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1.  Human Urine-Derived Stem Cells Alone or Genetically-Modified with FGF2 Improve Type 2 Diabetic Erectile Dysfunction in a Rat Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92825.
Aim
The aim of this study was to determine the possibility of improving erectile dysfunction using cell therapy with either human urine-derived stem cells (USCs) or USCs genetically-modified with FGF2 in a type 2 diabetic rat model.
Methods
Human USCs were collected from 3 healthy donors. USCs were transfected with FGF2 (USCs-FGF2). Sixty-five SD male rats were divided into five groups (G). A control group of normal rats (G1, n = 10), and four other test groups of type 2 diabetic erectile dysfunction rats: PBS as a negative control (G2, n = 10), USCs (G3, n = 15), lentivirus-FGF2 (G4, n = 15), and USCs-FGF2 (G5, n = 15). Diabetes was induced in the rats via a high fat diet for 28 days and a subsequent intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (35 mg/kg). Erectile dysfunction was screened with apomorphine (100 μg/kg). Cell injections in the test groups (G2–G5) occurred directly into the corpora cavernosa. The implanted cells were tracked at 7 days (n = 5 animals/G) and 28 days (n = 10 animals/G) post injection. Mean arterial pressure (MAP), intracavernosal pressure (ICP), expression of endothelial markers (CD31, VEGF and eNOS), smooth muscle markers (desmin and smoothelin), histological changes and erectile function were assessed for each group.
Results
USCs expressed mesenchymal stem cell markers, and secreted a number of proangiogenic growth factors. USCs expressed endothelial cell markers (CD31 and vWF) after transfection with FGF2. Implanted USCs or USCs-FGF2 displayed a significantly raised ICP and ICP/MAP ratio (p<0.01) 28 days after intracavernous injection. Although few cell were detected within the implanted sites, histological and western blot analysis demonstrated an increased expression of endothelial and smooth muscle markers within the cavernous tissue following USC or USC-FGF2 injection.
Conclusions
The paracrine effect of USCs or USCs-FGF2 induced improvement of erectile function in type 2 diabetic rats by recruiting resident cells and increasing the endothelial expression and contents of smooth muscle.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092825
PMCID: PMC3963968  PMID: 24663037
2.  Insulin Resistance Is an Independent Determinate of ED in Young Adult Men 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83951.
Background
Insulin resistance (IR) triggers endothelial dysfunction, which contributes to erectile dysfunction (ED) and cardiovascular disease.
Aim
To evaluate whether IR was related to ED in young adult patients.
Methods
A total of 283 consecutive men complaining of ED at least six months were enrolled, with a full medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests collected. Quantitative Insulin Sensitivity Check Index (QUICKI) was used to determine IR. The severity of ED was assessed by IIEF-5 questionnaire. Endothelial function was assessed by ultrasonographic examination of brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD).
Results
IR was detected in 52% patients. Subjects with IR had significant higher total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c), glycated haemoglobin (HBA1c), high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and body mass index (BMI), but showed significant lower IIEF-5 score, FMD%, high density lipoprotein -cholesterol (HDL-c), testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels than patients without IR. Multiple regression analysis showed QUICKI and testosterone were independent predictors of IIEF-5 score. Furthermore, the incidence of IR was correlated with the severity of ED.
Conclusions
Compared with other CVFs, IR was found as the most prevalent in our subjects. Besides, IR was independently associated with ED and its severity, suggesting an adverse effect of insulin resistance on erectile function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083951
PMCID: PMC3877124  PMID: 24391852
3.  Correction of Diabetic Erectile Dysfunction with Adipose Derived Stem Cells Modified with the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Gene in a Rodent Diabetic Model 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72790.
