NYMC Faculty Publications

HO-1 Overexpression and Underexpression: Clinical Implications

Journal Title

Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics

First Page


Document Type


Publication Date

August 2019




In this review we examine the effects of both over- and under-production of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and HO activity on a broad spectrum of biological systems and on vascular disease. In a few instances e.g., neonatal jaundice, overproduction of HO-1 and increased HO activity results in elevated levels of bilirubin requiring clinical intervention with inhibitors of HO activity. In contrast HO-1 levels and HO activity are low in obesity and the HO system responds to mitigate the deleterious effects of oxidative stress through increased levels of bilirubin (anti-inflammatory) and CO (anti-apoptotic) and decreased levels of heme (pro-oxidant). Site specific HO-1 overexpression diminishes adipocyte terminal differentiation and lipid accumulation of obesity mediated release of inflammatory molecules. A series of diverse strategies have been implemented that focus on increasing HO-1 and HO activity that are central to reversing the clinical complications associated with diseases including, obesity, metabolic syndrome and vascular disease.