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1.  Evolutionary analysis of rubella viruses in mainland China during 2010–2012: endemic circulation of genotype 1E and introductions of genotype 2B 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:7999.
Rubella remains a significant burden in mainland China. In this report, 667 viruses collected in 24 of 31 provinces of mainland China during 2010–2012 were sequenced and analyzed, significantly extending previous reports on limited numbers of viruses collected before 2010. Only viruses of genotypes 1E and 2B were found. Genotype 1E viruses were found in all 24 provinces. Genotype 1E viruses were likely introduced into mainland China around 1997 and endemic transmission of primarily one lineage became established. Viruses reported here from 2010–2012 are largely in a single cluster within this lineage. Genotype 2B viruses were rarely detected in China prior to 2010. This report documents a previously undetected 2B lineage, which likely became endemic in eastern provinces of China between 2010 and 2012. Bayesian analyses were performed to estimate the evolutionary rates and dates of appearance of the genotype 1E and 2B viral linages in China. A skyline plot of viral population diversity did not provide evidence of reduction of diversity as a result of vaccination, but should be useful as a baseline for such reductions as vaccination programs for rubella become widespread in mainland China.
PMCID: PMC4303870  PMID: 25613734
2.  The Emerging Nexus of Active DNA Demethylation and Mitochondrial Oxidative Metabolism in Post-Mitotic Neurons 
The variable patterns of DNA methylation in mammals have been linked to a number of physiological processes, including normal embryonic development and disease pathogenesis. Active removal of DNA methylation, which potentially regulates neuronal gene expression both globally and gene specifically, has been recently implicated in neuronal plasticity, learning and memory processes. Model pathways of active DNA demethylation involve ten-eleven translocation (TET) methylcytosine dioxygenases that are dependent on oxidative metabolites. In addition, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidizing agents generate oxidative modifications of DNA bases that can be removed by base excision repair proteins. These potentially link the two processes of active DNA demethylation and mitochondrial oxidative metabolism in post-mitotic neurons. We review the current biochemical understanding of the DNA demethylation process and discuss its potential interaction with oxidative metabolism. We then summarise the emerging roles of both processes and their interaction in neural plasticity and memory formation and the pathophysiology of neurodegeneration. Finally, possible therapeutic approaches for neurodegenerative diseases are proposed, including reprogramming therapy by global DNA demethylation and mitohormesis therapy for locus-specific DNA demethylation in post-mitotic neurons.
PMCID: PMC4284726  PMID: 25490140
active DNA demethylation; mitochondrial oxidative metabolism; TET (ten-eleven translocation) methylcytosine dioxygenases; post-mitotic neurons; neurodegeneration
3.  Construction and detection of the tissue-specific pINV-HPV16 E6/7 vector 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(2):857-862.
A tissue-specific promoter can control downstream gene expression in tissues or organs. The human involucrin (hINV) promoter (pINV) that contains 2474 bp of hINV upstream sequence is able to regulate tissue-specific gene expression. This tissue specificity may be important for the prevention and treatment of human papilloma virus infections. pINV was cloned by polymerase chain reaction and the human papillomavirus (HPV)16 E6/7 gene was obtained from the cancer tissue samples of patients with cervical carcinoma at the Yangzhou Maternal and China Health-Care Center of Jinagsu Province (Yangzhou, China). First, specific primers were designed according to the genomic DNA sequence of the HPV16-type standard strain that has been reported and the E6/7 gene was acquired by PCR. The carcinogenic fraction of the E6/7 gene was removed and the remaining section was cloned into T vectors, sequenced correctly and then cloned into the eukaryotic expression vector pCEP4, which was lacking the CMV promoter. The positive recombinants were identified using blue-white screening and endonuclease digestion, subsequent to sequencing and analysis, and the tissue-specific recombinant pINV-HPV16E6/7 plasmids was detected.
PMCID: PMC4301524  PMID: 25621060
human papilloma viruses; E6/7; pINV-HPV16 E6/7; tissue-specificity
4.  Potential therapeutic mechanism of genistein in breast cancer involves inhibition of cell cycle regulation 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2014;11(3):1820-1826.
Genistein can prevent tumorigenesis and reduce the incidence of diseases that are dependent upon estrogen. Previous research, however, has shown that genistein can also increase the risk of breast cancer. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate the mechanism underlying the effect of genistein in breast cancer and to determine whether genistein produces a therapeutic effect or promotes the development of breast cancer. Gene microarray data obtained from three samples treated with alcohol (control group), three samples treated with 3 μmol/l genistein and three samples treated with 10 μmol/l genistein for 48 h, were downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database. Analysis of the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and functional enrichment in the two genistein groups was performed. The interaction networks of the DEGs were constructed and the overlapping network was extracted. Finally, the functions and pathways of the DEGs in the overlapping network were enriched. In total, 224 DEGs coexisted in the two genistein groups, and the most significant function of these was the cell cycle. The number and the fold change of expression values of the DEGs in the 10 μmol/l genistein group were significantly higher compared with that of the 3 μmol/l genistein group. The most significant function and pathway of the DEGs in the overlapping network was the cell cycle involving several genes, including GLIPR1, CDC20, BUB1, MCM2 and CCNB1. Thus, genistein stimulation resulted in gene expression changes in breast cancer cell lines and discrepancies increased with higher doses of genistein. The DEGs were most significantly associated with cell cycle regulation.
