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1.  A single-center retrospective study of pediatric hepatoblastoma 
Oncology Letters  2016;12(5):3919-3925.
Hepatoblastoma is a malignant liver tumor generally diagnosed in infants and children <3 years old. The current retrospective study aimed to investigate the associations of tumor stage, pathological type, metastasis and chemotherapy with clinical outcomes. In the current study, a total of 102 patients with hepatoblastoma were enrolled between September 2006 and June 2014. Clinical records and follow-up information for each of patient were obtained to conduct a Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and log-rank test. The median age of the subjects was 1.5 years, and 98 patients had stage III or IV hepatoblastoma. Complete or partial remittance occurred in 72 subjects, and 91 underwent surgical operation. The survival rate differed significantly among patients with different tumor stages (P=0.015, χ2=8.359). The mortality rate of stage IV subjects with intrahepatic metastasis was significantly higher than that of those without (P=0.004). Among the 45 subjects with relapsed hepatoblastoma, the mortality rate was higher in the subjects that abandoned chemotherapy than in patients who continued regular chemotherapy. In total, 27 of 45 subjects with relapsed hepatoblastoma succumbed to the disease; 20 of them abandoned chemotherapy treatment; and the remaining 7 patients underwent regular chemotherapy and succumbed to the disease by the end of follow-up. The present study indicates that the increased mortality rate was associated with postoperative residual-induced intrahepatic metastasis and relapsed hepatoblastoma; and that regular chemotherapy is necessary for patient to achieve complete or partial remission following surgical operation.
PMCID: PMC5104209  PMID: 27895749
pediatric hapatoblastoma; surgical operation; chemotherapy; prognosis; survival rate
2.  Duplicated copy of CHRNA7 increases risk and worsens prognosis of COPD and lung cancer 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2014;23(8):1019-1024.
Recent genome-wide association studies implicated that the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are common susceptible genes of two contextual diseases: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer. We aimed to test whether the copy number variations (CNVs) in nAChRs have hereditary contributions to development of the two diseases. In two, two-stage, case–control studies of southern and eastern Chinese, a common CNV-3956 that duplicates the cholinergic receptor, nicotinic, α7 (CHRNA7) gene was genotyped in a total of 7880 subjects and its biological phenotype was assessed. The ≥4-copy of CNV-3956 increased COPD risk (≥4-copy vs 2/3-copy: OR=1.44, 95% CI=1.23–1.68) and caused poor lung function, and it similarly augmented risk (OR=1.49, 95% CI=1.29–1.73) and worsened prognosis (hazard ratio (HR)=1.25, 95% CI=1.07–1.45) of lung cancer. The ≥4-copy was estimated to account for 1.56% of COPD heritability and 1.87% of lung cancer heritability, respectively. Phenotypic analysis further showed that the ≥4-copy of CNV-3956 improved CHRNA7 expression in vivo and increased the carriers' smoking amount. The CNV-3956 of CHRNA7 contributed to increased risks and poor prognoses of both COPD and lung cancer, and this may be a genetic biomarker of the two diseases.
PMCID: PMC4795111  PMID: 25407004
3.  Abnormal osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells from patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in response to melatonin 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2016;14(2):1201-1209.
Abnormalities of membranous and endochondral ossification in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) remain incompletely understood. To investigate abnormalities in the melatonin signaling pathway and cellular response to melatonin in AIS, a case-control study of osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation was performed using human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). AIS was diagnosed by physical and radiographic examination. hMSCs were isolated from the bone marrow of patients with AIS and control subjects (n=12 each), and purified by density gradient centrifugation. The expression levels of melatonin receptors (MTs) 1 and 2 were detected by western blotting. Osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation was induced by culturing hMSCs in osteogenic and chondrogenic media containing vehicle or 50 nM melatonin. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity assays, quantitative glycosaminoglycan (GAG) analysis, and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis were performed. Compared with controls, MT2 demonstrated low expression in the AIS group. Melatonin increased ALP activity, GAG synthesis and upregulated the expression of genes involved in osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation including, ALP, osteopontin, osteocalcin, runt-related transcription factor 2, collagen type II, collagen type X, aggrecan and sex-determining region Y-box 9 in the normal control hMSCs, but did not affect the AIS groups. Thus, AIS hMSCs exhibit abnormal cellular responses to melatonin during osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation, which may be associated with abnormal membranous and endochondral ossification, and skeletal growth. These results indicate a potential modulating role of melatonin via the MT2 receptor on abnormal osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiaation in patients with AIS.
