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Scholarly Interest Report
Darrell Pilling
Faculty Fellow
Faculty Fellow in Biochemistry and Cell Biology
  • B.Sc. Applied and Human Biology (1986) Aston University, England
  • Ph.D. Rheumatology/Immunology (1995) University of Birmingham, England
Primary Department
   Department of BioSciences
Research Areas
 Immunology, Fibrosis
Research Statement
 Research interests are focused on the basis of leukocyte accumulation and retention at sites of inflammation and fibrosis, and in particular the role of fibrocytes. Fibrocytes are a fibroblast-like cell that differentiates from peripheral blood monocytes. Fibrocytes have been shown to be intimately associated not only with fibrosis, but also wound repair. We have been able to show that the blood protein, serum amyloid P (SAP), inhibits fibrocyte differentiation in vitro, and have recently demonstrated that SAP may be a useful therapy to inhibit fibrocyte differentiation and fibrosis in vivo.

Our aims are to, expand the known markers expressed by fibrocytes, to better identify fibrocyte precursors. Finding markers for fibrocyte precursors would allow us to identify and quantitate these cells in a fibrotic lesion and thus determine if an increased influx of fibrocyte precursors is associated with specific diseases.

We also aim to define the mechanisms that regulate fibrocyte differentiation. Understanding what factors promote or inhibit fibrocyte differentiation may lead to novel therapeutics to either enhance or inhibit fibrocyte numbers in diverse medical conditions.

I work in close collaboration with Richard Gomer (BCB, Rice) and also colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine and MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Selected Publications

"Interview for referred article: J. Leukoc. Biol. 2008 83, 1334-1335 (2008). "Cytokines and Fibrocyte Differentiation -- Altering the Balance: an Interview with Dr. Darrell Pilling." Interview by Helene F. Rosenberg.." 


Haudek, S.B., Trial, J., Xia, Y., Pilling, D., Gomer, R.H., and Entman, M.L. "Fc Receptor engagement mediates differentiation of cardiac fibroblast precursor cells." Circulation, 116 (2007) : II246-II247.


Naik-Mathuria, B., Pilling, D., Gay, A.N., Yu, L., Smith, C.W., Gomer, R., and Olutoye, O.O. "Serum amyloid P (SAP) inhibits dermal wound healing." Journal of Surgical Research, 137 (2007) : 231-231.


Naik-Mathuria, B., Pilling, D., Gay, A.N., Yu, L., Smith, C.W., Gomer, R., and Olutoye, O.O. "Serum amyloid P (SAP) contributes to dermal wound healing."  (August 2006)

 Refereed articles

Naik-Mathuria, B., Pilling, D., Crawford, J.R., Gay, A.N., Smith, C.W., Gomer, R.H., and Olutoye, O.O. "Serum Amyloid P inhibits dermal wound healing." Wound Repair and Regeneration, 16 (2008) : 266-273.


Scheel-Toellner, D., Raza, K., Assi, L., Pilling D., Ross, E.J., Lee, W.Y., Curnow, S.J., Buckley, C.D., Akbar, A.N., Lord, J.M., and Salmon, M. "Differential regulation of nuclear and mitochondrial Bcl-2 in T cell apoptosis ." Apoptosis, 13 (2008) : 109-117.


Shao, D.D., Suresh, R., Vakil, V., Gomer, R.H., and Pilling, D. "Pivotal Advance: Th-1 cytokines inhibit, and Th-2 cytokines promote fibrocyte differentiation." Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 83 (2008) : 1323-1333.


Pilling, D., Roife, D., Wang, M., Crawford, J.R., Travis, E.L., and Gomer, R.H. "Inhibition of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis by serum amyloid P." J. Immunology, 179 (2007) : 4035-4044.


Shao, D.D., Suresh, R., Vakil, V., Gomer, R.H., and Pilling, D. "Th-1 cytokines inhibit and Th-2 cytokines promote fibrocyte differentiation." Journal of Leukocyte Biology (2007) Submitted


Haudek, S.B., Xia, Y., Huebener, P., Lee, J.M., Carlson, S., Crawford, J.R., Pilling, D., Gomer, R.H., Trial, J., Frangogiannis, M.G., and Entman, M.L. "Bone marrow-derived fibroblast precursors mediate ischemic cardiomyopathy in mice." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 103 (2006) : 18284-18289.


Pilling, D., Tucker, N.M., and Gomer, R.H. "Aggregated IgG inhibits the differentiation of human fibrocytes." J Leukoc Biol, 79 (2006) : 1242-1251.


Pilling, D., and Gomer, R.H. "Regulatory pathways for fibrocyte differentiation." Fibrocytes: New Insights into Tissue Repair and Systemic Fibrosis (2006) : 37-60.


Raza, K., Scheel-Toellner, D., Lee, C.Y., Pilling, D., Curnow, S.J., Falciani, F., Trevino, V., Kumar, K., Assi, L.K., Lord, J.M., Gordon, C., Buckley C.D., and Salmon, M. "Synovial fluid leukocyte apoptosis is inhibited in patients with very early rheumatoid arthritis." Arthritis Res Ther, 8 (2006) : R120-127.

 Book chapters

Pilling, D., and Gomer, R.H. "Regulatory Pathways for Fibrocyte Differentiation." Fibrocytes-New insights into tissue repair and systemic fibroses (2007) : 37-60.

 Conference papers

Haudek, S.B., Trial, J., Xia, Y., Gupta, D., Pilling, D., and Entman, M.L. "Fc receptor engagement mediates differentiation of cardiac fibroblast precursor cells." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105 (2008) : 10179-10184.


Pilling, D., Buckley, C.D., Salmon, M., and Gomer, R.H., "Serum amyloid P and fibrosis in systemic sclerosis: Comment on the article by Tennent et al." Arthritis & Rheumatism, 56 (2007) : 4229.

 Invited Talks

"Inhibition of Bleomycin-induced Lung Fibrosis by Serum Amyloid P (SAP)." Society for Leukocyte Biology, San Antonio, Texas. (November 2006)


"Serum Amyloid P Inhibits Bleomycin-induced Lung Fibrosis." The Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology, Houston, Texas. (February 2006)