Weibiao Cao, MD, MSc

Associate Professor of Medicine

Phone: 401-444-8578

E-mail:[email protected]


Research Interests:

My research involves the study of the signal transduction pathways mediating contraction in normal esophageal smooth muscle and the inflammation-associated changes in signaling that occur in experimental esophagitis. Findings show that a low molecular weight phospholipase A2 (type I) mediates cat and human in vitro lower esophageal sphincter tone by producing arachidonic acid, which is metabolized to prostaglandin F2alpha and thromboxane A2. These arachidonic acid metabolites act on receptors linked to Gi3 and Gq proteins to activate phospholipases, producing second messengers, and maintaining LES tone. 

I also investigate inflammation-induced changes in contractile signal transduction pathways of human sigmoid colon and study the effect of inflammatory mediators on colonic motor function in ulcerative colitis. Results demonstrate that hydrogen peroxide and IL-1beta may play an important role in motor dysfunction in ulcerative colitis. 

Current studies include the mechanisms of the progression from Barrett’s esophagus to esophageal adenocarcinoma, focusing on the role of NADPH oxidases-derived reactive oxygen species. Research on NADPH oxidase NOX5-S shows that NADPH oxidase NOX5-S is overexpressed in esophageal adenocarcinoma cells and mediates acid-induced hydrogen peroxide production. Acid-induced NOX5-S expression depends on an increase in intracellular calcium and activation of a transcription factor CREB. NOX5-S contributes to increased cell proliferation and decreased apoptosis in esophageal adenocarcinoma cells. 


Selected Publications:

  1. Lin YW, Ren LL, Xiong H, Du W, Yu YN, Sun TT, Weng YR, Wang ZH, Wang JL, Wang YC, Cui Y, Sun DF, Han ZG, Shen N, Zou WP, Xu J, Chen HY, Cao W, Hong J, Fang JY. Role of STAT3 and Vitamin D Receptor in EZH2-mediated invasion of human colorectal cancer. J Pathol. 2013; 230(3):277-90. 2013 Feb 19. doi: 10.1002/path.4179. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Hong J, Li D, Wands J, Souza R and W. Cao. Role of NADPH oxidase NOX5-S, NF-κB, and DNMT1 in acid-induced p16 hypermethylation in Barrett's cells. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2013; 305(10):C1069-79.
  3. Li D, W. Cao. Role Of Intracellular Calcium And NADPH Oxidase NOX5-S In Acid-Induced DNA Damage In Barrett’s Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Cells. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2014; 306(10):G863-72.
  4. Weng YR, Yu YN, Ren LL, Cui Y, Lu YY, Chen HY, Ma X, Qin WX, Cao W, Hong J, Fang JY. Role of C9orf140 in the promotion of colorectal cancer progression and mechanisms of its upregulation via activation of STAT5, β-catenin and EZH2. Carcinogenesis. 2014;35(6):1389-98.
  5. Sun T, Du W, Xiong H, Yu YN, Weng Y, Ren L, Zhao H, Wang Y, Chen Y, Xu J, Xiang Y, Qin W, Cao W, Zou W, Chen H, Hong J,  and J Fang. TMEFF2 deregulation contributes to gastric carcinogenesis and indicates poor survival outcome. Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(17):4689-704.