Min Du

Min Du
Professor and Funded Chair in Growth Biology
Office: Veterinary and Biomedical Research Building (VBRB) 155
Phone: 509-335-2744
min.du@wsu.edu

Nutrigenomics and Growth Biology Laboratory

Our research is focused on the development of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Specifically, we are interested in exploring epigenetic mechanisms regulating the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into myocytes and adipocytes. Our studies have applications to both animal agriculture and human health.

For animal agriculture, we are studying the impact of early nutrition on the growth and development of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, which impacts animal production efficiency and meat quality.

For human health, we are exploring the epigenetic changes in progenitor cells during fetal development as affected by obesity and diabetes.

We use in vitro cell culture, transgenic animals and livestock as experimental models. A wide range of laboratory techniques are used in our studies, including immunoblotting, ELISA, immunohistochemical staining, pyrosequencing and proteomic analyses, real-time PCR, DNA manipulation, RNA interference and epigenetic analyses, as well as traditional biochemical and enzyme activity assays.

Specific Research Areas

  • Nutritional regulation of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue development
  • Epigenetic regulation of stem cell differentiation into myocytes and adipocytes
  • Fetal development and its long-term effect on offspring performance

Selected Publications in Recent Years

For complete publication list, please visit Publons: https://publons.com/researcher/1424139/min-du/

