Interdisciplinary Life Science - PULSe Great research is a matter of choice

Tara Henagan

Tara Henagan Profile Picture
Assistant Professor
B.S., Biological Sciences
Ph.D., Exercise Physiology NIH T32
Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurosignaling/Preventative Medicine

Contact Info:

Training Group(s):
Chromatin and Regulation of Gene Expression

Current Research Interests:

Mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic derangement are hallmarks in the pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Carefully controlled nutrition and exercise interventions have the potential to attenuate the development of insulin resistance, decrease chronic inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease risk and metabolic syndrome. Thus, our laboratory is interested in continuing to develop research lines to elucidate mechanisms whereby various nutritional and exercise interventions alter the chromatin state and crosstalk between nuclear and mitochondrial compartments, essentially epigenetically programming mitochondrial adaptation in lean, insulin sensitive or obese, insulin resistant states. As part of this goal, we are specifically interested in the epigenetic regulation of key genes involved in mitochondrial adaption, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1a (PGC1a). We are currently utilizing both clinical and small animal models to determine 1) the effects of dietary fat and/or exercise training on the chromatin state within skeletal muscle that results in differential cellular phenotypes, metabolomes (acylcarnitine profiles) and whole body energy expenditures and phenotypes, focusing on nucleosome reorganization; and 2) epigenetic regulation of PGC1a in skeletal muscle by supplementation with the botanical extract, quercetin, or the metabolite produced by dietary fiber fermentation, sodium butyrate. Understanding the epigenetic mechanisms whereby nutrition and physical activity regulate nuclear gene expression and coordinate with downstream mitochondrial gene expression to determine mitochondrial number and function is crucial in understanding, treating and preventing obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Selected Publications:

Forney, L., Earnest, C.P., Henagan, T.M., Johnson, L., Castleberry, T. and Stewart, L.K. “Vitamin D status, body composition and fitness measures in younger, physically active individuals.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2013 Jul; ISSN 1064-8011. 

Henagan, T.M., Forney, L., Dietrich, M.A., Harrell, B.R. and Stewart, L.K. “Melanocortin receptor expression is associated with reduced CRP in response to resistance training.” Journal of Applied Physiology. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00107.2012. PMID: 22678961. 

Tchoukalova, Y.D., Fitch, M., Rogers, P.M., Covington, J.D., Henagan, T.M., Hellerstein, M.C., Ye, J. and Ravussin, E. “In vivo adipogenesis in rats measured by cell kinetics in adipocytes and plastic-adherent stroma-vascular cells in response to high fat diet and thiazolidinedione” Diabetes. 2012 Jan;61(1):137-44. PMID: 2212446.

Morrison, C.D., Reed, S., Henagan, T.M. “Homeostatic regulation of protein intake: In search of a mechanism.” Am J Physiol Integr Comp Physiol. 2012, doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00609.2011.

PMID: 22319049  Daray, L.A., Henagan, T.M., Zanovec, M., Ernest, C.P., Johnson, L.G., Winchester, J.,Tuuri, G., Stewart, L.K. “Endurance and resistance training lowers C-reactive protein in young, healthy females.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2011; 36(5): 660-670. 

Rietscher, H., Henagan, T.M., Conrad P. Earnest, Birgitta L. Baker, Cory C. Cortez, Stewart, L.K. “Sun-dried raisins are a cost effective alternative to sports jelly beans in prolonged cycling.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011 Aug 30. Doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31820f5089. 

Zhang, J., Henagan, T.M., Gao, Z., Ye, J. “Inhibition of glyceroneogenesis by histone deacetylase 3 contributes to lipodystrophy in mice with adipose tissue inflammation.” Endocrinology. 2011 May; 152(5):1829-38.

Henagan, T.M., Philips, M., Cheek, D., Kirk, M., Barbee, J. J., and Stewart, L. K. “Melanocortin 3 receptor: A novel mediator of exercise-induced inflammation reduction in postmenopausal women?” Journal of Aging Research. 2011 Jan; 2011: 512593.

Hasek, B.E., Stewart, L.K., Henagan, T.M., Lenard, N.R., Boudreau, A., Black, C., Shin, J., Huypens, P., Malloy,V., Plaisance, E. Krajcik, R.A., Orenteich, N. and Gettys, T.W. “Dietary methionine restriction enhances metabolic flexibility and increases uncoupled respiration in both fed and fasted states.” Am J Physiol Integr Comp Physiol. 2010 Sept;299(3): R728-39. 

Plaisance, E., Henagan, T.M., Echlin, H., Boudreau,A., Hill, K.R., Lenard, N.R., Hasek, B.E., Orentreich, N., Gettys, T.W. “Role of ß-adrenergic receptors in the hyperphagic and hypermetabolic responses to dietary methionine restriction: Companion Paper.” Am J Physiol Integr Comp Physiol. 2010 Sept;299(3): R740-50.

Zhang, Y., Huypens, P., Adamson, A.W., Chang, J., Henagan, T.M., Boudreau, A., Lenard, N.R., Burk, D., Klein, J., Perwitz, N., Shin, J., Fasshauer, M., Kralli, A., and Gettys, T.W. “Alternative mRNA splicing produces a novel biologically active short isoform of PGC-1a.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2009 Nov;284(47): 32813-26 

Zhang, Y., Kilroy, S.G., Henagan, T.M., Prpic-Uhing, V., Richards, W., Bannon, A.W., Mynatt, R.L., Gettys, T.W. “Effect of deletion of CART or melanocortin receptor subtypes on behavioral and metabolic responses to leptin.” The FASEB Journal. 2005 Sep;19(11):1482-91.Book Chapters

Muenzberg, H., Henagan, T.M. and Gettys, T.W. “Animal Models of Obesity.” Handbook of Obesity, 3rd Edition. George A. Bray and Claude Bouchard (eds). –in press  Henagan, T.M., Daray, L.A. and Stewart, L.K. 2009. “The Role of Exercise in Modulating Circulating Concentrations of C-Reactive Protein: A Critical Review.” C-Reactive Protein: New Research. S. Nagasawa (ed). 

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