Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology


   James B. Atkinson, M.D., Ph.D.




Dept. Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology


   Contact Information



Office Location:

MCN C-3320

Phone: 615-343-9576

Fax:  615-343-7023

E-mail: james.atkinson@vanderbilt.edu 


Campus Mail Address:

Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology-3rd Fl

MCN C-3321 (2561)


US Mailing address:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology-3rd Fl

MCN C-3321

Nashville, TN 37232-2561







Ph.D., Vanderbilt
M.D., Vanderbilt
B.A., Vanderbilt



Research Keywords



Heart, Pathology, Transplantation, Vascular Biology, Atherosclerosis, Cardiac function



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.






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, 28(12), 1261-6, 2009

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, 19(2), e13-20, 2008

Tsiatis, AC, Atkinson, JB, Wright, JK, Cates, JM. Primary hepatic myxoid leiomyosarcoma: a case report and review of the literature. Ultrastruct Pathol, 32(1), 25-8, 2008

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, 173(5), 1577-88, 2008

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, 5(7), 1500-8, 2007

Milam, MR, Atkinson, JB, Currie, JL. Adenosarcoma arising in inguinal endometriosis. Obstet Gynecol, 108(3 Pt 2), 753-5, 2006

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, 30(12), 1624-9, 2006

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, 10, 608-19, 2005

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, 97(1), 62-9, 2005

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, 2(6), 634-40, 2005

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, 11(4), 409-17, 2005

Briggs, RC, Atkinson, JB, Miranda, RN. Variable expression of human myeloid specific nuclear antigen MNDA in monocyte lineage cells in atherosclerosis. J Cell Biochem, 95(2), 293-301, 2005

Schr??der, Carsten, Azimzadeh, Agnes M, Wu, Guosheng, Price, James O, Atkinson, James B, Pierson, Richard N. Anti-CD20 treatment depletes B-cells in blood and lymphatic tissue of cynomolgus monkeys. Transpl Immunol, 12(1), 19-28, 2003

Fan, Xuemo, Semchyshyn, Terry M, Mawn, Louise A, Atkinson, James B, Anderson, James C, Toms, Steven A, Johnson, Mahlon D. July 2002: 66-year-old female with a one-year history of progressive left proptosis. Brain Pathol, 13(1), 111-2, 117, 2003

Eren, M, Painter, C A, Gleaves, L A, Schoenhard, J A, Atkinson, J B, Brown, N J, Vaughan, D E. Tissue- and agonist-specific regulation of human and murine plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 promoters in transgenic mice. J Thromb Haemost, 1(11), 2389-96, 2003

Eren, Mesut, Painter, Corrie A, Atkinson, James B, Declerck, Paul J, Vaughan, Douglas E. Age-dependent spontaneous coronary arterial thrombosis in transgenic mice that express a stable form of human plasminogen activator inhibitor-1. Circulation, 106(4), 491-6, 2002

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

Parker, K K, Taylor, L K, Atkinson, J B, Hansen, D E, Wikswo, J P, Atkinson, B. The effects of tubulin-binding agents on stretch-induced ventricular arrhythmias. Eur J Pharmacol, 417(1-2), 131-40, 2001

Atkinson, J B, Hill, K E, Burk, R F. Centrilobular endothelial cell injury by diquat in the selenium-deficient rat liver. Lab Invest, 81(2), 193-200, 2001

Chapman, W C, Debelak, J P, Wright Pinson, C, Washington, M K, Atkinson, J B, Venkatakrishnan, A, Blackwell, T S, Christman, J W. Hepatic cryoablation, but not radiofrequency ablation, results in lung inflammation. Ann Surg, 231(5), 752-61, 2000

Gobbi, H, Atkinson, J B, Kardos, T F, Simpson, J F, Page, D L. Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumour of the breast: report of a case with giant vacuolated cells. Breast, 8(3), 135-8, 1999

Pierson, R N, Chang, A C, Blum, M G, Blair, K S, Scott, M A, Atkinson, J B, Collins, B J, Zhang, J P, Thomas, D W, Burkly, L C, Miller, G G. Prolongation of primate cardiac allograft survival by treatment with ANTI-CD40 ligand (CD154) antibody. Transplantation, 68(11), 1800-5, 1999

Miller, G G, Davis, S F, Atkinson, J B, Chomsky, D B, Pedroso, P, Reddy, V S, Drinkwater, D C, Zhao, X M, Pierson, R N. Longitudinal analysis of fibroblast growth factor expression after transplantation and association with severity of cardiac allograft vasculopathy. Circulation, 100(24), 2396-9, 1999

