James B. Atkinson, III, M.D., Ph.D.


Faculty Appointments
Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
M.D., Medicine , Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseePh.D., Pathology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeB.A., Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
Office Address
C-3321 MCN
Nashville, TN 2561
Research Description
Research in this laboratory is centered around mechanisms of cardiovascular disease as well as applied cardiovascular pathology. Current projects in atherosclerosis include the role of biogenic amines in human atherogenesis, with emphasis on the developing atherosclerotic lesion in young people.

This laboratory has also developed an animal model for atherosclerosis (the cholesterol-fed heterozygous WHHL rabbit) in which both genetic and nutritional factors are combined to produce vascular disease. This model has been used to study the role of calcium in atherogenesis. These studies have been extended to an animal model for heart transplantation to study the atherosclerosis that develops in transplanted hearts.

Using the heart transplant model, we have explored possible interventions that might suppress graft coronary artery disease, the major factor that currently limits long-term success in cardiac transplantation. Several applied research projects have taken advantage of the unique position of cardiovascular pathology to study the mechanisms of a variety of diseases, including coronary and ischemic heart disease, prosthetic vascular grafts and coronary artery bypass grafts, valvular disease, and the role of calcium regulatory proteins in the pathobiology of cardiomyopathy.
Research Keywords
Mechanisms of cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis / cardiovascular pathology / cardiovascular disease / heart transplantation)
Pyle AL, Li B, Maupin AB, Guzman RJ, Crimmins DL, Olson S, Atkinson JB, Young PP. Biomechanical stress induces novel arterial intima-enriched genes: implications for vascular adaptation to stress. Cardiovasc. Pathol [print-electronic]. 2010 Mar; 19(2): e13-20. PMID: 19211270, PII: S1054-8807(08)00187-7, DOI: 10.1016/j.carpath.2008.12.006, ISSN: 1879-1336.

Hill KD, Atkinson JB, Doyle TP, Dodd D. Routine performance of endomyocardial biopsy decreases the incidence of orthotopic heart transplant for myocarditis. J. Heart Lung Transplant [print-electronic]. 2009 Dec; 28(12): 1261-6. PMID: 19782583, PII: S1053-2498(09)00524-5, DOI: 10.1016/j.healun.2009.06.019, ISSN: 1557-3117.

Pyle AL, Atkinson JB, Pozzi A, Reese J, Eckes B, Davidson JM, Crimmins DL, Young PP. Regulation of the atheroma-enriched protein, SPRR3, in vascular smooth muscle cells through cyclic strain is dependent on integrin alpha1beta1/collagen interaction. Am. J. Pathol [print-electronic]. 2008 Nov; 173(5): 1577-88. PMID: 18832573, PMCID: PMC2570146, PII: S0002-9440(10)61542-8, DOI: 10.2353/ajpath.2008.080042, ISSN: 1525-2191.

Tsiatis AC, Atkinson JB, Wright JK, Cates JM. Primary hepatic myxoid leiomyosarcoma: a case report and review of the literature. Ultrastruct Pathol. 2008 Jan; 32(1): 25-8. PMID: 18300035, PII: 790903641, DOI: 10.1080/01913120701696122, ISSN: 1521-0758.

Eren M, Gleaves LA, Atkinson JB, King LE, Declerck PJ, Vaughan DE. Reactive site-dependent phenotypic alterations in plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 transgenic mice. J. Thromb. Haemost [print-electronic]. 2007 Jul; 5(7): 1500-8. PMID: 17439629, PII: JTH02587, DOI: 10.1111/j.1538-7836.2007.02587.x, ISSN: 1538-7933.

Pitchford CW, Schwartz HS, Atkinson JB, Cates JM. Soft tissue perineurioma in a patient with neurofibromatosis type 2: a tumor not previously associated with the NF2 syndrome. Am. J. Surg. Pathol. 2006 Dec; 30(12): 1624-9. PMID: 17122521, PII: 00000478-200612000-00018, DOI: 10.1097/01.pas.0000213340.70852.d4, ISSN: 0147-5185.

Milam MR, Atkinson JB, Currie JL. Adenosarcoma arising in inguinal endometriosis. Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Sep; 108(3 Pt 2): 753-5. PMID: 17018491, PII: 108/3/753, DOI: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000192550.19403.0f, ISSN: 0029-7844.

