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1.  ANS Responses and Facial Expressions Differentiate between the Taste of Commercial Breakfast Drinks 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93823.
The high failure rate of new market introductions, despite initial successful testing with traditional sensory and consumer tests, necessitates the development of other tests. This study explored the ability of selected physiological and behavioral measures of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to distinguish between repeated exposures to foods from a single category (breakfast drinks) and with similar liking ratings. In this within-subject study 19 healthy young adults sipped from five breakfast drinks, each presented five times, while ANS responses (heart rate, skin conductance response and skin temperature), facial expressions, liking, and intensities were recorded. The results showed that liking was associated with increased heart rate and skin temperature, and more neutral facial expressions. Intensity was associated with reduced heart rate and skin temperature, more neutral expressions and more negative expressions of sadness, anger and surprise. Strongest associations with liking were found after 1 second of tasting, whereas strongest associations with intensity were found after 2 seconds of tasting. Future studies should verify the contribution of the additional information to the prediction of market success.
PMCID: PMC3979707  PMID: 24714107
2.  Congenital arhinia: A rare case 
Patient: Male, 4 months
Final Diagnosis: Congenital arhynia
Symptoms: Absence of the nose
Medication: —
Clinical Procedure: —
Specialty: Pediatrics and Noenatology • Genetics
Congenital defects
Congenital nasal absence (arhinia) is an extremely rare malformation. Arhinia causes severe airway obstruction and poor feeding in the affected neonate. There is an association with other facial anomalies, especially defects of the eyes, ears, palate, and midline defects.
Case Report:
A full-term boy was born via an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. The mother was 40 years old and had a normal pregnancy. The mother had 4 previous uncomplicated pregnancies. There was no history of drug use during pregnancy.
Congenital arhinia is a rare defect of embryogenesis, often associated with other anomalies that significantly influence the immediate and long-term outcomes of the neonate. It is a potentially life-threatening condition and requires the presence of a highly skilled neonatal resuscitation team at the time of delivery. Parental counseling is vital and a multidisciplinary team approach is required to optimize neonatal outcome.
PMCID: PMC3966695  PMID: 24678375
Arhinia; Congenital; Reconstruction
3.  Associations between Two Polymorphisms (FokI and BsmI) of Vitamin D Receptor Gene and Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus in Asian Population: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e89325.
Vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene polymorphisms are possibly involved in the development of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). However, the results to date have been inconclusive. We performed a meta-analysis to examine the association between 2 polymorphisms (FokI and BsmI) of the VDR gene and T1DM in the Asian population.
Literature was retrieved from PubMed, Web of Science, CBM, Embase and Chinese databases. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using a random or fixed effect model.
In total, 20 papers (BsmI: 13 studies; FokI: 13 studies) were included. In contrast to the FokI polymorphism, the BsmI polymorphism was associated with an increased risk of T1DM in the Asian population (OR = 1.47, 95% CI = 1.13–1.91, P = 0.004 for B vs. b). Upon stratification by regional geography, an increased risk of T1DM in association with the BsmI polymorphism was observed in the East Asian population (OR = 1.97, 95% CI = 1.38–2.83, P<0.001 for B vs. b), whereas the FokI polymorphism was associated with an increased risk of T1DM in the West Asian population (OR = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.12–1.88, P = 0.004 for F vs. f).
Our meta-analysis suggests that the BsmI polymorphism may be a risk factor for susceptibility to T1DM in the East Asian population, and the FokI polymorphism is associated with an increased risk of T1DM in the West Asian population. However, because the study size was limited, further studies are essential to confirm our results.
PMCID: PMC3945782  PMID: 24603699
4.  Association of High Vitamin D Status with Low Circulating Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone Independent of Thyroid Hormone Levels in Middle-Aged and Elderly Males 
Background. A recent study has reported that high circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] is associated with low circulating thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, but only in younger individuals. The goal of the present study was to explore the relationship between vitamin D status and circulating TSH levels with thyroid autoimmunity and thyroid hormone levels taken into consideration in a population-based health survey of middle-aged and elderly individuals. Methods. A total of 1,424 Chinese adults, aged 41–78 years, were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. Serum levels of 25(OH)D, TSH, thyroid hormones, and thyroid autoantibodies were measured. Results. The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency was 94.29% in males and 97.22% in females, and the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 55.61% in males and 69.64% in females. Vitamin D status was not associated with positive thyroid autoantibodies after controlling for age, gender, body mass index, and smoking status. Higher 25(OH)D levels were associated with lower TSH levels after controlling for age, FT4 and FT3 levels, thyroid volume, the presence of thyroid nodule(s), and smoking status in males. Conclusion. High vitamin D status in middle-aged and elderly males was associated with low circulating TSH levels independent of thyroid hormone levels.