  1. Liu, X., L. Zhao, Y. Chen, Y. Gao, Q. Tian, J. Sun, S. Chae, J. de avila, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2022). Obesity induces adipose fibrosis and collagen cross-linking through suppressing AMPK and enhancing lysyl oxidase expression. BBA-Molecular Basis of Disease. In press.
  2. Gao, Y., L. Zhao, J.S. Son, X. Liu, Y. Chen, M. J. Deavilla, M. J. Zhu, G. Murdoch, and M. Du. (2022). Maternal exercise before and during pregnancy facilitates embryonic myogenesis by enhancing thyroid hormone signaling. Thyroid. In press.
  3. zYu X., Y. Ma, Y. Luo, G. Tang, Z. Jiang, J. Zhang, B. Ye, Z. Huang, Y. Luo, M. Du, and B. Wang. (2022).  Neonatal vitamin A administration increases intramuscular fat by promoting angiogenesis and preadipocyte formation. Meat Science. In press.
  4. Son J.S., SA Chae, L. Zhao, H. Wang, J. M. de Avila, M. J. Zhu, Z. Jiang, and M. Du. (2022). Maternal exercise intergenerationally derives muscle-based thermogenesis via activation of apelin-AMPK signaling. EBioMedicine. 76: 103842.
  5. Li, T., Y. Zhang, J. Song, L. Chen, M. Du, and X. Mao. (2022). Yogurt enriched with inulin ameliorated reproductive functions and regulated gut microbiota in dehydroepiandrosterone-induced polycystic ovary syndrome mice. Nutrients. 14: 279.
  6. Guo, H., X. Mao, and M. Du. (2021). Metabolism, absorption, and anti-cancer effects of sulforaphane: an update. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 62: 3437-3452.
  7. Li, T., Q. Yuan, H. Gong, M. Du, and X. Mao. (2022). Gut microbiota mediates the alleviative effect of polar lipids-enriched milk fat globule membrane on obesity-induced glucose metabolism disorders in peripheral tissues in rat dams. International Journal of Obesity. 46: 793-8101.
  8. Maciel, F.C., O. R. M. Neto, M. S. Duarte, M. Du, J. F. Lage, P. D. Teixeira, C. K. Martins, E. H. R. Domingues, L. A. Fogaca, and M. M. Ladeira. (2022). Effect of vitamin A injection at birth on intramuscular fat development and meat quality in beef cattle. Meat Science. 184, 108676.
  9. Wang, H.N., J. Z. Xiang, Z. Qi, and M. Du. (2022). Plant extracts in prevention of obesity. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 62: 2221-2234.
  10. Chae, S. A., J. S. Son, and M. Du. (2022). Prenatal exercise in fetal development: a placental perspective. FEBS Journal. 289: 3058–3071.
  11. Chen, Y.T., Q.Y. Yang, Y. Hu, X.D. Liu, J.M. de Avila, M.J. Zhu, P.W. Nathanielsz, and M. Du. (2021).  Imprinted LncRNA Dio3os preprograms intergenerational brown fat thermogenesis and obese resistance. Nature Communications. 12, 6845.
  12. Zhao, L., N. C. Law, N. A. Gomez, J. Son, Y. Gao, J. M. de Avila, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2021). Obesity impairs embryonic myogenesis by enhancing BMP signaling within the dermomyotome. Advanced Science. 8: 2102157.
  13. Han, L., M. Du, and X. Mao. (2021). Milk polar lipids supplementation to obese rats during pregnancy and lactation benefited skeletal outcomes of male offspring. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 65: e2001208.
  14. Chen, Y., G. Ma, Y. Hu, Q. Yang, J. M. Deavila, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2021). Effects of Maternal Exercise During Pregnancy on Perinatal Growth and Childhood Obesity Outcomes: A Meta-analysis and Meta-regression. Sports Medicine. 51: 2329-2347. 
  15. Gu, H.F., F. Ren, X.Y. Mao, and M. Du. (2021). Mineralized and GSH-responsive hyaluronic acid based nano-carriers for potentiating repressive effects of sulforaphane on breast cancer stem cells-like properties. Carbohydrate Polymers. 269: 118294.
  16. Chen, Y. T., Y. Hu, Q. Y. Yang, X. D. Liu, J. S. Son, J. M. de Avila, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2021). Embryonic exposure to hyper glucocorticoids suppresses brown fat development and thermogenesis via REDD1. Science Bulletin. 66: 478-489.
  17. Son, J. S., S. A. Chae, H. Wang, Y. Chen, A. B. Iniguez, J. M. de Avila, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2020). Maternal inactivity programs skeletal muscle dysfunction in offspring mice via attenuating apelin signaling and mitochondrial biogenesis. Cell Reports. 33: 108461.
  18. Liu, X., N. Moffitt-Hemmer, J. Deavilla, A. Li, Q. Tian, A. Bravo-Iniguez, Y. Chen, L. Zhao, M. Zhu, S. Meibergs, J. Busboom, M. Nelson, A. Tibary, and M. Du. (2020). Wagyu-Angus cross improves meat tenderness compared to Angus cattle but unaffected by mild protein restriction during late gestation. Animals. 15: 100144.