PMCID: PMC4940077  PMID: 27314307
melatonin; adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; osteogenic differentiation; chondrogenic differentiation; human mesenchymal stem cells
4.  Potential options for managing LOX+ ER− breast cancer patients 
Oncotarget  2016;7(22):32893-32901.
Overexpression of lysyl oxidase (LOX) is often observed in estrogen receptor negative (ER–) breast cancer patients with bone metastasis. In the present bioinformatics study, we observed that LOX is a prognostic factor for poor progression free survival in patients with ER– breast cancer. LOX overexpression was positively correlated with resistance to radiation, doxorubin and mitoxantrone, but negatively correlated with resistance to bisphosphonate, PARP1 inhibitors, cisplatin, trabectedin and gemcitabine. LOX overexpression was also associated with EMT and stemness of cancer cells, which leads to chemotherapeutic resistance and poor outcome in ER– patients. Although we suggest several therapeutic interventions that may help in the management of LOX+ ER– breast cancer patients, experiments to validate the function of LOX in ER– breast cancer are still needed.
PMCID: PMC5078060  PMID: 27147578
LOX; estrogen recepter; EMT; chemoresistance; bisphosphonates
5.  Cisplatin resistance in gastric cancer cells is associated with HER2 upregulation-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:20502.
Cisplatin remains to be primary chemotherapeutic drug for gastric cancer patients, especially for advanced stage ones. However, primary or acquired resistance often occurs with the mechanisms being not well understood, which results in relapse of the cancer and poor survival. Herein, we found that HER2 upregulation was associated with cisplatin resistance. We observed that cisplatin-resistant gastric cancer cells underwent a morphological change similar to epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) which is mediated by HER2 overexpression. When specific monoclonal antibody Herceptin, small molecular targeted drug CP724714, or small interfering RNA against HER2 was applied, the EMT-like phenotypic change was dramatically reversed. More importantly, the IC50 and Resistance Index of resistant gastric cancer cells to cisplatin were also decreased by any of these treatments.We demonstrated that expression and amplification of HER2 positively correlated with expression of EMT-related transcription factor Snail in gastric cancer tissues. Furthermore, for the first time, we found that HER2/Snail double positive gastric cancer patients had poorer survival than single positive or double negative counterparts, which provided experimental evidence for the necessity of HER2/Snail double testing in gastric cancer. In conclusion, this study provides some clues of the association of cisplatin resistance with HER2 upregulation-induced EMT in gastric cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC4742832  PMID: 26846307
6.  Clinical characteristics and prognosis of childhood rhabdomyosarcoma: a ten-year retrospective multicenter study 
Purpose: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most frequent soft tissue sarcoma in children. We have retrospectively explored the treatment results of childhood RMS and identified prognostic factors in multicenter in China, in order to lay the foundation for further multicenter study. Methods: This retrospective study was carried out analyzing the medical records of 161 patients with the pathological diagnosis of RMS from January, 2001 to February, 2014 at 5 large cancer centers in China. The data was reviewed clinico-epidemiological factors. Age, gender, histology type, primary site, tumor size, intergroup rhabdomyosarcoma study (IRS) group and results of treatments were evaluated. Patients were followed up to Dec 31, 2014. Results: The median age of our patients was 51 months. 10.5% of our patients were infants. The genitourinary system was the most common primary site of tumor (43.5%). The proportion of primary site of head and neck except parameningeal, at 28.2% (42 cases), while the proportion of parameningeal region was 4.6% (7 cases). The histological findings were as follows: 130 cases (80.7%) with embryonal, 19 cases (11.9%) with alveolar and 5 cases (3.1%) with botryoid type. According to the classification system of the IRS group, 1 case (0.6%) was group I, 54 cases (33.5%) were group II, 46 cases (28.6%) were group III and 60 cases (37.3 %) were group IV. 149 patients were treated and followed-up regularly, Patients in Beijing children’s hospital (n=95) were enrolled in IRS-II/COG-D9803, D9802 protocols. while the other patients (n=54) started on treatment according to Chinese Anti-cancer Association protocol. There were median time of 51 months for following up, 60 occurred event. The ten-year event free survival rate was 53.4±5.1%, overall survival was 65.3±6.3%. The relations between outcome and age (0.046), primary site (0.022), pathologic subtype (0.013), tumor size (0.008) and IRS group (P=0.000) were associated significantly with event free survival. Among the variables, age (P=0.028) and IRS group (P=0.000) were associated significantly with overall survival. Multivariate analysis showed that overall survival for RMS was dependent on IRS group (P=0.026). Conclusions: The epidemiological characteristics of our patients are quite similarly to the worldwide data. Except for the higher prevalence of group IV in our patients and the higher percentage of patients with primary tumor site in the genitourinary system, this study showed that overall survival for RMS is depended on disease group.