PMCID: PMC3947886
5.  Association of calcaneal quantitative ultrasound parameters with metabolic syndrome in middle-aged and elderly Chinese: a large population-based cross-sectional study 
The possible association between metabolic syndrome (MS) and bone mineral density (BMD) has been highlighted recently. However, the exact effects of MS on calcaneal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) parameters remains uncertain. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of MS states, different componets of MS, as well as the number of MS componets on QUS.
A total of 7489 Chinese adults aged 40 years or older in Nanjing were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. MS was defined according to recommendations generated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in 2005. QUS was measured for each participant.
The prevalence of MS was 34.6% in men and 42.8% in women (over 40 years old). In postmenopausal women with MS, 25-hydroxyvitamin D[25(OH)D], age adjusted quantitative ultrasound index (QUI) and broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) were all lower than those without (p < 0.001, p = 0.023, p = 0.021, respectively), the difference of QUI and BUA disappeared after adjustment for body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC). In stepwise analysis, BMI, WC, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) were related to QUS (p < 0.05). The number of MS components had no influence on QUS. Fragile fracture incidence was higher in women with MS (6.8% VS. 5.3%, P = 0.034).
Chinese postmenopausal women with MS have worse BMD measured by QUS and more chances to develop osteoporotic fractures than the controls, which partially due to central obesity as well as vitamin D deficiency. People having less central obesity, higher FPG or HDL-C are less likely to have bone mineral loss.
PMCID: PMC3925415  PMID: 24529197
Metabolic syndrome; Osteoporosis; Calcaneal quantitative ultrasound; Fragile fractures
6.  Genome-Wide Gene Expression Profile Analyses Identify CTTN as a Potential Prognostic Marker in Esophageal Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88918.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most common fatal malignances of the digestive tract. Its prognosis is poor mainly due to the lack of reliable markers for early detection and prognostic prediction. Here we aim to identify the molecules involved in ESCC carcinogenesis and those as potential markers for prognosis and as new molecular therapeutic targets.
We performed genome-wide gene expression profile analyses of 10 primary ESCCs and their adjacent normal tissues by cDNA microarrays representing 47,000 transcripts and variants. Candidate genes were then validated by semi quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), tissue microarrays (TMAs) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining.
Using an arbitrary cutoff line of signal log ratio of ≥1.5 or ≤−1.5, we observed 549 up-regulated genes and 766 down-regulated genes in ESCCs compared with normal esophageal tissues. The functions of 302 differentially expressed genes were associated with cell metabolism, cell adhesion and immune response. Several candidate deregulated genes including four overexpressed (CTTN, DMRT2, MCM10 and SCYA26) and two underexpressed (HMGCS2 and SORBS2) were subsequently verified, which can be served as biomarkers for ESCC. Moreover, overexpression of cortactin (CTTN) was observed in 126/198 (63.6%) of ESCC cases and was significantly associated with lymph node metastasis (P = 0.000), pathologic stage (P = 0.000) and poor survival (P<0.001) of ESCC patients. Furthermore, a significant correlation between CTTN overexpression and shorter disease-specific survival rate was found in different subgroups of ESCC patient stratified by the pathologic stage (P<0.05).
Our data provide valuable information for establishing molecules as candidates for prognostic and/or as therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC3925182  PMID: 24551190
7.  Dynamics of autonomic nervous system responses and facial expressions to odors 
Why we like or dislike certain products may be better captured by physiological and behavioral measures of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) than by conscious or classical sensory tests. Responses to pleasant and unpleasant food odors presented in varying concentrations were assessed continuously using facial expressions and responses of the ANS. Results of 26 young and healthy female participants showed that the unpleasant fish odor triggered higher heart rates and skin conductance responses, lower skin temperature, fewer neutral facial expressions and more disgusted and angry expressions (p < 0.05). Neutral facial expressions differentiated between odors within 100 ms, after the start of the odor presentation followed by expressions of disgust (180 ms), anger (500 ms), surprised (580 ms), sadness (820 ms), scared (1020 ms), and happy (1780 ms) (all p-values < 0.05). Heart rate differentiated between odors after 400 ms, whereas skin conductance responses differentiated between odors after 3920 ms. At shorter intervals (between 520 and 1000 ms and between 2690 and 3880 ms) skin temperature for fish was higher than that for orange, but became considerable lower after 5440 ms. This temporal unfolding of emotions in reactions to odors, as seen in facial expressions and physiological measurements supports sequential appraisal theories.
