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1.  Physical Activity, Body Mass Index, and Cardiorespiratory Fitness among School Children in Taiwan: A Cross-Sectional Study 
There is evidence that cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity significantly reduce cardiovascular risks in adults. A better understanding of the association between cardiorespiratory fitness, physical activity, and childhood obesity is vital in assessing the benefits of interventions to prevent obesity. This study was to examine the relationship between physical activity, body mass index, and cardiorespiratory fitness levels in Taiwanese children. A cross-sectional study was designed. Study participants consisted of 2419 school children (1230 males and 1189 females) aged 12 years old living in a southern Taiwan county with one the highest countrywide rates of childhood obesity. The weight status of the participants was defined as underweight, normal, overweight, or obese according to specific criteria. Cardiorespiratory fitness was then assessed by an 800-m run. Participants were queried on their physical activity habits via a questionnaire survey. The overall prevalence of overweight/obesity was 29.6%. Normal, underweight and overweight boys and girls had an increased odds ratio of being categorized with higher cardiorespiratory fitness than obese one for both gender. A significantly higher level of cardiorespiratory fitness was found in children who engaged in regular physical activity than in children who engaged only in irregular physical activity. Obese children are more likely to lack cardiorespiratory fitness. Physically active children have significantly better cardiorespiratory fitness levels than inactive children. This study supports the conclusion that BMI and physical activity are significantly correlated with cardiorespiratory fitness levels. Findings may provide educational professionals with information to assist their developing effective health promotion programs to healthy weight and improving cardiorespiratory fitness for children.
PMCID: PMC4113875  PMID: 25032742
children; obesity; cardiorespiratory; health promotion; school nursing
2.  Preventive effect of Qianggan-Rongxian Decoction on rat liver fibrosis 
AIM: To study the preventive effects of Qianggan-Rongxian Decoction on liver fibrosis induced by dimethylnitrosamine (DMN) in rats.
METHODS: Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into hepatic fibrosis model group, control group and 3 treatment groups (12 rats in each group). Except for the normal control group, all the rats received 1% DMN (10 μL/kg body weight, i.p), 3 times a week for 4 wk. The rats in the 3 treatment groups including a high-dose DMN group (10 mL/kg), a medium-dose DMN group (7 mL/kg), and a low-dose DMN group (4 mL/kg) were daily gavaged with Qianggan-Rongxian Decoction, and the rats in the model and normal control groups were given saline vehicle. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to determine the changes in serum hyaluronic acid (HA), laminin (LN), and type IV collagen levels. Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels were measured using routine laboratory methods. Pathologic changes, particularly fibrosis, were examined by hematoxylin and eosin (HE) and Sirius red staining. Hepatic stellate cells (HSC) were examined by transmission electron microscopy.
RESULTS: Compared with the model control group, the serum levels of HA, LN, type IV collagen, ALT and AST were decreased markedly in the other groups after treatment with Qianggan-Rongxian Decoction, especially in the medium-dose DMN group (P < 0.05). Moreover, the area-density percentage of collagen fibrosis was lower in the Qianggan-Rongxian Decoction treatment groups than in the model group, and a more significant drop was observed in the medium-dose DMN group (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Qianggan-Rongxian Decoction can inhibit hepatic fibrosis due to chronic liver injury, delay the development of cirrhosis, and notably ameliorate liver function. It may be used as a safe and effective thera-peutic drug for patients with fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC2716622  PMID: 18567088
Liver fibrosis; Qianggan-Rongxian Decoction; Prevention; Rat model; Dimethylnitrosamine
3.  Localization of ANP-synthesizing cells in rat stomach 
AIM: To study the morphological positive expression of antrial natriuretic peptide (ANP)-synthesizing cells and ultrastructural localization and the relationship between ANP-synthesizing cells and microvessel density in the stomach of rats and to analyze the distribution of the three histologically distinct regions of ANP-synthesizing cells.
METHODS: Using immunohistochemical techniques, we studied positive expression of ANP-synthesizing cells in rat stomach. A postembedding immunogold microscopy technique was used for ultrastructural localization of ANP-synthesizing cells. Microvessel density in the rat stomach was estimated using tannic acid-ferric chloride (TAFC) method staining. Distribution of ANP-synthesizing cells were studied in different regions of rat stomach histochemically.