  19. Chae, S.A., J.S. Son, M.J. Zhu, J. M. de Avila, and M. Du. (2020). Treadmill running of mouse as a model for studying influence of maternal exercise on offspring. Bio-protocol. 10: e3838.
  20. Zhao, L., J. S. Son, B. Wang, Q .Tian, Y. Chen, X. Liu, J. M. de Avila, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2020). Retinoic acid signaling in fibro/adipogenic progenitors robustly enhances muscle regeneration. EBioMedicine. 60: 103021.
  21. Li, T., R. Chang, H. Zhang, M. Du, and X. Mao. (2020). Water extract of Potentilla discolor bunge improved hepatic homeostasis by regulating gluconeogenesis and glycogen synthesis in high-fat diet and streptozotocin-induced type I diabetic mice. Frontiers in Nutrition. 7: 161.
  22. Chen, Y.T., Y. Hu, Q.Y. Wang, J.S. Son, X.D. Liu, J.M. de Avila, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2020). Excessive glucocorticoids during pregnancy impair fetal brown fat development and predisposes offspring to metabolic dysfunctions. Diabetes. 69: 1662-1674.
  23. Tian, Q., Z. Xu, X. Sun, J. Deavila, M. Du, and M. J. Zhu. (2020). Grape pomace inhibits colon carcinogenesis by suppressing cell proliferation and inducing epigenetic modifications. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 84: 108443.
  24. Tian Q.Y., X.D. Liu, and M. Du. (2020). Alpha-ketoglutarate for adipose tissue rejuvenation. Aging. 12: 13845-13846.
  25. Son, J., L. Zhao, Y. Chen, K. Chen, S. A. Chae, J. M. de Avila, H. Wang, M.J. Zhu, Z. Jiang, and M. Du. (2020). Maternal exercise via exerkine apelin enhances brown adipogenesis and prevents metabolic dysfunction in offspring mice. Science Advances. 6: eaaz0359. This paper was featured by NIH (https://www.nichd.nih.gov/newsroom/news/042320-pregnancy-exercise) and received wide news coverage.
  26. Tian, Q., J. Zhao, Q. Yang, B. Wang, J. Deavila, M.J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2020). Dietary alpha-ketoglutarate promotes beige adipogenesis and prevents obesity in middle-aged mice. Aging Cell. 19: e13059.
  27. Zhao, L., B. Wang, N. Gomez, J. Deavila, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2020). Even a Low Dose of Tamoxifen Profoundly Induces Adipose Tissue Browning in Female Mice. International Journal of Obesity. 44,226-234.
  28. Gu, H., X. Mao, and M. Du. (2020). Prevention of breast cancer by dietary polyphenols: role of cancer stem cells. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 60: 810-825.
  29. Li, X., X. Fu, G. Yang, and M. Du. (2019). Review: Enhancing intramuscular fat development via targeting fibro-adipogenic progenitor cells in meat animals. Animals. 14: 312-321.
  30. Xie, S., Y. Li, W. Teng, M. Du, Y. Li, and B. Sun. (2019). Liensinine inhibits beige adipocytes recovering to white adipocytes through blocking mitophagy flux in vitro and in vivo. Nutrients. 11: 1640.
  31. Teng, W., Y. Li, M. Du, X. Lei, S. Xie, and F. Ren. (2019). Sulforaphane prevents hepatic insulin resistance by blocking serine palmitoyltransferase 3-mediated ceramide biosynthesis. Nutrients. 11: 1185.
  32. Son, J., X. Liu, Q. Tian, L. Zhao, Y. Chen, Y. Hu, S. A. Chae, J. M. Deavila, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2019). Exercise prevents the adverse effects of maternal obesity on placental vascularization and fetal growth. Journal of Physiology. 597: 3333-3347.
  33. Zhao, L., Y. Huang, and M. Du. (2019). Farm Animals for Studying Muscle Development and Metabolism: dual purposes for animal production and human health. Animal Frontiers. 9:3.
  34. Wei, S., A. Li, L. Zhang, and M. Du. (2019). Long noncoding RNAs in adipogenesis and adipose development of meat animals. Journal of Animal Science. 97: 2644-2657.
  35. Zhao, L., M. Du, X. Mao. (2019). Change in interfacial properties of milk fat globules by homogenization and thermal processing plays a key role in their in vitro gastrointestinal digestion. Food Hydrocolloids. 96: 331-342.
  36. Wang, H., Y. Chen, X. Mao, and M. Du. (2019). Maternal obesity impairs fetal mitochondriogenesis and brown adipose tissue development partially via upregulation of miR-204-5p. BBA-Molecular Basis of Disease. 1865: 2706-2715.
  37. Wang, H., X. Mao, and M. Du. (2019). Phytanic acid activates PPARa to promote beige adipogenic differentiation of preadipocytes. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 67: 201-211.
  38. Zhao, L., M. Du, J. Gao, B. Zhan, and X. Mao, (2019). Label-free quantitative proteomic analysis of milk fat globule membrane proteins of yak and cow and identification of proteins associated with glucose and lipid metabolism. Food Chemistry. 275: 59-68.
