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1.  Suppression of Mic60 compromises mitochondrial transcription and oxidative phosphorylation 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:7990.
Precise regulation of mtDNA transcription and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) is crucial for human health. As a component of mitochondrial contact site and cristae organizing system (MICOS), Mic60 plays a central role in mitochondrial morphology. However, it remains unclear whether Mic60 affects mitochondrial transcription. Here, we report that Mic60 interacts with mitochondrial transcription factors TFAM and TFB2M. Furthermore, we found that Mic60 knockdown compromises mitochondrial transcription and OXPHOS activities. Importantly, Mic60 deficiency decreased TFAM binding and mitochondrial RNA polymerase (POLRMT) recruitment to the mtDNA promoters. In addition, through mtDNA immunoprecipitation (mIP)-chromatin conformation capture (3C) assays, we found that Mic60 interacted with mtDNA and was involved in the architecture of mtDNA D-loop region. Taken together, our findings reveal a previously unrecognized important role of Mic60 in mtDNA transcription.
PMCID: PMC4303897  PMID: 25612828
2.  Genomic organization of the crested ibis MHC provides new insight into ancestral avian MHC structure 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:7963.
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) plays an important role in immune response. Avian MHCs are not well characterized, only reporting highly compact Galliformes MHCs and extensively fragmented zebra finch MHC. We report the first genomic structure of an endangered Pelecaniformes (crested ibis) MHC containing 54 genes in three regions spanning ~500 kb. In contrast to the loose BG (26 loci within 265 kb) and Class I (11 within 150) genomic structures, the Core Region is condensed (17 within 85). Furthermore, this Region exhibits a COL11A2 gene, followed by four tandem MHC class II αβ dyads retaining two suites of anciently duplicated “αβ” lineages. Thus, the crested ibis MHC structure is entirely different from the known avian MHC architectures but similar to that of mammalian MHCs, suggesting that the fundamental structure of ancestral avian class II MHCs should be “COL11A2-IIαβ1-IIαβ2.” The gene structures, residue characteristics, and expression levels of the five class I genes reveal inter-locus functional divergence. However, phylogenetic analysis indicates that these five genes generate a well-supported intra-species clade, showing evidence for recent duplications. Our analyses suggest dramatic structural variation among avian MHC lineages, help elucidate avian MHC evolution, and provide a foundation for future conservation studies.
PMCID: PMC4302302  PMID: 25608659
3.  Early B-cell factor 3 (EBF3) is a novel tumor suppressor gene with promoter hypermethylation in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia 
Pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) comprises up to 20% of all childhood leukemia. Recent research shows that aberrant DNA methylation patterning may play a role in leukemogenesis. The epigenetic silencing of the EBF3 locus is very frequent in glioblastoma. However, the expression profiles and molecular function of EBF3 in pediatric AML is still unclear.
Twelve human acute leukemia cell lines, 105 pediatric AML samples and 30 normal bone marrow/idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (NBM/ITP) control samples were analyzed. Transcriptional level of EBF3 was evaluated by semi-quantitative and real-time PCR. EBF3 methylation status was determined by methylation specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite genomic sequencing (BGS). The molecular mechanism of EBF3 was investigated by apoptosis assays and PCR array analysis.
EBF3 promoter was hypermethylated in 10/12 leukemia cell lines. Aberrant EBF3 methylation was observed in 42.9% (45/105) of the pediatric AML samples using MSP analysis, and the BGS results confirmed promoter methylation. EBF3 expression was decreased in the AML samples compared with control. Methylated samples revealed similar survival outcomes by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. EBF3 overexpression significantly inhibited cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. Real-time PCR array analysis revealed 93 dysregulated genes possibly implicated in the apoptosis of EBF3-induced AML cells.
In this study, we firstly identified epigenetic inactivation of EBF3 in both AML cell lines and pediatric AML samples for the first time. Our findings also showed for the first time that transcriptional overexpression of EBF3 could inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in AML cells. We identified 93 dysregulated apoptosis-related genes in EBF3-overexpressing, including DCC, AIFM2 and DAPK1. Most of these genes have never been related with EBF3 over expression. These results may provide new insights into the molecular mechanism of EBF3-induced apoptosis; however, further research will be required to determine the underlying details.
Our findings suggest that EBF3 may act as a putative tumor suppressor gene in pediatric AML.
PMCID: PMC4311429  PMID: 25609158
Early B-cell factor 3; Pediatric acute myeloid leukemia; Methylation; Tumor suppressor; Real-time PCR array
4.  Prospective double-blind randomized study on the efficacy and safety of an n-3 fatty acid enriched intravenous fat emulsion in postsurgical gastric and colorectal cancer patients 
Nutrition Journal  2015;14:9.
A lipid emulsion composed of soybean oil (long-chain triglycerides, LCT), medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) and n-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) was evaluated for immune-modulation efficacy, safety, and tolerance in patients undergoing major surgery for gastric and colorectal cancer.