The aim of this study was to determine whether adipose derived stem cells (ADSCs) expressing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene can improve endothelial function, recover the impaired VEGF signaling pathway and enhance smooth muscle contents in a rat diabetic erectile dysfunction (DED) model. DED rats were induced via intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (40 mg/kg), and then screened by apomorphine (100 µg/kg). Five groups were used (n = 12/group)–Group 1 (G1): intracavernous injection of lentivirus-VEGF; G2: ADSCs injection; G3: VEGF-expressing ADSCs injection; G4: Phosphate buffered saline injection; G1–G4 were DED rats; G5: normal rats. The mean arterial pressure (MAP) and intracavernosal pressure (ICP) were measured at days 7 and 28 after the injections. The components of the VEGF system, endothelial, smooth muscle, pericytes markers in cavernoursal tissue were assessed. On day 28 after injection, the group with intracavernosum injection of ADSCs expressing VEGF displayed more efficiently and significantly raised ICP and ICP/MAP (p<0.01) than those with ADSCs or lentivirus-VEGF injection. Western blot and immunofluorescent analysis demonstrated that improved erectile function by ADSCs-VEGF was associated with increased expression of endothelial markers (VEGF, VEGF R1, VEGF R2, eNOS, CD31 and vWF), smooth muscle markers (a-actin and smoothelin), and pericyte markers (CD146 and NG2). ADSCs expressing VEGF produced a therapeutic effect and restored erectile function in diabetic rats by enhancing VEGF-stimulated endothelial function and increasing the contents of smooth muscle and pericytes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072790
PMCID: PMC3758339  PMID: 24023647
4.  Ezrin and Moesin Are Required for Efficient T Cell Adhesion and Homing to Lymphoid Organs 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e52368.
T cell trafficking between the blood and lymphoid organs is a complex, multistep process that requires several highly dynamic and coordinated changes in cyto-architecture. Members of the ezrin, radixin and moesin (ERM) family of actin-binding proteins have been implicated in several aspects of this process, but studies have yielded conflicting results. Using mice with a conditional deletion of ezrin in CD4+ cells and moesin-specific siRNA, we generated T cells lacking ERM proteins, and investigated the effect on specific events required for T cell trafficking. ERM-deficient T cells migrated normally in multiple in vitro and in vivo assays, and could undergo efficient diapedesis in vitro. However, these cells were impaired in their ability to adhere to the β1 integrin ligand fibronectin, and to polarize appropriately in response to fibronectin and VCAM-1 binding. This defect was specific for β1 integrins, as adhesion and polarization in response to ICAM-1 were normal. In vivo, ERM-deficient T cells showed defects in homing to lymphoid organs. Taken together, these results show that ERM proteins are largely dispensable for T cell chemotaxis, but are important for β1 integrin function and homing to lymphoid organs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052368
PMCID: PMC3585410  PMID: 23468835
5.  Reward Optimization in the Primate Brain: A Probabilistic Model of Decision Making under Uncertainty 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53344.
A key problem in neuroscience is understanding how the brain makes decisions under uncertainty. Important insights have been gained using tasks such as the random dots motion discrimination task in which the subject makes decisions based on noisy stimuli. A descriptive model known as the drift diffusion model has previously been used to explain psychometric and reaction time data from such tasks but to fully explain the data, one is forced to make ad-hoc assumptions such as a time-dependent collapsing decision boundary. We show that such assumptions are unnecessary when decision making is viewed within the framework of partially observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs). We propose an alternative model for decision making based on POMDPs. We show that the motion discrimination task reduces to the problems of (1) computing beliefs (posterior distributions) over the unknown direction and motion strength from noisy observations in a Bayesian manner, and (2) selecting actions based on these beliefs to maximize the expected sum of future rewards. The resulting optimal policy (belief-to-action mapping) is shown to be equivalent to a collapsing decision threshold that governs the switch from evidence accumulation to a discrimination decision. We show that the model accounts for both accuracy and reaction time as a function of stimulus strength as well as different speed-accuracy conditions in the random dots task.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053344
PMCID: PMC3551910  PMID: 23349707
6.  Protective Effect against Hydroxyl-induced DNA Damage and Antioxidant Activity of Citri reticulatae Pericarpium 
Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin  2013;3(1):175-181.
Purpose: As a typical Chinese herbal medicine, Citri reticulatae pericarpium (CRP) possesses various pharmacological effects involved in antioxidant ability. However, its antioxidant effects have not been reported yet. The objective of this work was to investigate its antioxidant ability, then further discuss the antioxidant mechanism. Methods: CRP was extracted by ethanol to obtain ethanol extract of Citri reticulatae pericarpium (ECRP). ECRP was then measured by various antioxidant methods, including DNA damage assay, DPPH assay, ABTS assay, Fe3+-reducing assay and Cu2+-reducing assay. Finally, the content of total flavonoids was analyzed by spectrophotometric method. Results: Our results revealed that ECRP could effectively protect against hydroxyl-induced DNA damage (IC50 944.47±147.74 μg/mL). In addition, it could also scavenge DPPH· radical (IC50349.67±1.91 μg/mL) and ABTS+• radical (IC5011.33±0.10 μg/mL), reduce Fe3+ (IC50 140.95±2.15 μg/mL) and Cu2+ (IC50 70.46±1.77 μg/mL). Chemical analysis demonstrated that the content of total flavonoids in ECRP was 198.29±12.24 mg quercetin/g. Conclusion: Citri reticulatae pericarpium can effectively protect against hydroxyl-induced DNA damage. One mechanism of protective effect may be radical-scavenging which is via donating hydrogen atom (H·), donating electron (e). Its antioxidant ability can be mainly attributed to the flavonoids, especially hesperidin and narirutin.
