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1.  UV sensing using film bulk acoustic resonators based on Au/n-ZnO/piezoelectric-ZnO/Al structure 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:9123.
A new type of ultraviolet (UV) light sensor based on film bulk acoustic wave resonator (FBAR) is proposed. The new sensor uses gold and a thin n-type ZnO layer deposited on the top of piezoelectric layer of FBAR to form a Schottky barrier. The Schottky barrier's capacitance can be changed with UV light, resulting in an enhanced shift in the entire FBAR's resonant frequency. The fabricated UV sensor has a 50 nm thick n-ZnO semiconductor layer with a carrier concentration of ~ 1017 cm−3. A large frequency downshift is observed when UV light irradiates the FBAR. With 365 nm UV light of intensity 1.7 mW/cm2, the FBAR with n-ZnO/Au Schottky diode has 250 kHz frequency downshift, much larger than the 60 kHz frequency downshift in a conventional FBAR without the n-ZnO layer. The shift in the new FBAR's resonant frequency is due to the junction formed between Au and n-ZnO semiconductor and its properties changes with UV light. The experimental results are in agreement with the theoretical analysis using an equivalent circuit model of the new FBAR structure.
PMCID: PMC4360626  PMID: 25773146
2.  Fast Response and High Sensitivity ZnO/glass Surface Acoustic Wave Humidity Sensors Using Graphene Oxide Sensing Layer 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7206.
We report ZnO/glass surface acoustic wave (SAW) humidity sensors with high sensitivity and fast response using graphene oxide sensing layer. The frequency shift of the sensors is exponentially correlated to the humidity change, induced mainly by mass loading effect rather than the complex impedance change of the sensing layer. The SAW sensors show high sensitivity at a broad humidity range from 0.5%RH to 85%RH with < 1 sec rise time. The simple design and excellent stability of our GO-based SAW humidity sensors, complemented with full humidity range measurement, highlights their potential in a wide range of applications.
PMCID: PMC4244623  PMID: 25425458
3.  Magnetic Susceptibility Induced White Matter MR Signal Frequency Shifts - Experimental Comparison between Lorentzian Sphere and Generalized Lorentzian Approaches 
The nature of the remarkable phase contrast in high field gradient echo MRI studies of human brain is a subject of intense debates. The Generalized Lorentzian Approach (GLA) (He & Yablonskiy, PNAS 2009;106:13558) provides an explanation for the anisotropy of phase contrast, the near absence of phase contrast between WM and CSF, and changes of phase contrast in multiple sclerosis. In this study we experimentally validate the GLA.
Theory and Methods
The GLA suggests that the local contribution to frequency shifts in WM does not depend on the average tissue magnetic susceptibility (as suggested by Lorentzian sphere approximation), but on the distribution and symmetry of magnetic susceptibility inclusions at the cellular level. We use ex vivo rat optic nerve as a model system of highly organized cellular structure containing longitudinally arranged myelin and neurofilaments. The nerve's cylindrical shape allowed accurate measurement of its magnetic susceptibility and local frequency shifts.
We found that the volume magnetic susceptibility difference between nerve and water is −0.116ppm, and the magnetic susceptibilities of longitudinal components are −0.043ppm in fresh nerve, and −0.020ppm in fixed nerve.
The frequency shift observed in the optic nerve as a representative of WM is consistent with GLA but inconsistent with Lorentzian sphere approximation.
PMCID: PMC3748237  PMID: 23637001
Phase contrast; Generalized Lorentzian Approach; optic nerve; magnetic susceptibility; quantitative susceptibility mapping
4.  TRPM2 channel deficiency prevents delayed cytosolic Zn2+ accumulation and CA1 pyramidal neuronal death after transient global ischemia 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(11):e1541-.
Transient ischemia is a leading cause of cognitive dysfunction. Postischemic ROS generation and an increase in the cytosolic Zn2+ level ([Zn2+]c) are critical in delayed CA1 pyramidal neuronal death, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Here we investigated the role of ROS-sensitive TRPM2 (transient receptor potential melastatin-related 2) channel. Using in vivo and in vitro models of ischemia–reperfusion, we showed that genetic knockout of TRPM2 strongly prohibited the delayed increase in the [Zn2+]c, ROS generation, CA1 pyramidal neuronal death and postischemic memory impairment. Time-lapse imaging revealed that TRPM2 deficiency had no effect on the ischemia-induced increase in the [Zn2+]c but abolished the cytosolic Zn2+ accumulation during reperfusion as well as ROS-elicited increases in the [Zn2+]c. These results provide the first evidence to show a critical role for TRPM2 channel activation during reperfusion in the delayed increase in the [Zn2+]c and CA1 pyramidal neuronal death and identify TRPM2 as a key molecule signaling ROS generation to postischemic brain injury.