In a prospective, randomized, double-blind study, 99 patients with gastric and colorectal cancer receiving elective surgery were recruited and randomly assigned to either the study group, receiving the n-3 PUFAs enriched intravenous fat emulsion (IVFE), or the control group, receiving a lipid emulsion comprised of soybean oil and MCTs (0.8 – 1.5 g · kg-1 · day-1) as part of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) regimen from surgery (day -1) up to post-operative day 7. Safety and efficacy parameters were assessed on day -1 and post-operative visits on day 1, 3, and 7. Adverse events were documented daily and compared between the groups.
Pro-inflammatory markers, laboratory parameters, and adverse events did not differ prominently between the 2 groups, with the exception of net changes (day 7 minus day -1) of free fatty acids (FFAs), triglyceride, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Net decrease of FFAs was remarkably higher in the study group, while the net increase of triglyceride and decrease of HDL was significantly lower.
The n-3 PUFA-enriched IVFE showed improvements in lipid metabolism. In respect of efficacy, safety and tolerance both IVFE were comparable. In patients with severe stress, there is an inflammation-attenuating effect of n-3 PUFAs. Further, adequately powered clinical trials will be necessary to address this question in postsurgical GI cancer patients.
Trial registration
US NCT00798447.
PMCID: PMC4326201  PMID: 25609264
Lipid emulsion; n-3 fatty acids; LCT/MCT; Fish oils; Gastric cancer; Colorectal cancer
5.  Culture medium of bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells effects lymphatic endothelial cells and tumor lymph vessel formation 
Oncology Letters  2015;9(3):1221-1226.
Human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs) favor tumor growth and metastasis in vivo and in vitro. Neovascularization is involved in several pathological conditions, including tumor growth and metastasis. Previous studies have demonstrated that human bone marrow MSC-derived conditioned medium (hBM-MSC-CM) can promote tumor growth by inducing the expression of vascular epidermal growth factor (VEGF) in tumor cells. However, the effect of BM-MSCs on tumor lymph vessel formation has yet to be elucidated. In the present study, the effect of BM-MSCs on processes involved in lymph vessel formation, including tube formation, migration and proliferation, was investigated in human-derived lymphatic endothelial cells (HDLECs). It was identified that hBM-MSC-CM promoted the tube formation and migration of HDLECs. In addition, tumor cells were revealed to participate in lymph vessel formation. In the present study, the SGC-7901, HGC-27 and GFP-MCF-7 cell lines were treated with hBM-MSC-CM. The results demonstrated that the expression of the lymph-associated markers, prospero homeobox protein 1 and VEGF receptor-3, were increased in the SGC-7901 and HGC-27 cell lines, but not in the GFP-MCF-7 cells. The tube formation assay demonstrated that the HGC-27 cells treated with hBM-MSC-CM for 20 days underwent tube formation. These findings indicate that hBM-MSC-CM can promote tube formation in HDLECs and HGC-27 cells, which may be associated with lymph vessel formation during tumor growth and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC4315037  PMID: 25663886
mesenchymal stem cell; lymph vessel; tumor growth
6.  Quantitative Hepatitis B Core Antibody Level Is a New Predictor for Treatment Response In HBeAg-positive Chronic Hepatitis B Patients Receiving Peginterferon 
Theranostics  2015;5(3):218-226.
A recent study revealed that quantitative hepatitis B core antibody (qAnti-HBc) level could serve as a novel marker for predicting treatment response. In the present study, we further investigated the predictive value of qAnti-HBc level in HBeAg-positive patients undergoing PEG-IFN therapy. A total of 140 HBeAg-positive patients who underwent PEG-IFN therapy for 48 weeks and follow-up for 24 weeks were enrolled in this study. Serum samples were taken every 12 weeks post-treatment. The predictive value of the baseline qAnti-HBc level for treatment response was evaluated. Patients were further divided into 2 groups according to the baseline qAnti-HBc level, and the response rate was compared. Additionally, the kinetics of the virological and biochemical parameters were analyzed. Patients who achieved response had a significantly higher baseline qAnti-HBc level (serological response [SR], 4.52±0.36 vs. 4.19±0.58, p=0.001; virological response [VR], 4.53±0.35 vs. 4.22±0.57, p=0.005; combined response [CR], 4.50±0.36 vs. 4.22±0.58, p=0.009)). Baseline qAnti-HBc was the only parameter that was independently correlated with SR (p=0.008), VR (p=0.010) and CR(p=0.019). Patients with baseline qAnti-HBc levels ≥30,000 IU/mL had significantly higher response rates, more HBV DNA suppression, and better hepatitis control in PEG-IFN treatment. In conclusion, qAnti-HBc level may be a novel biomarker for predicting treatment response in HBeAg-positive patients receiving PEG-IFN therapy.
PMCID: PMC4279186  PMID: 25553110
quantitative anti-HBc;  chronic hepatitis B; PEG-IFN treatment; treatment response prediction; pretreatment biomarker.
