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Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Gabriel Virella, MD, PhD

Professor EmeritusGabriel Virella, MD, PhD
Microbiology & Immunology

1967  M.D., University of Lisbon
1974  Ph.D., University of Lisbon

Contact Info
Tel: 843-792-4339
BSB 209

Research Interests

My current research is focused on the investigation of the role of autoimmune and inflammatory processes in the pathogenesis of human atherosclerosis. We have established unique protocols, now patented, for the isolation and characterization of human antibodies and modified lipoproteins from circulating antigen-antibody complexes formed spontaneously in humans, defined the lipoprotein modification involved in autoimmune reactions in humans, and studies the biological properties of antigen-antibody complexes prepared with human modified LDL and human purified antibodies to modified LDL. The sum of the data generated in collaboration with Dr. Maria Lopes-Virella supports a pathogenic role for the autoimmune response to modified lipoproteins. Currently we are investigating parameters that may have a modulatory effect on the consequences of autoantibody formation against modified LDL, such as the ratio of IgG vs. IgM antibodies and we have demonstrated that the chemical nature of the modified LDL isolated from immune complexes modulates the pathogenic effect of LDL immune complexes in the development of atherosclerosis.

Recent Publications | Additional Publications

Association Between Inflammatory Markers and Progression to Kidney Dysfunction: Examining Different Assessment Windows in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes.
Baker NL, Hunt KJ, Stevens DR, Jarai G, Rosen GD, Klein RL, Virella G, Lopes-Virella MF; DCCT/EDIC Research Group.
Diabetes Care. 2018 Jan;41(1):128-135. doi: 10.2337/dc17-0867. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Immune complexes containing malondialdehyde (MDA) LDL induce apoptosis in human macrophages.
Virella G, Wilson K, Elkes J, Hammad SM, Rajab HA, Li Y, Chassereau C, Huang Y, Lopes-Virella M.
Clin Immunol. 2018 Feb;187:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2017.06.010. Epub 2017 Jul 8.

F(ab')2 fragments of anti-oxidized LDL IgG attenuate vascular inflammation and atherogenesis in diabetic LDL receptor-deficient mice.
Li Y, Lu Z, Huang Y, Lopes-Virella MF, Virella G.
Clin Immunol. 2016 Dec;173:50-56. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2016.07.020. Epub 2016 Jul 22.

High levels of AGE-LDL, and of IgG antibodies reacting with MDA-lysine epitopes expressed by oxLDL and MDA-LDL in circulating immune complexes predict macroalbuminuria in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Lopes-Virella MF, Hunt KJ, Baker NL, Virella G; VADT Group of Investigators.
J Diabetes Complications. 2016 May-Jun;30(4):693-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2016.01.012. Epub 2016 Jan 14.

Longitudinal Association Between Endothelial Dysfunction, Inflammation, and Clotting Biomarkers With Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Type 1 Diabetes: An Evaluation of the DCCT/EDIC Cohort.
Hunt KJ, Baker NL, Cleary PA, Klein R, Virella G, Lopes-Virella MF; DCCT/EDIC Group of Investigators.
Diabetes Care. 2015 Jul;38(7):1281-9. doi: 10.2337/dc14-2877. Epub 2015 Apr 7.

The predictive role of markers of Inflammation and endothelial dysfunction on the course of diabetic retinopathy in type 1 diabetes.
Rajab HA, Baker NL, Hunt KJ, Klein R, Cleary PA, Lachin J, Virella G, Lopes-Virella MF; DCCT/EDIC Group of Investigators.
J Diabetes Complications. 2015 Jan-Feb;29(1):108-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2014.08.004. Epub 2014 Aug 20.

The role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of diabetic complications.
Virella G, Lopes-Virella MF.
Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2014 Jul 30;5:126. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2014.00126. eCollection 2014. No abstract available.

Decreased plasma levels of select very long chain ceramide species are associated with the development of nephropathy in type 1 diabetes.
Klein RL, Hammad SM, Baker NL, Hunt KJ, Al Gadban MM, Cleary PA, Virella G, Lopes-Virella MF; DCCT/EDIC Research Group.
Metabolism. 2014 Oct;63(10):1287-95. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2014.07.001. Epub 2014 Jul 9.

Oxidized LDL and AGE-LDL in circulating immune complexes strongly predict progression of carotid artery IMT in type 1 diabetes.
Hunt KJ, Baker N, Cleary P, Backlund JY, Lyons T, Jenkins A, Virella G, Lopes-Virella MF; DCCT/EDIC Research Group.
Atherosclerosis. 2013 Dec;231(2):315-22. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.09.027. Epub 2013 Oct 11.

Pathogenic role of modified LDL antibodies and immune complexes in atherosclerosis.
Lopes-Virella MF, Virella G.
J Atheroscler Thromb. 2013;20(10):743-54. Epub 2013 Aug 20. Review.

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