PMCID: PMC4260752  PMID: 25429618
5.  Health care costs for prostate cancer patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy: treatment and adverse events 
Current Oncology  2014;21(3):e457-e465.
Serious adverse events have been associated with androgen deprivation therapy (adt) for prostate cancer (pca), but few studies address the costs of those events.
All pca patients (ICD-9-CM 185) in Ontario who started 90 days or more of adt or had orchiectomy at the age of 66 or older during 1995–2005 (n = 26,809) were identified using the Ontario Cancer Registry and drug and hospital data. Diagnosis dates of adverse events—myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndrome, congestive heart failure, stroke, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, any diabetes, and fracture or osteoporosis—before and after adt initiation were determined from administrative data. We excluded patients with the same diagnosis before and after adt, and we allocated each patient’s time from adt initiation to death or December 31, 2007, into health states: adt (no adverse event), adt-ae (specified single adverse event), Multiple (>1 event), and Final (≤180 days before death). We used methods for Canadian health administrative data to estimate annual total health care costs during each state, and we examined monthly trends.
Approximately 50% of 21,811 patients with no pre-adt adverse event developed 1 or more events after adt. The costliest adverse event state was stroke ($26,432/year). Multiple was the most frequent (n = 2,336) and the second most costly health state ($24,374/year). Costs were highest in the first month after diagnosis (from $1,714 for diabetes to $14,068 for myocardial infarction). Costs declined within 18 months, ranging from $784 per 30 days (diabetes) to $1,852 per 30 days (stroke). Adverse events increased the costs of adt by 100% to 265%.
The economic burden of adverse events is relevant to programs and policies from clinic to government, and that burden merits consideration in the risks and benefits of adt.
PMCID: PMC4059810  PMID: 24940106
Prostatic neoplasms; androgen deprivation therapy; costs; adverse events; cost analysis
6.  Arterial stiffness identification of the human carotid artery using the stress-strain relationship in vivo 
Ultrasonics  2011;52(3):402-411.
Arterial stiffness is well accepted as a reliable indicator of arterial disease. Increase in carotid arterial stiffness has been associated with carotid arterial disease, e.g., atherosclerotic plaque, thrombosis, stenosis, etc. Several methods for carotid arterial stiffness assessments have been proposed. In this study, in-vivo noninvasive assessment using applanation tonometry and an ultrasound-based motion estimation technique was applied in seven healthy volunteers (age 28 ± 3.6 years old) to determine pressure and wall displacement in the left common carotid artery (CCA), respectively. The carotid pressure was obtained using a calibration method by assuming that the mean and diastolic blood pressures remained constant throughout the arterial tree. The regional carotid arterial wall displacement was estimated using a 1D cross-correlation technique on the ultrasound radio frequency (RF) signals acquired at a frame rate of 505–1010 Hz. Young’s moduli were estimated under two different assumptions: (i) a linear elastic two-parallel spring model and (ii) a two-dimensional, nonlinear, hyperelastic model. The circumferential stress (σθ) and strain (εθ) relationship was then established in humans in vivo. A slope change in the circumferential stress-strain curve was observed and defined as a transition point. The Young’s moduli of the elastic lamellae (E1), elastin-collagen fibers (E2) and collagen fibers (E3) and the incremental Young’s moduli before (E0≤εθ<ε0T) and after the transition point (EεθT≤εθ) were determined from the first and second approach, respectively, to describe the contribution of the complex mechanical interaction of the different arterial wall constituents. The average E1, E2 and E3 from seven healthy volunteers were found to be equal to 0.15 ± 0.04, 0.89 ± 0.27 and 0.75 ± 0.29 MPa, respectively. The average E0≤εθ<εθTInt and EεθT≤εθInt of the intact wall (both the tunica adventitia and tunica media layers) were found to be equal to 0.16 ± 0.04 MPa and 0.90 ± 0.25 MPa, respectively. The average E0≤εθ<εθTAd and EεθT≤εθAd of the tunica adventitia were found to be equal to 0.18 ± 0.05 MPa and 0.84 ± 0.22 MPa, respectively. The average EεθT≤εθMe and EεθT≤εθMe of the tunica media were found to be equal to 0.19 ± 0.05 MPa and 0.90 ± 0.25 MPa, respectively. The stiffness of the carotid artery increased with strain during the systolic phase of cardiac cycle. In conclusion, the feasibility of measuring the regional stress-strain relationship and stiffness of the normal human carotid artery noninvasively was demonstrated in human in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4009743  PMID: 22030473
Arterial stiffness; Carotid artery; Collagen; Elastin; Motion estimation; Tonometry; Ultrasound
7.  Non-invasive measurement of local pulse pressure by pulse wave-based ultrasound manometry (PWUM) 
Physiological measurement  2011;32(10):1653-1662.