RESULTS: Positive expression of ANP-synthesizing cells were localized in the gastric mucosa of rats. Localization of ANP-synthesizing cells identified them to be enterochrochromaffin cells (EC) by using a postembedding immunogold electron microscopy technique. EC cells were in the basal third of the cardiac mucosa region. ANP-synthesizing cells existed in different regions of rat stomach and its density was largest in the gastric cardiac region, and the distribution order of ANP-synthesizing cells in density was cardiac region, pyloric region and fundic region in mucosa layer. We have also found a close relationship between ANP-synthesizing cells and microvessel density in gastric mucosa of rats using TAFC staining.
CONCLUSION: ANP-synthesizing cells are expressed in the gastric mucosa. EC synthesize ANP. There is a close relationship between ANP-synthesizing cells and microvessel density in gastric mucosa of rats.The distribution density of ANP-synthesizing cells is largest in the gastric cardiac region.
PMCID: PMC4088169  PMID: 17007021
Antrial natriuretic peptide-synthesizing cells; Microvessel density; Close relationship; Gastric cardiac region
4.  Refactoring the Silent Spectinabilin Gene Cluster Using a Plug-and-Play Scaffold 
ACS synthetic biology  2013;2(11):662-669.
Natural products (secondary metabolites) are a rich source of compounds with important biological activities. Eliciting pathway expression is always challenging but extremely important in natural product discovery because individual pathway is tightly controlled through unique regulation mechanism and hence often remains silent in the routine culturing conditions. To overcome the drawback of the traditional approaches that lack general applicability, we developed a simple synthetic biology approach that decouples pathway expression from complex native regulations. Briefly, the entire silent biosynthetic pathway is refactored using a plug-and-play scaffold and a set of heterologous promoters that are functional in a heterologous host under the target culturing condition. Using this strategy, we successfully awakened the silent spectinabilin pathway from Streptomyces orinoci. This strategy bypasses the traditional laborious processes to elicit pathway expression and represents a new platform for discovering novel natural products.
PMCID: PMC4326240  PMID: 23968564
natural products; silent pathways; genome mining; plug-and-play scaffold; synthetic biology; pathway assembly
5.  Temporal Evolution of Ischemic Lesions in Nonhuman Primates: A Diffusion and Perfusion MRI Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117290.
Background and Purpose
Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and perfusion MRI were used to examine the spatiotemporal evolution of stroke lesions in adult macaques with ischemic occlusion.
Permanent MCA occlusion was induced with silk sutures through an interventional approach via the femoral artery in adult rhesus monkeys (n = 8, 10–21 years old). The stroke lesions were examined with high-resolution DWI and perfusion MRI, and T2-weighted imaging (T2W) on a clinical 3T scanner at 1–6, 48, and 96 hours post occlusion and validated with H&E staining.
The stroke infarct evolved via a natural logarithmic pattern with the mean infarct growth rate = 1.38 ± 1.32 ml per logarithmic time scale (hours) (n = 7) in the hyperacute phase (1–6 hours). The mean infarct volume after 6 hours post occlusion was 3.6±2.8 ml (n = 7, by DWI) and increased to 3.9±2.9 ml (n = 5, by T2W) after 48 hours, and to 4.7±2.2ml (n = 3, by T2W) after 96 hours post occlusion. The infarct volumes predicted by the natural logarithmic function were correlated significantly with the T2W-derived lesion volumes (n = 5, r = 0.92, p = 0.01) at 48 hours post occlusion. The final infarct volumes derived from T2W were correlated significantly with those from H&E staining (r = 0.999, p < 0.0001, n = 4). In addition, the diffusion-perfusion mismatch was visible generally at 6 hours but nearly diminished at 48 hours post occlusion.
The infarct evolution follows a natural logarithmic pattern in the hyperacute phase of stroke. The logarithmic pattern of evolution could last up to 48 hours after stroke onset and may be used to predict the infarct volume growth during the acute phase of ischemic stroke. The nonhuman primate model, MRI protocols, and post data processing strategy may provide an excellent platform for characterizing the evolution of acute stroke lesion in mechanistic studies and therapeutic interventions of stroke disease.
PMCID: PMC4319749  PMID: 25659092
6.  In vivo monitoring of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine sensitivity in Plasmodium falciparum along the China-Myanmar border of Yunnan Province, China from 2007 to 2013 
Malaria Journal  2015;14:47.
Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is the recommended first-line treatment of falciparum malaria in all endemic countries. Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has been confirmed in the Greater Mekong subregion (GMS). Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DAPQ) is the most commonly used ACT in China. To understand the DAPQ sensitivity of P. falciparum, DAPQ resistance was monitored in vivo along the China-Myanmar border from 2007 to 2013.
Eligible patients with mono-infections of P. falciparum were recruited to this study after obtaining full informed consent. DAPQ tablets for different categories of kg body weight ranges were given once a day for three days. Patients were followed up for 42 days. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was conducted to distinguish between re-infection and recrudescence, to confirm the Plasmodium species. The data were entered and analysed by the Kaplan-Meier method. Treatment outcome was assessed according to the WHO recommended standards.
243 patients were completed valid follow-up. The fever clearance time (FCT) and asexual parasite clearance times (APCT) were, respectively, 36.5 ± 10.9 and 43.5 ± 11.8 hours, and there was an increasing trend of both FCT (F = 268.41, P < 0.0001) and APCT (F = 88.6, P < 0.0001) from 2007 to 2013. Eight (3.3%, 95% confidence interval, 1.4–6.4%) patients present parasitaemia on day three after medication; however they were spontaneous cure on day four. 241 (99.2%; 95% CI, 97.1–99.9%) of the patients were adequate clinical and parasitological response (ACPR) and the proportions of ACPR had not changed significantly from 2007 to 2013 (X2 = 2.81, P = 0.7288).
In terms of efficacy, DAPQ is still an effective treatment for falciparum malaria. DAPQ sensitivity in P. falciparum had not significantly changed along the China-Myanmar border of Yunnan Province, China. However more attentions should be given to becoming slower fever and parasite clearance.
PMCID: PMC4333884  PMID: 25652213
Plasmodium falciparum; Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine; In vivo test; Resistance; China-Myanmar border
7.  The fate of recent duplicated genes following a fourth-round whole genome duplication in a tetraploid fish, common carp (Cyprinus carpio) 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8199.
Whole genome duplication (WGD) results in extensive genetic redundancy. In plants and yeast, WGD is followed by rapid gene deletions and intense expression differentiation with slow functional divergence. However, the early evolution of the gene differentiation processes is poorly understood in vertebrates because almost all studied WGDs are extremely ancient, and the genomes have returned to a diploid status. Common carp had a very recent fourth round of WGD dated to 8 million years ago. It therefore constitutes an ideal model to study early-stage functional divergence and expression differentiation in vertebrates. We identified 1,757 pairs of recently duplicated genes (RDGs) originating from this specific WGD and found that most ancestral genes were retained in duplicate. Most RDGs were conserved and under selective pressure. Gene expression analysis across six tissues revealed that 92.5% of RDG pairs were co-expressed in at least one tissue and that the expression of nearly half pairs ceased to be strongly correlated, indicating slow spatial divergence but rapid expression dissociation. Functional comparison revealed that 25% of pairs had functional divergence, of which neo- and sub-functionalization were the main outcomes. Our analysis revealed slow gene loss but rapid and intense expression and function differentiation after WGD.
PMCID: PMC4314655  PMID: 25645996
8.  Genome-wide association analysis in East Asians identifies breast cancer susceptibility loci at 1q32.1, 5q14.3 and 15q26.1 
Nature genetics  2014;46(8):886-890.
In a three-stage genome-wide association study among East Asian women including 22,780 cases and 24,181 controls, we identified three novel genetic loci associated with breast cancer risk, including rs4951011 at 1q32.1 (in intron 2 of the ZC3H11A gene, P = 8.82 × 10−9), rs10474352 at 5q14.3 (near the ARRDC3 gene, P = 1.67 × 10−9), and rs2290203 at 15q26.1 (in intron 14 of the PRC1 gene, P = 4.25 × 10−8). These associations were replicated in European-ancestry populations including 16,003 cases and 41,335 controls (P = 0.030, 0.004, and 0.010, respectively). Data from the ENCODE project suggest that variants rs4951011 and rs10474352 may be located in an enhancer region and transcription factor binding sites, respectively. This study provides additional insights into the genetics and biology of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4127632  PMID: 25038754
9.  A multifunctional targeted approach 
Nature materials  2014;13(2):110-115.