PMCID: PMC4694212  PMID: 26770312
Childhood RMS; multicenter; China
7.  swDMR: A Sliding Window Approach to Identify Differentially Methylated Regions Based on Whole Genome Bisulfite Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0132866.
DNA methylation is a widespread epigenetic modification that plays an essential role in gene expression through transcriptional regulation and chromatin remodeling. The emergence of whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) represents an important milestone in the detection of DNA methylation. Characterization of differential methylated regions (DMRs) is fundamental as well for further functional analysis. In this study, we present swDMR ( for the comprehensive analysis of DMRs from whole genome methylation profiles by a sliding window approach. It is an integrated tool designed for WGBS data, which not only implements accessible statistical methods to perform hypothesis test adapted to two or more samples without replicates, but false discovery rate was also controlled by multiple test correction. Downstream analysis tools were also provided, including cluster, annotation and visualization modules. In summary, based on WGBS data, swDMR can produce abundant information of differential methylated regions. As a convenient and flexible tool, we believe swDMR will bring us closer to unveil the potential functional regions involved in epigenetic regulation.
PMCID: PMC4503785  PMID: 26176536
8.  Autophagy attenuates the catabolic effect during inflammatory conditions in nucleus pulposus cells, as sustained by NF-κB and JNK inhibition 
Proteoglycan degradation contributing to the pathogenesis of intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is induced by inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Cell autophagy exists in degenerative diseases, including osteoarthritis and inter-vertebral disc degeneration. However, the autophagy induced by TNF-α and IL-1β and the corresponding molecular mechanism appear to be cell-type dependent. The effect and mechanism of autophagy regulated by TNF-α and IL-1β in IVDs remains unclear. Additionally, the impact of autophagy on the catabolic effect in inflammatory conditions also remains elusive. In the present study, autophagy activator and inhibitor were used to demonstrate the impact of autophagy on the catabolic effect induced by TNF-α. A critical role of autophagy was identified in rat nucleus pulposus (NP) cells: Inhibition of autophagy suppresses, while activation of autophagy enhances, the catabolic effect of cytokines. Subsequently, the autophagy-related gene expression in rat NP cells following TNF-α and IL-1β treatment was observed using immunofluorescence, quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis; however, no association was present. In addition, nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), extracellular signal-regulated kinases and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors and TNF-α were used to determine the molecular mechanism of autophagy during the inflammatory conditions, and only the NF-κB and JNK inhibitor were found to enhance the autophagy of rat NP cells. Finally, IKKβ knockdown was used to further confirm the effect of the NF-κB signal on human NP cells autophagy, and the data showed that IKKβ knockdown upregulated the autophagy of NP cells during inflammatory conditions.
PMCID: PMC4533778  PMID: 26165348
autophagy; intervertebral disc degeneration; nuclear factor κB signaling pathway; nucleus pulposus; inflammatory
9.  Polymorphisms of NFκB1 and IκBα and Their Synergistic Effect on Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Susceptibility 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:362542.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a multifactoral and polygenic disease with high prevalence in Southeast Asia and Southern China. Environmental factors and genetic susceptibility play important roles in NPC pathogenesis. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in nuclear factor-kappa B (NFκB) and its inhibitor (IκBα) conferred consistent risks for NPC. Four putatively functional SNPs (NFκB1: rs28362491del>ins ATTG; NFκB2: rs12769316G>A; IκBα: rs2233406C>T and rs696G>A) were analyzed to evaluate their associations with NPC risk in total 1590 NPC cases and 1979 cancer-free controls. We found that the rs28362491 insATTG variants (ins/del + ins/ins) in NFκB1 conferred an increased risk of NPC (odds ratio [OR] = 1.30, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.09–1.55, and P = 2.80 × 10−3) compared with the del/del homozygous genotype. The rs696AA variant in IκBα had an increased risk of NPC (OR = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.20–1.66, and P = 2.28 × 10−5) by decreasing IκBα expression due to the modulation of microRNA hsa-miR-449a. Furthermore, both adverse genotypes of NFκB/IκBα and their interaction also exerted an increased risk on NPC. Taken together, Our findings indicated that genetic variants in NFκB1 (rs28362491del>ins ATTG) and IκBα (rs696G>A) and their synergistic effect might contribute to NPC predisposition.