The central Blood Pressure (CBP) has been established as a relevant indicator of cardiovascular disease. Despite its significance, CBP remains particularly challenging to measure in standard clinical practice. The objective of this study is to introduce Pulse Wave-based Ultrasound Manometry (PWUM) as a simple-touse, non-invasive ultrasound-based method for quantitative measurement of the central pulse pressure. Arterial wall displacements are estimated using radiofrequency (RF) ultrasound signals acquired at high frame rates and the pulse pressure waveform is estimated using both the distension waveform and the local Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV). The method was tested on the abdominal aorta of 11 healthy subjects (age 35.7± 16 y.o.). PWUM pulse pressure measurements were compared to those obtained by radial applanation tonometry using a commercial system. The average intra-subject variability of the pulse pressure amplitude was found to be equal to 4.2 mmHg, demonstrating good reproducibility of the method. Excellent correlation was found between the waveforms obtained by PWUM and those obtained by tonometry in all subjects (0.94
PMCID: PMC4005495  PMID: 21904023
British Journal of Cancer  2013;108(7):1470-1479.
We previously demonstrated that AIB1 overexpression is an independent molecular marker for shortened survival of bladder cancer (BC) patients. In this study, we characterised the role and molecular mechanisms of AIB1 in BC tumorigenicity.
AIB1 expression was measured by immunohistochemistry in non-muscle-invasive BC tissue and adjacent normal bladder tissue. In addition, the tumorigenicity of AIB1 was assessed with in vitro and in vivo functional assays.
Overexpression of AIB1 was observed in tissues from 46 out of 146 patients with non-muscle-invasive BC and was an independent predictor for poor progression-free survival. Lentivirus-mediated AIB1 knockdown inhibited cell proliferation both in vitro and in vivo, whereas AIB1 overexpression promoted cell proliferation in vitro. The growth-inhibitory effect induced by AIB1 knockdown was mediated by G1 arrest, which was caused by reduced expression of key cell-cycle regulatory proteins through the AKT pathway and E2F1.
Our results suggest that AIB1 promotes BC cell proliferation through the AKT pathway and E2F1. Furthermore, AIB1 overexpression predicts tumour progression in patients with non-muscle-invasive BC.
PMCID: PMC3629431  PMID: 23511556
bladder cancer; AIB1; AKT; E2F1; proliferation
Li, G | Li, X | Wu, H | Yang, X | Zhang, Y | Chen, L | Wu, X | Cui, L | Wu, L | Luo, J | Liu, X Y
Blood Cancer Journal  2014;4(3):e194-.
We report here a novel strategy to redirect oncolytic adenoviruses to CD123 by carry a soluble coxsackie-adenovirus receptor (sCAR)-IL3 expression cassette in the viral genome to form Ad.IL3, which sustainably infected acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells through CD123. Ad.IL3 was further engineered to harbor gene encoding manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) or mannose-binding plant lectin Pinellia pedatisecta agglutinin (PPA), forming Ad.IL3-MnSOD and Ad.IL3-PPA. As compared with Ad.IL3 or Ad.sp-E1A control, Ad.IL3-MnSOD and Ad.IL3-PPA significantly suppressed in vitro proliferation of HL60 and KG-1 cells. Elevated apoptosis was detected in HL60 and KG-1 cells treated with either Ad.IL3-MnSOD or Ad.IL3-PPA. The caspase-9–caspase-7 pathway was determined to be activated by Ad.IL3-MnSOD as well as by Ad.IL3-PPA in HL60 cells. In an HL60/Luc xenograft nonobese diabetic/severe-combined immunodeficiency mice model, Ad.IL3-MnSOD and Ad.IL3-PPA suppressed cancer cell growth as compared with Ad.IL3. A significant difference of cancer cell burden was detected between Ad.IL3 and Ad.IL3-PPA groups at day 9 after treatment. Furthermore, Ad.IL3-MnSOD significantly prolonged mouse survival as compared with Ad.sp-E1A. These findings demonstrated that Ad.IL3-gene could serve as a novel agent for AML therapy. Harboring sCAR-ligand expression cassette in the viral genome may provide a universal method to redirect oncolytic adenoviruses to various membrane receptors on cancer cells resisting serotype 5 adenovirus infection.