PMCID: PMC4234179  PMID: 24452345
10.  Phytochemical and pharmacological progress on the genus Syringa 
Genus Syringa, belonging to the Oleaceae family, consists of more than 40 plant species worldwide, of which 22 species, including 18 endemic species, are found in China. Most Syringa plants are used in making ornaments and traditional medicines, whereas some are employed for construction or economic use. Previous studies have shown that extracts of Syringa plants mainly contain iridoids, lignans, and phenylethanoids that have antitumor, antihypertensive, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities. This study reviews phytochemical and pharmacological progress on Syringa in the recent 20 years and discusses the future research prospects to provide a reference in further promotion and application of the genus.
Graphical AbstractPhytochemical and pharmacological progress on the genus Syringa
PMCID: PMC4312558  PMID: 25642281
Syringa; Oleaceae; Iridoid; Lignan; Phenylethanoid; Bioactivities; Review
11.  Phytochemical and pharmacological progress on the genus Syringa 
Genus Syringa, belonging to the Oleaceae family, consists of more than 40 plant species worldwide, of which 22 species, including 18 endemic species, are found in China. Most Syringa plants are used in making ornaments and traditional medicines, whereas some are employed for construction or economic use. Previous studies have shown that extracts of Syringa plants mainly contain iridoids, lignans, and phenylethanoids that have antitumor, antihypertensive, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities. This study reviews phytochemical and pharmacological progress on Syringa in the recent 20 years and discusses the future research prospects to provide a reference in further promotion and application of the genus.
Graphical AbstractPhytochemical and pharmacological progress on the genus Syringa
PMCID: PMC4312558  PMID: 25642281
Syringa; Oleaceae; Iridoid; Lignan; Phenylethanoid; Bioactivities; Review
12.  Maltol, a Food Flavoring Agent, Attenuates Acute Alcohol-Induced Oxidative Damage in Mice 
Nutrients  2015;7(1):682-696.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the hepatoprotective effect of maltol, a food-flavoring agent, on alcohol-induced acute oxidative damage in mice. Maltol used in this study was isolated from red ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A Meyer) and analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry. For hepatoprotective activity in vivo, pretreatment with maltol (12.5, 25 and 50 mg/kg; 15 days) drastically prevented the elevated activities of aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and triglyceride (TG) in serum and the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in liver tissue (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, the levels of hepatic antioxidant, such as catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) were elevated by maltol pretreatment, compared to the alcohol group (p < 0.05). Histopathological examination revealed that maltol pretreatment significantly inhibited alcohol-induced hepatocyte apoptosis and fatty degeneration. Interestingly, pretreatment of maltol effectively relieved alcohol-induced oxidative damage in a dose-dependent manner. Maltol appeared to possess promising anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory capacities. It was suggested that the hepatoprotective effect exhibited by maltol on alcohol-induced liver oxidative injury may be due to its potent antioxidant properties.
PMCID: PMC4303861  PMID: 25608939
maltol; red ginseng; alcohol-induced liver injury; oxidative stress
13.  Mutational profiles of different macroscopic subtypes of colorectal adenoma reveal distinct pathogenetic roles for KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14(1):221.
Investigations of genetic alterations and correlations with histology or morphology could provide further insights into colorectal carcinogenesis. Nevertheless, such genetic changes were less investigated in adenoma stage and a comprehensive survey of oncogenic mutations in EGFR signaling pathway according to different morphologic subtypes has not been performed.
A total of 94 neoplasms, including 34 polypoid adenoma, 16 lateral spreading tumors-granular (LST-G), 20 non-granular LST (LST-NG), and 24 depressed tumors, were subjected for mutational analysis of KRAS (exon 2), BRAF (exon 11 and 15), PIK3CA (exon 9 and 20), AKT (exon 4), EGFR (exon 18–24) and HER2 (exon18-24).
KRAS mutation was noted more frequently in LST (13/36, 36.1%) than polypoid neoplasms (5/34, 14.7%, p = 0.041). When comparing with LST-NG, LST-G had a significantly higher frequency of KRAS mutation. (9/16, 56.3% vs. 4/20, 20.0%, p = 0.024). BRAF mutation (V600E) was found in 2 of 36 (5.6%)LSTs and 1 of 34 (2.9%) polypoid lesions. The two LST lesions with BRAF mutation were pathologically proven to be serrated adenoma. PIK3CA mutation (exon 9 E545K) was identified only in LST (5/36, 13.9%). Mutations in KRAS, BRAF or PIK3CA occurred in a mutually exclusive manner. All mutations were absent in the specimens obtained from depressed type neoplasms.