PMCID: PMC4486297  PMID: 26161396
10.  Anti-angiogenesis or pro-angiogenesis for cancer treatment: focus on drug distribution 
Enhancing chemotherapy delivery to tumors, improving tumor growth control, reducing metastasis, and increasing survival are all critical objectives of improved cancer therapy. One of the obstacles to the success of anticancer therapies is related to the inefficient distribution of drugs to tumor cells. To be effective, chemotherapeutics must reach a concentration in cancer cells that is sufficient to inhibit its targets. In the past years, the vascular normalization theory has gained widespread acceptance for explaining additional antitumor effects of inhibitors of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling, when combined with chemotherapeutics. Vascular normalization is a strategy to enhance the antitumor effects of chemotherapeutics, but this is time and dose dependent and therefore difficult to implement clinically. Thus, alternative strategies that overcome these issues are needed. Accumulating scientific data demonstrate an alternative approach called “vascular promotion therapy” can increase chemotherapeutics delivery and intracellular uptake of the drug and reduces hypoxia by increasing tumor blood vessel density, blood flow, leakiness, and dilation, which leads to reduced cancer growth and metastasis. In this article, we first summarize the structural and functional abnormalities of the tumor microvasculature to highlight the importance of this phenomenon for chemotherapeutics distribution. Next, we summarize the limitations of anti-angiogenic strategy in cancer treatment, discuss some key prototypical underlying mechanisms of vascular normalization and initial clinical evidence of vascular promotion therapy, and speculate on the clinical potential of anticoagulation as a novel paradigm to improve cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC4537982  PMID: 26309490
Antiangiogenesis; -proangiogenesis; anticoagulation; drug distribution
11.  MiR-148b suppresses cell proliferation and invasion in hepatocellular carcinoma by targeting WNT1/β-catenin pathway 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8087.
Accumulating evidences indicate that microRNAs play a vital role in regulating tumor progression. However, the roles of miR-148b in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are still largely unknown. In this study, our data showed that miR-148b was significantly downregulated in 40 pairs of human HCC tissues. Further, the deregulated miR-148b was significantly correlated with larger tumor size, more tumor number, metastasis and worse prognosis in HCC. Overexpression of miR-148b inhibited HCC HepG2 cells proliferation and tumorigenicity. Further, miR-148b induced cells apoptosis by activating caspase- 3 and caspase-9, and induced S phase arrest by regulating cyclinD1 and p21, and also inhibited cell invasion. Data from the dual-luciferase reporter gene assay showed that WNT1 was a direct target of miR-148b, and overexpressed WNT1 inversely correlated with miR-148b levels in HCC tissues. Silencing of WNT1 inhibited the growth of HCC cells, and also induced cells apoptosis and inhibited invasion, which is consistent with the effects of miR-148b overexpression. MiR-148b downregulated expression of WNT1, β-catenin and C-myc, while upregulated E-cadherin expression. We conclude that the frequently downregulated miR-148b can regulate WNT1/β-catenin signalling pathway and function as a tumor suppressor in HCC. These findings suggest that miR-148b may serve as a novel therapeutic target for HCC.
PMCID: PMC4310092  PMID: 25627001
12.  Childhood Renal Tumor: A Report from a Chinese Children's Cancer Group 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:894341.
