Anna Mae Diehl


Florence McAlister Distinguished Professor of Medicine

Our lab has a long standing interest in liver injury and repair. To learn more about the mechanisms that regulate this process, we study cultured cells, animal models of acute and chronic liver damage and samples from patients with various types of liver disease. Our group also conducts clinical trials in patients with chronic liver disease. We are particularly interested in fatty liver diseases, such as alcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Research by our group has advanced understanding in two main areas: 1) immune system regulation of liver injury and regeneration and 2)the role of fetal morphogens, such as the hedgehog pathway, in regulating fibrotic responses to liver damage. Our basic research programs have been enjoyed continuous NIH support since 1989. We welcome students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists who have interests in this research area to contact us about training opportunities and potential collaborations.

Since 2001 we have also been an active participant in the NIDDK-funded Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network (NASH CRN), a national consortium comprised of 8 university medical centers selected to generate a national registry for patients with NAFLD and to conduct multicenter treatment trials for this disorder. We are actively recruiting patients for this program, as well as a number of other industry-supported NAFLD studies.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Florence McAlister Distinguished Professor of Medicine
  • Professor of Medicine
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
  • Affiliate of the Duke Regeneration Center

Contact Information

  • Office Location: Ste 1073, GSRB 1, 595 Lasalle Street, Durham, NC 27710
  • Office Phone: (919) 684-2366
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Johns Hopkins University, 1984
  • Johns Hopkins University, 1981
  • M.D. Georgetown University, 1978

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • AASLD Distinguished Achievement Award. American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. 2012
  • MERIT Award. National Institutes of Health. 2009

Courses Taught

  • MGM 293: Research Independent Study I
  • MGM 593: Research Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Omenetti, A; Popov, Y; Jung, Y; Choi, SS; Witek, RP; Yang, L; Brown, KD; Schuppan, D; Diehl, AM, The hedgehog pathway regulates remodelling responses to biliary obstruction in rats., Gut, vol 57 no. 9 (2008), pp. 1275-1282 [10.1136/gut.2008.148619] [abs].
  • Yang, L; Jung, Y; Omenetti, A; Witek, RP; Choi, S; Vandongen, HM; Huang, J; Alpini, GD; Diehl, AM, Fate-mapping evidence that hepatic stellate cells are epithelial progenitors in adult mouse livers., Stem Cells, vol 26 no. 8 (2008), pp. 2104-2113 [10.1634/stemcells.2008-0115] [abs].
  • Ouyang, X; Cirillo, P; Sautin, Y; McCall, S; Bruchette, JL; Diehl, AM; Johnson, RJ; Abdelmalek, MF, Fructose consumption as a risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease., Journal of Hepatology, vol 48 no. 6 (2008), pp. 993-999 [10.1016/j.jhep.2008.02.011] [abs].
  • Solga, SF; Horska, A; Hemker, S; Crawford, S; Diggs, C; Diehl, AM; Brancati, FL; Clark, JM, Hepatic fat and adenosine triphosphate measurement in overweight and obese adults using 1H and 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy., Liver Int, vol 28 no. 5 (2008), pp. 675-681 [10.1111/j.1478-3231.2008.01705.x] [abs].
  • Jung, Y; Brown, KD; Witek, RP; Omenetti, A; Yang, L; Vandongen, M; Milton, RJ; Hines, IN; Rippe, RA; Spahr, L; Rubbia-Brandt, L; Diehl, AM, Accumulation of hedgehog-responsive progenitors parallels alcoholic liver disease severity in mice and humans., Gastroenterology, vol 134 no. 5 (2008), pp. 1532-1543 [10.1053/j.gastro.2008.02.022] [abs].
  • Omenetti, A; Diehl, AM, The adventures of sonic hedgehog in development and repair. II. Sonic hedgehog and liver development, inflammation, and cancer., American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, vol 294 no. 3 (2008), pp. G595-G598 [10.1152/ajpgi.00543.2007] [abs].
  • Yamaguchi, K; Yang, L; McCall, S; Huang, J; Yu, XX; Pandey, SK; Bhanot, S; Monia, BP; Li, Y-X; Diehl, AM, Diacylglycerol acyltranferase 1 anti-sense oligonucleotides reduce hepatic fibrosis in mice with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis., Hepatology, vol 47 no. 2 (2008), pp. 625-635 [10.1002/hep.21988] [abs].
  • Yang, L; Wang, Y; Mao, H; Fleig, S; Omenetti, A; Brown, KD; Sicklick, JK; Li, Y-X; Diehl, AM, Sonic hedgehog is an autocrine viability factor for myofibroblastic hepatic stellate cells., Journal of Hepatology, vol 48 no. 1 (2008), pp. 98-106 [10.1016/j.jhep.2007.07.032] [abs].
  • Fleig, SV; Choi, SS; Yang, L; Jung, Y; Omenetti, A; VanDongen, HM; Huang, J; Sicklick, JK; Diehl, AM, Hepatic accumulation of Hedgehog-reactive progenitors increases with severity of fatty liver damage in mice., Lab Invest, vol 87 no. 12 (2007), pp. 1227-1239 [10.1038/labinvest.3700689] [abs].
  • Abdelmalek, MF; Diehl, AM, De novo nonalcoholic fatty liver disease after liver transplantation., Liver Transplantation : Official Publication of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the International Liver Transplantation Society, vol 13 no. 6 (2007), pp. 788-790 [10.1002/lt.21103] [abs].
  • Yamaguchi, K; Yang, L; McCall, S; Huang, J; Yu, XX; Pandey, SK; Bhanot, S; Monia, BP; Li, Y-X; Diehl, AM, Inhibiting triglyceride synthesis improves hepatic steatosis but exacerbates liver damage and fibrosis in obese mice with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis., Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.), vol 45 no. 6 (2007), pp. 1366-1374 [10.1002/hep.21655] [abs].
  • Jung, Y; McCall, SJ; Li, Y-X; Diehl, AM, Bile ductules and stromal cells express hedgehog ligands and/or hedgehog target genes in primary biliary cirrhosis., Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.), vol 45 no. 5 (2007), pp. 1091-1096 [10.1002/hep.21660] [abs].
  • Li, Y-X; Yang, H-T; Zdanowicz, M; Sicklick, JK; Qi, Y; Camp, TJ; Diehl, AM, Fetal alcohol exposure impairs Hedgehog cholesterol modification and signaling., Laboratory Investigation, vol 87 no. 3 (2007), pp. 231-240 [10.1038/labinvest.3700516] [abs].
  • Zhao, C; Chen, W; Yang, L; Chen, L; Stimpson, SA; Diehl, AM, PPARgamma agonists prevent TGFbeta1/Smad3-signaling in human hepatic stellate cells., Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, vol 350 no. 2 (2006), pp. 385-391 [10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.09.069] [abs].
  • Sicklick, JK; Choi, SS; Bustamante, M; McCall, SJ; Pérez, EH; Huang, J; Li, Y-X; Rojkind, M; Diehl, AM, Evidence for epithelial-mesenchymal transitions in adult liver cells., American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, vol 291 no. 4 (2006), pp. G575-G583 [10.1152/ajpgi.00102.2006] [abs].
  • Setji, TL; Holland, ND; Sanders, LL; Pereira, KC; Diehl, AM; Brown, AJ, Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and nonalcoholic Fatty liver disease in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome., The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol 91 no. 5 (2006), pp. 1741-1747 [10.1210/jc.2005-2774] [abs].