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1.  Possible Role of Sonic Hedgehog and Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Renal Cell Cancer Progression 
Korean Journal of Urology  2013;54(8):547-554.
Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are both known to relate to cancer progression. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of Shh signaling and EMT in renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
Materials and Methods
Cell proliferation was assayed in RCC cell lines in the presence or absence of a Shh signaling stimulator, recombinant Shh (r-Shh) protein, or a Shh signaling inhibitor, cyclopamine. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed to study the expression of EMT markers (E-cadherin, N-cadherin, and vimentin) and osteonectin. The expression of Ki-67, Gli-1, osteonectin, and EMT markers in nephrectomy specimens from RCC patients was also measured by immunohistochemical (IHC) staining.
RCC cells showed enhanced cell proliferation by r-Shh protein, whereas cell proliferation was suppressed by the addition of cyclopamine in RenCa cells. Real-time RT-PCR showed that r-Shh suppressed the expression of E-cadherin and that this suppression was partly blocked by cyclopamine alone in RenCa cells. In the IHC results, osteonectin significantly correlated with vein sinus invasion (p=0.0218), and the expression of vimentin significantly correlated with lymphatic invasion (p=0.0392).
Shh signaling and EMT play roles in RCC progression, and the Shh signaling inhibitor cyclopamine might be a possible molecular targeted therapeutic strategy for RCC.
PMCID: PMC3742909  PMID: 23956832
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Hedgehogs; Renal cell carcinoma
2.  Augmentation of natural cytotoxicity by chronic low-dose ionizing radiation in murine natural killer cells primed by IL-2 
Journal of Radiation Research  2012;53(6):823-829.
The possible beneficial effects of chronic low-dose irradiation (LDR) and its mechanism of action in a variety of pathophysiological processes such as cancer are a subject of intense investigation. While animal studies involving long-term exposure to LDR have yielded encouraging results, the influence of LDR at the cellular level has been less well defined. We reasoned that since natural killer (NK) cells constitute an early responder to exogenous stress, NK cells may reveal sentinel alterations in function upon exposure to LDR. When purified NK cells received LDR at 4.2 mGy/h for a total of 0.2 Gy in vitro, no significant difference in cell viability was observed. Likewise, no functional changes were detected in LDR-exposed NK cells, demonstrating that LDR alone was insufficient to generate changes at the cellular level. Nonetheless, significant augmentation of cytotoxic, but not proliferative, function was detected when NK cells were stimulated with low-dose IL-2 prior to irradiation. This enhancement of NK cytotoxicity was not due to alterations in NK-activating receptors, NK1.1, NKG2D, CD69 and 2B4, or changes in the rate of early or late apoptosis. Therefore, LDR, in the presence of suboptimal cytokine levels, can facilitate anti-tumor cytotoxicity of NK cells without influencing cellular proliferation or apoptosis. Whether these results translate to in vivo consequences remains to be seen; however, our data provide initial evidence that exposure to LDR can lead to subtle immune-enhancing effects on NK cells and may explain, in part, the functional basis underlying, diverse beneficial effects seen in the animals chronically exposed to LDR.
PMCID: PMC3483842  PMID: 22915781
Low-dose radiation; natural killer cells; natural cytotoxicity; innate immunity
3.  Mechanisms of and Risk Factors for Fluoroquinolone Resistance in Clinical Enterococcus faecalis Isolates from Patients with Urinary Tract Infections ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(11):3912-3916.
We examined Enterococcus faecalis strains clinically isolated from 100 patients with urinary tract infections (UTIs) for their susceptibility to levofloxacin (LVX) by measuring the MIC and investigated amino acid mutations by direct DNA sequencing, which were then correlated with LVX resistance. Next, we studied risk factors for LVX resistance, such as age, gender, and previous fluoroquinolone use, and investigated the statistical correlation of these risk factors with each amino acid mutation and LVX resistance. Of the 100 isolates tested, 14 isolates showed LVX resistance and all of these isolates had amino acid mutations. We demonstrated that 2 out of 4 mutations (Ser83-to-Ile in gyrA and Ser80-to-Ile in parC) had a significant correlation with LVX resistance. There was a significant relationship between isolates with 2 or 3 amino acid mutations and LVX resistance. In addition, we found a significant correlation between the previous use of fluoroquinolones and LVX resistance or the presence of mutations and also demonstrated that previous use of other types of antibiotics was significantly related to the presence of mutations by multivariate analysis. In conclusion, we found significant correlation between amino acid mutations in E. faecalis, LVX resistance, and risk factors such as previous use of fluoroquinolones.
PMCID: PMC3209098  PMID: 21918020
4.  Correlation of Overexpression of Efflux Pump Genes with Antibiotic Resistance in Escherichia coli Strains Clinically Isolated from Urinary Tract Infection Patients ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;49(1):189-194.
Escherichia coli is one of the most common pathogens in urinary tract infections (UTIs), and antibiotic resistance in E. coli is becoming a serious problem in treating UTI. Efflux system overexpression is reported to contribute to E. coli resistance to several antibiotics. This study investigated the correlation of antibiotic susceptibilities with the overexpression of the efflux pump genes such as marA, yhiU, yhiV, and mdfA and with risk factors for antibiotic resistance in E. coli isolated from UTI patients. We examined the expression level of efflux pump genes using quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR). We also tested the in vitro susceptibilities to 12 kinds of antibiotics in 64 clinical strains of E. coli isolated from UTI patients. By multivariate analyses we revealed significant relationships between the overexpression of (i) marA and MICs of cefepime (FEP) and nalidixic acid (NAL), (ii) yhiV and MICs of minocycline (MIN), and (iii) mdfA and MICs of sitafloxacin (STX). In our investigation of the efflux pump genes, risk factors such as gender and the previous use of fluoroquinolones correlated with the overexpression of marA, and indwelling catheter use correlated with the overexpression of mdfA. In conclusion, we demonstrated that the increased expression of efflux pump genes such as marA and mdfA can lead to fluoroquinolone resistance in E. coli. These results contribute to our knowledge of the efflux system and raise the possibility of developing new agents, such as efflux pump inhibitors (EPIs), to antibiotic-resistant E. coli.
PMCID: PMC3020419  PMID: 21048014
5.  Enumeration of Bacterial Cell Numbers and Detection of Significant Bacteriuria by Use of a New Flow Cytometry-Based Device 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(10):3596-3599.
A new, automated flow cytometry-based urine bacterium analyzer (UBA) was developed. We assessed the UBA for linearity of measurement, reproducibility of results, carryover rate, and correlation of measured results with those determined by urine culture. We also evaluated its ability to screen urine samples for significant bacteriuria. The UBA showed excellent linearity and a minor carryover rate. Results from the UBA were highly reproducible, and in between-run precision assays, the coefficients of variation for the UBA results were smaller than those for the urine culture results. Two hundred seventy-three urine specimens from patients attending the outpatient clinics of two university-based hospitals were examined. The results for the UBA were compared with those for urine culture. The UBA detected significant bacteriuria with a sensitivity of 96.6%, a specificity of 79.9%, a positive predictive value of 57.0%, a negative predictive value of 98.8%, a false-positive rate of 15.8%, a false-negative rate of 0.7%, and an accuracy of 83.5%. These results were comparable to or better than those obtained with previously reported screening procedures. The UBA can perform accurate enumeration of bacterial cells automatically in 90 seconds and can be used for the screening of significant bacteriuria.
PMCID: PMC1594796  PMID: 17021088

Results 1-5 (5)