PMCID: PMC4270317  PMID: 25385471
genistein; breast cancer; differentially expressed genes; cell cycle
5.  Optimized rapeseed oils rich in endogenous micronutrients ameliorate risk factors of atherosclerosis in high fat diet fed rats 
Micronutrients in rapeseed such as polyphenols, tocopherols, phytosterols and phospholipids in rapeseed exert potential benefit to atherosclerosis. Some part of these healthy components substantially lost during the conventional refining processing. Thus some new processing technologies have been developed to produce various endogenous micronutrient-enriched optimized rapeseed oils. The aim of this study is to assess whether optimized rapeseed oils have positive effects on the atherosclerosis risk factors in rats fed a high-fat diet.
Rats received experiment diets containing 20% fat and refined rapeseed oil or optimized rapeseed oils obtained with various processing technologies as lipid source. After 10 weeks of treatment, plasma was assayed for oxidative stress, lipid profiles and imflammation.
Micronutrients enhancement in optimized rapeseed oils significantly reduced plasma oxidative stress, as evaluated by the significant elevation in the activities of CAT and GPx as well as the level of GSH, and the significant decline in lipid peroxidation. Optimized rapeseed oil with the highest micronutrient contents obtained by microwave pretreatment-cold pressing reduced the levels of TG, TC and LDL-C as well as IL-6 and CRP in plasma.
These results suggest that optimized rapeseed oils may contribute to prevent atherogenesis and make them very promising functional food in cardiovascular health promotion.
PMCID: PMC4232689  PMID: 25358951
Optimized rapeseed oils; Micronutrients; Atherosclerosis; Oxidant stress; Plasma lipids; Inflammation
6.  Extracts and compounds with anti-diabetic complications and anti-cancer activity from Castanea mollissina Blume (Chinese chestnut) 
Castanea mollissima Blume (Chinese chestnut), as a food product is known for its various nutrients and functional values to the human health. The present study was carried out to analyze the anti-diabetic complications and anti-cancer activities of the bioactive compounds present in C. mollissima.
The kernels (CK), shells (CS) and involucres (CI) parts of C. Blume were extracted with 90% alcohol. The water suspension of these dried alcohol extracts were extracted using EtOAc and n-BuOH successively. The n-BuOH fraction of CI (CI-B) was isolated by silica gel column, Sephadex LH 20 column and preparative HPLC. The isolated compounds were identified by 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, HMBC, HMQC and ESI-Q-TOF MS, All the fractions and compounds isolated were evaluated on human recombinant aldose reductase (HR-AR) assay, advanced glycation end products (AGEs) formation assay and human COLO 320 DM colon cancer cells inhibitory assay.
CI-B was found to show a significant inhibitory effect in above biological screenings. Six flavonoids and three polyphenolic acids were obtained from CI-B. They were identified as kaempferol (1), kaempferol-3-O-[6''-O-(E)-p-coumaroyl]-β-D-glucopyranoside (2), kaempferol-3-O-[6''-O-(E)-p-coumaroyl]-β-D-galactopyranoside (3), kaempferol-3-O-[2''-O-(E)-p-coumaroyl]-β-D-glucopyranoside (4), kaempferol-3-O-[2", 6"-di-O-(E)-p-coumaroyl]-β-D-glucopyranoside (5) and kaempferol-3-O-[2", 6"-di-O-(E)-p-coumaroyl]-β-D-galactopyranoside (6), casuariin (7), casuarinin (8) and castalagin (9). Compounds 2–9 were found to show higher activity than quercetin (positive control) in the AR assay. Compounds 3–6, 8, and 9 showed stronger inhibitory effects than amino guanidine (positive control) on AGEs production. Compounds 4–6, 7, and 8 showed much higher cytotoxic activity than 5-fluorouracil (positive control) against the human COLO 320 DM colon cancer cells.
Our results suggest that flavonoids and polyphenolic acids possesses anti-diabetes complications and anti-cancer properties, and they were presumed to be the bioactive components of Castanea mollissima Blume.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-422) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4226895  PMID: 25351676
Anti-diabetic complications; Anti-cancer; Castanea mollissina Blume; Phenolic acids; Flavonoids
7.  Circulating tumor cells as early predictors of metastatic spread in breast cancer patients with limited metastatic dissemination 
Traditional factors currently used for prognostic stratification do not always adequately predict treatment response and disease evolution in advanced breast cancer patients. Therefore, the use of blood-based markers, such as circulating tumor cells (CTCs), represents a promising complementary strategy for disease monitoring. In this retrospective study, we explored the role of CTC counts as predictors of disease evolution in breast cancer patients with limited metastatic dissemination.