Temple J, Frias P, Rottman J, Yang T, Wu Y, Verheijck EE, Zhang W, Siprachanh C, Kanki H, Atkinson JB, King P, Anderson ME, Kupershmidt S, Roden DM. Atrial fibrillation in KCNE1-null mice. Circ. Res [print-electronic]. 2005 Jul 7/8/2005; 97(1): 62-9. PMID: 15947250, PII: 01.RES.0000173047.42236.88, DOI: 10.1161/01.RES.0000173047.42236.88, ISSN: 1524-4571.

Khoo MS, Kannankeril PJ, Li J, Zhang R, Kupershmidt S, Zhang W, Atkinson JB, Colbran RJ, Roden DM, Anderson ME. Calmodulin kinase II activity is required for normal atrioventricular nodal conduction. Heart Rhythm. 2005 Jun; 2(6): 634-40. PMID: 15922273, PII: S1547-5271(05)01441-4, DOI: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2005.03.019, ISSN: 1547-5271.

Briggs RC, Atkinson JB, Miranda RN. Variable expression of human myeloid specific nuclear antigen MNDA in monocyte lineage cells in atherosclerosis. J. Cell. Biochem. 2005 May 5/15/2005; 95(2): 293-301. PMID: 15778972, DOI: 10.1002/jcb.20435, ISSN: 0730-2312.

Zhang R, Khoo MS, Wu Y, Yang Y, Grueter CE, Ni G, Price EE, Thiel W, Guatimosim S, Song LS, Madu EC, Shah AN, Vishnivetskaya TA, Atkinson JB, Gurevich VV, Salama G, Lederer WJ, Colbran RJ, Anderson ME. Calmodulin kinase II inhibition protects against structural heart disease. Nat. Med [print-electronic]. 2005 Apr; 11(4): 409-17. PMID: 15793582, PII: nm1215, DOI: 10.1038/nm1215, ISSN: 1078-8956.

Kagawa N, Senbonmatsu TA, Satoh K, Ichihara K, Yamagata N, Hatano O, Saito T, Nguyen VQ, Waterman MR, Price E, Atkinson JB, Inagami T. Tetracycline protects myocardium against ischemic injury. Front. Biosci [electronic-print]. 2005 Jan 1/1/2005; 10: 608-19. PMID: 15569603, PII: 1557, ISSN: 1093-9946.

Eren M, Painter CA, Gleaves LA, Schoenhard JA, Atkinson JB, Brown NJ, Vaughan DE. Tissue- and agonist-specific regulation of human and murine plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 promoters in transgenic mice. J. Thromb. Haemost. 2003 Nov; 1(11): 2389-96. PMID: 14629474, PII: 437, ISSN: 1538-7933.

Schröder C, Azimzadeh AM, Wu G, Price JO, Atkinson JB, Pierson RN. Anti-CD20 treatment depletes B-cells in blood and lymphatic tissue of cynomolgus monkeys. Transpl. Immunol. 2003 Oct; 12(1): 19-28. PMID: 14551029, PII: S0966-3274(03)00059-5, DOI: 10.1016/S0966-3274(03)00059-5, ISSN: 0966-3274.

Fan X, Semchyshyn TM, Mawn LA, Atkinson JB, Anderson JC, Toms SA, Johnson MD. July 2002: 66-year-old female with a one-year history of progressive left proptosis. Brain Pathol. 2003 Jan; 13(1): 111-2, 117. PMID: 12580551, ISSN: 1015-6305.

Eren M, Painter CA, Atkinson JB, Declerck PJ, Vaughan DE. Age-dependent spontaneous coronary arterial thrombosis in transgenic mice that express a stable form of human plasminogen activator inhibitor-1. Circulation. 2002 Jul 7/23/2002; 106(4): 491-6. PMID: 12135951, ISSN: 1524-4539.

Parker KK, Taylor LK, Atkinson JB, Hansen DE, Wikswo JP. The effects of tubulin-binding agents on stretch-induced ventricular arrhythmias. Eur. J. Pharmacol. 2001 Apr 4/6/2001; 417(1-2): 131-40. PMID: 11301068, PII: S0014299901008561, ISSN: 0014-2999.

Atkinson JB, Hill KE, Burk RF. Centrilobular endothelial cell injury by diquat in the selenium-deficient rat liver. Lab. Invest. 2001 Feb; 81(2): 193-200. PMID: 11232641, ISSN: 0023-6837.

R Virmani, A Burke, A Farb, JB Atkinson. Cardiovascular Pathology. 2001.

Chapman WC, Debelak JP, Wright Pinson C, Washington MK, Atkinson JB, Venkatakrishnan A, Blackwell TS, Christman JW. Hepatic cryoablation, but not radiofrequency ablation, results in lung inflammation. Ann. Surg. 2000 May; 231(5): 752-61. PMID: 10767797, PMCID: PMC1421063, ISSN: 0003-4932.

