Youhua Liu, PhD
Professor of Pathology

Dr. Liu
Dr. Liu is a member of the Division of Experimental Pathology and a member of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program.

Office Location:
Rm. S405
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-648-8253
Lab Telephone: 412-648-9508


  • BS - 1982, Anhui University
  • PhD - 1998, Peking Union Medical College

Research Interests

Studies in Dr. Liu's laboratory are focused on dissecting the cellular and molecular pathways leading to chronic renal fibrosis, and exploring novel strategies for therapeutic interventions. Using a series of experimental approaches, we are addressing several fundamental issues in renal fibrosis, such as what types of cells produce a large amount of matrix proteins under pathologic conditions and how they are regulated. Current studies in our laboratory include: 1) to decipher the mechanisms controlling tubular epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and epithelial-mesenchymal cross-talks (EMC) in renal fibrogenesis; 2) to dissect several key signal pathways such as Wnt/beta-catenin, hedgehog and integrin-linked kinase in the pathogenesis of renal fibrosis; 3) to elucidate the patho-mechanisms of podocyte injury and proteinuria; 4) to develop novel therapeutic strategies aimed at ameliorating renal fibrosis and kidney dysfunction.

Selected Publications

View Dr. Liu's publications on PubMed

  1. He W, Tan RJ, Li Y, Wang D, Nie J, Hou FF, and Liu Y. 2012. Matrix metalloproteinase-7 as a surrogate marker predicts renal Wnt/?-catenin activity in CKD. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 23: 294-304. (Featured on Faculty of 1000 Biology).
  2. Ding H, Zhou D, Hao S, Zhou L, He W, Nie J, Hou FF, and Liu Y. 2012. Sonic hedgehog signaling mediates epithelial-mesenchymal communication and promotes renal fibrosis. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 23: 801-813. (Featured on Faculty of 1000 Biology).
  3. Li Y, Wen X, and Liu Y. 2012. Tubular cell dedifferentiation and peritubular inflammation are coupled by the transcription regulator Id1 in renal fibrogenesis. Kidney Int. 81: 880-891. (Featured on Kidney Int. cover)
  4. Zhou D, Li Y, Lin L, Zhou L, Igarashi P, and Liu Y. 2012. Tubule-specific ablation of endogenous ?-catenin aggravates acute kidney injury in mice. Kidney Int. 82: 537-547. (Featured on Editorial: Peng J, and Dong Z. Role changes of ?-catenin in kidney injury and repair. Kidney Int. 82: 509-511.)
  5. Kriegel AJ, Liu Y, Cohen B, Usa K, Liu Y, and Liang M. 2012. MiR-382 targeting of kallikrein 5 contributes to renal inner medullary interstitial fibrosis. Physiol. Genomics. 44: 259-267. (Featured on Physiol. Genomics cover)
  6. Zhou L, Cao W, Xie C, Tian J, Zhou Z, Zhou Q, Zhu P, Li A, Liu Y, Miyata T, Hou FF, Nie J. 2012. The receptor of advanced glycation end products (RAGE) plays a central role in advanced oxidation protein products-induced podocyte apoptosis Kidney Int 82: 759-770. (Featured on Editorial: Yamamoto Y, and Yamamoto H. Interaction of receptor for advanced glycation end products with advanced oxidation protein products induces podocyte injury. Kidney Int. 82: 733-735)
  7. Xiong M, Gong J, Liu Y, Xiang R, and Tan X. 2012. Loss of vitamin D receptor in chronic kidney disease: a potential mechanism linking inflammation to epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Am. J. Physiol. Renal Physiol. 303: F1107-F1115.
  8. Tan RJ, and Liu Y. 2012. Matrix metalloproteinases in kidney homeostasis and diseases. Am. J. Physiol. Renal Physiol. 302: F1351-F1361.
  9. Zhou L, Li Y, Zhou D, Tan RJ, and Liu Y. 2013. Loss of klotho contributes to kidney injury by derepression of Wnt/?-catenin signaling. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 24: 771-785. (Featured on JASN cover; Featured on Editorial: Sanchez-Nino MD, Sanz AB, and Ortiz A. Klotho to treat kidney fibrosis. JASN 24: 687-689, 2013; Featured on Faculty of 1000 Prime)