A total of 492 advanced breast cancer patients who had a CTC count assessed by CellSearch prior to starting a new line of systemic therapy were eligible for this analysis. Using the threshold of 5 CTCs/7.5 ml of blood, pretreatment CTC counts were correlated in the overall population with metastatic site distribution, evaluated at baseline and at the time of treatment failure, using Fisher’s exact test. Time to visceral progression and time to the development of new metastatic lesions and sites were estimated in patients with nonvisceral metastases and with single-site metastatic disease, respectively, by the Kaplan-Meier method. Survival times were compared between groups according to pretreatment CTC count by logrank test.
In the overall population, a pretreatment level ≥5 CTCs/7.5 ml was associated with an increased baseline number of metastatic sites compared with <5 CTCs/7.5 ml (P = 0.0077). At the time of treatment failure, patients with ≥5 CTCs/7.5 ml more frequently developed new metastatic lesions and sites compared with those with <5 CTCs/7.5 ml (development of new lesions: P = 0.0002; development of new sites: P = 0.0031). Among patients with disease originally confined to nonvisceral sites, ≥5 CTCs/7.5 ml was associated with remarkably shorter time to visceral metastases (P = 0.0021) and overall survival (P = 0.0006) compared with <5 CTCs/7.5 ml. In patients with single-site metastatic disease, ≥5 CTCs/7.5 ml was associated with a significant reduction of the time to development of new metastatic sites (P = 0.0051) and new lesions (P = 0.0002) and with worse overall survival (P = 0.0101).
Our results suggest that baseline CTC counts can be used as an early predictor of metastatic potential in breast cancer patients with limited metastatic dissemination.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13058-014-0440-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4303121  PMID: 25223629
8.  T-type Ca2+ channels regulate the exit of cardiac myocytes from the cell cycle after birth 
T-type Ca2+ channels (TTCCs) are expressed in the fetal heart and then disappear from ventricular myocytes after birth. The hypothesis examined in this study was the α1G TTCCs' influence in myocyte maturation and their rapid withdrawal from the cell cycle after birth.
Cardiac myocytes were isolated from neonatal and adult wild type (WT), α1G−/− and α1G over expressing (α1GDT) mice. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) uptake, myocyte nucleation, cell cycle analysis, and T-type Ca2+ currents were measured.
All myocytes were mono-nucleated at birth and 35% of WT myocytes expressed functional TTCCs. Very few neonatal myocytes had functional TTCCs in α1G−/− hearts. By the end of the first week after birth no WT or α1G−/− had functional TTCCs. During the first week after birth about 25% of WT myocytes were BrdU+ and became bi-nucleated. Significantly fewer α1G−/− myocytes became bi-nucleated and fewer of these myocytes were BrdU+. Neonatal α1G−/− myocytes were also smaller than WT. Adult WT and α1G−/− hearts were similar in size, but α1G−/− myocytes were smaller and a greater % were mono-nucleated. α1G over expressing hearts were smaller than WT but their myocytes were larger.
The studies performed show that loss of functional TTCCs is associated with bi-nucleation and myocyte withdrawal from the cell cycle. Loss of α1G TTCCs slowed the transition from mono- to bi-nucleation and resulted in an adult heart with a greater number of small cardiac myocytes. These results suggest that TTCCs are involved in the regulation of myocyte size and the exit of myocytes from the cell cycle during the first week after birth.
PMCID: PMC3888788  PMID: 23743021
T-type Ca2+ channels; Cardiac myocytes; Cell cycle
9.  Effectiveness and Complications of Ultrasound Guided Fine Needle Aspiration for Primary Liver Cancer in a Chinese Population with Serum α-Fetoprotein Levels ≤200 ng/ml - A Study Based on 4,312 Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e101536.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can be diagnosed by noninvasive approaches with serum α-fetoprotein (AFP) levels >200 ng/ml and/or a radiological imaging study of tumor mass >2 cm in patients with chronic liver disease. Percutaneous fine needle aspiration (FNA) under ultrasound (US) guidance has a diagnostic specificity of 95% and is superior to radiological imaging studies.
The aim of this study is to elucidate the effectiveness and complications of fine needle aspiration in a Chinese population with primary liver cancer and AFP levels ≤200 ng/ml.
Materials and Methods
A retrospective study was conducted over a period of 28 years. This selection period included patients with a suspected diagnosis of primary liver cancer whose AFP levels were ≤200 ng/ml and who underwent US-FNA. This data was then analyzed with cytomorphological features correlating with medical history, radiological imaging, AFP, and follow-up information.
Of the 1,929 cases with AFP ≤200 mg/ml, 1,756 underwent FNA. Of these, 1,590 cases were determined malignant and the remaining 166 were determined benign. Further, 1,478 malignant cases were diagnosed by FNA alone, and of these, 1,138 were diagnosed as PLC. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and overall accuracy of the diagnoses were 92.96%, 100%, 100%, 59.71%, and 93.62% respectively. There was no significant difference in the sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV between the subgroups with tumor size<2 cm and ≥2 cm. Major complications included implantation metastasis and hemorrhage.