PMCID: PMC3972701  PMID: 24658372
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been implicated in a variety of pathophysiological conditions, of which MMP-7 is expressed by tumor cells of epithelial and mesenchymal origin. However, the function of MMP-7 in human lung adenocarcinoma (LAC) is unclear. In the present study the expression of MMP-7 in LAC was examined by immunohistochemical assay using a tissue microarray procedure. A loss-of-function experiment was performed to explore the effects and molecular mechanisms of lentiviral vector-mediated MMP-7 siRNA (siMMP-7) on cell proliferation and invasive potential in LAC A549 cells, measured by MTT and Transwell assays, respectively. It was found that, the expression of MMP-7 protein in LAC was significantly increased compared with that in adjacent non-cancerous tissues (ANCT) (76.0% vs 44.0%, P<0.001), and positively correlated with lymph node metastases of the tumor (P=0.014). Furthermore, targeted inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) by siRNA downregulated the expression of MMP-7 and inhibited invasion of LAC cells, and knockdown of MMP-7 suppressed tumor proliferation and invasion in LAC cells. Taken together, our findings indicate that increased expression of MMP-7 is associated with lymph node metastasis and upregulated by COX-2, and promotes the tumorigenesis of LAC, suggesting that MMP-7 may be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3980206  PMID: 24704993
MMP-7; COX-2; lung adenocarcinoma
Eye  2013;27(2):265-271.
To determine whether there is an association between hepatic lipase (LIPC) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in two independent Caucasian cohorts.
A discovery cohort of 1626 patients with advanced AMD and 859 normal controls and a replication cohort of 2159 cases and 1150 controls were genotyped for two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the promoter region of LIPC. The associations between the SNPs and AMD were examined by χ2 tests.
In the discovery cohort, rs493258 and rs10468017 were both associated with advanced AMD (P=9.63E−3 and P=0.048, respectively). The association was corroborated in the replication cohort (P=4.48E−03 for rs493258 and P=0.015 for rs10468017). Combined analysis resulted in even more significant associations (P=1.21E−04 for rs493258 and P=1.67E−03 for rs10468017).
The LIPC promoter variants rs493258 and rs10468017 were associated with advanced AMD in two independent Caucasian populations, confirming that LIPC polymorphisms may be a genetic risk factor for AMD in the Caucasian population.
PMCID: PMC3574263  PMID: 23348725
LIPC; hepatic lipase; advanced age-related macular degeneration; genetics
Cell Death & Disease  2013;4(10):e829-.
The potential to use Schwann cells (SCs) in neural repair for patients suffering from neurotrauma and neurodegenerative diseases is well recognized. However, significant cell death after transplantation hinders the clinical translation of SC-based therapies. Various factors may contribute to the death of transplanted cells. It is known that prolonged activation of P2X7 purinoceptors (P2X7R) can lead to death of certain types of cells. In this study, we show that rat SCs express P2X7R and exposure of cultured SCs to high concentrations of ATP (3–5 mM) or a P2X7R agonist, 2′(3′)-O-(4-benzoylbenzoyl)ATP (BzATP) induced significant cell death rapidly. High concentrations of ATP and BzATP increased ethidium uptake by SCs, indicating increased membrane permeability to large molecules, a typical feature of prolonged P2X7R activation. SC death, as well as ethidium uptake, induced by ATP was blocked by an irreversible P2X7R antagonist oxidized ATP (oxATP) or a reversible P2X7R antagonist A438079. oxATP also significantly inhibits the increase of intracellular free calcium induced by minimolar ATP concentrations. Furthermore, ATP did not cause death of SCs isolated from P2X7R-knockout mice. All these results suggest that P2X7R is responsible for ATP-induced SC death in vitro. When rat SCs were treated with oxATP before transplantation into uninjured rat spinal cord, 35% more SCs survived than untreated SCs 1 week after transplantation. Moreover, 58% more SCs isolated from P2X7R-knockout mice survived after being transplanted into rat spinal cord than SCs from wild-type mice. This further confirms that P2X7R is involved in the death of transplanted SCs. These results indicate that targeting P2X7R on SCs could be a potential strategy to improve the survival of transplanted cells. As many other types of cells, including neural stem cells, also express P2X7R, deactivating P2X7R may improve the survival of other types of transplanted cells.
PMCID: PMC3824653  PMID: 24091672
purinoceptor; ATP receptor; Schwann cell; cell death; cell transplantation; spinal cord injury
Oncogene  2011;31(35):3939-3948.