Three different macroscopic subtypes of colorectal neoplasms display distinct carcinogenetic pathways in EGFR networking. Further molecular studies of CRCs should take macroscopic subtypes into consideration and highlight the importance of consensus and communication between endoscopic and pathologic diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC4296683  PMID: 25551625
Gene mutation; Non-polypoid colorectal neoplasm; EGFR
14.  Small sphincterotomy combined with endoscopic papillary large balloon dilation vs sphincterotomy alone for removal of common bile duct stones 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(47):17962-17969.
AIM: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of endoscopic papillary large diameter balloon dilation (EPLBD) following limited endoscopic sphincterotomy (EST) and EST alone for removal of large common bile duct (CBD) stones.
METHODS: We retrospectively compared EST + EPLBD (group A, n = 64) with EST alone (group B, n = 89) for the treatment of large or multiple bile duct stones. The success rate of stone clearance, procedure-related complications and incidents, frequency of mechanical lithotripsy use, and recurrent stones were recorded.
RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups regarding periampullary diverticula (35.9% vs 34.8%, P > 0.05), pre-cut sphincterotomy (6.3% vs 6.7%, P > 0.05), size (12.1 ± 2.0 mm vs 12.9 ± 2.6 mm, P > 0.05) and number (2.2 ± 1.9 vs 2.4 ± 2.1, P > 0.05) of stones or the diameters of CBD (15.1 ± 3.3 mm vs 15.4 ± 3.6 mm, P > 0.05). The rates of overall stone removal and stone removal in the first session were not significantly different between the two groups [62/64 (96.9%) vs 84/89 (94.4%), P > 0.05; and 58/64 (90.6%) vs 79/89 (88.8%), P > 0.05, respectively]. The rates of post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography pancreatitis and hyperamylasemia were not significantly different between the two groups [3/64 (4.7%) vs 4/89 (4.5%), P > 0.05; 7/64 (10.9%) vs 9/89 (10.1%), P > 0.05, respectively]. There were no cases of perforation, acute cholangitis, or cholecystitis in the two groups. The rate of bleeding and the recurrence of CBD stones were significantly lower in group A than in group B [1/64 (1.6%) vs 5/89 (5.6%), P < 0.05; 1/64 (1.6%) vs 6/89 (6.7%), P < 0.05, respectively].
CONCLUSION: EST + EPLBD is an effective and safe endoscopic approach for removing large or multiple CBD stones.
PMCID: PMC4273147  PMID: 25548495
Choledocholithiasis; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Endoscopic papillary balloon dilation; Endoscopic sphincterotomy
15.  Vascular endothelial growth factor expression and pathological changes in the local tissue of facial hemangiomas following injections with pure alcohol 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(3):1099-1103.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between the formation of hemangioma and the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) following local injections of pure alcohol in patients exhibiting hemangioma. Ten healthy subjects (control group) and 10 hemangioma patients (treatment group) were included in the study population, with the hemangioma patients receiving one injection of pure alcohol. The VEGF levels were evaluated in the treatment and control group subjects prior to and following the injection using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; furthermore, local tissue was excised to perform pathological analysis one week after the injections. The VEGF levels of the healthy group were identified to be significantly lower when compared with those of the treatment group prior to the injections (P<0.01) and one week after the injections (P<0.01), however, were not significantly different when compared with the treatment group one month after the injections (P>0.01). Therefore, serum VEGF concentrations in the peripheral blood may be a clinical indicator of the efficacy of clinical treatment and aid with determination of the prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4314972  PMID: 25663863
hemangioma; vascular endothelial growth factor; pure alcohol; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
16.  Epidemiological Characterization and Risk Factors of Allergic Rhinitis in the General Population in Guangzhou City in China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114950.