Patients with PLC, especially those who present with an AFP ≤200 ng/ml, should undergo FNA. If negative results are obtained by FNA, it still could be HCC and repeated FNA procedure may be needed if highly suspicious of HCC on imaging study. The superiority of FNA in overall accuracy may outweigh its potential complications, such like hemorrhage and implantation metastasis.
PMCID: PMC4149350  PMID: 25170868
10.  Heterochronic bilateral ectopic pregnancy after ovulation induction*  
Ectopic pregnancy is identified with the widely-applied assisted reproductive technology (ART). Bilateral ectopic pregnancy is a rare form of ectopic pregnancy which is difficult to be diagnosed at the pre-operation stage. In this paper, we presented an unusual case of heterochronic bilateral ectopic pregnancy after stimulated intrauterine insemination (IUI), where there has been a delay of 22 d between the diagnoses of the two ectopic pregnancies. Literature was reviewed on the occurrence of bilateral ectopic pregnancy during the past four years in the MEDLINE database. We found 16 cases of bilateral ectopic pregnancy reported since 2008, and analyzed the characteristics of those cases of bilateral ectopic pregnancy. We emphasize that ovulation induction and other ARTs may increase the risk of bilateral ectopic pregnancy. Because of the difficulty in identification of bilateral ectopic pregnancy by ultrasonography, the clinician should be aware that the treatment of one ectopic pregnancy does not preclude the occurrence of a second ectopic pregnancy in the same patient and should pay attention to the intra-operation inspection of both side fallopian tubes in any ectopic pregnancy case.
PMCID: PMC4129096  PMID: 25091994
Heterochronic bilateral ectopic pregnancy; Assisted reproductive technology; Intrauterine insemination; Ovulation induction
11.  Lapatinib-incorporated lipoprotein-like nanoparticles: preparation and a proposed breast cancer-targeting mechanism 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2014;35(6):846-852.
Lapatinib is a dual inhibitor of EGFR and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), and used to treat advanced breast cancer. To overcome its poor water solubility, we constructed lapatinib-incorporated lipoprotein-like nanoparticles (LTNPs), and evaluated the particle characteristics and possible anti-breast cancer mechanisms.
LTNPs (lapatinib bound to albumin as a core, and egg yolk lecithin forming a lipid corona) were prepared. The particle characteristics were investigated using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The uptake and subcellular localization of LTNPs, as well as the effects of LTNPs on cell cycle were examined in BT-474 human breast cancer cells in vitro. Mice bearing BT-474 subcutaneous xenograft were intravenously injected with coumarin-6 loaded LTNPs (30 mg/kg) to study the targeting mechanisms in vivo.
The LTNPs particles were generally spherical but flexible under TEM and AFM, and approximately 62.1 nm in size with a zeta potential of 22.80 mV. In BT-474 cells, uptake of LTNPs was mediated by endosomes through energy-dependent endocytosis involving clathrin-dependent pinocytosis and macropinocytosis, and they could effectively escape from endosomes to the cytoplasm. Treatment of BT-474 cells with LTNPs (20 μg/mL) induced a significant cell arrest at G0/G1 phase compared with the same concentration of lapatinib suspension. In mice bearing BT-474 xenograft, intravenously injected LTNPs was found to target and accumulate in tumors, and colocalized with HER2 and SPRAC (secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine).
LTNPs can be taken up into breast cancer cells through specific pathways in vitro, and targeted to breast cancer xenograft in vivo via enhanced permeability and retention effect and SPARC.
PMCID: PMC4086389  PMID: 24902791
lapatinib; breast cancer; EGFR; HER2; nanoparticle; drug delivery; drug targeting; endosome; cell arrest
12.  Mammospheres from murine mammary stem cell-enriched basal cells: clonal characteristics and repopulating potential 
Stem cell research  2013;10(3):396-404.
Identification of murine mammary stem cells (MaSCs) has been attempted with various in vitro and in vivo assays. While, the in vivo repopulation assay remains as the most definitive assay for MaSC detection, it is expensive, time-consuming, and technically challenging. The in vitro mammosphere assay was considered unreliable because of major concerns about its clonal origin. In the current study, co-culture experiments with mammary cells from fluorescent protein transgenic mice and time-lapse video microscopy revealed that > 90% mammospheres formed from sorted basal epithelial-enriched cells were of clonal origin in terms of stem cell. These basal-cell derived mammospheres were further distinguished morphologically in a 3-dimensional extracellular matrix culture and functionally in the in vivo repopulation assay. Transplant of single mammospheres or the resultant 3-dimensional solid structures into gland-free mammary fat pads yielded a 70% success rate of multilineage mammary gland reconstitution. Thus, this in vitro sphere formation and differentiation assay is a reliable alternative to the in vivo repopulation assay for the study of MaSCs.
