Kevin J. Pearson, Ph.D.

Bio / Education: 

• B.S., Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown, PA

• Ph.D., Pathobiology & Molecular Med., University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

• IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology; National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, MD, USA

Research Description: 

Overview
Education with regards to diet and exercise as lifestyle modifications to prevent and treat obesity and diabetes is standard of care by health professionals. Unfortunately, most people lack the motivation or discipline to make healthy dietary choices for the duration of their lifespan. Many rely on the pharmaceutical industry for a seemingly easy fix and are unwilling to make lifestyle changes. However, this could change in targeted populations including women considering pregnancy and women who are already pregnant. Although the association of obesity with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes during adulthood is well known, it is often under-appreciated that the risks of maternal obesity or nutritional status can be imposed on the next generation. Fetal programming is likely playing a role in the alarming increase in childhood obesity and will result in increased diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and early death during adulthood. However, the majority of research in this field has focused on negative outcomes associated with unhealthy or stressful pregnancies. Instead we hope to provide evidence that the reverse can also be true. Our studies hope to provide new information on the positive impact that maternal exercise or other interventions can have on offspring health. Such an intervention provides a realistic mechanism to improve insulin sensitivity in the next generation and positively impact insulin-resistant states that are associated with a plethora of age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. If translatable to humans, healthcare costs would be significantly reduced by a short-term intervention like maternal exercise positively influencing long-term health in offspring. Education and public health campaigns were successful for the majority of women when the scientific community provided data that cigarettes, alcohol, and drug use during pregnancy negatively impact the developing fetus, and we predict that women will exercise or try other safe interventions for the short-term duration of pregnancy if it translates into long-term beneficial effects for their children.

Lab Projects
My lab’s research interests are in the area of fetal or developmental (metabolic) programming or how maternal diet and behavior (such as exercise) can influence offspring obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and cancer. The work that we hope to accomplish over the next several years is summarized below.

PROJECT A: Maternal Exercise Protects Offspring from Obesity and Insulin Resistance
The benefits of exercise have been studied extensively, but the effects of maternal exercise during pregnancy on long-term outcomes in the offspring have been neglected. Emerging research has shown that subtle factors during pregnancy and gestation can influence long-term health in offspring. To date, most studies have focused on negative changes in the offspring caused by detrimental diets or behaviors during pregnancy. In this project, we adopt a pro-active approach in which we explore maternal exercise as a realistic, non-pharmacological intervention during pregnancy that we hope can improve offspring health. Our hypothesis is that maternal voluntary exercise during pregnancy and nursing will enhance insulin sensitivity and decrease obesity in offspring. These studies will provide important information on the potential positive impact maternal exercise can have on offspring glucose homeostasis. Obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are at epidemic levels and interventions targeting gestation might be an efficient way to stem the tide.

PROJECT B: Maternal Exercise Enhances Cancer Protection in Offspring
To date, caloric restriction has shown itself to be the most reproducible and promising intervention to improve cancer outcomes in laboratory animals. An intense and expanding area of research is focused on discovering easily achievable interventions that can have long-lasting positive effects. This project will explore maternal exercise during pregnancy as a potential short-term intervention that can provide a lifetime of benefits for the next generation. The hypothesis that will be tested is that maternal exercise during pregnancy and nursing protects mature offspring against chemical carcinogens because of increased activities of antioxidant enzymes. The first goal is designed to test whether maternal exercise during pregnancy is a realistic intervention that can protect mature offspring from chemical carcinogens. The second goal is to look to elucidate the role of the stress-induced transcription factor, nuclear factor erythroid-2 related factor 2, as a potential mechanism for long-lasting protection by perinatal exercise. These studies will provide important information on the potential positive impact maternal exercise may have on offspring cancer protection.

PROJECT C: Postnatal Complications of Polychlorinated Biphenyl Exposure during Pregnancy
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), one of a number of chlorinated organic pollutants, are highly lipid-soluble toxins that are characterized by relative chemical stability and prevalence in the environment. These traits are responsible for their widely recognized role as a source of serious environmental public health risks. PCBs have been shown to cross the placenta and enter breast milk, and a recent paper suggests that prenatal organochlorine levels contribute to gender-specific obesity development in children. In a mouse model, additional observations revealed that offspring exposed perinatally to PCB126, a coplanar PCB that acts through the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, had significantly worse fat and lean mass profiles compared to offspring born to vehicle-treated dams. Further, mature offspring born to PCB-exposed dams had impaired glucose tolerance compared to offspring from vehicle-treated dams. We have shown that short-term maternal voluntary exercise prior to and during healthy pregnancy and nursing can enhance long-term glucose homeostasis in offspring. The goal of this project is to elucidate the potential long-term health complications and mechanisms of PCB toxicity during the critical periods of in utero and early postnatal life and to explore maternal exercise as a transgenerational intervention.