7.  Molecular Targeting of the Oncoprotein PLK1 in Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia: RO3280, a Novel PLK1 Inhibitor, Induces Apoptosis in Leukemia Cells 
Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is highly expressed in many cancers and therefore a biomarker of transformation and potential target for the development of cancer-specific small molecule drugs. RO3280 was recently identified as a novel PLK1 inhibitor; however its therapeutic effects in leukemia treatment are still unknown. We found that the PLK1 protein was highly expressed in leukemia cell lines as well as 73.3% (11/15) of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) samples. PLK1 mRNA expression was significantly higher in AML samples compared with control samples (82.95 ± 110.28 vs. 6.36 ± 6.35; p < 0.001). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that shorter survival time correlated with high tumor PLK1 expression (p = 0.002). The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of RO3280 for acute leukemia cells was between 74 and 797 nM. The IC50 of RO3280 in primary acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and AML cells was between 35.49 and 110.76 nM and 52.80 and 147.50 nM, respectively. RO3280 induced apoptosis and cell cycle disorder in leukemia cells. RO3280 treatment regulated several apoptosis-associated genes. The regulation of DCC, CDKN1A, BTK, and SOCS2 was verified by western blot. These results provide insights into the potential use of RO3280 for AML therapy; however, the underlying mechanisms remain to be determined.
PMCID: PMC4307303  PMID: 25574601
RO3280; pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML); polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1); apoptosis; oncogene target
8.  PGC TagSNP and Its Interaction with H. pylori and Relation with Gene Expression in Susceptibility to Gastric Carcinogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115955.
Pepsinogen C (PGC) plays an important role in sustaining the cellular differentiation during the process of gastric carcinogenesis. This study aimed to assess the role of PGC tagSNPs and their interactions with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) in the development of gastric cancer and its precursor, atrophic gastritis.
Four PGC tagSNPs (rs6941539, rs6912200, rs3789210 and rs6939861) were genotyped by Sequenom MassARRAY platform in a total of 2311 subjects consisting of 642 gastric cancer, 774 atrophic gastritis, and 895 healthy control subjects. The mRNA and protein expression levels of PGC in gastric tissues and in serum were respectively measured by quantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), immunohistochemistry, and Eenzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA).
We found associations between PGC rs3789210 CG/GG genotypes and reduced gastric cancer risk and between PGC rs6939861 A variant allele and increased risks of both gastric cancer and atrophic gastritis. As for the haplotypes of PGC rs6941539-rs6912200-rs3789210-rs6939861 loci, the TTCA and TTGG haplotypes were respectively associated with increased and reduced risks of both gastric cancer and atrophic gastritis; additionally, the CTCA haplotype was associated with increased atrophic gastritis risk. Very interestingly, rs6912200 CT/TT genotypes had a positive interaction with H. pylori, synergistically elevating the gastric cancer risk. Moreover, healthy subjects who carried rs6912200 CT, TT and CT/TT variant genotypes had lower histological and serum expression levels of PGC protein.
Our findings highlight an important role of PGC rs3789210 and rs6939861 in altering susceptibility to atrophic gastritis and/or gastric cancer. Moreover, people who carry rs6912200 variant genotypes exhibit higher gastric cancer risk in case of getting H. pylori infection, which strongly suggest a necessity of preventing and/or eliminating H. pylori infection in those individuals.
PMCID: PMC4281127  PMID: 25551587
9.  LC3A‐Positive “Stone‐Like” Structures Predict an Adverse Prognosis of Gastric Cancer 
Microtubule‐associated protein light chain 3 (LC3A) is a reliable marker of autophagy that displays three distinct patterns of immunohistochemical staining in solid tumors: diffuse cytoplasmic staining, juxtanuclear staining, and staining of “stone‐like” structures. These three patterns have a different prognostic significance in many solid tumors, but little is known about their influence in gastric cancer (GC). This study was a retrospective analysis of 188 GC patients from stages I to IV. The pattern of LC3A expression was examined in tumor and nontumor tissues by immunohistochemistry. Then, the association between the pattern of LC3A expression in GC and the prognosis was investigated by Kaplan‐Meier analysis and the Cox proportional hazards model. Two distinct patterns of LC3A immunostaining (diffuse cytoplasmic expression and “stone‐like” structures) were observed in GC tissues. LC3A‐positive “stone‐like” structures were found only in the tumors, and the number of such structures was correlated with both the tumor type and tumor stage. In addition, a high number of LC3A‐positive “stone‐like” structures was closely associated with an increased risk of recurrence after radical resection of stages I–III cancer (P < 0.001; HR = 0.205) and was associated with a lower overall survival rate for stage IV cancer (P < 0.001; HR = 0.364). Taken together, our data demonstrate that LC3A‐positive “stone‐like” structures can be used as an independent biomarker for an adverse prognosis of GC, suggesting that “stone‐like” structures are correlated with the malignancy of this disease. Anat Rec, 297:653–662, 2014. © 2014 The Authors The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
PMCID: PMC4279981  PMID: 24532538
gastric cancer; autophagy; LC3A; stone‐like structure; prognosis
10.  Abnormal Pulmonary Function and Respiratory Muscle Strength Findings in Chinese Patients with Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple System Atrophy–Comparison with Normal Elderly 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e116123.