PMCID: PMC3622180  PMID: 23466563
Mammary stem cell; Mammosphere; Lineage differentiation; In vivo repopulation
13.  Repeated febrile convulsions impair hippocampal neurons and cause synaptic damage in immature rats: neuroprotective effect of fructose-1,6-diphosphate 
Neural Regeneration Research  2014;9(9):937-942.
Fructose-1,6-diphosphate is a metabolic intermediate that promotes cell metabolism. We hypothesize that fructose-1,6-diphosphate can protect against neuronal damage induced by febrile convulsions. Hot-water bathing was used to establish a repetitive febrile convulsion model in rats aged 21 days, equivalent to 3–5 years in humans. Ninety minutes before each seizure induction, rats received an intraperitoneal injection of low- or high-dose fructose-1,6-diphosphate (500 or 1,000 mg/kg, respectively). Low- and high-dose fructose-1,6-diphosphate prolonged the latency and shortened the duration of seizures. Furthermore, high-dose fructose-1,6-diphosphate effectively reduced seizure severity. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that 24 hours after the last seizure, high-dose fructose-1,6-diphosphate reduced mitochondrial swelling, rough endoplasmic reticulum degranulation, Golgi dilation and synaptic cleft size, and increased synaptic active zone length, postsynaptic density thickness, and synaptic interface curvature in the hippocampal CA1 area. The present findings suggest that fructose-1,6-diphosphate is a neuroprotectant against hippocampal neuron and synapse damage induced by repeated febrile convulsion in immature rats.
PMCID: PMC4146224  PMID: 25206915
nerve regeneration; brain injury; febrile convulsions; fructose-1,6-diphosphate; hippocampus; seizures; mitochondria; rough endoplasmic reticulum; Golgi complex; electron microscope; animal model; NSFC grant; neural regeneration
14.  Overexpression of SLC38A1 is associated with poorer prognosis in Chinese patients with gastric cancer 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14:70.
Current literature has demonstrated that host glutamine depletion facilitates tumorigenesis. Likewise, the glutamine transporter SLC38A1 is putatively associated with malignant transformation and tumor progression. Taken together, this forms the premise for undertaking the current study. The twofold aim of this study was to provide insight into whether or not a variance in the expression of SLC38A1 exists between human gastric cancer and healthy human tissues, and to determine how silencing the SLC38A1 gene could affect the proliferation, viability, migration, and invasion of gastric cancer cells.
Immunohistochemical staining was used to analyze the expression of SLC38A1 in gastric cancer tissues and adjacent healthy mucosa in 896 patients with pathologically confirmed gastric cancer who had underwent R0 resection. SH-10-TC cells (a gastric cancer cell line) were used to examine whether silencing SLC38A1 with siRNA could affect cell viability, migration and invasion.
The SLC38A1 protein was very low or undetectable in healthy gastric mucosa. In contrast, strong staining of SLC38A1 protein was found in the cytoplasm in 495 out of the 896 gastric cancer samples. More pronounced SLC38A1 expression in gastric cancer tissues was significantly associated with age, differentiation status, lymph node metastasis, TNM stage and PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen) expression. Upon univariate survival analysis, SLC38A1 expression was correlated with poor survival. Multivariate survival analysis revealed that SLC38A1 was an independent prognostic factor.
SLC38A1 is overexpressed in gastric cancer, which suggests that it is contributory to tumor progression. These results encourage the exploration of SLC38A1 as a target for intervention in gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC3984425  PMID: 24712400
Gastric cancer; Tissue microarray; Immunohistochemistry; SLC38A1; Prognostic factor
15.  A combination of flaxseed oil and astaxanthin alleviates atherosclerosis risk factors in high fat diet fed rats 
Atherosclerosis is the most common pathologic process underlying cardiovascular disease. Both flaxseed oil (FO) and astaxanthin (ASX) are believed to benefit cardiovascular system. The combined effect of FO and ASX on the atherosclerosis risk factors in rats fed a high-fat diet was investigated.
Astaxanthin was dissolved in flaxseed oil to a final concentration of 1g/kg (FO + ASX). Male Sprague–Dawley rats were fed a rodent diet contained 20% fat whose source was lard (HFD) or 75% lard and 25% FO + ASX (50 mg ASX/kg diet) or 50% lard and 50% FO + ASX (100 mg ASX/kg diet) or FO + ASX (200 mg ASX/kg diet) for 10 weeks.
The combination of FO and ASX significantly increased the antioxidant defense capacity and decreased lipid peroxidation in plasma. Evident decreases in the levels TG, TC and LDL-C contents, as well as IL-6 and CRP were also observed in plasma of FO and ASX fed rats.
The combination of FO and ASX can improve oxidative stress, lipid abnormalities and inflammation, providing evidence that the combination of FO and ASX could be a promising functional food in cardiovascular health promotion.
PMCID: PMC3994197  PMID: 24708887
Flaxseed oil; Astaxanthin; Atherosclerosis; Oxidant stress; Plasma lipids; Inflammation
16.  Personalized Privacy-Preserving Frequent Itemset Mining Using Randomized Response 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:686151.