Pierson RN, Chang AC, Blum MG, Blair KS, Scott MA, Atkinson JB, Collins BJ, Zhang JP, Thomas DW, Burkly LC, Miller GG. Prolongation of primate cardiac allograft survival by treatment with ANTI-CD40 ligand (CD154) antibody. Transplantation. 1999 Dec 12/15/1999; 68(11): 1800-5. PMID: 10609959, ISSN: 0041-1337.

Miller GG, Davis SF, Atkinson JB, Chomsky DB, Pedroso P, Reddy VS, Drinkwater DC, Zhao XM, Pierson RN. Longitudinal analysis of fibroblast growth factor expression after transplantation and association with severity of cardiac allograft vasculopathy. Circulation. 1999 Dec 12/14/1999; 100(24): 2396-9. PMID: 10595950, ISSN: 1524-4539.

Gobbi H, Atkinson JB, Kardos TF, Simpson JF, Page DL. Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumour of the breast: report of a case with giant vacuolated cells. Breast. 1999 Jun; 8(3): 135-8. PMID: 14965731, PII: S0960-9776(99)90045-0, DOI: 10.1054/brst.1999.0045, ISSN: 0960-9776.

Singer RJ, Clough J, Johnson M, Atkinson JB, Copeland M. Pigmented schwannoma of the ventral spinal cord. South. Med. J. 1999 May; 92(5): 532-4. PMID: 10342906, ISSN: 0038-4348.

Scoggins CR, Vitola JV, Sandler MP, Atkinson JB, Frexes-Steed M. Occult breast carcinoma presenting as an axillary mass. Am Surg. 1999 Jan; 65(1): 1-5. PMID: 9915521, ISSN: 0003-1348.

Atkinson J.B. Accelerated arteriosclerosis after transplantation: the possible role of calcium channel blockers. 1998.

Atkinson JB. Accelerated arteriosclerosis after transplantation: the possible role of calcium channel blockers. Int. J. Cardiol. 1997 Dec 12/31/1997; 62 Suppl 2: S125-34. PMID: 9488204, ISSN: 0167-5273.

Foster MT, Atkinson JB, Yeoh TK, Fischell TA. Histopathology of restenosis after stenting of narrowed coronary arteries after cardiac transplantation during the teenage years. Am. J. Cardiol. 1997 Aug 8/1/1997; 80(3): 389-93. PMID: 9264450, PII: S0002914997003779, ISSN: 0002-9149.

Fazio S, Babaev VR, Murray AB, Hasty AH, Carter KJ, Gleaves LA, Atkinson JB, Linton MF. Increased atherosclerosis in mice reconstituted with apolipoprotein E null macrophages. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1997 Apr 4/29/1997; 94(9): 4647-52. PMID: 9114045, PMCID: PMC20778, ISSN: 0027-8424.

Vitola JV, Forman MB, Holsinger JP, Atkinson JB, Murray JJ. Reduction of myocardial infarct size in rabbits and inhibition of activation of rabbit and human neutrophils by lidocaine. Am. Heart J. 1997 Mar; 133(3): 315-22. PMID: 9060800, PII: S0002-8703(97)70226-6, ISSN: 0002-8703.

Vitola JV, Forman MB, Holsinger JP, Kawana M, Atkinson JB, Quertermous T, Jackson EK, Murray JJ. Role of endothelin in a rabbit model of acute myocardial infarction: effects of receptor antagonists. J. Cardiovasc. Pharmacol. 1996 Dec; 28(6): 774-83. PMID: 8961075, ISSN: 0160-2446.

Dawood MM, Gutpa DK, Southern J, Walia A, Atkinson JB, Eagle KA. Pathology of fatal perioperative myocardial infarction: implications regarding pathophysiology and prevention. Int. J. Cardiol. 1996 Nov 11/15/1996; 57(1): 37-44. PMID: 8960941, PII: S0167527396027696, ISSN: 0167-5273.

Zhao XM, Citrin BS, Miller GG, Frist WH, Merrill WH, Fischell TA, Atkinson JB, Yeoh TK. Association of acidic fibroblast growth factor and untreated low grade rejection with cardiac allograft vasculopathy. Transplantation. 1995 Apr 4/15/1995; 59(7): 1005-10. PMID: 7535956, ISSN: 0041-1337.

Linton MF, Atkinson JB, Fazio S. Prevention of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice by bone marrow transplantation. Science. 1995 Feb 2/17/1995; 267(5200): 1034-7. PMID: 7863332, ISSN: 0036-8075.