PMCID: PMC3923144  PMID: 24592246
skin conductance; skin temperature; heart rate; ANS responses; odor; valence; concentration; facial expressions
9.  MicroRNA-362 induces cell proliferation and apoptosis resistance in gastric cancer by activation of NF-κB signaling 
According to cancer-related microRNA (miRNA) expression microarray research available in public databases, miR-362 expression is elevated in gastric cancer. However, the expression and biological role of miR-362 in gastric progression remain unclear.
miR-362 expression levels in gastric cancer tissues and cell lines were determined using real-time PCR. The roles of miR-362, in promoting gastric cancer cell proliferation and apoptosis resistance, were assessed by different biological assays, such as colony assay, flow cytometry and TUNEL assay. The effect of miR-362 on NF-κB activation was investigated using the luciferase reporter assay, fluorescent immunostaining.
MiR-362 overexpression induced cell proliferation, colony formation, and resistance to cisplatin-induced apoptosis in BGC-823 and SGC-7901 gastric cancer cells. MiR-362 increased NF-κB activity and relative mRNA expression of NF-κB–regulated genes, and induced nuclear translocation of p65. Expression of the tumor suppressor CYLD was inhibited by miR-362 in gastric cancer cells; miR-362 levels were inversely correlated with CYLD expression in gastric cancer tissue. MiR-362 downregulated CYLD expression by binding its 3′ untranslated region. NF-κB activation was mechanistically associated with siRNA-mediated downregulation of CYLD. MiR-362 inhibitor reversed all the effects of miR-362.
The results suggest that miR-362 plays an important role in repressing the tumor suppressor CYLD and present a novel mechanism of miRNA-mediated NF-κB activation in gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC3916099  PMID: 24495516
miR-362; NF-κB; CYLD; Gastric cancer; Proliferation; Apoptosis
10.  Review of risk factors for human echinococcosis prevalence on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China: a prospective for control options 
Echinococcosis is a major parasitic zoonosis of public health importance in western China. In 2004, the Chinese Ministry of Health estimated that 380,000 people had the disease in the region. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is highly co-endemic with both alveolar echinococcosis (AE) and cystic echinococcosis (CE). In the past years, the Chinese government has been increasing the financial support to control the diseases in this region. Therefore, it is very important to identify the significant risk factors of the diseases by reviewing studies done in the region in the past decade to help policymakers design appropriate control strategies.
Selection criteria for which literature to review were firstly defined. Medline, CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure), and Google Scholar were systematically searched for literature published between January 2000 and July 2011. Significant risk factors found by single factor and/or multiple factors analysis were listed, counted, and summarized. Literature was examined to check the comparability of the data; age and sex specific prevalence with same data structures were merged and used for further analysis.
A variety of assumed social, economical, behavioral, and ecological risk factors were studied on the Plateau. Those most at risk were Tibetan herdsmen, the old and female in particular. By analyzing merged comparable data, it was found that females had a significant higher prevalence, and a positive linearity relationship existed between echinococcosis prevalence and increasing age. In terms of behavioral risk factors, playing with dogs was mostly correlated with CE and/or AE prevalence. In terms of hygiene, employing ground water as the drinking water source was significantly correlated with CE and AE prevalence. For definitive hosts, dog related factors were most frequently identified with prevalence of CE or/and AE; fox was a potential risk factor for AE prevalence only. Overgrazing and deforestation were significant for AE prevalence only.
Tibetan herdsmen communities were at the highest risk of echinococcosis prevalence and should be the focus of echinococcosis control. Deworming both owned and stray dogs should be a major measure for controlling echinococcosis; treatment of wild definitive hosts should also be considered for AE endemic areas. Health education activities should be in concert with the local people’s education backgrounds and languages in order to be able to improve behaviors. Further researches are needed to clarify the importance of wild hosts for AE/CE prevalence, the extent and range of the impacts of ecologic changes (overgrazing and deforestation) on the AE prevalence, and risk factors in Tibet.
PMCID: PMC3910240  PMID: 24475907
Echinococcosis; Risk factors; Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; Control options
11.  Physiological and photosynthetic characteristics of indica Hang2 expressing the sugarcane PEPC gene 
Molecular Biology Reports  2014;41:2189-2197.
Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) is known to play a key role in the initial fixation of CO2 in C4 photosynthesis. The PEPC gene from sugarcane (a C4 plant) was introduced into indica rice (Hang2), a process mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Integration patterns and copy numbers of the gene was confirmed by DNA blot analysis. RT-PCR and western blotting results showed that the PEPC gene was expressed at both the mRNA and protein levels in the transgenic lines. Real-time PCR results indicated that expression of the sugarcane PEPC gene occurred mostly in green tissues and changed under high temperature and drought stress. All transgenic lines showed higher PEPC enzyme activities compared to the untransformed controls, with the highest activity (11.1 times higher than the controls) being observed in the transgenic line, T34. The transgenic lines also exhibited higher photosynthetic rates. The highest photosynthetic rate was observed in the transgenic line, T54 (22.3 μmol m−2 s−1; 24.6 % higher than that in non-transgenic plants) under high-temperature conditions. Furthermore, the filled grain and total grain numbers for transgenic lines were higher than those for non-transgenic plants, but the grain filling (%) and 1,000-grain weights of all transgenic lines remained unchanged. We concluded that over-expression of the PEPC gene from sugarcane in indica rice (Hang2) resulted in higher PEPC enzyme activities and higher photosynthesis rates under high-temperature conditions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11033-014-3070-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3968443  PMID: 24469712
Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase gene (PEPC gene); C4 photosynthesis; Gene expression; Transgenic rice
12.  Loss of B7-H1 expression by recipient parenchymal cells leads to expansion of infiltrating donor CD8+ T cells and persistence of GVHD 
Previous experimental studies have shown that acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is associated with two waves of donor CD8+ T cell expansion. In the current studies, we used in vivo bioluminescent imaging (BLI), in vivo BrdU-labeling, and three different experimental GVHD systems to show that B7-H1 expression by recipient parenchymal cells controls the second wave of alloreactive donor CD8+ T cell expansion and the associated second phase of GVHD. Loss of B7-H1 expression by parenchymal cells during the course of GVHD was associated with persistent proliferation of donor CD8+ T cells in GVHD target tissues and continued tissue injury, whereas persistent expression of B7-H1 expression by parenchymal cells led to reduced proliferation of donor CD8+ T cells in GVHD target tissues and resolution of GVHD. These studies demonstrate that parenchymal cell expression of B7-H1 is required for tolerizing infiltrating T cells and preventing the persistence of GVHD. Our results suggest that therapies designed to preserve or restore expression of B7-H1 expression by parenchymal tissues in the recipient could prevent or ameliorate GVHD in humans.
PMCID: PMC3891913  PMID: 22156590
Hematopoietic cell transplantation; Graft versus host disease; Co-inhibitory molecule B7-H1; Anti-CD3; Lymphopenia
13.  Insulin Protects Apoptotic Cardiomyocytes from Hypoxia/Reoxygenation Injury through the Sphingosine Kinase/Sphingosine 1-Phosphate Axis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80644.
Experimental and clinical studies have shown that administration of insulin during reperfusion is cardioprotective, but the mechanisms underlying this effect are still unknown. In this study, the ability of insulin to protect apoptotic cardiomyocytes from hypoxia/reoxygenation injury using the sphingosine kinase/sphingosine 1-phosphate axis was investigated.
Methods and Results
Rat cardiomyocytes were isolated and subjected to hypoxia and reoxygenation. [γ-32P] ATP was used to assess sphingosine kinase activity. Insulin was found to increase sphingosine kinase activity. Immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis showed changes in the subcellular location of sphingosine kinase 1 from cytosol to the membrane in cardiomyocytes. Insulin caused cardiomyocytes to accumulate of S1P in a dose-dependent manner. FRET efficiency showed that insulin also transactivates the S1P1 receptor. TUNEL staining showed that administration of insulin during reoxygenation could to reduce the rate of reoxygenation-induced apoptosis, which is a requirement for SphK 1 activity. It also reduced the rate of activation of the S1P receptor and inhibited hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced cell death in cardiomyocytes.
The sphingosine kinase 1/sphingosine 1-phosphate/S1P receptor axis is one pathway through which insulin protects rat cardiomyocytes from apoptosis induced by hypoxia/reoxygenation injury.
PMCID: PMC3859498  PMID: 24349009
14.  Folate Receptor-Positive Circulating Tumor Cells as a Novel Diagnostic Biomarker in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer1 
Translational Oncology  2013;6(6):697-702.