The prevalence of allergic rhinitis (AR) in China has increased with an apparent geographic variation. The current study aims to investigate the AR prevalence/classification, diagnosis/treatment conditions, trigger factors, and risk factors in the general population of Guangzhou, the third biggest city in China. A cross-sectional survey was performed in the citizens in Guangzhou from December 2009 to March 2010 by using a stratified multistage cluster sampling method. All subjects were asked to complete a comprehensive questionnaire via a face to face interview. A total of 9,899 questionnaires were valid. The prevalence rate of AR in the general population of Guangzhou was 6.24%, with a significant higher prevalence in urban area (8.32%) versus rural area (3.43%). Among the AR subjects, most (87%) were diagnosed with intermittent AR and 87% suffered from moderate-severe symptoms. High percentages of the AR patients did not have previously physician-based diagnosis (34%) or specific medical treatment (55%). Morning time, winter season, and cold air were the most common trigger factors of AR. Family history of AR, current living place, living place during babyhood, smoking, home renovation, and pet ownership were the significant risk factors associated with AR prevalence in the population. The study demonstrated comprehensive epidemiological and clinical information about the AR in Guangzhou population. Change of living environment and lifestyles had strong impacts on the prevalence of AR. Public health policies should help the patients benefit from a proper diagnosis/treatment and specifically target the local risk factors, in order to control the AR incidence.
PMCID: PMC4267734  PMID: 25514026
17.  Emergency laparoscopic partial splenectomy for ruptured spleen: A case report 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(46):17670-17673.
Splenic rupture is a common consequence of blunt abdominal trauma. Emergency splenectomy is indicated when conservative management is not effective. With better understanding of the immunologic function of the spleen, surgeons have begun to perform the splenic-preserving surgery. However, it is technical challenge to perform emergency laparoscopic partial splenectomy for patient with spleen rupture. A 15-year-old male patient suffered from grade III spleen injury basing on the American association for the surgery of trauma splenic injury scale. Conservative treatment failed to success basing on the dramatically decreased hemoglobin level. During the laparoscopic exploration, we found that two individual ruptures were associated with the upper pole of spleen. An emergency laparoscopic partial splenectomy was successfully carried out. The operative time was approximate 150 min and the estimated blood loss was 200 mL. The post-operative course was uneventful and the patient was discharged on the 7th post-operative day.
PMCID: PMC4265631  PMID: 25516684
Laparoscopy; Minimal invasive; Partial splenectomy; Splenic rupture; Splenic trauma
18.  Design of DNA Pooling to Allow Incorporation of Covariates in Rare Variants Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114523.
Rapid advances in next-generation sequencing technologies facilitate genetic association studies of an increasingly wide array of rare variants. To capture the rare or less common variants, a large number of individuals will be needed. However, the cost of a large scale study using whole genome or exome sequencing is still high. DNA pooling can serve as a cost-effective approach, but with a potential limitation that the identity of individual genomes would be lost and therefore individual characteristics and environmental factors could not be adjusted in association analysis, which may result in power loss and a biased estimate of genetic effect.
For case-control studies, we propose a design strategy for pool creation and an analysis strategy that allows covariate adjustment, using multiple imputation technique.
Simulations show that our approach can obtain reasonable estimate for genotypic effect with only slight loss of power compared to the much more expensive approach of sequencing individual genomes.
Our design and analysis strategies enable more powerful and cost-effective sequencing studies of complex diseases, while allowing incorporation of covariate adjustment.
PMCID: PMC4259344  PMID: 25485788
19.  Large-scale genetic study in East Asians identifies six new loci associated with colorectal cancer risk 
Nature genetics  2014;46(6):533-542.
Known genetic loci explain only a small proportion of the familial relative risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). We conducted the largest genome-wide association study in East Asians with 14,963 CRC cases and 31,945 controls and identified six new loci associated with CRC risk (P = 3.42 × 10−8 to 9.22 × 10−21) at 10q22.3, 10q25.2, 11q12.2, 12p13.31, 17p13.3 and 19q13.2. Two of these loci map to genes (TCF7L2 and TGFB1) with established roles in colorectal tumorigenesis. Four other loci are located in or near genes involved in transcription regulation (ZMIZ1), genome maintenance (FEN1), fatty acid metabolism (FADS1 and FADS2), cancer cell motility and metastasis (CD9) and cell growth and differentiation (NXN). We also found suggestive evidence for three additional loci associated with CRC risk near genome-wide significance at 8q24.11, 10q21.1 and 10q24.2. Furthermore, we replicated 22 previously reported CRC loci. Our study provides insights into the genetic basis of CRC and suggests new biological pathways.
