Jyothi F Nagajyothi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Microbiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics
Jfn31@njms.rutgers.edu   |   View CV
room W410-Q

Lipid induced metabolic disorders and chronic infectious diseases

Chagas disease, caused by Trypanasoma cruzi, is a chronic infectious disease that represents the third greatest tropical disease burden after malaria and schistosomiasis. A major complication of Chagas disease is Chagasic cardiomyopathy (CCM), an important cause of congestive heart failure in the endemic regions of Latin America. The pathogenesis of Chagas disease needs to be considered in the context of the endemic regions, where there is an increase in obesity, diabetes, hypertension and chronic cardiovascular disease.

My research has identified a strong link between T. cruzi invasion and cardiac lipid homeostasis in CCM. Whole body lipid homeostasis depends on many organs and signaling pathways, among them adipocytes, pancreas and liver play major role in lipid metabolism especially during T. cruzi infection. Another important factor is diet, which also regulates the outcome of T. cruzi infection. Current research in my laboratory is focused on establishing the link between Chagas disease and metabolic disorders. The effect of different lipid and glucose lowering drugs such as Lipitor and Metformin, respectively, on different stages of CD in murine model is being studied. Our data suggest that CCM is the result of two distinct perturbations in lipid metabolism: an increase in lipolysis and lipid influx to the myocardium during acute infection; and an induction of de novo lipogenesis in the myocardium during the intermediate (latent) stage of infection. Diet, a major regulator of adipogenesis plays a significant role during infection. Our studies target this novel pathogenic mechanism to understand the link between acute infection induced lipid metabolic disorder and chronic chagasic cardiomyopathy. My research is focused on four interlinked areas:

  1. Role of diet in the development of metabolic syndrome in chronic infectious diseases
  2. Parasite host adipocyte/adipose tissue interaction and the pathogenesis of infectious diseases
  3. Role of serum lipoproteins in the pathogenesis of Chagas heart disease
  4. Adipocyte, pancreas and liver malfunction during acute and chronic infections and its consequence on the development of metabolic syndrome
  5. Alternative therapeutic approaches to prevent and cure Chagas disease

The long term goal of my laboratory group is to understand the interaction(s) of chronic infectious diseases and metabolic disorders to prevent the global burden of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. In addition to being interested in studying the pathogenesis Chagas disease, I am also interested in dissecting the link between adipose tissue physiology and pulmonary pathophysiology in Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the context of metabolic disorder.

View all on PubMed

Ayyappan JP, Lizardo K, Wang S, Yurkow E, Nagajyothi JF (2019) Inhibition of ER Stress by 2-Aminopurine Treatment Modulates Cardiomyopathy in a Murine Chronic Chagas Disease Model. Biomol Ther (Seoul). PMI: 30879276

Ayyappan JP, Ganapathi U, Lizardo K, Vinnard C, Subbian S, Perlin DS, Nagajyothi F (2019) Adipose Tissue Regulates Pulmonary Pathology during TB Infection. mBio 10: e02771-18

Ayyappan JP, Vinnard C, Subbian S, Nagajyothi JF (2018) Effect of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection on adipocyte physiology. Microbes Infect 20: 81-88. PMI: 29109018

Lizardo K, Almonte V, Law C, Aiyyappan JP, Cui MH, Nagajyothi JF (2017) Diet regulates liver autophagy differentially in murine acute Trypanosoma cruzi infection. Parasitol Res 116: 711-723. PMI: 27987056

Dufurrena Q, Amjad FM, Scherer PE, Weiss LM, Nagajyothi J, Roth J, Tanowitz HB, Kuliawat R (2017) Alterations in pancreatic beta cell function and Trypanosoma cruzi infection: evidence from human and animal studies. Parasitol Res 116: 827-838. PMI: 28013375

Ayyappan JP, Nagajyothi J (2017) Diet modulates adipose tissue oxidative strees in a murine model. JSciMed Central Artherosclerosis 2: 1030. PMI:

Zhao D, Lizardo K, Cui MH, Ambadipudi K, Lora J, Jelicks LA, Nagajyothi JF (2016) Antagonistic effect of atorvastatin on high fat diet induced survival during acute Chagas disease. Microbes Infect 18: 675-686. PMI: 27416748

Tanowitz HB, Machado FS, Spray DC, Friedman JM, Weiss OS, Lora JN, Nagajyothi J, Moraes DN, Garg NJ, Nunes MC, Ribeiro AL (2015) Developments in the management of Chagas cardiomyopathy. Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther 13: 1393-1409. PMI: 26496376