The study aims to determine the efficacy and feasibility of a novel folate receptor (FR)-based circulating tumor cell (CTC) detection method in the diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). CTCs were collected from 3 ml of blood based on negative enrichment by immunomagnetic beads and then labeled by a conjugate of a tumor-specific ligand folate and an oligonucleotide. After washing off redundant conjugates, the bound conjugates were removed and analyzed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The captured cells were validated as tumor cells by immunofluorescence staining. In the evaluation of clinical utility, the results showed that the CTC levels of 153 patients with NSCLC were significantly higher than the controls (49 healthy donors and 64 patients with benign lung diseases; P < .001). With a threshold of 8.64 CTC units, the method showed a sensitivity of 73.2% and a specificity of 84.1% in the diagnosis of NSCLC, especially a sensitivity of 67.2% in stage I disease. Compared with the existing clinical biomarkers such as neuron-specific enolase (NSE), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), cancer antigen 125 (CA125), cyfra21-1, and squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCC Ag), the method showed the highest diagnostic efficiency (area under the curve, 0.823; 95% confidence interval, 0.773–0.874). Together, our results demonstrated that FR-positive CTCs were feasible diagnostic biomarkers in patients with NSCLC, as well as in early-stage tumors.
PMCID: PMC3890704  PMID: 24466372
15.  Manual Acupuncture and Laser Acupuncture for Autonomic Regulations in Rats: Observation on Heart Rate Variability and Gastric Motility 
This study focused on the effects of laser acupuncture (LA) and manual acupuncture (MA) at different acupoints on gastric motility and heart rate variability (HRV) simultaneously to elucidate the site specific effects of acupoints and the correlation between changes of gastric motility and low frequency/high frequency (LF/HF) ratio. Gastric motility and HRV were recorded before and during MA or LA. Stimulating PC-6 or ST-36 significantly enhanced gastric motility, while BL-21 caused no changes. In contrast, MA or LA at CV-12 significantly suppressed gastric motility. Stimulating PC-6 or ST-36 significantly increased heart rate (HR), while CV-12 or BL-21 induced no significant changes of HR. Stimulating PC-6 significantly increased LF/HF, while ST-36, CV-12, or BL-21 induced no significant effects. These results indicated that there was acupoint specificity in the effects of acupuncture on gastric motility and HRV. The stimulatory effect of MA and LA at PC-6 and ST-36 on HR was associated with sympathetic activity. The stimulatory effect of MA or LA at PC-6 or ST-36 on gastric motility was associated with vagal activity. Laser needle can be used as an alternative stimulation therapy.
PMCID: PMC3857851  PMID: 24348694
16.  Effectiveness of Interstitial Laser Acupuncture Depends upon Dosage: Experimental Results from Electrocardiographic and Electrocorticographic Recordings 
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of the duration of interstitial laser acupuncture therapy effects on neurovegetative and neurobioelectrical parameters like heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV), and electroencephalogram (EEG). We investigated 6 male Sprague-Dawley rats. They underwent 10 min, 20 min, and 30 min interstitial laser acupuncture (in randomized order, with a break of at least 30 min between the different measurement conditions) at the acupoint Neiguan. HR changed significantly only during 20 min red laser stimulation, whereas 10 and 30 min stimulation did not induce significant changes. HRV did not change significantly during any of the different durations; however, an increase was found during 20 min irradiation. Neither the LF/HF ratio of HRV nor the integrated EEG showed significant changes. In this study, it could be experimentally proved that some effects of laser acupuncture are time dependent, and therefore the dosage, as well known from theory, also depends on the time factor. We could especially demonstrate that different treatment times lead to different effects on neurovegetative and neurobioelectrical parameters. Further studies are needed to verify or refute these results.
PMCID: PMC3853036  PMID: 24348729
17.  KAT5 and KAT6B are in positive regulation on cell proliferation of prostate cancer through PI3K-AKT signaling 
Histone modifications play important roles in the tumorigenesis and progression of prostate cancer (PCa) and genes involved in histone modifications are seemed as ideal targets for treatment of PCa patients. However, clinical trials have shown that those existing drugs exert the minimal antitumor activity and excess adverse effects on PCa patients. Therefore, it is of great interest to figure out novel specific biomarkers to guide the development of new drugs. In present study, an RNAi screening with 44 genes involved in histone modifications was applied to a PCa cell line, Du145. The results showed that nine genes were in positive regulation of Du145 cell growth. Then four selected genes (KAT2B, KAT5, KAT6B and HDAC1) were found to exert this effect by a gene-specific manner when silenced. And then KAT5 or KAT6B silenced cells were subjected to DNA microarray analysis. The common differentially expressed genes were analyzed by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) and found that PDEF signaling, EIF2 signaling and PI3K signaling was suppressed following by KAT5 or KAT6B silencing. Subsequent immunoblotting assay showed that AKT signaling was inhibited, which suggested that KAT5 or KAT6B regulates cancer cell growth through PI3K-AKT signaling. Together with our published data [31] that AURKA inhibitoin increased drug sensitivity of DU145, our work demonstrated the underlying mechanism that how the acetylation enzyme regulates cancer cells survial and might provide potential therapeutic targets for prostate cancer patients in future epigenetic drug development.