Linton, M.F., Atkinson, J.B., Fazio, S. Prevention of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice by bone marrow transplantation. 1995.

Velasco CE, Turner M, Inagami T, Atkinson JB, Virmani R, Jackson EK, Murray JJ, Forman MB. Reperfusion enhances the local release of endothelin after regional myocardial ischemia. Am. Heart J. 1994 Sep; 128(3): 441-51. PMID: 8074003, ISSN: 0002-8703.

Atkinson JB, Harlan CW, Harlan GC, Virmani R. The association of mast cells and atherosclerosis: a morphologic study of early atherosclerotic lesions in young people. Hum. Pathol. 1994 Feb; 25(2): 154-9. PMID: 7726878, PII: 0046-8177(94)90271-2, ISSN: 0046-8177.

Atkinson, J.B., Harlan, C.W., Harlan, G.C., Virmani, R. The association of mast cells and atherosclerosis: a morphologic study of early atherosclerotic lesions in young people. 1994.

Atkinson JB, Wudel JH, Hoff SJ, Stewart JR, Frist WH. Amlodipine reduces graft coronary artery disease in rat heterotopic cardiac allografts. J. Heart Lung Transplant. 1993 Nov; 12(6 Pt 1): 1036-43. PMID: 8312305, ISSN: 1053-2498.

Hoff SJ, Stewart JR, Frist WH, Atkinson JB, Kronenberg MW, Votaw J, Kessler RM, Sandler MP. Noninvasive detection of acute rejection in a new experimental model of heart transplantation. Ann. Thorac. Surg. 1993 Nov; 56(5): 1074-7. PMID: 8239802, ISSN: 0003-4975.

Delbeke D, Lorenz CH, Votaw JR, Silveira ST, Frist WH, Atkinson JB, Kessler RM, Sandler MP. Estimation of left ventricular mass and infarct size from nitrogen-13-ammonia PET images based on pathological examination of explanted human hearts. J. Nucl. Med. 1993 May; 34(5): 826-33. PMID: 8478719, ISSN: 0161-5505.

Dodd DA, Atkinson JB, Olson RD, Buck S, Cusack BJ, Fleischer S, Boucek RJ. Doxorubicin cardiomyopathy is associated with a decrease in calcium release channel of the sarcoplasmic reticulum in a chronic rabbit model. J. Clin. Invest. 1993 Apr; 91(4): 1697-705. PMID: 8386192, PMCID: PMC288149, DOI: 10.1172/JCI116379, ISSN: 0021-9738.

Ware DL, Atkinson JB, Brooks MJ, Echt DS. Ventricular defibrillation in canines with chronic infarction, and effects of lidocaine and procainamide. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1993 Feb; 16(2): 337-46. PMID: 7680463, ISSN: 0147-8389.

Fogo A, Superdock KR, Atkinson JB. Severe arteriosclerosis in the kidney of a cocaine addict. Am. J. Kidney Dis. 1992 Nov; 20(5): 513-5. PMID: 1442765, PII: S0272638692001458, ISSN: 0272-6386.

Abou Mrad J, Yakubu F, Lin D, Peters JC, Atkinson JB, Hill JO. Skeletal muscle composition in dietary obesity-susceptible and dietary obesity-resistant rats. Am. J. Physiol. 1992 Apr; 262(4 Pt 2): R684-8. PMID: 1566936, ISSN: 0002-9513.

Hoff SJ, Stewart JR, Frist WH, Kessler RM, Sandler MP, Atkinson JB, Votaw J, Carey JA, Ansari MS, Merrill WH. Noninvasive detection of heart transplant rejection with positron emission scintigraphy. Ann. Thorac. Surg. 1992 Apr; 53(4): 572-7. PMID: 1554263, ISSN: 0003-4975.

Atkinson JB, Swift LL, Virmani R. Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic rabbits. Familial hypercholesterolemia. Am. J. Pathol. 1992 Mar; 140(3): 749-53. PMID: 1546748, PMCID: PMC1886168, ISSN: 0002-9440.

Hernanz-Schulman M, Stein SM, Neblett WW, Atkinson JB, Kirchner SG, Heller RM, Merrill WH, Fleischer AC. Pulmonary sequestration: diagnosis with color Doppler sonography and a new theory of associated hydrothorax. Radiology. 1991 Sep; 180(3): 817-21. PMID: 1871300, DOI: 10.1148/radiology.180.3.1871300, ISSN: 0033-8419.