There have been limited comparative data regarding the investigations on pulmonary and respiratory muscle function in the patients with different parkinsonism disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA) versus normal elderly. The present study is aiming to characterize the performance of pulmonary function and respiratory muscle strength in PD and MSA, and to investigate the association with severity of motor symptoms and disease duration.
Pulmonary function and respiratory muscle strength tests were performed in 30 patients with PD, 27 with MSA as well as in 20 age-, sex-, height-, weight-matched normal elderly controls. All the patients underwent United Parkinson’s disease rating scale (UPDRS) or united multiple system atrophy rating scale (UMSARS) separately as diagnosed.
Vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second and forced vital capacity decreased, residual volume and ratio of residual volume to total lung capacity increased in both PD and MSA groups compared to controls (p<0.05). Diffusing capacity was decreased in the MSA group, compared with PD and normal elderly control groups (p<0.05). Respiratory muscle strength was lower in both PD and MSA groups than in controls (p<0.05). The values representing spirometry function and respiratory muscle strength were found to have a negative linear correlation with mean score of UPDRS-III in PD and mean score of UMSARS-I in MSA. Respiratory muscle strength showed a negative linear correlation with the mean score of UMSARS-II and disease duration in MSA patients.
These findings suggest that respiratory dysfunction is involved in PD and MSA. Respiratory muscle strength is remarkably reduced, and some of the parameters correlate with disease duration and illness severity. The compromised respiratory function in neurodegenerative disorders should be the focus of further researches.
PMCID: PMC4278864  PMID: 25546308
11.  Focal autoimmune pancreatitis and chronic sclerosing sialadenitis mimicking pancreatic cancer and neck metastasis 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(46):17674-17679.
Type 1 autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) or chronic sclerosing sialadenitis (Küttner’s tumour) is an uncommon disorder that has recently been confirmed as an IgG4-related disease. Here, we describe a rare case of a 53-year-old male patient who primarily presented with pancreatic body mass, left neck mass and several lumps in his lower lip mimicking pancreatic cancer (PC) and neck metastasis. The patient underwent pancreatic body mass and labial gland lumps resection as well as an ultrasound-guided biopsy of the left neck mass. He was diagnosed with IgG4-related focal type of AIP (f-AIP) and Küttner’s tumour by immunohistochemistry. The patient responded well to corticosteroid therapy and remains healthy with no signs of recurrence at one year follow-up. The differentiation of f-AIP from PC is very important to avoid unnecessary pancreatic resection.
PMCID: PMC4265632  PMID: 25516685
IgG4-related disease; IgG4-related focal type of AIP; Küttner’s tumour; Autoimmune pancreatitis; Pancreatic cancer
12.  Hypoxia-Inducible lncRNA-AK058003 Promotes Gastric Cancer Metastasis by Targeting γ-Synuclein12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2014;16(12):1094-1106.
Hypoxia has been implicated as a crucial microenvironmental factor that induces cancer metastasis. We previously reported that hypoxia could promote gastric cancer (GC) metastasis, but the underlying mechanisms are not clear. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have recently emerged as important regulators of carcinogenesis that act on multiple pathways. However, whether lncRNAs are involved in hypoxia-induced GC metastasis remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the differentially expressed lncRNAs resulting from hypoxia-induced GC and normoxia conditions using microarrays and validated our results through real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. We found an lncRNA, AK058003, that is upregulated by hypoxia. AK058003 is frequently upregulated in GC samples and promotes GC migration and invasion in vivo and in vitro. Furthermore, AK058003 can mediate the metastasis of hypoxia-induced GC cells. Next, we identified γ-synuclein (SNCG), which is a metastasis-related gene regulated by AK058003. In addition, we found that the expression of SNCG is positively correlated with that of AK058003 in the clinical GC samples used in our study. Furthermore, we found that the SNCG gene CpG island methylation was significantly increased in GC cells depleted of AK058003. Intriguingly, SNCG expression is also increased by hypoxia, and SNCG upregulation by AK058003 mediates hypoxia-induced GC cell metastasis. These results advance our understanding of the role of lncRNA-AK058003 as a regulator of hypoxia signaling, and this newly identified hypoxia/lncRNA-AK058003/SNCG pathway may help in the development of new therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC4309257  PMID: 25499222
13.  Utilisation of adsorption and desorption for simultaneously improving protein crystallisation success rate and crystal quality 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7308.