  39. Wang, B., C. L. Harris, W. Nie, X. Fu, J. M. Deavila, M. J. Zhu, M. Maquivar, S. M. Parish, J. R. Busboom, M. L. Nelson, and M. Du. (2018). Neonatal vitamin A injection promotes cattle muscle development and increase oxidative muscle fibers. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology. 9: 82.
  40. Zhu, M.J., X. Sun, and M. Du. (2018). AMPK in regulation of apical junctions and barrier junction of intestinal epithelium. Tissue Barriers. 6: 1-13.
  41. Harris, C. L., B. Wang, J. M. Deavila, J. R. Busboom, M. Maquivar, S. M. Parish, B. McCann, M. L. Nelson, and M. Du. (2018). Vitamin A administration at birth promotes calf growth and marbling fat development in Angus beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology. 9: 55.
  42. Ma, Y.N., B. Wang, Z.X. Wang, N. A. Gomez, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2018). Three dimensional spheroid culture of adipose stromal vascular cells for studying adipogenesis in beef cattle. Animals. 12: 2123-2129.
  43. Zhao, L., T. Zou, N. A. Gomez, B. Wang, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2018). Raspberry alleviates obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance in skeletal muscle through activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) α1. Nutrition & Diabetes. 8: 39.
  44. Li, T., J. Gao, M. Du, J. Song, and X. Mao. (2018). Milk fat globule membrane attenuates high-fat diet-induced obesity by inhibiting adipogenesis and increasing uncoupling protein 1 expression in white adipose tissue of mice, Nutrients. 10: 331.
  45. Zou, T., B. Wang, Q. Yang, J. M. de Avila, M. J. Zhu, J. You, D. Chen, and M. Du. (2018). Raspberry promotes brown and beige adipocyte development in mice fed high-fat diet through activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) a1. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 55: 157.
  46. Gao, J., J. Song, M. Du, and X. Mao. (2018). Bovine a-lactalbumin hydrolysates (a-LAH) ameliorate adipose insulin resistance and inflammation in high-fat-diet-fed C57BL/6J mice. Nutrients. 10: 242.
  47. Sun, X., X. Fu, M. Du, and M. J. Zhu. (2018). Ex vivo gut culture for tracing gut epithelial development. Open Biology. 8: 170256.
  48. Sun, X., M. Du, D. A. Navarre and M. J. Zhu. (2018). Purple potato extract promotes intestinal epithelial differentiation and barrier function by activating AMP-activated protein kinase. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 62: 1700536.
  49. Maricelli, J. A., Y. M. Bishaw, B. Wang, M. Du, and B. D. Rodgers. (2018). Systemic SMAD7 gene therapy increases striated muscle mass and enhances exercise capacity in a dose-dependent manner. Human Gene Therapy. 29: 390-399.
  50. Bibi, S., M. Du, and M. J. Zhu. (2018). Dietary red raspberries reduces colorectal inflammation and carcinogenic risk in DSS-induced colitis in mice. Journal of Nutrition. 51: 40-46.
  51. Zhu, M. J., Kang, Y., Y. Xue, X. Liang, M. P. Gonzalez Carcia, D. Rodgers, D. K. Kagel, and  M. Du. (2018). Red raspberries suppress NLRP3 inflammasome and attenuate metabolic abnormalities in diet-induced obese mice. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 53:96-103.
  52. Bibi, S., Y. Kang, M. Du, and M. J. Zhu. (2018). Dietary red raspberries attenuate dextran sulfate sodium-induced acute colitis. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 51:40-46.
  53. Xing, T., Y. Kang, X. Xu, B. Wang, M. Du, and M. J. Zhu. (2018). Raspberry supplementation improves insulin signaling and promotes brown-like adipocyte development in white adipose tissue of obese mice. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2018, 62:1701035.
  54. Bibi, S., Y. Kang, M. Du, and M. J. Zhu. (2017). Dietary red raspberries attenuate dextran sulfate sodium-induced acute colitis. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 51: 40-46.
  55. Wang, B., X. Fu, X. Liang, J. M. Deavila, Z. Wang, L. Zhao, Q. Tian, J. Zhao, N. A. Gomez, S. C. Trombetta, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2017). Retinoic acid induces white adipose tissue browning by increasing adipose vascularity and inducing beige adipogenesis of PDGFRa+ adipose progenitors. Cell Discovery. 3:17036.
  56. Fu, X., Q. Yang, B. Wang, J. Zhao, M. Zhu, S. M. Parish, and M. Du. (2017). Reduced satellite cell density and myogenesis in Wagyu compared to Angus cattle as a possible explanation of its high marbling. Animals. 9: 1-8.