doi:10.5681/apb.2013.029
PMCID: PMC3846041  PMID: 24312832
Citri reticulatae pericarpium; Antioxidant activity; DNA oxidative damage; Chenpi; Hesperidin; Narirutin
7.  The actin regulatory protein HS1 is required for antigen uptake and presentation by dendritic cells5 
The hematopoietic actin regulatory protein HS1 is required for cell spreading and signaling in lymphocytes, but the scope of HS1 function in antigen presentation has not been addressed. We show that dendritic cells (DCs) from HS1−/− mice differentiate normally and display normal LPS-induced upregulation of surface markers and cytokines. Consistent with their normal expression of MHC and costimulatory molecules, HS1−/− DCs present OVA peptide efficiently to CD4+ T cells. However, presentation of ovalbumin protein is defective. Similarly, MHC Class I-dependent presentation of VSV8 peptide to CD8+ T cells occurs normally, but cross-presentation of GRP94/VSV8 complexes is defective. Analysis of antigen uptake pathways shows that HS1 is required for receptor-mediated endocytosis, but not for phagocytosis or macropinocytosis. HS1 interacts with dynamin 2, a protein involved in scission of endocytic vesicles. However, HS1−/− DCs showed decreased numbers of endocytic invaginations, whereas dynamin-inhibited cells showed accumulation of these endocytic intermediates. Taken together, these studies show that HS1 promotes an early step in the endocytic pathway that is required for efficient antigen presentation of exogenous antigen by DCs.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1100870
PMCID: PMC3221870  PMID: 22031761
dendritic cells; HS1; antigen presentation; receptor-mediated endocytosis; actin; cortactin
8.  Hematopoietic Lineage Cell-Specific Protein 1 Functions in Concert with the Wiskott–Aldrich Syndrome Protein To Promote Podosome Array Organization and Chemotaxis in Dendritic Cells 
Dendritic cells (DCs) are professional APCs that reside in peripheral tissues and survey the body for pathogens. Upon activation by inflammatory signals, DCs undergo a maturation process and migrate to lymphoid organs, where they present pathogen-derived Ags to T cells. DC migration depends on tight regulation of the actin cytoskeleton to permit rapid adaptation to environmental cues. We investigated the role of hematopoietic lineage cell-specific protein 1 (HS1), the hematopoietic homolog of cortactin, in regulating the actin cytoskeleton of murine DCs. HS1 localized to lamellipodial protrusions and podosomes, actin-rich structures associated with adhesion and migration. DCs from HS1−/− mice showed aberrant lamellipodial dynamics. Moreover, although these cells formed recognizable podosomes, their podosome arrays were loosely packed and improperly localized within the cell. HS1 interacts with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein (WASp), another key actin-regulatory protein, through mutual binding to WASp-interacting protein. Comparative analysis of DCs deficient for HS1, WASp or both proteins revealed unique roles for these proteins in regulating podosomes with WASp being essential for podosome formation and with HS1 ensuring efficient array organization. WASp recruitment to podosome cores was independent of HS1, whereas HS1 recruitment required Src homology 3 domain-dependent interactions with the WASp/WASp-interacting protein heterodimer. In migration assays, the phenotypes of HS1- and WASp-deficient DCs were related, but distinct. WASp−/y DCs migrating in a chemokine gradient showed a large decrease in velocity and diminished directional persistence. In contrast, HS1−/− DCs migrated faster than wild-type cells, but directional persistence was significantly reduced. These studies show that HS1 functions in concert with WASp to fine-tune DC cytoarchitecture and direct cell migration.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1003102
PMCID: PMC3467106  PMID: 21398607
9.  Ezrin Is Highly Expressed in Early Thymocytes, but Dispensable for T Cell Development in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12404.