Frequent itemset mining is the important first step of association rule mining, which discovers interesting patterns from the massive data. There are increasing concerns about the privacy problem in the frequent itemset mining. Some works have been proposed to handle this kind of problem. In this paper, we introduce a personalized privacy problem, in which different attributes may need different privacy levels protection. To solve this problem, we give a personalized privacy-preserving method by using the randomized response technique. By providing different privacy levels for different attributes, this method can get a higher accuracy on frequent itemset mining than the traditional method providing the same privacy level. Finally, our experimental results show that our method can have better results on the frequent itemset mining while preserving personalized privacy.
PMCID: PMC3988866  PMID: 25143989
17.  The Association between TGF-β1 Polymorphisms and Radiation Pneumonia in Lung Cancer Patients Treated with Definitive Radiotherapy: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91100.
Previous studies investigating the association between TGF-β1 polymorphisms and Radiation Pneumonia (RP) risk have provided inconsistent results. The aim of our study was to assess the association between the TGF-β1 genes C509T, G915C and T869C polymorphisms and risk of RP in lung cancer patients treated with definitive radiotherapy.
Two investigators independently searched the Medline, Embase, CNKI, and Chinese Biomedicine Databases for studies published before September 2013. Summary odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for TGF-β1 polymorphisms and RP were calculated in a fixed-effects model or a random-effects model when appropriate.
Ultimately, each 7 studies were found to be eligible for meta-analyses of C509T, G915C and T869C, respectively. Our analysis suggested that the variant genotypes of T869C were associated with a significantly increased RP risk in dominant model (OR = 0.59, 95% CI = 0.45–0.79) and CT vs. TT model (OR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.32–0.69). In the subgroup analyses by ethnicity/country, a significantly increased risk was observed among Caucasians. For C509T and G915C polymorphism, no obvious associations were found for all genetic models.
This meta-analysis suggests that T869C polymorphism of TGF-β1 may be associated with RP risk only in Caucasians, and there may be no association between C509T and G915C polymorphism and RP risk.
PMCID: PMC3958356  PMID: 24642488
18.  Differential expressed genes of change in glucose metabolism in the liver of GCK knockout mice 
Gene  2013;516(2):248-254.
To investigate the role of liver-specific expression of GCK in the pathogenesis of hyperglycemia and identify candidate genes involved in the mechanisms for onset and progression of MODY2, we examined the differentially expression of genes in the liver of liver-specific glucokinase (GCK) knockout mice (gckw/−) model at 2 and 26 weeks by suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH). The expression levels of the ACAT2 and PEPCK genes identified by SSH, glycogen Synthase (GS) and glycogen phosphorylase (GP) genes were further examined at different ages by Real time PCR. In addition, we also characterized the expression of mouse GCK mRNA at different ages as well as the fasting blood glucose, serum insulin, GCK activity, total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride(TG) and glycogen content. The results show that, except for 2-week-old gckw/− mice, the fasting blood glucose levels are significantly higher for gckw/− mice (P<0.01)and the GCK activity of gckw/− mice lower about 50% than for GCK wild type(gckw/w )mice(P<0.05). The glycogen content of 4-week old and 40-week old gckw/− mice was lower than that of 4-week old and 40-week old gckw/w mice. The GP mRNA levels decrease at 40-week old gckw/− mice compared to age-matched gckw/w mice. PEPCK mRNA decreases at 2-week old gckw/− mice, but increases at 4-week old gckw/− mice(P<0.05). Changes in the expression of PEPCK genes, delayed development of GCK and impaired hepatic glycogen synthesis in liver potentially lead to onset and progression of maturity onset diabetes of the young, type 2 (MODY-2).
PMCID: PMC3642073  PMID: 23291412 CAMSID: cams2937
glucokinase; MODY2; differentially expressed genes
19.  Cardiotoxic and Cardioprotective Features of Chronic β-adrenergic Signaling 
Circulation research  2012;112(3):498-509.
In the failing heart, persistent β-adrenergic receptor (βAR) activation is thought to induce myocyte death by protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent and PKA-independent activation of calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII). β-Adrenergic signaling pathways are also capable of activating cardioprotective mechanisms.
This study used a novel PKA inhibitor peptide (PKI) to inhibit PKA activity to test the hypothesis that βAR signaling causes cell death through PKA-dependent pathways and cardioprotection through PKA-independent pathways.
Methods and Results
In PKI transgenic mice, chronic isoproterenol (ISO) failed to induce cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis, myocyte apoptosis and depressed cardiac function. In cultured adult feline ventricular myocytes (AFVMs), PKA inhibition protected myocytes from death induced by β1-AR agonists by preventing cytosolic and SR Ca2+ overload and CaMKII activation. PKA inhibition revealed a cardioprotective role of β-adrenergic signaling via cAMP/EPAC /Rap1/Rac/ERK pathway. Selective PKA inhibition causes protection in the heart after myocardial infarction (MI) that was superior to β-blocker therapy.
These results suggest that selective block of PKA could be a novel heart failure therapy.