Brima W, Eden DJ, Mehdi SF, Bravo M, Wiese MM, Stein J, Almonte V, Zhao D, Kurland I, Pessin JE, Zima T, Tanowitz HB, Weiss LM, Roth J, Nagajyothi F (2015) The brighter (and evolutionarily older) face of the metabolic syndrome: evidence from Trypanosoma cruzi infection in CD-1 mice. Diabetes Metab Res Rev 31: 346-359. PMI: 25613819

Wen JJ, Nagajyothi F, Machado FS, Weiss LM, Scherer PE, Tanowitz HB, Garg NJ (2014) Markers of oxidative stress in adipose tissue during Trypanosoma cruzi infection. Parasitol Res 113: 3159-3165. PMI: 24948102

Nagajyothi F, Weiss LM, Zhao D, Koba W, Jelicks LA, Cui MH, Factor SM, Scherer PE, Tanowitz HB (2014) High fat diet modulates Trypanosoma cruzi infection associated myocarditis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8: e3118. PMI: 25275627

Johndrow C, Nelson R, Tanowitz H, Weiss LM, Nagajyothi F (2014) Trypanosoma cruzi infection results in an increase in intracellular cholesterol. Microbes Infect 16: 337-344. PMI: 24486184

Burke S, Nagajyothi F, Thi MM, Hanani M, Scherer PE, Tanowitz HB, Spray DC (2014) Adipocytes in both brown and white adipose tissue of adult mice are functionally connected via gap junctions: implications for Chagas disease. Microbes Infect 16: 893-901. PMI: 25150689

Nagajyothi F, Kuliawat R, Kusminski CM, Machado FS, Desruisseaux MS, Zhao D, Schwartz GJ, Huang H, Albanese C, Lisanti MP, Singh R, Li F, Weiss LM, Factor SM, Pessin JE, Scherer PE, Tanowitz HB (2013) Alterations in glucose homeostasis in a murine model of Chagas disease. Am J Pathol 182: 886-894. PMI: 23321322

Nagajyothi F, Zhao D, Weiss LM, Tanowitz HB (2012) Curcumin treatment provides protection against Trypanosoma cruzi infection. Parasitol Res 110: 2491-2499. PMI: 22215192

Nagajyothi F, Machado FS, Burleigh BA, Jelicks LA, Scherer PE, Mukherjee S, Lisanti MP, Weiss LM, Garg NJ, Tanowitz HB (2012) Mechanisms of Trypanosoma cruzi persistence in Chagas disease. Cell Microbiol 14: 634-643. PMI: 22309180

Nagajyothi F, Desruisseaux MS, Machado FS, Upadhya R, Zhao D, Schwartz GJ, Teixeira MM, Albanese C, Lisanti MP, Chua SC, Jr., Weiss LM, Scherer PE, Tanowitz HB (2012) Response of adipose tissue to early infection with Trypanosoma cruzi (Brazil strain). J Infect Dis 205: 830-840. PMI: 22293433

Machado FS, Rodriguez NE, Adesse D, Garzoni LR, Esper L, Lisanti MP, Burk RD, Albanese C, Van Doorslaer K, Weiss LM, Nagajyothi F, Nosanchuk JD, Wilson ME, Tanowitz HB (2012) Recent developments in the interactions between caveolin and pathogens. Adv Exp Med Biol 729: 65-82. PMI: 22411314

Machado FS, Jelicks LA, Kirchhoff LV, Shirani J, Nagajyothi F, Mukherjee S, Nelson R, Coyle CM, Spray DC, de Carvalho AC, Guan F, Prado CM, Lisanti MP, Weiss LM, Montgomery SP, Tanowitz HB (2012) Chagas heart disease: report on recent developments. Cardiol Rev 20: 53-65. PMI: 22293860

Nagajyothi F, Weiss LM, Silver DL, Desruisseaux MS, Scherer PE, Herz J, Tanowitz HB (2011) Trypanosoma cruzi utilizes the host low density lipoprotein receptor in invasion. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 5: e953. PMI: 21408103

Martinez-Outschoorn UE, Pestell RG, Howell A, Tykocinski ML, Nagajyothi F, Machado FS, Tanowitz HB, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP (2011) Energy transfer in “parasitic” cancer metabolism: mitochondria are the powerhouse and Achilles’ heel of tumor cells. Cell Cycle 10: 4208-4216. PMI: 22033146

Ferreira AV, Segatto M, Menezes Z, Macedo AM, Gelape C, de Oliveira Andrade L, Nagajyothi F, Scherer PE, Teixeira MM, Tanowitz HB (2011) Evidence for Trypanosoma cruzi in adipose tissue in human chronic Chagas disease. Microbes Infect 13: 1002-1005. PMI: 21726660