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1.  Adiponectin Enhances Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 Expression and Promotes Monocyte Adhesion in Human Synovial Fibroblasts 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92741.
Adiponectin is a protein hormone secreted predominantly by differentiated adipocytes and is involved in energy homeostasis. Adiponectin expression is significantly high in the synovial fluid of patients with osteoarthritis (OA). Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is an important adhesion molecule that mediates monocyte adhesion and infiltration during OA pathogenesis. Adiponectin-induced expression of ICAM-1 in human OA synovial fibroblasts (OASFs) was examined by using qPCR, flow cytometry and western blotting. The intracellular signaling pathways were investigated by pretreated with inhibitors or transfection with siRNA. The monocyte THP-1 cell line was used for an adhesion assay with OASFs. Stimulation of OASFs with adiponectin induced ICAM-1 expression. Pretreatment with AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) inhibitors (AraA and compound C) or transfection with siRNA against AMPKα1 and two AMPK upstream activator- liver kinase B1 (LKB1) and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) diminished the adiponectin-induced ICAM-1 expression. Stimulation of OASFs with adiponectin increased phosphorylation of LKB1, CaMKII, AMPK, and c-Jun, resulting in c-Jun binding to AP-1 element of ICAM-1 promoter. In addition, adiponectin-induced activation of the LKB1/CaMKII, AMPK, and AP-1 pathway increased the adhesion of monocytes to the OASF monolayer. Our results suggest that adiponectin increases ICAM-1 expression in human OASFs via the LKB1/CaMKII, AMPK, c-Jun, and AP-1 signaling pathway. Adiponectin-induced ICAM-1 expression promoted the adhesion of monocytes to human OASFs. These findings may provide a better understanding of the pathogenesis of OA and can utilize this knowledge to design a new therapeutic strategy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092741
PMCID: PMC3965461  PMID: 24667577
2.  HGF and c-Met Interaction Promotes Migration in Human Chondrosarcoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53974.
Chondrosarcoma is a type of highly malignant tumor with a potent capacity for local invasion and causing distant metastasis. Chondrosarcoma shows a predilection for metastasis to the lungs. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) has been demonstrated to stimulate cancer proliferation, migration, and metastasis. However, the effect of HGF on migration activity of human chondrosarcoma cells is not well known. Here, we found that human chondrosarcoma tissues demonstrated significant expression of HGF, which was higher than that in normal cartilage. We also found that HGF increased the migration and expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 in human chondrosarcoma cells. c-Met inhibitor and siRNA reduced HGF-increased cell migration and MMP-2 expression. HGF treatment resulted in activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/PKCδ/NF-κB pathway, and HGF-induced expression of MMP-2 and cell migration was inhibited by specific inhibitors or siRNA-knockdown of PI3K, Akt, PKCδ, and NF-κB cascades. Taken together, our results indicated that HGF enhances migration of chondrosarcoma cells by increasing MMP-2 expression through the c-Met receptor/PI3K/Akt/PKCδ/NF-κB signal transduction pathway.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053974
PMCID: PMC3540013  PMID: 23320110
3.  CTGF Increases IL-6 Expression in Human Synovial Fibroblasts through Integrin-Dependent Signaling Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51097.
Background
Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF; also known as CCN2) is an inflammatory mediator, and shows elevated levels in regions of severe injury and inflammatory diseases. CTGF is abundantly expressed in osteoarthritis (OA). However, the relationship between CTGF and IL-6 in OA synovial fibroblasts (OASFs) is mostly unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
OASFs showed significant expression of CTGF, and expression was higher than in normal SFs. OASFs stimulation with CTGF induced concentration-dependent increases in IL-6 expression. CTGF mediated IL-6 production was attenuated by αvβ5 integrin neutralized antibody and apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) shRNA. Pretreatment with p38 inhibitor (SB203580), JNK inhibitor (SP600125), AP-1 inhibitors (Curcumin and Tanshinone IIA), and NF-κB inhibitors (PDTC and TPCK) also inhibited the potentiating action of CTGF. CTGF-mediated increase of NF-κB and AP-1 luciferase activity was inhibited by SB203580 and SP600125 or ASK1 shRNA or p38 and JNK mutant.
Conclusions/Significance
Our results suggest that CTGF increased IL-6 production in OASFs via the αvβ5 integrin, ASK1, p38/JNK, and AP-1/NF-κB signaling pathways.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051097
PMCID: PMC3515445  PMID: 23227240
4.  Hepatocyte Growth Factor Increases Osteopontin Expression in Human Osteoblasts through PI3K, Akt, c-Src, and AP-1 Signaling Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38378.
Background
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) has been demonstrated to stimulate osteoblast proliferation and participated bone remodeling. Osteopontin (OPN) is a secreted phosphoglycoprotein that belongs to the SIBLING family and is present during bone mineralization. However, the effects of HGF on OPN expression in human osteoblasts are large unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we found that HGF induced OPN expression in human osteoblasts dose-dependently. HGF-mediated OPN production was attenuated by c-Met inhibitor and siRNA. Pretreatment of osteoblasts with PI3K inhibitor (Ly294002), Akt inhibitor, c-Src inhibitor (PP2), or AP-1 inhibitor (curcumin) blocked the potentiating action of HGF. Stimulation of osteoblasts with HGF enhanced PI3K, Akt, and c-Src activation. In addition, incubation of cells with HGF also increased c-Jun phosphorylation, AP-1-luciferase activity, and c-Jun binding to the AP-1 element on the OPN promoter. HGF-mediated AP-1-luciferase activity and c-Jun binding to the AP-1 element was reduced by c-Met inhibitor, Ly294002, Akt inhibitor, and PP2.
Conclusions/Significance
Our results suggest that the interaction between HGF and c-Met increases OPN expression in human osteoblasts via the PI3K, Akt, c-Src, c-Jun, and AP-1 signaling pathway.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038378
PMCID: PMC3366938  PMID: 22675553
5.  Intradiscal electrothermal therapy in the treatment of chronic low back pain: Experience with 93 patients 
Background:
Low back pain (LBP) has become a main cause of absenteeism and disability in industrialized societies. Chronic LBP is an important health issue in modern countries. Discogenic LBP is one of the causes of chronic low back pain. The management of chronic discogenic LBP has been limited to either conservative treatment or operative treatment. Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) is now being performed as an alternative treatment.
Methods:
Ninety-three consecutive patients undergoing IDET at 134 disc levels from October 2004 to January 2007 were prospectively evaluated. All patients had discogenic disease with chronic LBP, as determined by clinical features, physical examination and image studies, and had failed to improve with conservative treatment for at least 6 months. Follow-up period was from 1 week to 3 or more years postoperatively.
Results:
There were 50 male and 43 female patients, with a mean age of 46.07 years (range, 21-65 years). The results were classified as symptom free (100% improvement), better (≥50% improvement), slightly better (<50% improvement), unchanged and aggravated. Eighty-nine patients were followed up in the first week; of them, 77 (86.52%) patients had improvement (4, symptom free; 45, better; and 28, slightly better). The improvement rate gradually decreased to 80.90% in 1 year; and 73.91%, in 3 years.
Conclusions:
In conclusion, IDET offers a safe, minimally invasive therapy option for carefully selected patients with chronic discogenic LBP who have not responded to conservative treatment. Although IDET appears to provide intermediate-term relief of pain, further studies with long-term follow-up are necessary.
doi:10.4103/2152-7806.67107
PMCID: PMC2940097  PMID: 20847918
Chronic low back pain; intradiscal electrothermal therapy; discogenic pain

Results 1-5 (5)