Zhiyi Zuo


  • MD, Zhongshan Medical College
  • MS, Sun Yat Sen University of Medical Sciences
  • PhD, University of Cambridge

Primary Appointment

  • Professor, Anesthesiology


Research Interest(s)

Neuroscience and Anesthetic Neuroprotection

Research Description

The research focuses in my laboratory are two: the regulation of glutamate transporters and neuroprotection.

Glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter. Glutamate is also a toxin when its extracellular concentration is high. Glutamate transporters are membrane proteins, which transport glutamate from extracellular to intracellular space under physiological conditions. This process has been found to play an important role in maintaining low extracellular glutamate level. Five glutamate transporters have been characterized so far. We are interested in studying by what and how the activity and protein expression of glutamate transporters can be regulated. We use cell culture (including C6 cells, glial and neuronal cultures) and brain slices and employ pharmacology, physiology and biochemistry methods in our studies.

Ischemia causes cell death. Ischemic brain injury is implicated in the pathophysiology of many human diseases including stroke. Excessive extracellular glutamate accumulation during ischemia has been thought to be an important mechanism for ischemic brain injury. Many agents or methods have been found to be neuroprotective. We are interested in studying the protective effects of ischemic preconditioning and volatile anesthetics in the central nervous system. We use both in vitro and in vivo models to study the mechanisms of these neuroprotective methods.