PMCID: PMC3562387  PMID: 23104882
Apoptosis; Ca2+/dependent protein kinase II; ERK2; EPAC
20.  High Serum miR-19a Levels Are Associated with Inflammatory Breast Cancer and Are Predictive of Favorable Clinical Outcome in Patients with Metastatic HER2+ Inflammatory Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83113.
Altered serum microRNA (miRNA) levels may be correlated with a dysregulated expression pattern in parental tumor tissue and reflect the clinical evolution of disease. The overexpression of miR-21, miR-10b, and miR-19a is associated with the acquisition of malignant characteristics (increased tumor cell proliferation, migration, invasion, dissemination, and metastasis); thus, we determined their utility as serum biomarkers for aggressive breast cancer (HER2-overexpressed or -amplified [HER2+] and inflammatory breast cancer [IBC]).
Experimental Design
In this prospective study, we measured miR-21, miR-10b, and miR-19a levels using quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in the serum of 113 breast cancer patients and determined their association with clinicopathologic factors and clinical outcome. Thirty healthy donors with no history of cancer were enrolled as controls.
Patients with non-metastatic HER2+ breast cancer had higher serum miR-21 median levels than patients with non-metastatic HER2− disease (p = 0.044); whereas patients with metastatic HER2+ breast cancer had higher serum miR-10b median levels than patients with metastatic HER2− disease (p = 0.0004). There were no significant differences in serum miR-19a median levels between HER2+ and HER2− groups, regardless of the presence of metastases. High serum miR-19a levels were associated with IBC (p = 0.039). Patients with metastatic IBC had significantly higher serum miR-19a median levels than patients with metastatic non-IBC (p = 0.019). Finally, high serum miR-19a levels were associated with longer progression-free survival time (10.3 vs. 3.2 months; p = 0.022) and longer overall survival time (median not reached vs. 11.2 months; p = 0.003) in patients with metastatic HER2+ IBC.
High levels of miR-21 and miR-10b were present in the serum of patients with non-metastatic and metastatic HER2+ breast cancer, respectively. High levels of serum miR-19a may represent a biomarker for IBC that is predictive for favorable clinical outcome in patients with metastatic HER2+ IBC.
PMCID: PMC3885405  PMID: 24416156
21.  aP2-Cre-Mediated Inactivation of Estrogen Receptor Alpha Causes Hydrometra 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85581.
In this study we describe the reproductive phenotypes of a novel mouse model in which Cre-mediated deletion of ERα is regulated by the aP2 (fatty acid binding protein 4) promoter. ERα-floxed mice were crossed with transgenic mice expressing Cre-recombinase under the control of the aP2 promoter to generate aP2-Cre/ERαflox/flox mice. As expected, ERα mRNA levels were reduced in adipose tissue, but in addition we also detected an 80% reduction of ERα levels in the hypothalamus of aP2-Cre/ERαflox/flox mice. Phenotypic analysis revealed that aP2-Cre/ERαflox/flox female mice were infertile. In line with this, aP2-Cre/ERαflox/flox female mice did not cycle and presented 3.8-fold elevated estrogen levels. That elevated estrogen levels were associated with increased estrogen signaling was evidenced by increased mRNA levels of the estrogen-regulated genes lactoferrin and aquaporin 5 in the uterus. Furthermore, aP2-Cre/ERαflox/flox female mice showed an accumulation of intra-uterine fluid, hydrometra, without overt indications for causative anatomical anomalies. However, the vagina and cervix displayed advanced keratosis with abnormal quantities of accumulating squamous epithelial cells suggesting functional obstruction by keratin plugs. Importantly, treatment of aP2-Cre/ERαflox/flox mice with the aromatase inhibitor Letrozole caused regression of the hydrometra phenotype linking increased estrogen levels to the observed phenotype. We propose that in aP2-Cre/ERαflox/flox mice, increased serum estrogen levels cause over-stimulation in the uterus and genital tracts resulting in hydrometra and vaginal obstruction.