Here we investigated the establishment of multicenter cooperative treatment groups in China, as well as radiotherapy compliance and effectiveness among children with renal tumors. Medical records were reviewed for 316 children with renal tumors diagnosed by a multicenter cooperative group from 14 hospitals in China from 1998 to 2012. Median patient age was 29.5 months (range, 2–173 months old), and male-to-female ratio was 1.4 : 1. After a median follow-up of 22 months (range, 1–177 months), five-year event-free survival rates were 72% overall; 76.1% for favorable histology (251 cases); 59% for unfavorable histology (27 cases); and 91%, 75%, 71%, 53%, and 48.5%, respectively for Stages I, II, III, IV, and V. Following standardized criteria, radiation therapy was indicated for 153 patients, among whom five-year event-free survival was 72.8% for the 95 who received radiation and 24% for the 58 patients who did not. Our results are reasonable but can be further improved and show the feasibility of a multicenter cooperative group model for childhood renal tumor treatment in China. Radiation therapy is important for stage III and IV patients but remains difficult to implement in some parts of China. Government management departments and medical professionals must pay attention to this situation. This clinical trial is registered with ChiCTR-PRCH-14004372.
PMCID: PMC4131417  PMID: 25147822
13.  Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Unfolding Protein Response-Apoptosis Cascade Causes Chondrodysplasia in a col2a1 p.Gly1170Ser Mutated Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86894.
The collagen type II alpha 1 (COL2A1) mutation causes severe skeletal malformations, but the pathogenic mechanisms of how this occurs are unclear. To understand how this may happen, a col2a1 p.Gly1170Ser mutated mouse model was constructed and in homozygotes, the chondrodysplasia phenotype was observed. Misfolded procollagen was largely synthesized and retained in dilated endoplasmic reticulum and the endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS)-unfolded protein response (UPR)-apoptosis cascade was activated. Apoptosis occurred prior to hypertrophy, prevented the formation of a hypertrophic zone, disrupted normal chondrogenic signaling pathways, and eventually caused chondrodysplasia. Heterozygotes had normal phenotypes and endoplasmic reticulum stress intensity was limited with no abnormal apoptosis detected. Our results suggest that earlier chondrocyte death was related to the ERS-UPR-apoptosis cascade and that this was the chief cause of chondrodysplaia. The col2a1 p.Gly1170Ser mutated mouse model offered a novel connection between misfolded collagen and skeletal malformation. Further investigation of this mouse mutant model can help us understand mechanisms of type II collagenopathies.
PMCID: PMC3903611  PMID: 24475193
14.  Effects of a Phone Call Intervention to Promote Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy and Quality of Life of HIV/AIDS Patients in Baoshan, China: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
AIDS Research and Treatment  2013;2013:580974.
Background. Suboptimal adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is still pervasive. The effect of using a mobile phone call intervention to improve patient adherence is currently not known. Objective. This study aims to investigate the effects of a phone call intervention on adherence to ART and quality of life (QOL) of treatment-naive and treatment-experienced patients. Methods. A randomized controlled trial was conducted in the three largest public hospitals. Adherence was measured by self-completed questionnaires. QOL was assessed by the WHOQOL-HIV BREF. Outcomes were assessed at day 15, at 1, 2, and 3 months after start of treatment for treatment-naive patients and at 3 months after study enrollment for treatment-experienced patients. Results. A total of 103 treatment-naive and 93 treatment-experienced HIV/AIDS patients were consecutively recruited. Results show that a phone call intervention could maintain high self-reported adherence among both treatment-naive and treatment-experienced patients. After three months, significant QOL improvements were observed in domains of physical health (P = 0.003), level of independence (P = 0.018), environment (P = 0.002), and spirituality/religion/personal beliefs (P = 0.021) among treatment-naive patients. Conclusion. A mobile phone call intervention to patients could maintain high adherence rates although no statistically significant differences were found. A phone call could improve some domains of QOL among treatment-naive patients.
PMCID: PMC3562599  PMID: 23401755
15.  Association between Common Variants near LBX1 and Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Replicated in the Chinese Han Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53234.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is one of the most common spinal deformities found in adolescent populations. Recently, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in a Japanese population indicated that three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs11190870, rs625039 and rs11598564, all located near the LBX1 gene, may be associated with AIS susceptibility [1]. This study suggests a novel AIS predisposition candidate gene and supports the hypothesis that somatosensory functional disorders could contribute to the pathogenesis of AIS. These findings warrant replication in other populations.