  10. Zhou D, Tan RJ, Lin L, Zhou L, and Liu Y. 2013. Activation of hepatocyte growth factor receptor, c-met, in renal tubules is required for renoprotection after acute kidney injury. Kidney Int. 84: 509-520.
  11. Zhou D, Tan RJ, Zhou L, Li Y, and Liu Y. 2013. Kidney tubular ?-catenin signaling controls interstitial fibroblast fate via epithelial-mesenchymal communication. Sci. Rep. 3, 1878; DOI:10.1038/srep01878.
  12. Cheng A, Dong Y, Zhu F, Liu Y, Hou FF, and Nie J. 2013. AGE-LDL activates Toll Like receptor 4 pathway and promotes inflammatory cytokines production in renal tubular epithelial cells. Int. J. Biol. Sci. 9: 94-107.
  13. Wei X, Xia Y, Li F, Tang Y, Nie J, Liu Y, Zhou Z, Zhang H, Hou FF. 2013. Kindlin-2 mediates activation of TGF-?/Smads signaling and renal fibrosis. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 24: 1387-1398. (Featured on Editorial: Hirschberg R. Kindlin-2: A new player in renal fibrogenesis. JASN 24: 1339-1340, 2013)
  14. Tan RJ, Zhou L, Zhou D, Lin L, and Liu Y. 2013. Endothelin Receptor A blockade is an ineffective treatment for adriamycin nephropathy. PLoS One. 8: e79963.
  15. Tan RJ, and Liu Y. 2013. Macrophage-derived TGF-? in renal fibrosis: not a macro-impact after all. Am. J. Physiol. Renal Physiol. 305: F821-F822.
  16. Xiao L, and Liu Y. 2013. Chronic Kidney Disease: Fibrosis and anemia in CKD -- two beasts, one ancestor. Nat. Rev. Nephrol. 9: 563-565.
  17. Zhou D, Li Y, Zhou L, Tan RJ, Xiao L, Liang M, Hou FF, and Liu Y. 2014. Sonic hedgehog is a novel tubule-derived growth factor for interstitial fibroblasts after kidney injury. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 25: 2187-2200. (Featured on JASN cover)
  18. Chu GCY, Zhau HE, Wang R, Rogatko A, Feng X, Zayzafoon M, Liu Y, Farach-Carson MC, You S, Kiam J, Freeman MR, Chung LWK. 2014. RANK- and c-Met-mediated signal network amplification promotes prostate cancer metastatic colonization. Endocr-Relat Cancer. 21: 311-326
  19. Wang J, Liang M, Xu J, Cao W, Wang GB, Zhou ZM, Tian JW, Jia N, Zhang ZH, Nie J, Liu Y, Hou FF. 2014. Renal expression of advanced oxidative protein products predicts progression of renal fibrosis in patients with IgA nephropathy. Lab. Invest. 94: 966-977.
  20. Pawaria S, Ramani K, Maers K, Liu Y, Kane LP, Levesque MC, Biswas PS. 2014. Complement component C5a permits the coexistence of pathogenic Th17 cells and type I IFN in Lupus. J. Immunol. 193: 3288-3295.
  21. Tan RJ, Zhou D, Zhou L, and Liu Y. 2014. Wnt/?-catenin signaling and kidney fibrosis. Kidney Int. Supple 4: 84-90.
  22. Tan RJ, and Liu Y. 2014. Arrestin(g) podocyte injury with endothelin antagonism. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 25: 423-425.
  23. Guan X, Nie L, Yang K, Huang Y, He T, Zhang J, Xiao T, Sharma K, Liu Y, Zhao J. 2014. Klotho suppresses renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis by controlling basic fibroblast growth factor-2 signaling. J. Pathol. 00: 000-000, in press.
  24. Zhou L, Li Y, Hao S, Zhou D, Tan RJ, Nie J, Hou FF, Kahn M, and Liu Y. 2014. Multiple genes of the renin-angiotensin system are novel targets of Wnt/?-catenin signaling. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 26: 000-000, in press. (Featured on Editorial: Floege J. Antagonism of canonical Wnt/?-catenin signaling: Taking RAS blockade to the next level? JASN 00: 000-000, 2014; Highlighted on Nat. Rev. Nephrol. News story: Targeting multiple RAS genes. By Carney EF. Nat. Rev. Nephrol 10: 482, 2014)
  25. Zhou L, Li Y, He W, Zhou D, Tan RJ, Nie J, Hou FF, and Liu Y. 2014. Mutual antagonism of Wilms' tumor 1 and ?-catenin dictates podocyte health and disease. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 26: 000-000, in press.
  26. An J, Nie J, He J, Guo Q, Li M, Lei Y, Liu Y, Zhou Z, Zhu F, Liang M, Cheng Y, Hou FF. 2014. GQ5 hinders renal fibrosis in obstructive nephropathy by selectively inhibiting TGF-?-induced Smad3 phosphorylation. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 26: 000-000, in press.