PMCID: PMC3885723  PMID: 24416430
22.  CD11b/CD18 (Mac-1) Is a Novel Surface Receptor for Extracellular Double-stranded RNA to Mediate Cellular Inflammatory Responses 
During viral infection, extracellular dsRNA is a potent signaling molecule that activates many innate immune cells including macrophages. TLR3 is a well-known receptor for extracellular dsRNA, and internalization of extracellular dsRNA is required for endosomal TLR3 activation. Preserved inflammatory responses of TLR3-deficient macrophages to extracellular dsRNA strongly support a TLR3-independent mechanism in dsRNA-mediated immune responses. The present study demonstrated that CD11b/CD18 (Mac-1), a surface integrin receptor, recognized extracellular dsRNA and induced macrophage immune responses. CD11b deficiency reduced inflammatory cytokine induction elicited by polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C, a synthetic dsRNA) in mouse sera and livers and in cultured peritoneal macrophages. DsRNA-binding assay and confocal immunofluorescence showed that Mac-1, especially the CD11b subunit, interacted and colocalized with poly I:C on the surface of macrophages. Further mechanistic studies revealed two distinct signaling events following dsRNA recognition by Mac-1. Firstly, Mac-1 facilitated poly I:C internalization through the activation of PI3K signaling and enhanced TLR3-dependent activation of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) in macrophages. Secondly, poly I:C induced activation of phagocyte NADPH oxidase (NOX2) in a TLR3-independent, but Mac-1 dependent manner. Subsequently, NOX2-derived intracellular reactive oxygen species activated MAPK and NFκB pathways. Our results indicate that extracellular dsRNA activates Mac-1 to enhance TLR3-dependent signaling and to trigger TLR3-independent, but Mac-1-dependent inflammatory oxidative signaling, identifying a novel mechanistic basis for macrophages to recognize extracellular dsRNA to regulate innate immune responses. This study identifies Mac-1 as a novel surface receptor for extracellular dsRNA and implicates Mac-1 as a potential therapeutic target for virus-related inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC3529770  PMID: 23209319
Extracellular dsRNA; Innate immunity; Pathogen recognition receptor (PRR); Integrin; Mac-1(CD11b/CD18); Macrophage; Internalization; NADPH oxidase; Polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C); Reactive oxygen species (ROS); TLR3
23.  Ultrastructural and physiological responses of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) plantlets to gradient saline stress 
Salinity is one of the major abiotic stresses that impacts plant growth and reduces the productivity of field crops. Compared to field plants, test tube plantlets offer a direct and fast approach to investigate the mechanism of salt tolerance. Here we examined the ultrastructural and physiological responses of potato (Solanum tuberosum L. c.v. “Longshu No. 3”) plantlets to gradient saline stress (0, 25, 50, 100, and 200 mM NaCl) with two consequent observations (2 and 6 weeks, respectively). The results showed that, with the increase of external NaCl concentration and the duration of treatments, (1) the number of chloroplasts and cell intercellular spaces markedly decreased, (2) cell walls were thickened and even ruptured, (3) mesophyll cells and chloroplasts were gradually damaged to a complete disorganization containing more starch, (4) leaf Na and Cl contents increased while leaf K content decreased, (5) leaf proline content and the activities of catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) increased significantly, and (6) leaf malondialdehyde (MDA) content increased significantly and stomatal area and chlorophyll content decline were also detected. Severe salt stress (200 mM NaCl) inhibited plantlet growth. These results indicated that potato plantlets adapt to salt stress to some extent through accumulating osmoprotectants, such as proline, increasing the activities of antioxidant enzymes, such as CAT and SOD. The outcomes of this study provide ultrastructural and physiological insights into characterizing potential damages induced by salt stress for selecting salt-tolerant potato cultivars.
PMCID: PMC4292236  PMID: 25628634
potato plantlets; saline stress; ultrastructure; antioxidant defense system; ion distribution
24.  Activity of sputum p38 MAPK is correlated with airway inflammation and reduced FEV1 in COPD patients 
Inflammation and remodeling of the small airways are major determinants of the progression and severity of COPD. The present study explored the correlation between sputum p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity and airway inflammation and reduction of lung function in the patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Sputum samples were collected from 48 COPD patients and 12 healthy persons. Sputum p38 MAPK activity was measured by Western blotting and sputum levels of CXCL8 and neutrophil, and lung function was measured. The correlation between p38MAPK activity and airway inflammation and reduction of lung function was analyzed.
Our results showed the significantly increased expression of phospho-p38 MAPK and CXCL8 in the sputum samples of the COPD patients. The p38 MAPK activity was remarkably correlated with the CXCL8 level and neutrophils infiltration in the airway, and the decline of lung function in the COPD patients.
These findings suggest the pivotal role of p38 MAPK in the airway inflammation of COPD patients. We propose p38 MAPK as a potential target for the treatment of COPD.
PMCID: PMC3890402  PMID: 24382347
p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; CXCL8
25.  Phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase is dispensable for breast tumor maintenance and growth 
Oncotarget  2013;4(12):2502-2511.
Cancer cells rely on aerobic glycolysis to maintain cell growth and proliferation via the Warburg effect. Phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHDGH) catalyzes the first step of the serine biosynthetic pathway downstream of glycolysis, which is a metabolic gatekeeper both for macromolecular biosynthesis and serine-dependent DNA synthesis. Here, we report that PHDGH is overexpressed in many ER-negative human breast cancer cell lines. PHGDH knockdown in these cells leads to a reduction of serine synthesis and impairment of cancer cell proliferation. However, PHGDH knockdown does not affect tumor maintenance and growth in established breast cancer xenograft models, suggesting that PHGDH-dependent cancer cell growth may be context-dependent. Our findings suggest that other mechanisms or pathways may bypass exclusive dependence on PHGDH in established human breast cancer xenografts, indicating that PHGDH is dispensable for the growth and maintenance of tumors in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3926844  PMID: 24318446
PHGDH; breast cancer cells; in vivo

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