A clearer definition of the molecular determinants that drive the development and progression of prostate cancer (PCa) is urgently needed. Efforts to map recurrent somatic deletions in the tumor genome, especially homozygous deletions (HODs), have provided important positional information in the search for cancer-causing genes. Analyzing HODs in the tumors of 244 patients from two independent cohorts and 22 PCa xenografts using high-resolution single-nucleotide polymorphism arrays, herein we report the identification of CHD1, a chromatin remodeler, as one of the most frequently homozygously deleted genes in PCa, second only to PTEN in this regard. The HODs observed in CHD1, including deletions affecting only internal exons of CHD1, were found to completely extinguish the expression of mRNA of this gene in PCa xenografts. Loss of this chromatin remodeler in clinical specimens is significantly associated with an increased number of additional chromosomal deletions, both hemi- and homozygous, especially on 2q, 5q and 6q. Together with the deletions observed in HEK293 cells stably transfected with CHD1 small hairpin RNA, these data suggest a causal relationship. Downregulation of Chd1 in mouse prostate epithelial cells caused dramatic morphological changes indicative of increased invasiveness, but did not result in transformation. Indicating a new role of CHD1, these findings collectively suggest that distinct CHD1-associated alterations of genomic structure evolve during and are required for the development of PCa.
PMCID: PMC3667348  PMID: 22139082
CHD1; homozygous deletion; prostate cancer
British Journal of Cancer  2012;107(4):707-712.
Despite focused research in conventional therapies and considerable advances in the understanding of the molecular carcinogenesis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), the 5-year survival rate for patients with advanced disease remains ∼15–20%. The major causes of HNSCC-related deaths are cervical node and distant metastasis. E-cadherin has a key role in epithelial intercellular adhesion and its downregulation is a hallmark of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is associated with invasion, metastasis, and poor prognosis. Epithelial–mesenchymal transition is the major mechanism responsible for mediating invasiveness and metastasis of epithelial cancers. Recently, we reported the role of E-cadherin transcriptional repressors in the inflammation-induced promotion of EMT in HNSCC, which is mediated by COX-2. These findings suggest that therapies targeting the cyclooxygenase pathway may diminish the propensity for tumour metastasis in HNSCC by blocking the PGE2-mediated induction of E-cadherin transcriptional repressors.
Herein, we evaluate the efficacy of the COX-2 inhibitor, apricoxib, in HNSCC cell lines. Apricoxib is effective in preventing tumour cell growth in three-dimensional, and anchorage-independent growth assays, as well as decreasing the capacity for tumour cell migration.
Herein, we evaluate the efficacy of the COX-2 inhibitor, apricoxib, in HNSCC cell lines. Apricoxib is effective in preventing tumour cell growth in three-dimensional, and anchorage-independent growth assays, as well as decreasing the capacity for tumour cell migration. Treatment of HNSCC cells with apricoxib also causes greater upregulation of E-cadherin and Muc1 expression and downregulation of vimentin, as compared with celecoxib treatment. This has significant implications for targeted chemoprevention and anti-cancer therapy because E-cadherin expression has been implicated as a marker of sensitivity to epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor and other therapies. We show for the first time the molecular mechanisms underlying the efficacy of apricoxib in HNSCC cells.
In addition to reversing EMT via inhibition of COX-2, apricoxib upregulates 15-prostaglandin dehydrogenase and the prostaglandin transporter, thereby reducing the levels of active PGE2 by both suppressing its synthesis and increasing its catabolism. These findings have significant implications for metastasis and tumour progression in HNSCC.
PMCID: PMC3419945  PMID: 22828609
EMT; PGT; 15-PGDH; HNSCC; metastasis; COX-2 inhibitor
Eye  2012;26(8):1106-1113.
To investigate clinical presentation and genotypes in patients with simultaneous geographic atrophy (GA) and choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and to compare with patients with GA or CNV only.
Patients and methods
Twenty patients with combined CNV–GA and 154 CNV only and 154 GA only were chosen based on clinical exam and imaging. Six single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)—rs2274700 and rs1061170 (complement factor H), rs10490924 and rs11200638 (HTRA1/LOC387715), rs2230199 (C3), rs9332739 (C2)—were genotyped using the SNaPshot method. Chi-squared tests were used for genetic analysis.
In patients with CNV–GA, GA progressed slowly and often preceded CNV. CNV presented as subretinal haemorrhage or fluid, with a sudden drop in visual acuity (VA). Comparing combined CNV–GA to GA and CNV only, patients with both had a higher frequency of at-risk alleles at both SNPs within the HTRA1 gene—rs10490924 (52.5%), rs11200638 (52.6%). Statistical significance was not achieved. CNV–GA patients had no protective alleles at SNP rs9332739 (C2), compared with GA (27%) and CNV only (10%).