Singer, R J, Clough, J, Johnson, M, Atkinson, J B, Copeland, M. Pigmented schwannoma of the ventral spinal cord. South Med J, 92(5), 532-4, 1999

Scoggins, C R, Vitola, J V, Sandler, M P, Atkinson, J B, Frexes-Steed, M. Occult breast carcinoma presenting as an axillary mass. Am Surg, 65(1), 1-5, 1999

Atkinson J.B. Accelerated arteriosclerosis after transplantation: the possible role of calcium channel blockers. Int. J. Cardiol., 2, 5125-5134, 1998

Vitola, J V, Forman, M B, Holsinger, J P, Atkinson, J B, Murray, J J. Reduction of myocardial infarct size in rabbits and inhibition of activation of rabbit and human neutrophils by lidocaine. Am Heart J, 133(3), 315-22, 1997

Atkinson, J B. Accelerated arteriosclerosis after transplantation: the possible role of calcium channel blockers. Int J Cardiol, 62 Suppl 2, S125-34, 1997

Foster, M T, Atkinson, J B, Yeoh, T K, Fischell, T A. Histopathology of restenosis after stenting of narrowed coronary arteries after cardiac transplantation during the teenage years. Am J Cardiol, 80(3), 389-93, 1997

Fazio, S, Babaev, V R, Murray, A B, Hasty, A H, Carter, K J, Gleaves, L A, Atkinson, J B, Linton, M F. Increased atherosclerosis in mice reconstituted with apolipoprotein E null macrophages. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 94(9), 4647-52, 1997

Vitola, J V, Forman, M B, Holsinger, J P, Kawana, M, Atkinson, J B, Quertermous, T, Jackson, E K, Murray, J J. Role of endothelin in a rabbit model of acute myocardial infarction: effects of receptor antagonists. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol, 28(6), 774-83, 1996

Dawood, M M, Gutpa, D K, Southern, J, Walia, A, Atkinson, J B, Eagle, K A. Pathology of fatal perioperative myocardial infarction: implications regarding pathophysiology and prevention. Int J Cardiol, 57(1), 37-44, 1996

Linton, M.F., Atkinson, J.B., Fazio, S. Prevention of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice by bone marrow transplantation. Science , 267, 1034-1037, 1995

Zhao, X M, Citrin, B S, Miller, G G, Frist, W H, Merrill, W H, Fischell, T A, Atkinson, J B, Yeoh, T K. Association of acidic fibroblast growth factor and untreated low grade rejection with cardiac allograft vasculopathy. Transplantation, 59(7), 1005-10, 1995

Linton, M F, Atkinson, J B, Fazio, S. Prevention of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice by bone marrow transplantation. Science, 267(5200), 1034-7, 1995

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. Hum. Pathol. , 25, 154-159, 1994

Velasco, C E, Turner, M, Inagami, T, Atkinson, J B, Virmani, R, Jackson, E K, Murray, J J, Forman, M B. Reperfusion enhances the local release of endothelin after regional myocardial ischemia. Am Heart J, 128(3), 441-51, 1994

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. Hum Pathol, 25(2), 154-9, 1994

Ware, D L, Atkinson, J B, Brooks, M J, Echt, D S. Ventricular defibrillation in canines with chronic infarction, and effects of lidocaine and procainamide. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol, 16(2), 337-46, 1993

Atkinson, J B, Wudel, J H, Hoff, S J, Stewart, J R, Frist, W H. Amlodipine reduces graft coronary artery disease in rat heterotopic cardiac allografts. J Heart Lung Transplant, 12(6 Pt 1), 1036-43, 1993

Hoff, S J, Stewart, J R, Frist, W H, Atkinson, J B, Kronenberg, M W, Votaw, J, Kessler, R M, Sandler, M P. Noninvasive detection of acute rejection in a new experimental model of heart transplantation. Ann Thorac Surg, 56(5), 1074-7, 1993

Delbeke, D, Lorenz, C H, Votaw, J R, Silveira, S T, Frist, W H, Atkinson, J B, Kessler, R M, Sandler, M P. 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, 34(5), 826-33, 1993

Dodd, D A, Atkinson, J B, Olson, R D, Buck, S, Cusack, B J, Fleischer, S, Boucek, R J. Doxorubicin cardiomyopathy is associated with a decrease in calcium release channel of the sarcoplasmic reticulum in a chronic rabbit model. J Clin Invest, 91(4), 1697-705, 1993

Hoff, S J, Stewart, J R, Frist, W H, Kessler, R M, Sandler, M P, Atkinson, J B, Votaw, J, Carey, J A, Ansari, M S, Merrill, W H. Noninvasive detection of heart transplant rejection with positron emission scintigraphy. Ann Thorac Surg, 53(4), 572-7, 1992

