Jelic Laboratory

Research Overview

Sanja Jelic, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine

The laboratory is conducting research on the molecular mechanisms that mediate vascular endothelial activation and increased cardiovascular risk in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The cyclic nature of the hypoxic insult clearly distinguishes OSA from other conditions that activate endothelium such as hypertension, diabetes or elevated LDL cholesterol. To gain insight into novel pathways that mediate vascular risk in OSA, we employed an unbiased approach using a phage display library and mass spectrometry to identify differentially expressed plasma membrane proteins on endothelial cells harvested from OSA patients. This led to the discovery that patients with OSA have decreased protection against complement attack, suggesting a novel mechanism of vascular injury in OSA. Currently, we are investigating the mechanisms regulating the function of the lipid-raft anchored complement inhibitor CD59 in endothelial cells, with a focus on cholesterol homeostasis in intermittent hypoxia. In another project, we are exploring the mechanisms underlying the excessive susceptibility of the vascular tissue to the toxins in secondhand smoke (SHS) and the vascular effects of inhaled nicotine in electronic cigarettes. As a part of AHA Strategically Focused Go Red for Women Research Network, the laboratory is also investigating the mechanisms linking sleep deprivation to increased cardiovascular risk.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Jelic S, Padeletti M, Canfield S, Higgins C, Kawut SM, Onat D, Colombo P, Basner RC, Factor P, Le Jemtel T. Inflammation, Oxidative Stress and Repair Capacity of the Vascular Endothelium in Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Circulation 2008;117:2270-8.
  • Jelic S, Lederer D, Adams T, Padeletti M, Colombo P, Factor P, Le Jemtel T. Vascular Inflammation in Obesity and Sleep Apnea. Circulation 2010;121:1014-21. PMCID:PMC2864627
  • Marin JM, Alvar A, Villar I, Forner M, Nieto D, Carrizo SJ, Barbe F, Vicente E, Wei Y, Nieto FJ, Jelic S. Association between Treated and Untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Risk of Hypertension. JAMA. 2012;307:2169-76.
  • Emin M, Wang G, Castagna F, Rodriguez-Lopez J, Wahab R, Wang J, Adams T, Wei Y, Jelic S. Increased Internalization of Complement Inhibitor CD59 May Contribute to Endothelial Inflammation in Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sci Transl Med. 2016;8:320ra1. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad0634. PMID:26738794