Frist WH, Gerhardt EB, Merrill WH, Atkinson JB, Eastburn TE, Stewart JR, Hammon JW, Bender HW. Therapy of refractory, recurrent heart rejection with multiple courses of OKT3. J Heart Transplant. 1990 Nov; 9(6): 724-6. PMID: 2126035, ISSN: 0887-2570.

Atkinson JB, Swift LL. Nifedipine reduces atherogenesis in cholesterol-fed heterozygous WHHL rabbits. Atherosclerosis. 1990 Oct; 84(2-3): 195-201. PMID: 2282099, PII: 0021-9150(90)90091-V, ISSN: 0021-9150.

Frist WH, Merrill WH, Eastburn TE, Atkinson JB, Stewart JR, Hammon JW, Bender JW. Unique antithymocyte serum versus OKT3 for induction immunotherapy after heart transplantation. J Heart Transplant. 1990 Sep; 9(5): 489-94. PMID: 2121921, ISSN: 0887-2570.

Mackey ES, Sandler MP, Campbell RM, Graham TP, Atkinson JB, Price R, Moreau GA. Right ventricular myocardial mass quantification with magnetic resonance imaging. Am. J. Cardiol. 1990 Feb 2/15/1990; 65(7): 529-32. PMID: 2137669, PII: 0002-9149(90)90828-O, ISSN: 0002-9149.

Nifedipine Suppresses Atherogenesis in Cholesterol-fed Heterozygous WHHL rabbits. Atkinson J.B. and Swift L.L. 1990.

Frist WH, Winterland AW, Gerhardt EB, Merrill WH, Atkinson JB, Eastburn TE, Stewart JR, Eisert DR. Total lymphoid irradiation in heart transplantation: adjunctive treatment for recurrent rejection. Ann. Thorac. Surg. 1989 Dec; 48(6): 863-4. PMID: 2596925, ISSN: 0003-4975.

Atkinson JB, Virmani R. Congestive heart failure due to coronary artery disease without myocardial infarction: clinicopathologic description of an unusual cardiomyopathy. Hum. Pathol. 1989 Dec; 20(12): 1155-62. PMID: 2591945, ISSN: 0046-8177.

Atkinson JB, Hoover RL, Berry KK, Swift LL. Cholesterol-fed heterozygous Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic rabbits: a new model for atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis. 1989 Aug; 78(2-3): 123-36. PMID: 2783197, PII: 0021-9150(89)90216-5, ISSN: 0021-9150.

McGee GS, Shuman TA, Atkinson JB, Weaver FA, Edwards WH. Long-term assessment of a damp-stored, albumin-coated, knitted vascular graft. Am Surg. 1989 Mar; 55(3): 174-6. PMID: 2521992, ISSN: 0003-1348.

Loyd JE, Atkinson JB, Pietra GG, Virmani R, Newman JH. Heterogeneity of pathologic lesions in familial primary pulmonary hypertension. Am. Rev. Respir. Dis. 1988 Oct; 138(4): 952-7. PMID: 3202470, DOI: 10.1164/ajrccm/138.4.952, ISSN: 0003-0805.

Loyd JE, Tillman BF, Atkinson JB, Des Prez RM. Mediastinal fibrosis complicating histoplasmosis. Medicine (Baltimore). 1988 Sep; 67(5): 295-310. PMID: 3045478, ISSN: 0025-7974.

Shelton ME, Forman MB, Virmani R, Bajaj A, Stoney WS, Atkinson JB. A comparison of morphologic and angiographic findings in long-term internal mammary artery and saphenous vein bypass grafts. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 1988 Feb; 11(2): 297-307. PMID: 2892871, ISSN: 0735-1097.

Atkinson JB, Rybicka K, Huddleston CB, Starnes VA, Prager RL, Virmani R. The effect of verapamil cardioplegia on myocardial ultrastructure. Am J Cardiovasc Pathol. 1988; 2(1): 69-77. PMID: 3207491, ISSN: 0887-8005.

McGee GS, Shuman TA, Atkinson JB, Weaver FA, Edwards WH. Experimental evaluation of a new albumin-impregnated knitted dacron prosthesis. Am Surg. 1987 Dec; 53(12): 695-701. PMID: 2962524, ISSN: 0003-1348.

Koury MJ, Bondurant MC, Atkinson JB. Erythropoietin control of terminal erythroid differentiation: maintenance of cell viability, production of hemoglobin, and development of the erythrocyte membrane. Blood Cells. 1987; 13(1-2): 217-26. PMID: 3478108, ISSN: 0340-4684.