There is a paucity of reports describing simultaneous CNV–GA. Clinical and genetic results may support the fact that GA and CNV fit on an age-related macular degeneration (AMD)-disease continuum and may clarify the disease processes in AMD.
PMCID: PMC3420042  PMID: 22699975
age-related macular degeneration; geographic atrophy; choroidal neovascularization; genetics
Eye  2012;26(8):1039-1043.
To determine the genetic basis of myotonia congenita (MC) and strabismus in a large Caucasian family.
Seven patients making up four generations of a family with MC and strabismus were recruited. All patients had at least one standard ophthalmic examination, including best-corrected visual acuity, refraction, and ocular motility measurements. CLCN1 and SCN4A genes were sequenced and analysed for mutations.
Five out of the seven family members were diagnosed with MC by clinical history and electromyography. Ophthalmic history and exam revealed eyelid myotonia and strabismus. All patients with MC were diagnosed with strabismus between the ages of 3 and 6 and required surgical restoration of ocular alignment. Sequencing results revealed a c. 1333G>A; p. Val445Met mutation in the SCN4A gene.
There are few reports describing eyelid myotonia and strabismus in patients diagnosed with MC. We found significant ocular involvement in a family with a mutation in SCN4A. Future studies may confirm that MC with significant ocular involvement can be used to direct genetic analysis.
PMCID: PMC3420053  PMID: 22653516
myotonia congenita; strabismus; esotropia; genetics
Zhang, X | Li, M | Cao, J | Luo, J-W | Xu, G-Z | Gao, L | Yi, J | Huang, X | Xiao, J | Li, S | Dai, J
The British Journal of Radiology  2012;85(1016):e506-e513.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the actual dose variability to the targets and organs at risk (OARs) during nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and to investigate the significance of replanning.
11 NPC patients were included in this study. Each patient had both a planning CT and weekly repeated CT. Simulated plans that were generated by using the same beam configurations mapped to the repeated CT represented the actual delivered doses to the target volumes and OARs. An IMRT replanning was performed with the fifth week CT scan. Doses among the initial plan, the simulated plans and replanning were compared.
There were no significant dosimetric differences in the gross tumour volume, clinical target volume (CTV) 1 or CTV2 for either the simulated plans or the replanning compared with the initial plan. Dosimetric variability of both parotid glands and the brain stem were unique to each individual, and doses to the spinal cord were always maintained within the limit. Replanning in the fifth week had significantly decreased the doses delivered to both parotids (p-values of the mean dose were 0.015 and 0.026 for the left and right parotid, respectively), whereas it did not reduce the doses to the brain stem and spinal cord. There was no relationship between dose variability and weight loss.
There are no significant dose changes for target volumes and spinal cord, and doses to the brain stem and both parotid glands changed individually during NPC IMRT. Replanning helps to spare bilateral parotids.
PMCID: PMC3587088  PMID: 22096217
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2140.
Flexible electronics are a very promising technology for various applications. Several types of flexible devices have been developed, but there has been limited research on flexible electromechanical systems (MEMS). Surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices are not only an essential electronic device, but also are the building blocks for sensors and MEMS. Here we report a method of making flexible SAW devices using ZnO nanocrystals deposited on a cheap and bendable plastic film. The flexible SAW devices exhibit two wave modes - the Rayleigh and Lamb waves with resonant frequencies of 198.1 MHz and 447.0 MHz respectively, and signal amplitudes of 18 dB. The flexible devices have a high temperature coefficient of frequency, and are thus useful as sensitive temperature sensors. Moreover, strong acoustic streaming with a velocity of 3.4 cm/s and particle concentration using the SAW have been achieved, demonstrating the great potential for applications in electronics and MEMS.
PMCID: PMC3701897  PMID: 23828169
Heredity  2012;109(1):34-40.
Association mapping of important traits of crop plants relies on first understanding the extent and patterns of linkage disequilibrium (LD) in the particular germplasm being investigated. We characterize here the genetic diversity, population structure and genome wide LD patterns in a set of asparagus bean (Vigna. unguiculata ssp. sesquipedialis) germplasm from China. A diverse collection of 99 asparagus bean and normal cowpea accessions were genotyped with 1127 expressed sequence tag-derived single nucleotide polymorphism markers (SNPs). The proportion of polymorphic SNPs across the collection was relatively low (39%), with an average number of SNPs per locus of 1.33. Bayesian population structure analysis indicated two subdivisions within the collection sampled that generally represented the ‘standard vegetable' type (subgroup SV) and the ‘non-standard vegetable' type (subgroup NSV), respectively. Level of LD (r2) was higher and extent of LD persisted longer in subgroup SV than in subgroup NSV, whereas LD decayed rapidly (0–2 cM) in both subgroups. LD decay distance varied among chromosomes, with the longest (≈5 cM) five times longer than the shortest (≈1 cM). Partitioning of LD variance into within- and between-subgroup components coupled with comparative LD decay analysis suggested that linkage group 5, 7 and 10 may have undergone the most intensive epistatic selection toward traits favorable for vegetable use. This work provides a first population genetic insight into domestication history of asparagus bean and demonstrates the feasibility of mapping complex traits by genome wide association study in asparagus bean using a currently available cowpea SNPs marker platform.