PMCID: PMC3843266  PMID: 24294372
Prostate cancer; histone modifications; RNAi screening; KAT5; KAT6B; PI3K-AKT signaling
18.  Scale-up and evaluation of high solid ionic liquid pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis of switchgrass 
Ionic liquid (IL) pretreatment is receiving significant attention as a potential process that enables fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass and produces high yields of fermentable sugars suitable for the production of renewable fuels. However, successful optimization and scale up of IL pretreatment involves challenges, such as high solids loading, biomass handling and transfer, washing of pretreated solids and formation of inhibitors, which are not addressed during the development stages at the small scale in a laboratory environment. As a first in the research community, the Joint BioEnergy Institute, in collaboration with the Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit, a Department of Energy funded facility that supports academic and industrial entities in scaling their novel biofuels enabling technologies, have performed benchmark studies to identify key challenges associated with IL pretreatment using 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate and subsequent enzymatic saccharification beyond bench scale.
Using switchgrass as the model feedstock, we have successfully executed 600-fold, relative to the bench scale (6 L vs 0.01 L), scale-up of IL pretreatment at 15% (w/w) biomass loading. Results show that IL pretreatment at 15% biomass generates a product containing 87.5% of glucan, 42.6% of xylan and only 22.8% of lignin relative to the starting material. The pretreated biomass is efficiently converted into monosaccharides during subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis at 10% loading over a 150-fold scale of operations (1.5 L vs 0.01 L) with 99.8% fermentable sugar conversion. The yield of glucose and xylose in the liquid streams were 94.8% and 62.2%, respectively, and the hydrolysate generated contains high titers of fermentable sugars (62.1 g/L of glucose and 5.4 g/L cellobiose). The overall glucan and xylan balance from pretreatment and saccharification were 95.0% and 77.1%, respectively. Enzymatic inhibition by [C2mim][OAc] at high solids loadings requires further process optimization to obtain higher yields of fermentable sugars.
Results from this initial scale up evaluation indicate that the IL-based conversion technology can be effectively scaled to larger operations and the current study establishes the first scaling parameters for this conversion pathway but several issues must be addressed before a commercially viable technology can be realized, most notably reduction in water consumption and efficient IL recycle.
PMCID: PMC3817576  PMID: 24160440
Scale-up; Pretreatment; Saccharification; Ionic liquid; High solid loading; Viscosity; Inhibition
19.  A Detailed Epidemiological and Clinical Description of 6 Human Cases of Avian-Origin Influenza A (H7N9) Virus Infection in Shanghai 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77651.
The world’s first reported patient infected with avian influenza H7N9 was treated at the Fifth People’s Hospital of Shanghai. Shortly thereafter, several other cases emerged in the local area. Here, we describe the detailed epidemiological and clinical data of 6 cases of avian influenza H7N9.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed the epidemiologic and clinical data from clustered patients infected with H7N9 in the Minhang District of Shanghai during a 2-week period. Of the 6 patients, 2 were from a single family. In addition, 3 patients had a history of contact with poultry; however, all 6 patients lived in the proximity of 2 food markets where the H7N9 virus was detected in chickens and pigeons. The main symptoms were fever, cough, and hemoptysis. At onset, a decreased lymphocyte count and elevated creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, procalcitonin, and C-reactive protein levels were observed. As the disease progressed, most patients developed dyspnea and hypoxemia. Imaging studies revealed lung consolidation and multiple ground-glass opacities in the early stage, rapidly extending bilaterally. All patients were treated with oseltamivir tablets beginning on days 3–8 after onset. The main complications were as follows: acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS; 83.3%), secondary bacterial infection (66.7%), pleural effusion (50%), left ventricular failure (33.3%), neuropsychiatric symptoms (33.3%), and rhabdomyolysis (16.7%). Of the 6 patients, 4 died of ARDS, with 2 patients recovering from the infection.