Atkinson, J B, Swift, L L, Virmani, R. Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic rabbits. Familial hypercholesterolemia. Am J Pathol, 140(3), 749-53, 1992

Abou Mrad, J, Yakubu, F, Lin, D, Peters, J C, Atkinson, J B, Hill, J O. Skeletal muscle composition in dietary obesity-susceptible and dietary obesity-resistant rats. Am J Physiol, 262(4 Pt 2), R684-8, 1992

Fogo, A, Superdock, K R, Atkinson, J B. Severe arteriosclerosis in the kidney of a cocaine addict. Am J Kidney Dis, 20(5), 513-5, 1992

Hernanz-Schulman, M, Stein, S M, Neblett, W W, Atkinson, J B, Kirchner, S G, Heller, R M, Merrill, W H, Fleischer, A C. Pulmonary sequestration: diagnosis with color Doppler sonography and a new theory of associated hydrothorax. Radiology, 180(3), 817-21, 1991

Frist, W H, Gerhardt, E B, Merrill, W H, Atkinson, J B, Eastburn, T E, Stewart, J R, Hammon, J W, Bender, H W. Therapy of refractory, recurrent heart rejection with multiple courses of OKT3. J Heart Transplant, 9(6), 724-6, 1990

Frist, W H, Merrill, W H, Eastburn, T E, Atkinson, J B, Stewart, J R, Hammon, J W, Bender, J W. Unique antithymocyte serum versus OKT3 for induction immunotherapy after heart transplantation. J Heart Transplant, 9(5), 489-94, 1990

Atkinson, J B, Swift, L L. Nifedipine reduces atherogenesis in cholesterol-fed heterozygous WHHL rabbits. Atherosclerosis, 84(2-3), 195-201, 1990

Mackey, E S, Sandler, M P, Campbell, R M, Graham, T P, Atkinson, J B, Price, R, Moreau, G A. Right ventricular myocardial mass quantification with magnetic resonance imaging. Am J Cardiol, 65(7), 529-32, 1990

Nifedipine Suppresses Atherogenesis in Cholesterol-fed Heterozygous WHHL rabbits. Atkinson J.B. and Swift L.L. Atherosclerosis, 84, 195-201, 1990

Frist, W H, Winterland, A W, Gerhardt, E B, Merrill, W H, Atkinson, J B, Eastburn, T E, Stewart, J R, Eisert, D R. Total lymphoid irradiation in heart transplantation: adjunctive treatment for recurrent rejection. Ann Thorac Surg, 48(6), 863-4, 1989

McGee, G S, Shuman, T A, Atkinson, J B, Weaver, F A, Edwards, W H. Long-term assessment of a damp-stored, albumin-coated, knitted vascular graft. Am Surg, 55(3), 174-6, 1989

Atkinson, J B, Virmani, R. Congestive heart failure due to coronary artery disease without myocardial infarction: clinicopathologic description of an unusual cardiomyopathy. Hum Pathol, 20(12), 1155-62, 1989

Atkinson, J B, Hoover, R L, Berry, K K, Swift, L L. Cholesterol-fed heterozygous Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic rabbits: a new model for atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, 78(2-3), 123-36, 1989

Atkinson, J B, Rybicka, K, Huddleston, C B, Starnes, V A, Prager, R L, Virmani, R. The effect of verapamil cardioplegia on myocardial ultrastructure. Am J Cardiovasc Pathol, 2(1), 69-77, 1988

Shelton, M E, Forman, M B, Virmani, R, Bajaj, A, Stoney, W S, Atkinson, J B. A comparison of morphologic and angiographic findings in long-term internal mammary artery and saphenous vein bypass grafts. J Am Coll Cardiol, 11(2), 297-307, 1988

Loyd, J E, Tillman, B F, Atkinson, J B, Des Prez, R M. Mediastinal fibrosis complicating histoplasmosis. Medicine (Baltimore), 67(5), 295-310, 1988

Loyd, J E, Atkinson, J B, Pietra, G G, Virmani, R, Newman, J H. Heterogeneity of pathologic lesions in familial primary pulmonary hypertension. Am Rev Respir Dis, 138(4), 952-7, 1988

McGee, G S, Shuman, T A, Atkinson, J B, Weaver, F A, Edwards, W H. Experimental evaluation of a new albumin-impregnated knitted dacron prosthesis. Am Surg, 53(12), 695-701, 1987

Koury, M J, Bondurant, M C, Atkinson, J B. Erythropoietin control of terminal erythroid differentiation: maintenance of cell viability, production of hemoglobin, and development of the erythrocyte membrane. Blood Cells, 13(1-2), 217-26, 1987