Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Tsinghua University (2023)
  • Bachelor of Engineering, Beijing University of Technology (2018)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Tsinghua University (2023)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Cell mediated ECM-degradation as an emerging tool for anti-fibrotic strategy. Cell regeneration (London, England) Zhao, P., Sun, T., Lyu, C., Liang, K., Du, Y. 2023; 12 (1): 29


    Investigation into the role of cells with respect to extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling is still in its infancy. Particularly, ECM degradation is an indispensable process during the recovery from fibrosis. Cells with ECM degradation ability due to the secretion of various matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have emerged as novel contributors to the treatment of fibrotic diseases. In this review, we focus on the ECM degradation ability of cells associated with the repertoire of MMPs that facilitate the attenuation of fibrosis through the inhibition of ECM deposition. Besides, innovative approaches to engineering and characterizing cells with degradation ability, as well as elucidating the mechanism of the ECM degradation, are also illustrated. Studies conducted to date on the use of cell-based degradation for therapeutic purposes to combat fibrosis are summarized. Finally, we discuss the therapeutic potential of cells with high degradation ability, hoping to bridge the gap between benchside research and bedside applications in treating fibrotic diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13619-023-00172-9

    View details for PubMedID 37653282

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10471565

  • Response to a Comment on "Scar-Degrading Endothelial Cells as a Treatment for Advanced Liver Fibrosis" ADVANCED SCIENCE Zhao, P., Sun, T., Lyu, C., Du, Y. 2023; 10 (17): e2301330

    View details for DOI 10.1002/advs.202301330

    View details for Web of Science ID 000978402500001

    View details for PubMedID 37119442

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10265037

  • Advanced glycation end-products as mediators of the aberrant crosslinking of extracellular matrix in scarred liver tissue NATURE BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING Lyu, C., Kong, W., Liu, Z., Wang, S., Zhao, P., Liang, K., Niu, Y., Yang, W., Xiang, C., Hu, X., Li, X., Du, Y. 2023


    The extracellular matrix of cirrhotic liver tissue is highly crosslinked. Here we show that advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) mediate crosslinking in liver extracellular matrix and that high levels of crosslinking are a hallmark of cirrhosis. We used liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to quantify the degree of crosslinking of the matrix of decellularized cirrhotic liver samples from patients and from two mouse models of liver fibrosis and show that the structure, biomechanics and degree of AGE-mediated crosslinking of the matrices can be recapitulated in collagen matrix crosslinked by AGEs in vitro. Analyses via cryo-electron microscopy and optical tweezers revealed that crosslinked collagen fibrils form thick bundles with reduced stress relaxation rates; moreover, they resist remodelling by macrophages, leading to reductions in their levels of adhesion-associated proteins, altering HDAC3 expression and the organization of their cytoskeleton, and promoting a type II immune response of macrophages. We also show that rosmarinic acid inhibited AGE-mediated crosslinking and alleviated the progression of fibrosis in mice. Our findings support the development of therapeutics targeting crosslinked extracellular matrix in scarred liver tissue.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41551-023-01019-z

    View details for Web of Science ID 000966761000004

    View details for PubMedID 37037967

    View details for PubMedCentralID 2271178

  • Scar-Degrading Endothelial Cells as a Treatment for Advanced Liver Fibrosis ADVANCED SCIENCE Zhao, P., Sun, T., Lyu, C., Liang, K., Niu, Y., Zhang, Y., Cao, C., Xiang, C., Du, Y. 2023; 10 (4): e2203315


    Deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) in the liver is an important feature of liver cirrhosis. Recovery from liver cirrhosis is physiologically challenging, partially due to the ECM in scar tissue showing resistance to cell-mediated degradation by secreted matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Here, a cell-mediated ECM-degradation screening system (CEDSS) in vitro is constructed for high-throughput searching for cells with tremendous degradation ability. ECM-degrading liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (dLSECs) are screened using CEDSS, which exhibit 17 times the ability to degrade collagen when compared to other cells. The degradation ability of dLSECs is mediated by the upregulation of MMP9. In particular, mRNA expression of MMP9 shows an 833-fold increase in dLSECs compared to normal endothelial cells (nLSECs), and MMP9 is regulated by transcription factor c-Fos. In vivo, single intrasplenic injection of dLSECs alleviates advanced liver fibrosis in mice, while intraperitoneal administration of liver-targeting peptide-modified dLSECs shows enhanced fibrosis-targeting effects. Degradative human umbilical vein endothelial cells (dHUVECs) prove their enhanced potential of clinical translation. Together, these results highlight the potential of ECM-degrading endothelial cells in alleviating advanced liver fibrosis, thus providing remarkable insights in the development of ECM-targeting therapeutics.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/advs.202203315

    View details for Web of Science ID 000895481500001

    View details for PubMedID 36494102

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9896053

  • Synthetic liver fibrotic niche extracts achieve in vitro hepatoblasts phenotype enhancement and expansion. iScience Zhang, Y., Guo, A., Lyu, C., Bi, R., Wu, Z., Li, W., Zhao, P., Niu, Y., Na, J., Xi, J. J., Du, Y. 2021; 24 (11): 103303


    It is still a challenge for synthesizing 'cellular niche-mimics' in vitro with satisfactory reproducibility and fidelity to recreate the natural niche components (e.g., extracellular matrices and soluble factors) for stem cell cultivation. Inspired by the massive amplification of hepatic progenitor cells during liver fibrosis in vivo, here we optimized the in vitro liver fibrotic niches and subsequently harvested their bioactive ingredients as niche extracts (NEs). The fibrosis-relevant NE marginally outperformed Matrigel for phenotype maintenance of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived hepatoblasts (HBs) and recapitulation of the pathological angiogenesis of hESC-derived endothelial cells both in 2D culture and 3D liver organoids. Finally, defined NE components (i.e., collagen III, IV, IL-17, IL-18 and M-CSF) were resolved by the quantitative proteomics which exhibited advantage over Matrigel for multi-passaged HB expansion. The pathology-relevant and tissue-specific NEs provide innovative and generalizable strategies for the discovery of optimal cellular niche and bioactive niche compositions.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.isci.2021.103303

    View details for PubMedID 34765922

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8571728

  • Cryoprotectant enables structural control of porous scaffolds for exploration of cellular mechano-responsiveness in 3D NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Jiang, S., Lyu, C., Zhao, P., Li, W., Kong, W., Huang, C., Genin, G. M., Du, Y. 2019; 10: 3491


    Despite the wide applications, systematic mechanobiological investigation of 3D porous scaffolds has yet to be performed due to the lack of methodologies for decoupling the complex interplay between structural and mechanical properties. Here, we discover the regulatory effect of cryoprotectants on ice crystal growth and use this property to realize separate control of the scaffold pore size and stiffness. Fibroblasts and macrophages are sensitive to both structural and mechanical properties of the gelatin scaffolds, particularly to pore sizes. Interestingly, macrophages within smaller and softer pores exhibit pro-inflammatory phenotype, whereas anti-inflammatory phenotype is induced by larger and stiffer pores. The structure-regulated cellular mechano-responsiveness is attributed to the physical confinement caused by pores or osmotic pressure. Finally, in vivo stimulation of endogenous fibroblasts and macrophages by implanted scaffolds produce mechano-responses similar to the corresponding cells in vitro, indicating that the physical properties of scaffolds can be leveraged to modulate tissue regeneration.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-11397-1

    View details for Web of Science ID 000478576800009

    View details for PubMedID 31375674

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6677882