An outbreak of H7N9 infection occurred in the Minhang District of Shanghai that easily progressed to acute respiratory distress syndrome. Two cases showed family aggregation, which led us to identify the H7N9 virus and indicated that human transmission may be involved in the spread of this infection.
PMCID: PMC3797049  PMID: 24143251
20.  Ultrafast demagnetization enhancement in CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB magnetic tunneling junction driven by spin tunneling current 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2883.
The laser-induced ultrafast demagnetization of CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB magnetic tunneling junction is exploited by time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr effect (TRMOKE) for both the parallel state (P state) and the antiparallel state (AP state) of the magnetizations between two magnetic layers. It was observed that the demagnetization time is shorter and the magnitude of demagnetization is larger in the AP state than those in the P state. These behaviors are attributed to the ultrafast spin transfer between two CoFeB layers via the tunneling of hot electrons through the MgO barrier. Our observation indicates that ultrafast demagnetization can be engineered by the hot electrons tunneling current. It opens the door to manipulate the ultrafast spin current in magnetic tunneling junctions.
PMCID: PMC3791444  PMID: 24097037
21.  Effect of an educational intervention on HPV knowledge and vaccine attitudes among urban employed women and female undergraduate students in China: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:916.
Due to the potential of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for decreasing cervical cancer rates in Mainland China, where some of the highest incidences in the world have been reported, our study aimed to assess HPV and HPV vaccine knowledge, and to evaluate the effect of a brief educational intervention on HPV knowledge and vaccine acceptability in Chinese undergraduate students and employed women.
This multi-center, cross-sectional study was conducted across five representative cities of the five main geographical regions of Mainland China. Participants were selected from one comprehensive university and three to four companies in each city for a total of six comprehensive universities and 16 companies. A 62-item questionnaire on HPV knowledge and HPV vaccine acceptability was administered to participants before and after an educational intervention. The intervention consisted of an informative group lecture.
A total of 1146 employed women and 557 female undergraduate students were surveyed between August and November 2011. Baseline HPV knowledge was low among both groups— 320/1146 (28%) of employed women and 66/557 (12%) of students had heard of HPV, while only 237/1146 (21%) of employed women and 40/557 (7.2%) of students knew that HPV is related to cervical cancer. After educational instruction, 947/1061 (89%) of employed women and 193/325 (59%) of students knew the relationship between HPV and cervical cancer (χ2 = 1041.8, p < 0.001 and χ2 = 278.5, p < 0.001, respectively). Post-intervention, vaccine acceptability increased from 881/1146 (77%) to 953/1061 (90%), (p = <0.001) in employed women and 405/557 (73%) in students to 266/325 (82%), (p < 0.001). Women in both groups cited concerns about the HPV vaccine’s safety, efficacy, and limited use to date as reasons for being unwilling to receive vaccination. 502/1146 (44%) of women were willing to vaccinate their children at baseline, which increased to 857/1061 (81%) post-intervention, p < 0.001.
Incorporation of our lecture-based education initiative into a government-sponsored or school-based program may improve HPV-related knowledge and HPV vaccine acceptability. Further studies are needed to evaluate and standardize HPV education programs in China.
PMCID: PMC3852612  PMID: 24088392
Cervical cancer; HPV education; Human papillomavirus; Prophylactic HPV vaccine; HPV knowledge; HPV attitudes; Vaccine acceptability
22.  NF-κB–mediated Pax7 dysregulation in the muscle microenvironment promotes cancer cachexia 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(11):4821-4835.
Cachexia is a debilitating condition characterized by extreme skeletal muscle wasting that contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality. Efforts to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of muscle loss have predominantly focused on events intrinsic to the myofiber. In contrast, less regard has been given to potential contributory factors outside the fiber within the muscle microenvironment. In tumor-bearing mice and patients with pancreatic cancer, we found that cachexia was associated with a type of muscle damage resulting in activation of both satellite and nonsatellite muscle progenitor cells. These muscle progenitors committed to a myogenic program, but were inhibited from completing differentiation by an event linked with persistent expression of the self-renewing factor Pax7. Overexpression of Pax7 was sufficient to induce atrophy in normal muscle, while under tumor conditions, the reduction of Pax7 or exogenous addition of its downstream target, MyoD, reversed wasting by restoring cell differentiation and fusion with injured fibers. Furthermore, Pax7 was induced by serum factors from cachectic mice and patients, in an NF-κB–dependent manner, both in vitro and in vivo. Together, these results suggest that Pax7 responds to NF-κB by impairing the regenerative capacity of myogenic cells in the muscle microenvironment to drive muscle wasting in cancer.