  57. Wang, B., Z. Wang, J. M. de Avila, M. J. Zhu, F. Zhang, N. A. Gomez, L. Zhao, Q. Tian, J. Zhao, J. Maricelli, H. Zhang, B. D. Rodgers,andM. Du. (2017). Moderate alcohol intake induces thermogenic brown/beige adipocyte formation via elevating retinoic acid signaling. FASEB Journal. 31: 4612-4622.
  58. Wang, B., X. Fu, M.J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2017). Retinoic acid inhibits white adipogenesis by disrupting GADD45A mediated Zfp423 DNA demethylation. Journal of Molecular Cell Biology. 9: 338-349.
  59. Xue, Y., M. Du, H. Sheng, C. J. Hovde, and M. J. Zhu. (2017). Escherichia coli O157:H7 suppress host autophagy and promote bacterial adhesion via Tir-mediated and cAMP-independent activation of protein kinase A. Cell Death & Discovery. 3: 17055.
  60. Zhao, J., Q. Yang, L. Zhang, X. Liang, X. Sun, B. Wang, Y. Chen, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2017). AMPKa1 deficiency suppresses brown adipogenesis in favor of fibrogenesis during brown adipose tissue development. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 491: 508-514.
  61. Du, M., S.P. Ford, and M. J. Zhu. (2017). Optimizing livestock production efficiency through maternal nutritional management and fetal developmental programming. Animal Frontiers. 7: 5-11.
  62. Sun, X. X. Fu, Q. Y. Yang, M. Du, and M. J. Zhu. (2017). AMPK regulate intestinal differentiation via histone modification of CDX2. Cell Death and Differentiation. 24: 819-831.
  63. Xue Y., M. Du, and M. J. Zhu. (2017). Quercetin suppresses NLRP3 inflammasome activation in epithelial cells triggered by Escherichia coli O157:H7. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 108: 760-769.
  64. Wang, S., X. Liang, Q. Yang, X. Fu, M. Zhu, B.D. Rodgers, Q. Jiang, M. V. Dodson, and M. Du. (2017). Resveratrol enhances brown adipocyte formation and function by activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) a1 in mice fed high-fat diet. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 61: 1600746.
  65. Song, J.J., Q. Wang, M. Du, T. G. Li, B. Chen, X. Y. Mao. (2017). Casein glycomacropeptide-derived peptide IPPKKNQDKTE ameliorate high glucose-induced insulin resistance in HepG2 cells via activation of AMPK signaling. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 61: 1600301.
  66. Yang, G., S. Bibi, M. Du, T. Suzuki, and M. J. Zhu. (2017). Regulation of the intestinal tight junction by natural polyphenols: a mechanistic perspective. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 595: 1547-1562.
  67. Wang B., X. Fu, X. Liang, Z. Wang, Q. Yang, T. Zou, W. Nie, J. Zhao, P. Gao, M. J. Zhu, J. M. De Avila, J. Maricelli, B. D. Rodgers, and M. Du. (2017). Maternal retinoids increase PDGFRa progenitor population and beige adipogenesis in progeny by stimulating vascular development. EBioMedicine. 18:288-299.
  68. Griner, J. D., C. J. Rogers, M. J. Zhu, and M. Du. (2017). Lysyl oxidase propeptide promotes adipogenesis through inhibition of FGF-2 signaling. Adipocyte. 6: 12-19.
  69. Zou, T., Q. Yang, B. Wang, M. Zhu, P. W. Nathanielsz, and M. Du.* (2017). Resveratrol supplementation to high fat diet-fed pregnant mice promotes brown and beige adipocyte development and prevents obesity in male offspring. Journal of Physiology. 595: 1547-1562. (IF: 5.182) This is an Editor’s choice article and was further highlighted by a Translational Perspective: Aiken C. E., and S. E. Ozanne, Breaking the cycle of intergenerational obesity. Journal of Physiology. 595: 1443-1444.
  70. Yang, Q., X. Liang, X. Sun, L. Zhang, X. Fu, C. J. Rogers, A. Berim, S. Zhang, S. Wang, B. Wang, M. Foretz, B. Viollet, D. R. Gang, B. D. Rodgers, M. Zhu, and M. Du. (2016). AMPK/α-ketoglutarate axis dynamically mediates DNA demethylation in the Prdm16 promoter and brown adipogenesis. Cell Metabolism. 24: 542-554. This paper was featured in Editors’ Choice, Science Signaling (Nancy R. G., Improving the health of newborns of obese mothers. Science Signaling. 2016, 451: ec246)
  71. Liang, X., Q. Yang, X. Fu, C. J. Rogers, B. Wang, H. Pan, M. J. Zhu, P. W. Nathanielsz, and M. Du. (2016). Maternal obesity epigenetically alters visceral fat progenitor cell properties in male offspring mice. Journal of Physiology. 594: 4453-4466. This is an Editor’s choice article.
  72. Fu, X., M. J. Zhu, S. Zhang, F. Marc, V. Benoit, and M. Du. (2016). Obesity impairs skeletal muscle regeneration via inhibition of AMP-activated protein kinase. Diabetes. 65: 188-200.