PMCID: PMC3375410  PMID: 22378357
asparagus bean; association mapping; cowpea; domestication history; linkage disequilibrium; population structure
Eye  2012;26(6):866-871.
To determine the genetic basis of early onset autosomal recessive Best vitelliform macular dystrophy (arBVMD) in a family with three affected children.
Clinical and family-based genetic study.
Seven subjects making up a family with three children affected by Best vitelliform macular dystrophy were studied. Standard ophthalmic exam with dilated ophthalmoscopy and imaging were performed in each individual. The eleven exons of BEST1were directly sequenced.
All three affected children have the clinical characteristic features of Best vitelliform macular dystrophy: large macular vitelliform lesions, scattered vitelliform lesions along the arcades and in the peripheral retina, and an accumulation of serous retinal fluid. A novel compound heterozygous mutation in the BEST1gene was found in the three affected individuals (L41P and I201T). The unaffected parents and children only harbor one heterozygous mutation.
arBVMD can be caused by the compound heterozygous mutation L41P and I201T in the BEST1gene.
PMCID: PMC3376281  PMID: 22422030
autosomal recessive Best vitelliform macular dystrophy; BEST1 gene; genetics
Insights into Imaging  2013;4(3):357-367.
This manuscript reviews congenital anomalies and imaging findings associated with non-visualisation of the cavum septi pellucidi (CSP) found on prenatal sonogram.
Observation of a normal cavum septi pellucidi (CSP) is an important landmark in the second and third trimester prenatal ultrasound evaluation of the fetal brain, and its visualisation provides reassurance of normal central forebrain development. Non-visualisation of the CSP is a prenatal sonographic finding, which in most cases is associated with neuroanatomical anomalies that include agenesis of the corpus callosum, schizencephaly, septo-optic dysplasia, holoprosencephaly, chronic hydrocephalus and acquired fetal brain injury. Isolated septal deficiency, a rare but controversial entity, is considered a variant of normal. Common pitfalls in the sonographic evaluation of CSP include columns of the fornix that mimic CSP, and prominent cavum vergae that can simulate non-visualisation of the CSP. When non-visualisation of the CSP is suspected, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the fetal brain can confirm and evaluate associated anomalies.
Visualisation of the CSP is an integral component of the prenatal ultrasound and its non-visualisation is associated with other malformations, diagnosis of which is aided by MRI.
Teaching points
• Cavum septi pellucidi (CSP) is an important landmark in the prenatal ultrasound evaluation of the fetal brain, and is a marker for normal central forebrain development.
• Non-visualisation of the CSP is most commonly associated with other neuroanatomical abnormalities.
• Examination of the fetal brain by MRI can confirm the sonographic findings and evaluate for associated anomalies.
PMCID: PMC3675254  PMID: 23584847
Cavum septi pellucidi; Corpus callosum; Sonography; Fetal brain; MRI; Prenatal diagnosis
Germline stem cells (GSCs) can be used for large-animal transgenesis, in which GSCs that are genetically manipulated in vitro are transplanted into a recipient testis to generate donor-derived transgenic sperm. The objectives of this study were to explore a non-viral approach for transgene delivery into goat GSCs and to investigate the efficiency of nucleofection in producing transgenic sperm. Four recipient goats received fractionated irradiation at 8 weeks of age to deplete endogenous GSCs. Germ-cell transplantations were performed 8-9 weeks post-irradiation. Donor cells were collected from testes of 9 week-old goats, enriched for GSCs by Staput velocity sedimentation, and transfected by nucleofection with a transgene construct harboring the human growth hormone gene under the control of the goat beta-casein promoter (GBC) and a chicken beta-globin insulator (CBGI) sequence upstream of the promoter. For each recipient, transfected cells from 10 nucleofection reactions were pooled, mixed with non-transfected cells to a total of 1.5×108 cells in 3ml, and transplanted into one testis (n = 4 recipients) by ultrasound-guided cannulation of the rete testis. The second testis of each recipient was removed. Semen was collected starting at 9 months after transplantation for a period of over a year (a total of 62 ejaculates from 4 recipients). Nested genomic PCR for hGH and CBGI sequences demonstrated that 31.3%±12.6% of ejaculates were positive for both hGH and CBGI. This study provides proof-of-concept that non-viral transfection (nucleofection) of primary goat germ cells followed by germ cell transplantation results in transgene transmission to sperm in recipient goats.