High-quality protein crystals of suitable size are an important prerequisite for applying X-ray crystallography to determine the 3-dimensional structure of proteins. However, it is often difficult to obtain protein crystals of appropriate size and quality because nucleation and growth processes can be unsuccessful. Here, we show that by adsorbing proteins onto porous polystyrene-divinylbenzene microspheres (SDB) floating on the surface of the crystallisation solution, a localised high supersaturation region at the surface of the microspheres and a low supersaturation region below the microspheres can coexist in a single solution. The crystals will easily nucleate in the region of high supersaturation, but when they grow to a certain size, they will sediment to the region of low supersaturation and continue to grow. In this way, the probability of crystallisation and crystal quality can be simultaneously increased in a single solution without changing other crystallisation parameters.
PMCID: PMC4255177  PMID: 25471817
14.  Berberine Improves Kidney Function in Diabetic Mice via AMPK Activation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113398.
Diabetic nephropathy is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients. Effective therapies to prevent the development of this disease are required. Berberine (BBR) has several preventive effects on diabetes and its complications. However, the molecular mechanism of BBR on kidney function in diabetes is not well defined. Here, we reported that activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is required for BBR-induced improvement of kidney function in vivo. AMPK phosphorylation and activity, productions of reactive oxygen species (ROS), kidney function including serum blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine clearance (Ccr), and urinary protein excretion, morphology of glomerulus were determined in vitro or in vivo. Exposure of cultured human glomerulus mesangial cells (HGMCs) to BBR time- or dose-dependently activates AMPK by increasing the thr172 phosphorylation and its activities. Inhibition of LKB1 by siRNA or mutant abolished BBR-induced AMPK activation. Incubation of cells with high glucose (HG, 30 mM) markedly induced the oxidative stress of HGMCs, which were abolished by 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleoside, AMPK gene overexpression or BBR. Importantly, the effects induced by BBR were bypassed by AMPK siRNA transfection in HG-treated HGMCs. In animal studies, streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemia dramatically promoted glomerulosclerosis and impaired kidney function by increasing serum BUN, urinary protein excretion, and decreasing Ccr, as well as increased oxidative stress. Administration of BBR remarkably improved kidney function in wildtype mice but not in AMPKα2-deficient mice. We conclude that AMPK activation is required for BBR to improve kidney function in diabetic mice.
PMCID: PMC4237447  PMID: 25409232
15.  Minimal invasive trans-eyelid approach to anterior and middle skull base meningioma: a preliminary study of Shanghai Huashan hospital 
Transpalpebral or trans-eyelid approach is a modified trans-orbital access to lesions of anterior cranial fossa and sellar region. But whether this approach is also suitable for tumors extending laterally to the temporal lobe or middle cranial fossa is not clarified. We would like to share our experiences from the cadaveric anatomy study to clinical operations. We used 5 cadavers to study trans-eyelid approaches in a step-by-step fashion. And then assisted by an experienced ophthalmologist for incisions, we treated 3 female patients via this approach: One with spheno-orbital meningioma, one with sellar tuberculum meningioma, and the other with medial sphenoidal wing meningioma. After studying the cadavers, we made several revisions to the previously reported approach: 1) move the incision close to the edge of the eyelid, which resembled the double-eyelid incision. 2) A vascularized periosteum flap was dissected for repairing the opened frontal sinus and reconstruction of the skull base. 3) The dura was sutured up with a slice of temporalis muscle. Then we treated 3 patients by this approach. All tumors were totally resected as Simpson Grade I. Complications included orbital apex syndrome and transient oculomotor paralysis because of tumor invasion into orbit and cavernous sinus. No cerebrospinal fluid leakage. We find that trans-eyelid approach is suitable for lesions not only at anterior cranial base or sellar region, but also extending to middle cranial base, especially around sphenoidal wings within 2 cm range or spheno-orbital region. Thus, we propose whether it appropriate to nominate this approach as ‘trans-eyelid pterional approach’, since it may treat some anterior and middle cranial fossa lesions with a mini-craniotomy around pterion.
PMCID: PMC4276163  PMID: 25550905
Transeyelid; skull base; meningioma; minimal invasive neurosurgery
16.  Small bowel volvulus in mid and late pregnancy: can early diagnosis be established to avoid catastrophic outcomes? 
Volvulus in pregnancy is rare and difficult to diagnose. Delayed diagnosis would result in high maternal and fetal mortality. Here we present an unusual case of small bowel volvulus in late pregnancy timely managed by emergency Cesarean section and derotation with excellent maternal and fetal outcomes. Volvulus should be considered in patients complaining ongoing abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation even diarrhea. Imaging is essential for early and precise diagnosis, including plain abdominal film, MRI and/or ultrasound. Once highly suspected or diagnosed of volvulus or ileus, emergency laparotomy should be performed immediately to avoid catastrophic outcomes, because the maternal and fetal prognosis is dependent on the interval from volvulus to operation apart from the degree of volvulus.
PMCID: PMC4276242  PMID: 25550984
Small bowel volvulus; pregnancy; early diagnosis
17.  Poly(I:C) Induces Antiviral Immune Responses in Japanese Flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) That Require TLR3 and MDA5 and Is Negatively Regulated by Myd88 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112918.
Polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)) is a ligand of toll-like receptor (TLR) 3 that has been used as an immunostimulant in humans and mice against viral diseases based on its ability to enhance innate and adapt immunity. Antiviral effect of poly(I:C) has also been observed in teleost, however, the underling mechanism is not clear. In this study, we investigated the potential and signaling mechanism of poly(I:C) as an antiviral agent in a model of Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) infected with megalocytivirus. We found that poly(I:C) exhibited strong antiviral activity and enhanced activation of head kidney macrophages and peripheral blood leukocytes. In vivo studies showed that (i) TLR3 as well as MDA5 knockdown reduced poly(I:C)-mediated immune response and antiviral activity to significant extents; (ii) when Myd88 was overexpressed in flounder, poly(I:C)-mediated antiviral activity was significantly decreased; (iii) when Myd88 was inactivated, the antiviral effect of poly(I:C) was significantly increased. Cellular study showed that (i) the NF-κB activity induced by poly(I:C) was upregulated in Myd88-overexpressing cells and unaffected in Myd88-inactivated cells; (ii) Myd88 overexpression inhibited and upregulated the expression of poly(I:C)-induced antiviral genes and inflammatory genes respectively; (iii) Myd88 inactivation enhanced the expression of the antiviral genes induced by poly(I:C). Taken together, these results indicate that poly(I:C) is an immunostimulant with antiviral potential, and that the immune response of poly(I:C) requires TLR3 and MDA5 and is negatively regulated by Myd88 in a manner not involving NK-κB. These results provide insights to the working mechanism of poly(I:C), TLR3, and Myd88 in fish.
PMCID: PMC4231074  PMID: 25393122
18.  Anabolic steroids reduce spinal cord injury-related bone loss in rats associated with increased Wnt signaling 
Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes severe bone loss. At present, there is no practical treatment to delay or prevent bone loss in individuals with motor-complete SCI. Hypogonadism is common in men after SCI and may exacerbate bone loss. The anabolic steroid nandrolone reduces bone loss due to microgravity or nerve transection.
To determine whether nandrolone reduced bone loss after SCI and, if so, to explore the mechanisms of nandrolone action.
Male rats with complete transection of the spinal cord were administered nandrolone combined with a physiological replacement dose of testosterone, or vehicle, beginning on day 29 after SCI and continued for 28 days.
SCI reduced distal femoral and proximal tibial bone mineral density (BMD) by 25 and 16%, respectively, at 56 days. This bone loss was attenuated by nandrolone. In ex vivo osteoclasts cultures, SCI increased mRNA levels for tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and calcitonin receptor; nandrolone-normalized expression levels of these transcripts. In ex vivo osteoblast cultures, SCI increased receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANKL) mRNA levels but did not alter osteoprotegerin (OPG) mRNA expression; nandrolone-increased expression of OPG and OPG/RANKL ratio. SCI reduced mRNA levels of Wnt signaling-related genes Wnt3a, low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5), Fzd5, Tcf7, and ectodermal-neural cortex 1 (ENC1) in osteoblasts, whereas nandrolone increased expression of each of these genes.
The results demonstrate that nandrolone reduces bone loss after SCI. A potential mechanism is suggested by our findings wherein nandrolone modulates genes for differentiation and activity of osteoclasts and osteoblasts, at least in part, through the activation of Wnt signaling.
PMCID: PMC3831322  PMID: 24090150
Spinal cord injuries; Nandrolone; Androgens; Hypogonadism; Bone loss; Wnt signaling
19.  The Loss of Efficiency Caused by Agents’ Uncoordinated Routing in Transport Networks 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111088.
Large-scale daily commuting data were combined with detailed geographical information system (GIS) data to analyze the loss of transport efficiency caused by drivers’ uncoordinated routing in urban road networks. We used Price of Anarchy (POA) to quantify the loss of transport efficiency and found that both volume and distribution of human mobility demand determine the POA. In order to reduce POA, a small number of highways require considerable decreases in traffic, and their neighboring arterial roads need to attract more traffic. The magnitude of the adjustment in traffic flow can be estimated using the fundamental measure traffic flow only, which is widely available and easy to collect. Surprisingly, the most congested roads or the roads with largest traffic flow were not those requiring the most reduction of traffic. This study can offer guidance for the optimal control of urban traffic and facilitate improvements in the efficiency of transport networks.