Methodology/Principal Findings
First, we conducted a case-control study consisting of 953 Chinese Han individuals from southern China (513 patients and 440 healthy controls), and the three SNPs were all found to be associated with AIS predisposition. The ORs were observed as 1.49 (95% CI 1.23–1.80, P = 5.09E-5), 1.70 (95% CI 1.42–2.04, P = 1.17E-8) and 1.52 (95% CI 1.27–1.83, P = 5.54E-6) for rs625039, rs11190870 and rs11598564, respectively. Second, a case-only study including a subgroup of AIS patients (N = 234) was performed to determine the effects of these variants on the severity of the condition. However, we did not find any association between these variants and the severity of curvature.
This study shows that the genetic variants near the LBX1 gene are associated with AIS susceptibility in Chinese Han population. It successfully replicates the results of the GWAS, which was performed in a Japanese population.
PMCID: PMC3537668  PMID: 23308168
16.  Use of computed tomographic reconstruction to establish the ideal entry point for pedicle screws in idiopathic scoliosis 
European Spine Journal  2011;21(1):23-30.
To determine the ideal entry point for individual pedicle screw in the surgical treatment of idiopathic scoliosis using computed tomographic (CT) three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction.
Twenty patients with moderate or severe idiopathic scoliosis from two groups received surgical treatment using “Free Hand technique” and “Assisted Free Hand technique”. Computed tomographic scanning with 3D reconstruction of the thoracic and lumbar spine was conducted to determine the entry point and to evaluate the placement accuracy.
The accuracy of placement was 88.2% in convexity and 84.5% in concavity for the “Free Hand” group, and 94.1% in convexity and 94% in concavity for the “Assisted Free Hand” group. Evidence showed that “Assisted Free Hand” group had higher accuracy when screws were placed in the thoracic spine (P = 0.02), while no obvious difference was seen in the lumbar spine placement (P = 0.47).
We conclude that in the surgical treatment of severe scoliosis, individual screw placement guided by entry points determined by CT reconstruction can result in improved accuracy and ease of the procedure.
PMCID: PMC3252450  PMID: 21842236
Pedicle screw; Computed tomography; Entry point; Scoliosis
17.  Functional Polymorphisms of CHRNA3 Predict Risks of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Lung Cancer in Chinese 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46071.
Recently, several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many susceptible single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer which are two closely related diseases. Among those SNPs, some of them are shared by both the diseases, reflecting there is possible genetic similarity between the diseases. Here we tested the hypothesis that whether those shared SNPs are common predictor for risks or prognosis of COPD and lung cancer. Two SNPs (rs6495309 and rs1051730) located in nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 3 (CHRNA3) gene were genotyped in 1511 patients with COPD, 1559 lung cancer cases and 1677 controls in southern and eastern Chinese populations. We found that the rs6495309CC and rs6495309CT/CC variant genotypes were associated with increased risks of COPD (OR = 1.32, 95% C.I. = 1.14–1.54) and lung cancer (OR = 1.57; 95% CI = 1.31–1.87), respectively. The rs6495309CC genotype contributed to more rapid decline of annual Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) in both COPD cases and controls (P<0.05), and it was associated with advanced stages of COPD (P = 0.033); the rs6495309CT/CC genotypes conferred a poor survival for lung cancer (HR = 1.41, 95%CI = 1.13–1.75). The luciferase assays further showed that nicotine and other tobacco chemicals had diverse effects on the luciferase activity of the rs6495309C or T alleles. However, none of these effects were found for another SNP, rs1051730G>A. The data show a statistical association and suggest biological plausibility that the rs6495309T>C polymorphism contributed to increased risks and poor prognosis of both COPD and lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3463594  PMID: 23056235
18.  Association between Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Lung Cancer: A Case-Control Study in Southern Chinese and a Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46144.
Lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) share a common risk factor in cigarette smoking and a large portion of patients with lung cancer suffer from COPD synchronously. We therefore hypothesized that COPD is an independent risk factor for lung cancer. Our aim was to investigate the intrinsic linkage of COPD (or emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma) and lung cancer.
The present hospital-based case-control study included 1,069 patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer and 1,132 age frequency matched cancer-free controls. The odds ratios (ORs) for the associations between each previous pulmonary disease and lung cancer were estimated with logistic regression models, adjusting for age, sex, family history of cancer, BMI and pack year smoking. In meta-analysis, the pooled effects of previous pulmonary diseases were analyzed with random effects models; and stratification analyses were conducted on smoking status and ethnicity.