PMCID: PMC4068797  PMID: 24836286
20.  Characterization of an Acidic Chitinase from Seeds of Black Soybean (Glycine max (L) Merr Tainan No. 3) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113596.
Using 4-methylumbelliferyl-β-D-N,N′,N″-triacetylchitotrioside (4-MU-GlcNAc3) as a substrate, an acidic chitinase was purified from seeds of black soybean (Glycine max Tainan no. 3) by ammonium sulfate fractionation and three successive steps of column chromatography. The purified chitinase was a monomeric enzyme with molecular mass of 20.1 kDa and isoelectric point of 4.34. The enzyme catalyzed the hydrolysis of synthetic substrates p-nitrophenyl N-acetyl chitooligosaccharides with chain length from 3 to 5 (GlcNAcn, n = 3-5), and pNp-GlcNAc4 was the most degradable substrate. Using pNp-GlcNAc4 as a substrate, the optimal pH for the enzyme reaction was 4.0; kinetic parameters Km and kcat were 245 µM and 10.31 min−1, respectively. This enzyme also showed activity toward CM-chitin-RBV, a polymer form of chitin, and N-acetyl chitooligosaccharides, an oligomer form of chitin. The smallest oligomer substrate was an N-acetylglucosamine tetramer. These results suggested that this enzyme was an endo-splitting chitinase with short substrate cleavage activity and useful for biotechnological applications, in particular for the production of N-acetyl chitooligosaccharides.
PMCID: PMC4249961  PMID: 25437446
21.  Novel Amdoparvovirus Infecting Farmed Raccoon Dogs and Arctic Foxes 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(12):2085-2088.
A new amdoparvovirus, named raccoon dog and fox amdoparvovirus (RFAV), was identified in farmed sick raccoon dogs and arctic foxes. Phylogenetic analyses showed that RFAV belongs to a new species within the genus Amdoparvovirus of the family Parvoviridae. An RFAV strain was isolated in Crandell feline kidney cell culture.
PMCID: PMC4257837  PMID: 25417672
amdoparvovirus; infection; raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides); Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus); viruses; China
22.  In vitro and in vivo mapping of drug release after laser ablation thermal therapy with doxorubicin-loaded hollow gold nanoshells using fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging 
Doxorubicin-loaded hollow nanoshells (Dox@PEG-HAuNS) increases the efficacy of photothermal ablation (PTA) by not only mediating efficient PTA but also through chemotherapy, and therefore have potential utility for local anticancer therapy. However, in vivo real-time monitoring of Dox release and temperature achieved during the laser ablation technique has not been previously demonstrated before. In this study, we used fluorescence optical imaging to map the release of Dox from Dox@PEG-HAuNS and photoacoustic imaging to monitor the tumor temperature achieved during near-infrared laser–induced photothermal heating in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, treatment with a 3-W laser was sufficient to initiate the release of Dox from Dox@PEG-HAuNS (1:3:1 wt/wt, 1.32×1012 particles/mL). Laser powers of 3 and 6 W achieved ablative temperatures of more than 50 °C. In 4T1 tumor–bearing nude mice that received intratumoral or intravenous injections of Dox@PEG-HAuNS, fluorescence optical imaging (emission wavelength = 600 nm, excitation wavelength = 500 nm) revealed that the fluorescence intensity in surface laser–treated tumors 24 h after treatment was significantly higher than that in untreated tumors (p=0.015 for intratumoral, p=0.008 for intravenous). Similar results were obtained using an interstitial laser to irradiate tumors following the intravenous injection of Dox@PEG-HAuNS (p=0.002 at t=24h). Photoacoustic imaging (acquisition wavelength = 800 nm) revealed that laser treatment caused a substantial increase in tumor temperature, from 37 °C to ablative temperatures of more than 50 °C. Ex vivo analysis revealed that the fluorescence intensity of laser-treated tumors was twice as high as that of untreated tumors (p=0.009). Histological analysis confirmed that intratumoral injection of Dox@PEG-HAuNS and laser treatment caused significantly more tumor necrosis compared to tumors that were not treated with laser (p<0.001). On the basis of these findings, we conclude that fluorescence optical imaging and photoacoustic imaging are promising approaches to assessing Dox release and monitoring temperature, respectively, after Dox@PEG-HAuNS–mediated thermal ablation therapy.
