Tamar Aprahamian, PhD











Assistant Professor


B.S. – Boston College
Ph.D. – Tufts University

General field of research:

Autoimmunity; Cardiovascular Disease

Contact information:

Phone: (617)-414 3368



SLE; Autoimmunity; Atherosclerosis; Mouse models

Summary of research interest:

My research focuses on the interactions between systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and accelerated atherosclerosis. Several lines of evidence suggest that impaired apoptotic cell clearance and dysregulated inflammation play a role in the development and progression of both disease processes. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARg) agonists exert a variety of immunomodulatory effects including the production of adiponectin, an anti-inflammatory cytokine produced by adipocytes which has also recently been shown to mediate the clearance of apoptotic material. We have shown that this induction of adiponectin results in beneficial effects on disease. We are currently using several mouse genetic models to examine the signaling mechanisms by which these drugs exert their beneficial effects through the adiponectin pathway.

Stemming from our studies on adiponectin, a recent exploration in the lab has been to elucidate how angiogenic factor expression in adipose tissue affects not only vascularity, but also tissue function, and the potential effects on cardiovascular complications of obesity.

Selected publications:

Mahdaviani, K, Chess, D, Wu, Y, Shirihai, O, Aprahamian, T. (2016) Autocrine effect of vascular endothelial growth factor is essential for mitochondrial function in brown adipocytes. Metabolism. Jan;65(1):26-35.

Valero-Muñoz, M, Li, S, Wilson, R, Hulsmans, M, Aprahamian, T, Fuster, J, Nahrendorf, M, Scherer, P, Sam, F. (2016) Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction Induces Beiging in Adipose Tissue. Circulation: Heart Failure. Jan;9(1):e002724.

Duffau, P, Menn-Josephy, H, Cuda, CM, Dominguez, S, Aprahamian, TR, Watkins, AA, Yasuda, K, Monach P, Lafyatis, R, Rice, LM, Haines, GK, Gravallese, EM, Baum, R, Richez, C, Perlman, H, Bonegio, RG, Rifkin, IR. (2015) Interferon regulatory factor 5 promotes inflammatory arthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism. Dec;67(12):3146-57.

Aprahamian, TR, Zhong, X, Amir, S, Binder, CJ, Chiang, LK, Al-Riyami, L, Gharakhanian, R, Harnett, MM, Harnett, W, Rifkin, IR. (2015) The immunomodulatory helminth product ES-62 reduces lupus-associated accelerated atherosclerosis in a mouse model. International Journal of Parasitology. Mar;45:203-207.

Richez, C, Richards, R, Duffau, P, Weitzner, Z, Andry, CD, Rifkin, IR, Aprahamian, T. (2013) The Effect of Mycophenolate Mofetil on Disease Development in the gld.apoE-/- Mouse Model of Premature Atherosclerosis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. PLOS One. 8(4):e61042.

Aprahamian, T., (2013) Elevated adiponectin expression promotes adipose tissue vascularity under conditions of diet-induced obesity. Metabolism Dec;62(12):1730-8.

Aprahamian, T., Bonegio, RG, Weitzner, Z, Rifkin, IR. (2014) PPARγ Agonists in the Prevention and Treatment of Murine Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Immunology. 2014 Jul;142(3):363-73.

Aprahamian, T., Sam F. Adiponectin in cardiovascular inflammation and obesity. Int J Inflam. 2011;2011:376909.

Parker J, Menn-Josephy H, Laskow B, Takemura Y, Aprahamian T. Modulation of lupus phenotype by adiponectin deficiency in autoimmune mouse models.  J Clin Immunol. 2011 Apr;31(2):167-73.

Richez, C., Yasuda, K., Bonegio, RG., Watkins, AA., Aprahamian, T., Busto, P., Richard,s RJ., Liu, CL., Cheung, R., Utz, PJ., Marshak-Rothstein, A., Rifkin, IR. IFN regulatory factor 5 is required for disease development in the FcgammaRIIB-/-Yaa and FcgammaRIIB-/- mouse models of systemic lupus erythematosus. Journal of Immunology. 2010 Jan 15;184(2):796-806.

Aprahamian, T., Bonegio, RG., Richez, C., Yasuda, K., Chiang, L-K, Sato, K., Walsh, K., Rifkin, I. (2009) The Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Agonist Rosiglitazone Ameliorates Murine Lupus By Induction Of Adiponectin. Journal of Immunology. Jan 1; 182(1):340-6.

Aprahamian, T., Takemura, Y., Goukassian, D., Walsh, K. (2008) Aging is associated with decline in clearance of apoptotic cells. Clinical and Experimental Immunology. Jun;152(3):448-55.

Takemura, Y., Ouchi, N., Shibata, R., Aprahamian, T., Kirber, M.T., Summer, R.S., Kihara, S., Walsh, K. (2007) Adiponectin modulates inflammatory reactions via calreticulin receptor-dependent clearance of early apoptotic bodies. J. Clin. Invest. Feb 1;117(2):375-386.

Aprahamian, T., Bonegio, R., Rizzo, J., Perlman, H., Lefer, D.J., Rifkin, I., Walsh, K. (2006). Simvastatin treatment ameliorates autoimmune disease associated with accelerated atherosclerosis in a murine lupus model. J Immunol. Sep 1;177(5):3028-34.

Aprahamian, T., Rifkin, I., Bonegio, R., Hugel, B., Freyssinet, J.M., Sato, K., Castellot, J.J. Jr, Walsh, K. (2004) Impaired clearance of apoptotic cells promotes synergy between atherogenesis and autoimmune disease. J Exp Med 199:1121-1131.