PMCID: PMC4211890  PMID: 25349995
20.  Acoustic radiation force impulse elastography in differentiating renal solid masses: a preliminary experience 
New diagnostic methods are required to diagnose renal mass. Thus, we assessed virtual tissue quantification (VTQ) of acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) elastography in differentiation of renal solid masses. Forty-two patients with renal masses were assessed by VTQ in terms of measurement of the shear wave velocity (SWV). The masses were divided into three groups. They were clear cell carcinoma (CCC) angiomyolipoma (AML), and pseudotumor. The differences among the three groups in SWV, as well as between masses and its surrounding parenchyma, were investigated. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was plotted to evaluate the diagnostic performance. We found that the SWV among the three groups were significant different (F = 6.976, P = 0.003) and the SWV of pseudotumor (3.14 ± 0.75 m/s) was significantly higher than CCC (2.46 ± 0.45 m/s) and AML (2.49 ± 0.63 m/s) (P = 0.007 and 0.001 respectively). There were no significant difference between CCC and AML in SWV (P = 0.719). For each group, there was no significant difference between the mass and its surrounding parenchyma (P = 0.693, 0.892, and 0.714, respectively). Between pseudotumor and CCC, the optimal cut-off value of SWV for differential diagnoses was 3.07 m/s; and the area under the ROC curve (AUC) was 0.78 (95% CI: 0.560 to 0.924) (P = 0.004), the sensitivity and specificity were 100% and 58.3%, respectively. Between pseudotumor and AML, the optimal cut-off value of SWV for differential diagnoses was 3.03 m/s, thus AUC curve was 0.786 (95% CI: 0.591 to 0.918) (P = 0.002), the sensitivity and specificity were 100% and 58.3%, respectively. No significant difference was found between AML and CCC (P = 0.587) and the AUC was 0.562. To conclude, our results support that ARFI has potential value in differentiation between CCC and pseudotumor, or between AML and pseudotumor, however, it fails to make a distinction between CCC and AML.
PMCID: PMC4270564  PMID: 25550782
Acoustic radiation force impulse elastography; renal solid mass; ultrasound
21.  Zinc finger protein 382 is downregulated by promoter hypermethylation in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia patients 
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the second-most common form of leukemia in children. Aberrant DNA methylation patterns are characteristic of AML. Zinc finger protein 382 (ZNF382) has been suggested to be a tumor suppressor gene possibly regulated by promoter hypermethylation in various types of human cancer. However, ZNF382 expression and methylation status in pediatric AML is unknown. In the present study, ZNF382 transcription levels were evaluated by quantitative reverse-transcription PCR. Methylation status was investigated by methylation-specific (MSP) PCR and bisulfate genomic sequencing (BGS). The prognostic significance of ZNF382 expression and promoter methylation was assessed in 105 cases of pediatric AML. The array data suggested that the ZNF382 promoter was hypermethylated in the AML cases examined. MSP PCR and BGS analysis revealed that ZNF382 was hypermethylated in leukemia cell lines. Furthermore, treatment with 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-Aza) upregulated ZNF382 expression in the selected leukemia cell lines. The aberrant methylation of ZNF382 was observed in 10% (2/20) of the control samples compared with 26.7% (28/105) of the AML samples. ZNF382 expression was significantly decreased in the 105 AML patients compared with the controls. Patients with ZNF382 methylation showed lower ZNF382 transcript levels compared with patients exhibiting no methylation. There were no significant differences in clinical characteristics or cytogenetic analysis between the patients with or without ZNF382 methylation. ZNF382 methylation correlated with minimal residual disease (MRD). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed similar survival times in the samples with ZNF382 methylation, and multivariate analysis revealed that ZNF382 methylation was not an independent prognostic factor in pediatric AML. The epigenetic inactivation of ZNF382 by promoter hypermethylation can be observed in AML cell lines and pediatric AML samples. Therefore, our study suggests that ZNF382 may be considered a putative tumor suppressor gene in pediatric AML. However, further studies focusing on the mechanisms responsible for ZNF382 downregulation in pediatric leukemia are required.
PMCID: PMC4214337  PMID: 25319049
zinc finger protein 382; pediatric acute myeloid leukemia; methylation; tumor suppressor
22.  In-depth profiling and analysis of host and viral microRNAs in Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) infected with megalocytivirus reveal involvement of microRNAs in host-virus interaction in teleost fish 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):878.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression by binding to mRNA transcripts in various biological processes. In mammals and birds, miRNAs are known to play vital parts in both host immune defense and viral infection. However, in lower vertebrates such as teleost, systematic investigations on host and viral miRNAs are lacking.
In this study, we applied high-throughput sequencing technology to identify and analyze both host and viral miRNAs in Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus), an economically important teleost fish farmed widely in the world, infected with megalocytivirus at a timescale of 14 days divided into five different time points. The results showed that a total of 381 host miRNAs and 9 viral miRNAs were identified, the latter being all novel miRNAs that have no homologues in the currently available databases. Of the host miRNAs, 251 have been reported previously in flounder and other species, and 130 were discovered for the first time. The expression levels of 121 host miRNAs were significantly altered at 2 d to 14 d post-viral infection (pi), and these miRNAs were therefore classified as differentially expressed host miRNAs. The expression levels of all 9 viral miRNAs increased from 0 d pi to 10 d pi and then dropped from 10 d pi to 14 d pi. For the 121 differentially expressed host miRNAs and the 9 viral miRNAs, 243 and 48 putative target genes, respectively, were predicted in flounder. GO and KEGG enrichment analysis revealed that the putative target genes of both host and viral miRNAs were grouped mainly into the categories of immune response, signal transduction, and apoptotic process.