In the case-control study, previous COPD was associated with the odds for increased risk of lung cancer (OR = 1.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.00∼1.68); so were emphysema (OR = 1.55, 95%CI = 1.03∼2.32) and chronic bronchitis (OR = 1.22, 95%CI = 0.99∼1.67); while asthma was associated with odds for decreased risk of lung cancer (OR = 0.29, 95%CI = 0.16∼0.53). These associations were more pronounced in smokers (P<.05 for all strata), but not in non-smokers. In meta-analysis, 35 studies (22,010 cases and 44,438 controls) were identified. COPD was significantly associated with the odds for increased risk of lung cancer (pooled OR = 2.76; 95% CI = 1.85–4.11), so were emphysema (OR = 3.02; 95% CI = 2.41–3.79) and chronic bronchitis (OR = 1.88; 95% CI = 1.49–2.36); and these associations were more pronounced in smokers than in non-smokers (P<.001 respectively). No significant association was observed for asthma.
Previous COPD could increase the risk of lung cancer, especially in smokers.
PMCID: PMC3460937  PMID: 23029414
19.  Normal Leptin Expression, Lower Adipogenic Ability, Decreased Leptin Receptor and Hyposensitivity to Leptin in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36648.
Leptin has been suggested to play a role in the etiology of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS), however, the leptin levels in AIS girls are still a discrepancy, and no in vitro study of leptin in AIS is reported. We took a series of case-control studies, trying to understand whether Leptin gene polymorphisms are involved in the etiology of the AIS or the change in leptin level is a secondary event, to assess the level of leptin receptor, and to evaluate the differences of response to leptin between AIS cases and controls. We screened all exons of Leptin gene in 45 cases and 45 controls and selected six tag SNPs to cover all the observed variations. Association analysis in 446 AIS patients and 550 healthy controls showed no association between the polymorphisms of Leptin gene and susceptibility/severity to AIS. Moreover, adipogenesis assay of bone mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) suggested that the adipogenic ability of MSCs from AIS girls was lower than controls. After adjusting the differentiation rate, expressions of leptin and leptin receptor were similar between two groups. Meanwhile, osteogenesis assay of MSC showed the leptin level was similar after adjusting the differentiation rate, but the leptin receptor level was decreased in induced AIS osteoblasts. Immunocytochemistry and western blot analysis showed less leptin receptors expressed in AIS group. Furthermore, factorial designed studies with adipogenesis and osteogenesis revealed that the MSCs from patients have no response to leptin treatment. Our results suggested that Leptin gene variations are not associated with AIS and low serum leptin probably is a secondary outcome which may be related to the low capability of adipogenesis in AIS. The decreased leptin receptor levels may lead to the hyposensitivity to leptin. These findings implied that abnormal peripheral leptin signaling plays an important role in the pathological mechanism of AIS.
PMCID: PMC3352937  PMID: 22615788
20.  A histological and ultrastructural study of femoral head cartilage in a new type II collagenopathy 
International Orthopaedics  2010;34(8):1333-1339.
A new type II collagenopathy, caused by the p.Gly1170Ser mutation of COL2A1, which presents as premature hip osteoarthritis (OA), avascular necrosis of the femoral head (ANFH) or Legg-Calvé-Perthes (LCP) disease, was recently found in several families with an inherited disease of the hip joint. In this study, femoral head cartilage was harvested for histological and ultrastructural examination to determine the pre-existing generalised abnormalities of the mutant cartilage. The histological results showed that the hierarchical structure of the mutant cartilage and the embedded chondrocytes were markedly abnormal. The expression and distribution of type II collagen was non-uniform in sections of the mutant cartilage. Ultrastructural examination showed obvious abnormal chondrocytes and disarrangement of collagen fibres in the mutant cartilage. Furthermore, the predicted stability of type II collagen dramatically decreased with the substitution of serine for glycine. Our study demonstrated that the p.Gly1170Ser mutation of COL2A1 caused significant structural alterations in articular cartilage, which are responsible for the new type II collagenopathy.
PMCID: PMC2989094  PMID: 20204389

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