Grants: 

1R01 DK090460-03
01/2011 – 12/2015
NIH/NIDDK
“Maternal exercise protects offspring from obesity and insulin resistance”
The proposed studies will determine whether maternal exercise during pregnancy can improve glucose disposal and decrease obesity in offspring.
Role: PI

R03 CA165086-01A1
07/2012-06/2014
NIH/NCI
“Maternal Exercise Enhances Cancer Protection in Offspring”
The proposed studies will determine whether maternal exercise during pregnancy can enhance offspring stress response and cancer protection.
Role: PI

Selected Publications: 

First Paper Ever
Min, L., Maiorano, N., Shen, L., Pearson, K., Zhang, D.M., Woods, S.C., Seeley, R.J., Davidson, W.S., and Tso, P. Expression of biologically active rat apolipoprotein A-IV in Escherichia Coli. (2003), Physiology and Behavior, 78: 149-55.

First First Author Paper Ever
Pearson, K., Saito, H., Woods, S.C., Lund-Katz, S., Tso, P., Phillips, M.C., and Davidson, W.S. The structure of human apolipoprotein A-IV: distinct domain architecture with potential functional implications. (2004) Biochemistry, 43: 10719-29.

First Senior or Corresponding Author Paper
Shertzer, H.G., Woods, S.E., Krishan, M., Genter, M.B., and Pearson, K.J. Dietary whey protein lowers the risk for metabolic disease in mice fed a high-fat diet. (2011) Journal of Nutrition, 141(4):582-7.
PMCID: PMC3056576

Most Cited Paper
Baur, J.A.*, Pearson, K.J.*, Price, N.L., Jamieson, H.A., Lerin, C., Kalra, A., Prabhu, V.V., Allard, J.S., Lopez-Lluch, G., Lewis, K., Pistell, P.J., Poosala, S., Becker, K.G., Boss, O., Gwinn, D., Wang, M., Ramaswamy, S., Fishbein, K.W., Spencer, R.G., Lakatta, E.G., LeCouteur, D., Shaw, R.J., Navas, P., Puigserver, P., Ingram, D.K., de Cabo, R., and Sinclair, D.A. Resveratrol improves health and survival of mice on a high-calorie diet. (2006) Nature, 444 (7117): 337-42. *Authors contributed equally.

Prize winning paper—Aging Cell Best Paper Prize 2011
Minor, R.K., López, M., Younts, C.M., Jones, B., Pearson, K.J., Anson, R.M., Diéguez, C., and de Cabo, R. The arcuate nucleus and NPY contribute to the antitumorigenic effect of calorie restriction. (2011) Aging Cell. 10(3):483-92. PMCID: PMC3094497

PubMed Publications: 