The results of our study provide the first evidences that indicate existence in teleost fish (i) infection-responsive host and viral miRNAs that exhibit dynamic changes in expression profiles during the course of viral infection, and (ii) potential involvement of miRNAs in host-viral interaction.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-878) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4200114  PMID: 25297525
Iridovirus; microRNA; Paralichthys olivaceus; Teleost; Virus-host interaction
23.  Targeting and Eradicating Hepatic Cancer Cells with a Cancer-Specific Vector Carrying the Buforin II Gene 
The aim of this study was to investigate the suppressive effects of Buforin II on the growth of HepG2 cells. To accomplish this, we created a recombinant plasmid (pSUR-Buforin2) in which the survivin promoter was modified to drive the Buforin II gene.
The DNA fragment encoding the Buforin II gene was obtained by gene synthesis and cloned into the pSUR-Luc plasmid behind the survivin promoter. The vector was subsequently transfected into HepG2 and LO2 cells. Cell proliferation was measured by the MTT assay, cell cytotoxicity detected by the LDH assay, and cell apoptosis determined by flow cytometry, DNA ladder assays, and immunoblot analysis.
The pSUR-Buforin2 vector effectively suppressed the proliferation of HepG2 cells. The MTT and LDH assay demonstrated that under control of the survivin promoter, Buforin II was not expressed in LO2 cells, but it was expressed in tumor cells where cell death was also observed. AnnexinV-PI staining, DNA ladder assays, and western blots showed massive apoptosis in HepG2 cells transfected with pSUR-Buforin2.
pSUR-Buforin2 can significantly inhibit the growth of HepG2 cells, resulting in increased cancer cell apoptosis. Thus, this newly designed plasmid might provide a potent and selective anticancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC4209490  PMID: 24041444
Buforin II; hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); survivin
24.  Expression of XPG Protein in the Development, Progression and Prognosis of Gastric Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108704.
Xeroderma pigmentosum group G (XPG) plays a critical role in preventing cells from oxidative DNA damage. This study aimed to investigate XPG protein expression in different gastric tissues and in patients with diverse prognoses, thus providing insights into its role in the development, progression and prognosis of gastric cancer (GC).
A total of 176 GC, 131 adjacent non-tumour tissues, 53 atrophic gastritis (AG) and 49 superficial gastritis (SG) samples were included. Immunohistochemical staining was used to detect XPG protein expression.
XPG expression was significantly higher in GC tissues compared with adjacent non-tumour tissues. In the progressive disease sequence SG→AG→GC, XPG expression was significantly higher in AG and GC compared with SG. Analysis of clinicopathological parameters and survival in GC patients demonstrated a significant association between XPG expression level and depth of tumour invasion, macroscopic type, Lauren’s classification, smoking, Helicobacter pylori infection and family history. Cox multivariate survival analysis indicated that patients with positive XPG expression had significantly longer overall survival (P = 0.020, HR = 0.394, 95%CI 0.179–0.866), especially in aged younger than 60 years (P = 0.027, HR = 0.361, 95%CI 0.147–0.888) and male patients (P = 0.002, HR = 0.209, 95%CI 0.077–0.571).
This study demonstrated that XPG protein expression was related to the development, progression and prognosis of GC, and might thus serve as a potential biomarker for its diagnosis and prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4182552  PMID: 25268735
25.  Copper(II)-bis-Histidine Coordination Structure in Fibrillar Amyloid-β Peptide Fragment and Model Complexes Revealed by using Electron Spin Echo Envelope Modulation Spectroscopy 
Chembiochem : a European journal of chemical biology  2013;14(14):10.1002/cbic.201300236.
Truncated and mutated amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides are models for systematic study of the molecular origins of metal ion effects on Aβ aggregation rates, types of aggregate structures formed, and cytotoxicity, in homogeneous preparations. The 3-D geometry of bis-histidine imidazole coordination of Cu(II) in fibrils of the nonapetide, acetyl-Aβ(13-21)H14A, is determined by using powder 14N electron spin echo envelope modulation (ESEEM) spectroscopy. The method of simulation of the anisotropic combination modulation is described, and benchmarked for a Cu(II)-bis-cis-imidazole complex of known structure. The revealed bis-cis coordination mode, and mutual orientation of the imidazole rings, for Cu(II) in Ac-Aβ(13-21)H14A fibrils are consistent with the proposed β-sheet structural model, and pair-wise peptide interaction with Cu(II), with alternating [–metal–vacancy–]n pattern, along the N-terminal edge. Metal coordination does not significantly distort the intra-β-strand peptide interactions, which provides a rationale for the Cu(II)-acceleration of Ac-Aβ(13-21)H14A fibrillization, through stabilization of the associated state, and low-reorganization integration of β-strand peptide pair precursors.
PMCID: PMC3864031  PMID: 24014287
amyloid beta-peptides; copper; bioinorganic chemistry; EPR spectroscopy; ESEEM spectroscopy

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