PMCID: PMC3809785  PMID: 24084740
23.  Effect of Electroacupuncture at ST36 on Gastric-Related Neurons in Spinal Dorsal Horn and Nucleus Tractus Solitarius 
The aim of this study was to observe the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) at the ST36 acupoint on the firing rate of gastric-related neurons in the spinal dorsal horn (SDH) and nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS). There were different effects of gastric distention in SDH and NTS in 46 male Sprague-Dawley rats. In 10 excitatory neurons in SDH, most of the neurons were inhibited by homolateral EA. The firing rates decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in 10 excitatory gastric-related neurons in NTS; the firing rates of 6 neurons were further excited by homolateral EA, with a significant increase of the firing rates (P < 0.05); all inhibitory gastric-related neurons in NTS were excited by EA. The inhibition rate of homolateral EA was significantly increased in comparison with contralateral EA in gastric-related neurons of SDH (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference between homolateral and contralateral EA in gastric-related neurons of NTS. EA at ST36 changes the firing rate of gastric-related neurons in SDH and NTS. However, there are some differences in responsive mode in these neurons. The existence of these differences could be one of the physiological foundations of diversity and complexity in EA effects.
PMCID: PMC3804039  PMID: 24191172
24.  Effect of the tumor suppressor gene ING4 on the proliferation of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells 
Oncology Letters  2012;4(3):438-442.
Inhibitor of growth 4 (ING4) is a member of the ING family and acts as a tumor suppressor protein. To investigate the impact of ING4 on breast cancer proliferation, the present study examined the antitumor effects caused by upregulation in the expression of ING4 and its possible mechanism of effect in MCF-7 cells. A plasmid-based expression system encoding the ING4 gene was used to construct a stable cell line and overexpress ING4 in MCF-7 cells. Real-time PCR and western blot analysis were used to detect the mRNA and protein expression levels of ING4, respectively. Cell growth was examined by methylthiazolyltetrazolium (MTT) assay. Cell cycle distribution and cell apoptosis were measured by flow cytometry. The expression of p21, p53 and bax genes were tested by real-time PCR and western blot analysis. The stably transfected cell lines pcDNA3.1(+)/ING4 (with the ING4 gene) and pcDNA3.1(+) (an empty vector) were established. The expression levels of ING4 mRNA and protein in the stable cell line expressing pcDNA3.1(+)/ING4 were significantly higher than those of the two control cell lines. The cell proliferation of stably transfected cells was inhibited, and the inhibitory rate was 62.58±2.93%. Based on the changes in cell cycle distribution in stably transfected cells compared with two control cell lines, a number of cells were blocked in the G0/G1 phase 67.82±3.78% (P<0.05). In addition, the apoptotic rate was significantly higher, at 31.51±3.02% (P<0.05). Real-time PCR revealed that p21 and bax mRNA expression were increased (P<0.01), but the expression of p53 did not change significantly (P>0.05) in the stably transfected cell lines. Western blot analysis results of p21, bax and p53 were in accordance with real-time PCR results. ING4 upregulation may inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation and accelerate the process of apoptosis. It is suggested that ING4 plays a significant role in the suppression of breast cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC3439181  PMID: 22970041
inhibitor of growth 4; breast cancer; MCF-7
25.  Separating structures of different fluorophore concentrations by principal component analysis on multispectral excitation-resolved fluorescence tomography images 
Biomedical Optics Express  2013;4(10):1829-1845.
Multispectral excitation-resolved fluorescence tomography (MEFT) uses excitation light of different wavelengths to illuminate the fluorophores and obtains the reconstruction image frame which is fluorescence yield at each corresponding wavelength. For structures containing fluorophores of different concentrations, fluorescence yields show different variation trends with the excitation spectrum. In this study, principal component analysis (PCA) is used to analyze the MEFT reconstructed image frames. By taking advantage of the different variation trends of fluorescence yields, PCA can provide a set of principal components (PCs) in which structures containing different concentrations of fluorophores are shown separately. Simulations and experiments are both performed to test the performance of the proposed algorithm. The results suggest that the location and structure of fluorophores with different concentrations can be obtained and the contrast of fluorophores can be improved further by using this algorithm.
PMCID: PMC3799649  PMID: 24156047
(170.3010) Image reconstruction techniques; (170.6960) Tomography; (100.3190) Inverse problems; (170.3880) Medical and biological imaging; (170.3660) Light propagation in tissues; (290.1990) Diffusion; (290.7050) Turbid media

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