  • Carter, L.G.;D'Orazio, J.A.;Pearson, K.J. "Resveratrol and cancer: a focus on in vivo evidence." Endocrine-related cancer (2014): [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Carter, L.G.;Qi, N.R.;Cabo, R.;Pearson, K.J. "Maternal exercise improves insulin sensitivity in mature rat offspring." Medicine and science in sports and exercise 45, 5 (2013): 832-40. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Liu, S.;Xie, Z.;Daugherty, A.;Cassis, L.A.;Pearson, K.J.;Gong, M.C.;Guo, Z. "Mineralocorticoid receptor agonists induce mouse aortic aneurysm formation and rupture in the presence of high salt." Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology 33, 7 (2013): 1568-79. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Rashid, C.S.;Carter, L.G.;Hennig, B.;Pearson, K.J. "Perinatal Polychlorinated Biphenyl 126 Exposure Alters Offspring Body Composition." Journal of pediatric biochemistry 3, 1 (2013): 47-53. [PubMed Link] |
  • Fiori, J.L.;Shin, Y.K.;Kim, W.;Krzysik-Walker, S.M.;González-Mariscal, I.;Carlson, O.D.;Sanghvi, M.;Moaddel, R.;Farhang, K.;Gadkaree, S.K.;Doyle, M.E.;Pearson, K.J.;Mattison, J.A.;Cabo, R.;Egan, J.M. "Resveratrol prevents β-cell dedifferentiation in nonhuman primates given a high-fat/high-sugar diet." Diabetes 62, 10 (2013): 3500-13. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Wang, F.;Pearson, K.J.;Davidson, W.S.;Tso, P. "Specific sequences in N termini of apolipoprotein A-IV modulate its anorectic effect." Physiology & behavior 120, (2013): 136-42. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Platt, K.M.;Charnigo, R.J.;Kincer, J.F.;Dickens, B.J.;Pearson, K.J. "Controlled exercise is a safe pregnancy intervention in mice." Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science : JAALAS 52, 5 (2013): 524-30. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Boivin, G.P.;Platt, K.M.;Corbett, J.;Reeves, J.;Hardy, A.L.;Elenes, E.Y.;Charnigo, R.J.;Hunter, S.A.;Pearson, K.J. "The effects of high-fat diet, branched-chainamino acids and exercise on female C57BL/6 mouse Achilles tendon biomechanical properties." Bone & joint research 2, 9 (2013): 186-92. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Jimenez-Gomez, Y.;Mattison, J.A.;Pearson, K.J.;Martin-Montalvo, A.;Palacios, H.H.;Sossong, A.M.;Ward, T.M.;Younts, C.M.;Lewis, K.;Allard, J.S.;Longo, D.L.;Belman, J.P.;Malagon, M.M.;Navas, P.;Sanghvi, M.;Moaddel, R.;Tilmont, E.M.;Herbert, R.L.;Morrell, C.H.;Egan, J.M.;Baur, J.A.;Ferrucci, L.;Bogan, J.S.;Bernier, M.;Cabo, R. "Resveratrol improves adipose insulin signaling and reduces the inflammatory response in adipose tissue of rhesus monkeys on high-fat, high-sugar diet." Cell metabolism 18, 4 (2013): 533-45. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Baker, N.A.;English, V.;Sunkara, M.;Morris, A.J.;Pearson, K.J.;Cassis, L.A. "Resveratrol protects against polychlorinated biphenyl-mediated impairment of glucose homeostasis in adipocytes." The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 24, 12 (2013): 2168-74. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Carter, L.G.;Lewis, K.N.;Wilkerson, D.C.;Tobia, C.M.;Ngo Tenlep, S.Y.;Shridas, P.;Garcia-Cazarin, M.L.;Wolff, G.;Andrade, F.H.;Charnigo, R.J.;Esser, K.A.;Egan, J.M.;Cabo, R.;Pearson, K.J. "Perinatal exercise improves glucose homeostasis in adult offspring." American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism 303, 8 (2012): E1061-8. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Minor, R.K.;Baur, J.A.;Gomes, A.P.;Ward, T.M.;Csiszar, A.;Mercken, E.M.;Abdelmohsen, K.;Shin, Y.K.;Canto, C.;Scheibye-Knudsen, M.;Krawczyk, M.;Irusta, P.M.;Martín-Montalvo, A.;Hubbard, B.P.;Zhang, Y.;Lehrmann, E.;White, A.A.;Price, N.L.;Swindell, W.R.;Pearson, K.J.;Becker, K.G.;Bohr, V.A.;Gorospe, M.;Egan, J.M.;Talan, M.I.;Auwerx, J.;Westphal, C.H.;Ellis, J.L.;Ungvari, Z.;Vlasuk, G.P.;Elliott, P.J.;Sinclair, D.A.;Cabo, R. "SRT1720 improves survival and healthspan of obese mice." Scientific reports 1, (2011): 70. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Findeisen, H.M.;Pearson, K.J.;Gizard, F.;Zhao, Y.;Qing, H.;Jones, K.L.;Cohn, D.;Heywood, E.B.;Cabo, R.;Bruemmer, D. "Oxidative stress accumulates in adipose tissue during aging and inhibits adipogenesis." PloS one 6, 4 (2011): e18532. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Minor, R.K.;López, M.;Younts, C.M.;Jones, B.;Pearson, K.J.;Anson, R.M.;Diéguez, C.;Cabo, R. "The arcuate nucleus and neuropeptide Y contribute to the antitumorigenic effect of calorie restriction." Aging cell 10, 3 (2011): 483-92. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Shertzer, H.G.;Woods, S.E.;Krishan, M.;Genter, M.B.;Pearson, K.J. "Dietary whey protein lowers the risk for metabolic disease in mice fed a high-fat diet." The Journal of nutrition 141, 4 (2011): 582-7. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Nasrin, N.;Kaushik, V.K.;Fortier, E.;Wall, D.;Pearson, K.J.;Cabo, R.;Bordone, L. "JNK1 phosphorylates SIRT1 and promotes its enzymatic activity." PloS one 4, 12 (2009): e8414. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Csiszar, A.;Labinskyy, N.;Jimenez, R.;Pinto, J.T.;Ballabh, P.;Losonczy, G.;Pearson, K.J.;Cabo, R.;Ungvari, Z. "Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory vasoprotective effects of caloric restriction in aging: role of circulating factors and SIRT1." Mechanisms of ageing and development 130, 8 (2009): 518-27. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Pearson, K.J.;Baur, J.A.;Lewis, K.N.;Peshkin, L.;Price, N.L.;Labinskyy, N.;Swindell, W.R.;Kamara, D.;Minor, R.K.;Perez, E.;Jamieson, H.A.;Zhang, Y.;Dunn, S.R.;Sharma, K.;Pleshko, N.;Woollett, L.A.;Csiszar, A.;Ikeno, Y.;Le Couteur, D.;Elliott, P.J.;Becker, K.G.;Navas, P.;Ingram, D.K.;Wolf, N.S.;Ungvari, Z.;Sinclair, D.A.;Cabo, R. "Resveratrol delays age-related deterioration and mimics transcriptional aspects of dietary restriction without extending life span." Cell metabolism 8, 2 (2008): 157-68. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Shen, L.;Pearson, K.J.;Xiong, Y.;Lo, C.M.;Tso, P.;Woods, S.C.;Davidson, W.S.;Liu, M. "Characterization of apolipoprotein A-IV in brain areas involved in energy homeostasis." Physiology & behavior 95, 1-2 (2008): 161-7. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Pearson, K.J.;Lewis, K.N.;Price, N.L.;Chang, J.W.;Perez, E.;Cascajo, M.V.;Tamashiro, K.L.;Poosala, S.;Csiszar, A.;Ungvari, Z.;Kensler, T.W.;Yamamoto, M.;Egan, J.M.;Longo, D.L.;Ingram, D.K.;Navas, P.;Cabo, R. "Nrf2 mediates cancer protection but not prolongevity induced by caloric restriction." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105, 7 (2008): 2325-30. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Kanfi, Y.;Shalman, R.;Peshti, V.;Pilosof, S.N.;Gozlan, Y.M.;Pearson, K.J.;Lerrer, B.;Moazed, D.;Marine, J.C.;Cabo, R.;Cohen, H.Y. "Regulation of SIRT6 protein levels by nutrient availability." FEBS letters 582, 5 (2008): 543-8. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Tubb, M.R.;Silva, R.A.;Pearson, K.J.;Tso, P.;Liu, M.;Davidson, W.S. "Modulation of apolipoprotein A-IV lipid binding by an interaction between the N and C termini." The Journal of biological chemistry 282, 39 (2007): 28385-94. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Lo, C.M.;Zhang, D.M.;Pearson, K.;Ma, L.;Sun, W.;Sakai, R.R.;Davidson, W.S.;Liu, M.;Raybould, H.E.;Woods, S.C.;Tso, P. "Interaction of apolipoprotein AIV with cholecystokinin on the control of food intake." American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology 293, 4 (2007): R1490-4. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Baur, J.A.;Pearson, K.J.;Price, N.L.;Jamieson, H.A.;Lerin, C.;Kalra, A.;Prabhu, V.V.;Allard, J.S.;Lopez-Lluch, G.;Lewis, K.;Pistell, P.J.;Poosala, S.;Becker, K.G.;Boss, O.;Gwinn, D.;Wang, M.;Ramaswamy, S.;Fishbein, K.W.;Spencer, R.G.;Lakatta, E.G.;Le Couteur, D.;Shaw, R.J.;Navas, P.;Puigserver, P.;Ingram, D.K.;Cabo, R.;Sinclair, D.A. "Resveratrol improves health and survival of mice on a high-calorie diet." Nature 444, 7117 (2006): 337-42. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Davidson, W.S.;Ghering, A.B.;Beish, L.;Tubb, M.R.;Hui, D.Y.;Pearson, K. "The biotin-capture lipid affinity assay: a rapid method for determining lipid binding parameters for apolipoproteins." Journal of lipid research 47, 2 (2006): 440-9. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Pearson, K.;Tubb, M.R.;Tanaka, M.;Zhang, X.Q.;Tso, P.;Weinberg, R.B.;Davidson, W.S. "Specific sequences in the N and C termini of apolipoprotein A-IV modulate its conformation and lipid association." The Journal of biological chemistry 280, 46 (2005): 38576-82. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Pearson, K.;Liu, M.;Shen, L.;Tso, P.;Davidson, W.S. "Bacterial expression and characterization of rat apolipoprotein E." Protein expression and purification 41, 2 (2005): 447-53. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Pearson, K.;Saito, H.;Woods, S.C.;Lund-Katz, S.;Tso, P.;Phillips, M.C.;Davidson, W.S. "Structure of human apolipoprotein A-IV: a distinct domain architecture among exchangeable apolipoproteins with potential functional implications." Biochemistry 43, 33 (2004): 10719-29. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
  • Liu, M.;Maiorano, N.;Shen, L.;Pearson, K.;Tajima, D.;Zhang, D.M.;Woods, S.C.;Seeley, R.J.;Davidson, W.S.;Tso, P. "Expression of biologically active rat apolipoprotein AIV in Escherichia coli." Physiology & behavior 78, 1 (2003): 149-55. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
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