Selected Publications

  • A Novel Mechanism for Sevoflurane Preconditioning-induced Neuroprotection. Anesthesiology. 2012. PMID: 22929733 | PMCID: NIHMS404800
  • Are volatile anesthetics neuroprotective or neurotoxic? Medical gas research. 2012;2(1): 10. PMID: 22510328 | PMCID: PMC3353836
  • Cao L, Feng C, Li L, Zuo Z. Contribution of microRNA-203 to the isoflurane preconditioning-induced neuroprotection. Brain research bulletin. 2012;88(5): 525-8. PMID: 22609621 | PMCID: PMC3381978
  • Cao L, Li L, Zuo Z. N-acetylcysteine reverses existing cognitive impairment and increased oxidative stress in glutamate transporter type 3 deficient mice. Neuroscience. 2012;220 85-9. PMID: 22732503 | PMCID: PMC3412891
  • Feng C, Zuo Z. Regulatory factor X1-induced down-regulation of transforming growth factor β2 transcription in human neuroblastoma cells. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2012;287(27): 22730-9. PMID: 22582395 | PMCID: PMC3391092
  • Jeong H, Lin D, Li L, Zuo Z. Delayed treatment with lidocaine reduces mouse microglial cell injury and cytokine production after stimulation with lipopolysaccharide and interferon γ. Anesthesia and analgesia. 2012;114(4): 856-61. PMID: 22253275 | PMCID: PMC3310294
  • Lee S, Park S, Zuo Z. Effects of isoflurane on learning and memory functions of wild-type and glutamate transporter type 3 knockout mice. The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology. 2012;64(2): 302-7. PMID: 22221107
  • Li J, Deng J, Sheng W, Zuo Z. Metformin attenuates Alzheimer's disease-like neuropathology in obese, leptin-resistant mice. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior. 2012;101(4): 564-74. PMID: 22425595 | PMCID: PMC3327803
  • Varhabhatla N, Zuo Z. Rising complication rates after intrathecal catheter and pump placement in the pediatric population: analysis of national data between 1997 and 2006. Pain physician. 2012;15(1): 65-74. PMID: 22270739
  • Feng C, Cao L, Zuo Z. RNA interference-produced autoregulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase expression. FEBS letters. 2011;585(15): 2488-92. PMID: 21741974 | PMCID: PMC3148287
  • Feng C, Li J, Zuo Z. Expression of the transcription factor regulatory factor X1 in the mouse brain. Folia histochemica et cytobiologica / Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Histochemical and Cytochemical Society. 2011;49(2): 344-51. PMID: 21744337 | PMCID: PMC3220163
  • Gwak M, Cao L, Li L, Zuo Z. Isoflurane preconditioning reduces oxygen-glucose deprivation-induced neuronal injury via B-cell lymphoma 2 protein. Environmental toxicology and pharmacology. 2011;31(1): 262-5. PMID: 21359097 | PMCID: PMC3045195
  • Huang Y, Li L, Washington J, Xu X, Sando J, Lin D, Zuo Z. Inhibition of isoflurane-induced increase of cell-surface redistribution and activity of glutamate transporter type 3 by serine 465 sequence-specific peptides. European journal of pharmacology. 2011;655(1): 16-22. PMID: 21266171 | PMCID: PMC3055949
  • Li J, Sheng W, Feng C, Zuo Z. Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate attenuates brain Aβ increase and improves long-term neurological outcome in rats after transient focal brain ischemia. Neurobiology of disease. 2011;45(1): 564-72. PMID: 21983158 | PMCID: PMC3225696
  • Li L, Zuo Z. Isoflurane postconditioning induces neuroprotection via Akt activation and attenuation of increased mitochondrial membrane permeability. Neuroscience. 2011;199 44-50. PMID: 22040798 | PMCID: PMC3237819
  • Lin D, Cao L, Wang Z, Li J, Washington J, Zuo Z. Lidocaine attenuates cognitive impairment after isoflurane anesthesia in old rats. Behavioural brain research. 2011;228(2): 319-27. PMID: 22192381 | PMCID: PMC3268839
  • Lin D, Li G, Zuo Z. Volatile anesthetic post-treatment induces protection via inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3β in human neuron-like cells. Neuroscience. 2011;179 73-9. PMID: 21277352 | PMCID: PMC3059391
  • Lin D, Zuo Z. Isoflurane induces hippocampal cell injury and cognitive impairments in adult rats. Neuropharmacology. 2011;61(8): 1354-9. PMID: 21864548 | PMCID: PMC3189329
  • Varhabhatla N, Zuo Z. The effects of chronic pulmonary disease on hospital length of stay and cost of hospitalization after neurosurgery. Clinical article. Journal of neurosurgery. 2011;115(2): 375-9. PMID: 21495820
  • Antonakakis J, Scalzo D, Jorgenson A, Figg K, Ting P, Zuo Z, Sites B. Ultrasound does not improve the success rate of a deep peroneal nerve block at the ankle. Regional anesthesia and pain medicine. 2010;35(2): 217-21. PMID: 20301828
  • Feng J, Zuo Z. Isoflurane preconditioning increases endothelial cell tolerance to in-vitro simulated ischaemia. The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology. 2010;63(1): 106-10. PMID: 21155822 | PMCID: PMC3058629
  • Gwak M, Li L, Zuo Z. Morphine preconditioning reduces lipopolysaccharide and interferon-gamma-induced mouse microglial cell injury via delta 1 opioid receptor activation. Neuroscience. 2010;167(2): 256-60. PMID: 20156527 | PMCID: PMC2849923
  • Lee S, Li L, Zuo Z. Glutamate transporter type 3 knockout mice have a decreased isoflurane requirement to induce loss of righting reflex. Neuroscience. 2010;171(3): 788-93. PMID: 20875840 | PMCID: PMC3401886
  • Li L, Zuo Z. Glutamate transporter type 3 knockout reduces brain tolerance to focal brain ischemia in mice. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. 2010;31(5): 1283-92. PMID: 21139629 | PMCID: PMC3099634
  • Lin D, Feng C, Cao M, Zuo Z. Volatile anesthetics may not induce significant toxicity to human neuron-like cells. Anesthesia and analgesia. 2010;112(5): 1194-8. PMID: 20966438
  • McMurtrey R, Zuo Z. Isoflurane preconditioning and postconditioning in rat hippocampal neurons. Brain research. 2010;1358 184-90. PMID: 20709037 | PMCID: PMC2949531
  • Raphael J, Gozal Y, Navot N, Zuo Z. Hyperglycemia inhibits anesthetic-induced postconditioning in the rabbit heart via modulation of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt and endothelial nitric oxide synthase signaling. Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology. 2010;55(4): 348-57. PMID: 20125034
  • Wu X, Lin D, Li G, Zuo Z. Statin post-treatment provides protection against simulated ischemia in bovine pulmonary arterial endothelial cells. European journal of pharmacology. 2010;636(1): 114-20. PMID: 20361961 | PMCID: PMC2866815
  • Kim J, Li L, Zuo Z. Delayed treatment with isoflurane attenuates lipopolysaccharide and interferon gamma-induced activation and injury of mouse microglial cells. Anesthesiology. 2009;111(3): 566-73. PMID: 19672189 | PMCID: PMC2740753
  • Li L, Zuo Z. Isoflurane preconditioning improves short-term and long-term neurological outcome after focal brain ischemia in adult rats. Neuroscience. 2009;164(2): 497-506. PMID: 19679170 | PMCID: PMC2762026
  • Lee J, Li L, Jung H, Zuo Z. Postconditioning with isoflurane reduced ischemia-induced brain injury in rats. Anesthesiology. 2008;108(6): 1055-62. PMID: 18497606 | PMCID: PMC2666347
  • Xu X, Kim J, Zuo Z. Isoflurane preconditioning reduces mouse microglial activation and injury induced by lipopolysaccharide and interferon-gamma. Neuroscience. 2008;154(3): 1002-8. PMID: 18495358 | PMCID: PMC2492758
  • Huang Y, Feng X, Sando J, Zuo Z. Critical role of serine 465 in isoflurane-induced increase of cell-surface redistribution and activity of glutamate transporter type 3. J Biol Chem. 281(50): 38133-8.