PMCID: PMC3368892  PMID: 22231935
Transgenic animals; germline stem cells; spermatogenesis; nucleofection; germ cell transplantation
Inflammatory bowel diseases  2011;18(2):344-348.
Dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) induces experimental colitis and promotes colitis-associated cancer in rodents. In practice we observe potent inhibition of real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) using cDNA from DSS-exposed mouse tissues, which complicates gene expression analysis. Here we characterize DSS inhibition of qPCR in a wide array of murine tissues following ingestion of DSS. We examine different approaches to RNA purification prior to cDNA synthesis in order to optimize cDNA amplification and gene expression analysis. We find that poly-A purification of DSS-exposed RNA allows cDNA synthesis and permits reliable and cost-effective mRNA quantification for gene expression analysis in DSS-exposed tissue.
PMCID: PMC3600644  PMID: 21618356
Dextran sodium sulfate; colitis; qPCR; colitis-associated cancer
Microvascular Research  2011;83(2):138-145.
Hypoxia is increasingly recognized as an important contributing factor to the development of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In the periphery, hypoxia is a powerful regulator of angiogenesis. However, vascular endothelial cells are remarkably heterogeneous and little is known about how brain endothelial cells respond to hypoxic challenge. The objective of this study is to characterize the effect of hypoxic challenge on the angiogenic response of cultured brain-derived microvascular endothelial cells. Brain endothelial cell cultures were initiated from isolated rat brain microvessels and subjected to hypoxia (1% O2) for various time periods. The results showed that hypoxia induced rapid (≤ 0.5 h) expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and that cell viability, assessed by MTT assay, was unaffected within the first 8 h. Examination of brain endothelial cell cultures for pro- and anti-angiogenic proteins by western blot, RT-PCR and ELISA revealed that within 0.5 to 2 h of hypoxia levels of vascular endothelial growth factor and endothelin-1 mRNA and protein were elevated. The expression of heme oxygenase-1 also increased but only after 8 h of hypoxia. In contrast, similar hypoxia exposure evoked a decrease in endothelial nitric oxide synthase and thrombospondin-2 levels. Exposure of brain endothelial cell cultures to hypoxia resulted in a significant (p<0.001) decrease (94%) in tube length, an in vitro index of angiogenesis, compared to control cultures. The data indicate, despite a shift toward a pro-angiogenic phenotype, hypoxia inhibited vessel formation in brain endothelial cells. These results suggest that in brain endothelial cells expression of angiogenic factors is not sufficient for the development of new vessels. Further work is needed to determine what factors/conditions prevent hypoxia-induced angiogenic changes from culminating in the formation of new brain blood vessels and what role this may play in the pathologic changes observed in AD and other diseases characterized by cerebral hypoxia.
PMCID: PMC3278542  PMID: 22100491
Hypoxia; brain microvascular endothelial cells; endothelin-1; vascular endothelial growth factor; heme oxygenase-1; Alzheimer’s; cerebral hypoperfusion
British Journal of Cancer  2011;106(1):227-232.
It is unclear whether circulating insulin or glucose levels are associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer. Few prospective studies have examined this question, and only one study had repeated measurements.
We conducted a prospective study of colorectal cancer risk using the subsample of women in the Women's Health Initiative study whose fasting blood samples, collected at baseline and during follow-up, were analysed for insulin and glucose. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess associations with colorectal cancer risk in both baseline and time-dependent covariates analyses.
Among 4902 non-diabetic women with baseline fasting serum insulin and glucose values, 81 incident cases of colorectal cancer were identified over 12 years of follow-up. Baseline glucose levels were positively associated with colorectal cancer and colon cancer risk: multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) comparing the highest (⩾99.5 mg dl−1) with the lowest tertile (<89.5 mg dl−1): 1.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.97–3.15 and 2.25, 95% CI: 1.12–4.51, respectively. Serum insulin and homeostasis model assessment were not associated with risk. Analyses of repeated measurements supported the baseline results.
These data suggest that elevated serum glucose levels may be a risk factor for colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC3251859  PMID: 22127286
serum insulin; glucose; homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance; colorectal cancer

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