by which inflammation mediates human diseases. To identify novel molecular targets to control inflammatory/stress responses, my research team has been testing the hypotheses that: (a) inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and dysregulated protein S-nitrosylation (the covalent attachment of nitric oxide to reactive cysteine thiols) are a nodal point of the vicious cycle, inflammatory spiral; (b) the mevalonate pathway and protein farnesylation, a lipid modification of cysteine thiols, function as a stress signaling pathway regulating immune function and cell fate in sepsis and burn injury; and (c) insufficiency of coenzyme Q10 (an essential cofactor for electron transport) is a major culprit of mitochondrial dysfunction/ disintegrity in critical illness. To this end, multidisciplinary approaches have been applied, using molecular and cellular biology, pharmacology, and genetics and proteomics expertise, in my laboratory and in close collaboration with many other research teams. Our research has identified iNOS and protein S-nitrosylation as the major mediator of obesity- and stress-induced insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Recent studies from my laboratory indicate that inhibition of protein farnesylation plays an important role in the statins? lipid-lowering-independent beneficial effects in sepsis, burn injury, and atherosclerosis. We have been obtaining preclinical results and observational clinical data to help develop new strategies to improve the clinical outcome of critically ill patients (e.g., sepsis, burn injury) and chronic inflammation-mediated human diseases (e.g., diabetes).

List of grant funding

Research Grant #71000 (M Kaneki) - Shriners Hospitals for Children
"Protective Effects of Statin, Coenzyme Q10, and Farnesyltransferase Inhibitor in Post-burn Sepsis"
General Anesthetics Sites on Ligand-Gated Ion Channels
The goals of this project are to determine the effects of statin-plus-coenzyme Q10 and farnesyltransferase inhibitor on survival following post-burn sepsis and investigate the molecular mechanisms of the protective effects of statins in burned septic mice.
Role: Principal Investigator

Research Grant #85800 (M Kaneki) - Shriners Hospitals for Children
"Role of FoxO transcription factors in burn-induced muscle insulin resistance"
The goals of this project are to determine the effects of burn injury on FoxO1/3 activities and study the roles of FoxO1/3/4 in burn injury-induced insulin resistance in mice.
Role: Principal Investigator

R01 GM055082-10 (JAJ Martyn)
"Molecular pharmacology of insulin resistance in burns"
This study examines insulin resistance in burns and aberrations in signaling via insulin receptor, with specific focus on the mechanisms of altered signaling via downstream signaling molecules, including insulin receptor, insulin receptor substrate-1, and glucose synthase kinase.
Role: Co-Investigator

* Willing to participate as mentor.


View Publications

Related Links

Dana Farber-Harvard Cancer Center
Critical Care Medicine Research

Contact Information

Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Building 149 13th Street
Charlestown, MA 02129
Phone: 617-726-8122
Fax: 617-726-8134

Office Information

Department of Anesthesia,
Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Gray-Bigelow 444
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Public Transportation Access: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes