Nagesha Guthalu Kondegowda, Ph.D., obtained his master’s degree in biochemistry from University of Mysore, India. He pursued doctorate in the field of food biotechnology at Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India, after successfully obtaining senior research fellowship sponsored by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. During the Ph.D. program (2000-2004) he used supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) extraction technique to enrich the tocopherols (vitamin E) using enzymatically modified oil industry byproduct called soy deodorizer distillate. He achieved to enrich tocopherols threefold from its original content and characterized the tocopherol preparation based on its efficacy as membrane stabilizing agent by incorporating into liposomal preparation.
After a short stint as visiting scholar at the Immunomodulation Research Center at University of Ulsan in South Korea, Dr. Kondegowda started as a postdoctoral scientist in the United States at Department of Human Nutrition, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, in 2005. He evaluated bioactive food components, such as genistein (a soy isoflavone), and other nondigestible carbohydrates for their ability to modify breast cancer initiation and development in mouse models. The work in nondigestible carbohydrates has gained importance in many other fields, such as obesity and diabetes, and hence led to an interest in diabetes research, with an opportunity to work at the division of endocrinology at the University of Pittsburgh as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Rupangi Vasavada, Ph.D., in 2007. At Dr. Vasavada's lab, he extensively worked on both lactogens (prolactin) and parathyroid hormone related protein to examine their effect on preventing beta cell death and increasing beta cell proliferation in vitro and in pathophysiological models of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Kondegowda further accepted a position as research assistant professor in 2013 at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, to continue research in Dr. Vasavada's lab.
Since then, focus of his research is to find ways to induce the growth, survival and regeneration of functioning pancreatic beta cells both in vitro and in vivo. Further, Dr. Kondegowda discovered osteoprotegerin (OPG) as a novel downstream target of prolactin and its independent effect on increasing beta cell proliferation and survival in young, aged and type 1 diabetes mouse models. This study also uncovered receptor activator of NF-κB Ligand as a novel brake for beta cell replication and survival. Also, his recent findings demonstrated that both prolactin and OPG prevent and reverses type 1 diabetes in rodents.
Dr. Kondegowda’s recent focus is on the role of extracellular vehicles (EVs) derived from the circulation of patients with type 1 diabetes. Particularly, our goal is to examine how circulating EVs at different stages of type 1 diabetes are cytotoxic to beta cell health and induce pro-inflammatory phenotype in immune cells, to identify the distinct cargo in the EVs that mediates its functional effects and, ultimately, to investigate their potential as disease biomarkers.
Education & Experience
2004, Ph.D., Biotechnology, Central Food Technological Research Institute/University of Mysore, Mysore, India
1996, M.Sc., Biochemistry, University of Mysore, Mysore, India
1994, B.Sc., Botany, Biochemistry, Microbiology, University of Mysore, Mysore, India
2000-2003, Senior Research Fellow, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India
2004-2005, Visiting Scientist, Immunomodulation Research Centre, University of Ulsan, Ulsan, South Korea
2005-2007, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
2007-2011, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
2018-present, Assistant Research Professor, Department of Translational Research &Cellular Therapeutics, City of Hope, Duarte, California
2013-2018, Assistant Professor (Research), Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York
2011-2013, Research Associate, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
Effect of PTHrP and an FDA-approved cell cycle inhibitor drug on beta cell homeostasis:
Our lab was one of the first to demonstrate that transgenic expression of a peptide factor in the beta cell can induce beta cell growth and increase beta cell mass in mice. Subsequently, after I joined the group, we have shown that this peptide, parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), as well as a small subpeptide of PTHrP are sufficient to enhance beta cell proliferation, survival and function not only in rodents but also in human beta cells. We have shown that the subpeptide of PTHrP has regenerative effects on rodent beta cells in vivo, when administered systemically and acutely under basal and conditions of increased demand such as partial pancreatectomy.
A first third-generation anti-breast cancer Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug, which is a selective inhibitor of CDK4/6, called palbociclib (Ibrance) was evaluated for its effect on beta cell homeostasis in young versus aged rats; and it did not affect glucose or beta cell homeostasis in aged rats.
i) Guthalu NK, Joshi-Gokhale S, Harb G, Williams K, Zhang XY, Takane KK, Zhang P, Scott D, Stewart AF, Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC. Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) enhances human β-cell proliferation and function with simultaneous induction of cyclin-dependent-kinase 2 (cdk2) and CyclinE expression. Diabetes 59: 3131-3138 (2010). PMID: 20876711
ii) Williams K, Abanquah D, Joshi-Gokhale S, Otero A, Lin H, Guthalu NK, Zhang XY, Mozar A, Bisello A, Stewart AF, Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC. Systemic and acute administration of parathyroid hormone-related peptide 1-36 stimulates endogenous beta cell proliferation while preserving function in adult mice. Diabetologia 54:2867-2877 (2011). PMID: 21800111
iii) Mozar A, Lin H, Williams K, Chin C, Guthalu NK, Stewart AF, Garcia-Ocana A, Vasavada RC. Parathyroid Hormone-Related peptide (1-36) enhances beta cell regeneration and increases beta cell mass in a mouse model of partial pancreatectomy. PLoS ONE 11(7): 1-15 (2016). PMID: 27391423
iv) Sacaan AI, Thibault S, Hong M, Guthalu NK, Nichols TC, Li R, Rosselot C, Evering W, Fenutria R, Vitsky A, Brown T, Finkelstein MB, Garcia-Ocaña A, Khan NK, Stewart AF, Vasavada RC. CDK4/6 Inhibition on Glucose and Pancreatic Beta Cell Homeostasis in Young and Aged Rats. Mol. Cancer Res.15:1531-1541 (2017). PMID: 28760782.
Effect of lactogens on beta cell survival:
Lactogenic hormones, such as prolactin and placental lactogen act by binding to a common receptor, the prolactin receptor, are indispensable in facilitating the normal growth and function of the beta cell during development and during pregnancy, as demonstrated by various studies. Though many studies have demonstrated that these hormones can induce proliferation and enhance function of beta cells, their effect on beta cell survival was not known. Based on the effects of these hormones in other cell types, we hypothesized that they would protect beta cells from cell death inducers. Indeed our work has demonstrated that these hormones protect rodent and human beta cells against varied cell death inducers relevant to the pathophysiology of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We have also shown the importance of the downstream JAK2/STAT5 pathway and the anti-apoptotic molecule BclXL for mediating the prosurvival effects of these hormones in rodent and human beta cells. Our recent findings also demonstrated the protective effect of lactogens against endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress) induced rodent and human beta cell death and prevents diabetes incidence in Akita mice. Further, our yet unpublished research demonstrates that prolactin treatment in NOD-Ltj mice, a type 1 diabetic rodent model, not only prevents but also reverses recent onset type 1 diabetes.
i) Guthalu NK, Zhang XY, Williams K, Mozar A, Vasavada RC. Growth factor mediated regulation of beta cell survival. The Open Endocrine Journal 4:80-95 (2010).
ii) Guthalu NK, Mozar A, Otero A, Chin C, Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC. Lactogens protect rodent and human beta cells against glucolipotoxicity-induced cell death through Jak2/Stat5 signaling. Diabetologia 55:1721-1732 (2012). PMID: 22382519
iii) Li R, Guthalu NK, Filipowska J, Hampton RF, Leblanc S, Garcia-Ocana A, Vasavada RC. Lactogens reduce endoplasmic reticulum stress induced rodent and human beta cell death and diabetes incidence in Akita mice. Diabetes 69:1463-1475 (2020). PMID: 32332156
Osteoprotegerin effect on beta cell homeostasis:
Our quest to find the downstream targets of lactogenic hormones led to a recent finding that the bone-related peptide, osteoprotegerin (OPG) is induced by lactogens in beta cells. We showed that OPG, besides mediating lactogen-induced beta cell proliferation, can also enhance rodent beta cell proliferation in vivo in young and aged mice. Furthermore, OPG has proliferative and pro-survival effects on human beta cells. Being a soluble decoy receptor, OPG acts by inhibiting the RANKL/RANK or the TRAIL/DR pathways. Our studies have found that the proliferative effect of OPG in rodent and human beta cells is mediated through inhibition of the RANKL/RANK pathway. We have used these findings to examine the potential of repurposing an FDA-approved osteoporosis drug, Denosumab, which is a RANKL antibody, on human beta cell proliferation and survival, for the treatment of diabetes. Currently we are studying the physiological, mechanistic, and therapeutic aspects of these molecules and pathways in the beta cell. We have two patents on the role of OPG in beta cell proliferation and survival.
i) Guthalu NK, Fenutria R, Pollack I, Orthofer M, Garcia-Ocaña A, Penninger J, Vasavada RC. Osteoprotegerin and Denosumab stimulate human beta cell proliferation through inhibition of the Receptor Activator of NF-κB Ligand (RANKL) pathway. Cell Metabolism 22:77-85 5.
Role of Extracellular Vehicles in Type 1 Diabetes: Recent studies in our lab have found that humoral factors in type 1 diabetes are cytotoxic to beta cells. This is true in the rodent type 1 diabetes NOD mouse model but, more importantly, serum from type 1 diabetes subjects induces cell death of human beta cells, but not alpha cells, suggesting that the humoral cytotoxicity participates in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. We are currently examining the role of extracellular vehicles and other humoral factors in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes.
Two U.S. utility patents issued for “Use of Osteoprotegerin (OPG) to increase human pancreatic beta cell survival and proliferation”.
1) No. 9333239 issued on 5/10/2016
2) No. 9724386 issued on 8/8/2017
1) “Osteoprotegerin and the Pancreatic Beta Cell” 4/01/15-3/31/19
Co-Investigator: Nagesha Guthalu Kondegowda
Agency: NIH/NIDDK 1 R01 DK102893-01
This application will examine the mechanism by which OPG enhances beta cell growth and survival and understand the physiologic role of the RANK/RANKL pathway through which OPG acts in beta cells.
2)“Therapeutic Potential of Osteoprotegerin and Denosumab in Diabetes” 6/01/15-5/31/17
Co-Investigator: Nagesha Guthalu Kondegowda
Agency: JDRF Research Grant
1) “Circulating Extracellular Vesicles in the Pathogenesis of Type 1 Diabetes” (October 2021)
Co-Investigator: Nagesha Guthalu Kondegowda
Agency: NIH/NIDDK (Awarded: yet to be announced the grant number)
Awards & Memberships
2013, Training Travel Award Supplement from JDRF
2012, Midwest Islet Club Meeting, Travel Award
2010, 92nd Endocrine Society Meeting, Travel Award