Thomas Jefferson University
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Department of Medicine

Rafiq, Khadija

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Khadija Rafiq, PhD

Khadija Rafiq, PhD

Contact Dr. Rafiq

1020 Locust Street
Suite 543A
Philadelphia, PA 19107

(215) 503-5593
(215) 503-5731 fax


PhD, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 2000

University Appointment

Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology

Research & Clinical Interests

Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, is the major cause of death in patients with diabetes. A contributing factor to heart failure in such patients is the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy. Several advances in the treatment of patients with diabetic cardiomyopathy have improved survival. However, this disease process is still pre-eminent in affecting the morbidity and mortality of patients with diabetes.

The research goal in the laboratory is to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in myocardial cell death.  Inflammatory cells and their proteases are considered a key element that orchestrate myocardial repair.  Although beneficial at early stages, inflammatory proteases may contribute to myocyte death and subsequent alterations in both the geometry and mechanical properties of the heart.  Using intact tissue and cell culture models, my laboratory’s research interest focus on elucidating the role of inflammatory serine proteases in the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy. It is well known that inflammation plays a role in the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy. However, in all these studies the action of inflammatory pathways has focused on action of oxidative stress or cytokines/chemokines and their role in myocyte growth and extracellular matrix remodeling during the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy. My laboratory suggests a novel mechanism for entry into pathways that modulate IR/IGF-1R signaling and myocyte dysfunction by inflammatory serine proteases. IR/IGF-1R signaling is anticipated to assume importance in maintaining myocyte metabolism and survival and in increasing myocardial protection in response to ischemia or ischemia reperfusion injury. Current therapies with insulin or IGF-1 administration have been shown to restore IR/IGF-1R signaling and to offer cardio-protection. However, excessive or inappropriate use of these therapies has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in diabetic patients. Therefore, my lab tests the effectiveness of inflammatory serine proteases blockade therapy in preventing/attenuating IR/IGF-1R signaling downregulation and protecting the myocardium during the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy.


Most Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Loss of Protease-Activated Receptor 4 Prevents Inflammation Resolution and Predisposes the Heart to Cardiac Rupture after Myocardial Infarction
  2. Proteasome biology and therapeutics in cardiac diseases
  3. Humoral immunity in heart failure
  4. Nanoparticle based treatment for cardiovascular diseases
  5. Molecular network, pathway, and functional analysis of time-dependent gene changes related to cathepsin G exposure in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes
  6. High Fat Diet Upregulates Fatty Acid Oxidation and Ketogenesis via Intervention of PPAR-γ
  7. Erratum: High fat diet upregulates fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis via intervention of PPAR-γ (Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry (2018) 48:3 (1317-1331) DOI: 10.1159/000492091)
  8. Improvement in Therapeutic Efficacy and Reduction in Cellular Toxicity: Introduction of a Novel Anti-PSMA-Conjugated Hybrid Antiandrogen Nanoparticle
  9. HMGCS2 is a key ketogenic enzyme potentially involved in type 1 diabetes with high cardiovascular risk
  10. Dual inhibition of cathepsin G and chymase reduces myocyte death and improves cardiac remodeling after myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury
  11. Protease-activated receptor 4 deficiency offers cardioprotection after acute ischemia reperfusion injury
  12. C-Cbl inhibition improves cardiac function and survival in response to myocardial ischemia
  13. Beta1-adrenergic receptors promote focal adhesion signaling downregulation and myocyte apoptosis in acute volume overload
  14. c-Cbl ubiquitin ligase regulates focal adhesion protein turnover and myofibril degeneration induced by neutrophil protease cathepsin G
  15. Pleiotropic effects of neutrophils on myocyte apoptosis and left ventricular remodeling during early volume overload
  16. Left ventricular remodeling with exercise in hypertension
  17. Sympathetic activation causes focal adhesion signaling alteration in early compensated volume overload attributable to isolated mitral regurgitation in the dog
  18. Novel mode for neutrophil protease cathepsin G-mediated signaling: Membrane shedding of epidermal growth factor is required for cardiomyocyte anoikis
  19. Role of protein-tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 in focal adhesion kinase down-regulation during neutrophil cathepsin G-induced cardiomyocytes anoikis
  20. Immune complex-mediated antigen presentation induces tumor immunity
  21. Regulation of the IL-10 production by human T cells
  22. Effects of co-stimulation by CD58 on human T cell cytokine production: A selective cytokine pattern with induction of high IL-10 production
  23. Differences in regulatory pathways identify subgroups of T cell-derived Th2 cytokines
  24. Naive human T cells can be a source of IL-4 during primary immune responses
  25. Blocking CD40-CD154 and CD80/CD86-CD28 interactions during primary allogeneic stimulation results in T cell anergy and high IL-10 production