PMCID: PMC3853126  PMID: 23920038
targeted hollow gold nanoshells; magnetic resonance temperature imaging; photoacoustic imaging; near-infrared optical imaging; molecular imaging
23.  The Effects of Backward Adjustable Thoracic Support in Wheelchair on Spinal Curvature and Back Muscle Activation for Elderly People 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113644.
To investigate the effects of backward adjustable thoracic support on spinal curvature and back muscle activation during wheelchair sitting.
Twenty elderly people were recruited for this study. The backward adjustable thoracic support sitting posture was compared with the slumped, normal, and lumbar support sitting postures. Spinal curvatures (pelvic, lumbar, and thoracic angles) and muscle activations of 4 back muscles on both sides (maximal voluntary isometric contraction of the lumbar multifidus, lumbar erector spinae, iliocostalis lumborum pars thoracis, and thoracic erector spinae at T9) were measured and compared between the different sitting postures using one-way analysis of variance with repeated measures.
The backward adjustable thoracic support sitting posture showed a relatively neutral pelvic tilt (−0.32±4.80°) when compared with the slumped (22.84±5.27°) and lumbar support (−8.97±3.31°) sitting postures (P<0.001), and showed relatively higher lumbar lordosis (−23.38±6.50°) when compared with the slumped (14.77±7.83°), normal (0.44±7.47°), and lumbar support (−16.76±4.77°) sitting postures (P<0.05). It also showed relatively lower back muscle activity when compared with the normal and lumbar support sitting postures (P<0.05).
The backward adjustable thoracic support sitting concept was suggested because it maintains a more neutral pelvic tilt, higher lumbar lordosis, and lower back muscle activation, which may help maintain a better sitting posture and reduce the risk of back pain.
PMCID: PMC4257911  PMID: 25480152
24.  Platinum-Free Counter Electrode Comprised of Metal-Organic-Framework (MOF)-Derived Cobalt Sulfide Nanoparticles for Efficient Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs) 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6983.
We fabricated a highly efficient (with a solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency (η) of 8.1%) Pt-free dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC). The counter electrode was made of cobalt sulfide (CoS) nanoparticles synthesized via surfactant-assisted preparation of a metal organic framework, ZIF-67, with controllable particle sizes (50 to 320 nm) and subsequent oxidation and sulfide conversion. In contrast to conventional Pt counter electrodes, the synthesized CoS nanoparticles exhibited higher external surface areas and roughness factors, as evidenced by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) element mapping, and electrochemical analysis. Incident photon-to-current conversion efficiency (IPCE) results showed an increase in the open circuit voltage (VOC) and a decrease in the short-circuit photocurrent density (Jsc) for CoS-based DSSCs compared to Pt-based DSSCs, resulting in a similar power conversion efficiency. The CoS-based DSSC fabricated in the study show great potential for economically friendly production of Pt-free DSSCs.
PMCID: PMC4225550  PMID: 25382139
25.  A novel crosstalk between BRCA1 and sirtuin 1 in ovarian cancer 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6666.
BRCA mutations are the main known hereditary factors for ovarian cancer. Notably, emerging evidence has led to considerable interest in the role of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) in ovarian cancer development. However, dynamic crosstalk between BRCA1 and SIRT1 is poorly understood. Here, we showed that: (i) BRCA1 inactivation events (mutation, promoter methylation, or knockdown) were accompanied by decreased SIRT1 levels and increased nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) levels and a subsequent increase in SIRT1 activity; (ii) overexpression of BRCA1 resulted in increased SIRT1 levels, an impairment in NAD synthesis, and a subsequent inhibition of SIRT1 activity; and (iii) intracellular NAD levels were largely responsible for regulating SIRT1 activity, and BRCA1 expression patterns correlated with SIRT1 levels and NAD levels correlated with SIRT1 activity in human ovarian cancer specimens. Interestingly, although BRCA1 inactivation events inhibited SIRT1 expression, they led to a substantial increase in NAD levels that enhanced NAD-related SIRT1 activity. This is a special BRCA1-mediated compensatory mechanism for the maintenance of SIRT1 function. Therefore, these results highlight a novel interaction between BRCA1 and SIRT1, which may be beneficial for the dynamic balance between BRCA1-related biologic processes and SIRT1-related energy metabolism and stress response.
PMCID: PMC4200400  PMID: 25323003

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