Background
Ezrin/radixin/moesin (ERM) proteins are highly homologous proteins that function to link cargo molecules to the actin cytoskeleton. Ezrin and moesin are both expressed in mature lymphocytes, where they play overlapping roles in cell signaling and polarity, but their role in lymphoid development has not been explored.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We characterized ERM protein expression in lymphoid tissues and analyzed the requirement for ezrin expression in lymphoid development. In wildtype mice, we found that most cells in the spleen and thymus express both ezrin and moesin, but little radixin. ERM protein expression in the thymus was differentially regulated, such that ezrin expression was highest in immature thymocytes and diminished during T cell development. In contrast, moesin expression was low in early thymocytes and upregulated during T cell development. Mice bearing a germline deletion of ezrin exhibited profound defects in the size and cellularity of the spleen and thymus, abnormal thymic architecture, diminished hematopoiesis, and increased proportions of granulocytic precursors. Further analysis using fetal liver chimeras and thymic transplants showed that ezrin expression is dispensable in hematopoietic and stromal lineages, and that most of the defects in lymphoid development in ezrin−/− mice likely arise as a consequence of nutritional stress.
Conclusions/Significance
We conclude that despite high expression in lymphoid precursor cells, ezrin is dispensable for lymphoid development, most likely due to redundancy with moesin.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012404
PMCID: PMC2929185  PMID: 20806059
10.  Combining use of a panel of ssDNA aptamers in the detection of Staphylococcus aureus 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(14):4621-4628.
In this article, a panel of ssDNA aptamers specific to Staphylococcus aureus was obtained by a whole bacterium-based SELEX procedure and applied to probing S. aureus. After several rounds of selection with S. aureus as the target and Streptococcus and S. epidermidis as counter targets, the highly enriched oligonucleic acid pool was sequenced and then grouped under different families on the basis of the homology of the primary sequence and the similarity of the secondary structure. Eleven sequences from different families were selected for further characterization by confocal imaging and flow cytometry analysis. Results showed that five aptamers demonstrated high specificity and affinity to S. aureus individually. The five aptamers recognize different molecular targets by competitive experiment. Combining these five aptamers had a much better effect than the individual aptamer in the recognition of different S. aureus strains. In addition, the combined aptamers can probe single S. aureus in pyogenic fluids. Our work demonstrates that a set of aptamers specific to one bacterium can be used in combination for the identification of the bacterium instead of a single aptamer.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkp489
PMCID: PMC2724295  PMID: 19498077
11.  Community-based study on CKD subjects and the associated risk factors 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2009;24(7):2117-2123.
Background. The study was performed to investigate the prevalence, awareness and the risk factors of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the community population in Shanghai, China.
Methods. A total of 2596 residents were randomly recruited from the community population in Shanghai, China. All were screened for albuminuria, haematuria, morning spot urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio and renal function. Serum creatinine, uric acid, cholesterol, triglyceride and haemoglobin were assessed. A simplified MDRD equation was used to estimate the glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). All studied subjects were screened by kidney ultrasound. Haematuria, if present in the morning spot urine dipstick test, was confirmed by microscopy. The associations among the demographic characteristics, health characteristics and indicators of kidney damage were examined.
Results. Two thousand five hundred and fifty-four residents (n = 2554), after giving informed consent and with complete data, were entered into this study. Albuminuria and haematuria were detected in 6.3% and 1.2% of all the studied subjects, respectively, whereas decreased kidney function was found in 5.8% of all studied subjects. Approximately 11.8% of subjects had at least one indicator of kidney damage. The rate of awareness of CKD was 8.2%. The logistic regression model showed that age, central obesity, hypertension, diabetes, anaemia, hyperuricaemia and nephrolithiasis each contributed to the development of CKD.
Conclusion. This is the first Shanghai community-based epidemiological study data on Chinese CKD patients. The prevalence of CKD in the community population in Shanghai is 11.8%, and the rate of awareness of CKD is 8.2%. All the factors including age, central obesity, hypertension, diabetes, anaemia, hyperuricaemia and nephrolithiasis are positively correlated with the development of CKD in our studied subjects.
doi:10.1093/ndt/gfn767
PMCID: PMC2698090  PMID: 19193736
awareness; chronic kidney disease; epidemiology; prevalence; risk factors

Results 1-11 (11)