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1.  In Vivo Osseointegration Performance of Titanium Dioxide Coating Modified Polyetheretherketone Using Arc Ion Plating for Spinal Implant Application 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:328943.
Polyetheretherketone (PEEK), which has biomechanical performance similar to that of human cancellous bone, is used widely as a spinal implant material. However, its bioinertness and hydrophobic surface properties result in poor osseointegration. This study applies a novel modification method, arc ion plating (AIP), that produces a highly osteoblast compatible titanium dioxide (TiO2) coatings on a PEEK substrate. This PEEK with TiO2 coating (TiO2/PEEK) was implanted into the femurs of New Zealand white male rabbits to evaluate its in vivo performance by the push-out test and histological observation. Analytical results show that AIP can prepare TiO2 coatings on bullet-shaped PEEK substrates as implant materials. After prolonged implantation in rabbits, no signs of inflammation existed. Newly regenerated bone formed more prominently with the TiO2/PEEK implant by histological observation. The shear strength of the bone/implant interface increases as implantation period increases. Most importantly, bone bonding performance of the TiO2/PEEK implant was superior to that of bare PEEK. The rutile-TiO2 coatings achieved better osseointegration than the anatase-TiO2 coatings. Therefore, AIP-TiO2 can serve as a novel surface modification method on PEEK for spinal interbody fusion cages.
PMCID: PMC4609364  PMID: 26504800
2.  Spine and Rheumatic Diseases 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:756205.
PMCID: PMC4534749  PMID: 26295052
3.  The Surgical Treatment Principles of Atlantoaxial Instability Focusing on Rheumatoid Arthritis 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:518164.
Object. This retrospective review was conducted to determine the surgical treatment principle for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with atlantoaxial instability (AAI). Methods. Thirteen patients with AAI, including 5 RA patients, received preoperative computed tomography- (CT-) based image-guided navigation system (IGS) in C1 lateral mass-C2 pedicle screw-rod system fixation (LC1-PC2 fixation). These 13 patients were analyzed for 52 screws inserted into C1 and C2. We defined these patients as non-RA group (8 patients, 32 screws) and RA group (5 patients, 20 screws). The neurological status for RA group was evaluated using the Ranawat classification. The causes of AAI, surgical indications, complications, surgical method revolution, and CT-based navigation application are discussed. Results. None of the 13 patients expressed neurological function deterioration. The non-RA group screw accuracy was 100%. In the RA group, 1 RA patient developed left C2 screw loosening at 1+ months after operation due to screw malposition. The screw accuracy for this group was 95%. Conclusions. Higher intraoperative surgical complication rate was described in RA patients. Preoperative CT-based IGS in LC1-PC2 fixation can provide good neurological function and screw accuracy results. However, for higher screw accuracy in RA patients, intraoperative CT-based IGS application may be considered.
PMCID: PMC4529935  PMID: 26273625
5.  A Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Surgery for Infectious Spondylodiscitis of the Thoracic and Upper Lumbar Spine in Immunocompromised Patients 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:780451.
This study evaluates the safety and effectiveness of computed tomography- (CT-) assisted endoscopic surgery in the treatment of infectious spondylodiscitis of the thoracic and upper lumbar spine in immunocompromised patients. From October 2006 to March 2014, a total of 41 patients with infectious spondylodiscitis underwent percutaneous endoscopic surgery under local anesthesia, and 13 lesions from 13 patients on the thoracic or upper lumbar spine were selected for evaluation. A CT-guided catheter was placed before percutaneous endoscopic surgery as a guide to avoid injury to visceral organs, major vessels, and the spinal cord. All 13 patients had quick pain relief after endoscopic surgery without complications. The bacterial culture rate was 77%. Inflammatory parameters returned to normal after adequate antibiotic treatment. Postoperative radiographs showed no significant kyphotic deformity when compared with preoperative films. As of the last follow-up visit, no recurrent infections were noted. Traditional transthoracic or diaphragmatic surgery with or without posterior instrumentation is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality, especially in elderly patients, patients with multiple comorbidities, or immunocompromised patients. Percutaneous endoscopic surgery assisted by a CT-guided catheter provides a safe and effective alternative treatment for infectious spondylodiscitis of the thoracic and upper lumbar spine.
PMCID: PMC4529934  PMID: 26273644
6.  Increased survival with the combination of stereotactic radiosurgery and gefitinib for non-small cell lung cancer brain metastasis patients: a nationwide study in Taiwan 
Whole brain irradiation (WBRT) either with or without resection has historically been the treatment for brain metastases from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The effect of gamma knife (GK) radiosurgery, chemotherapy, or the combination remains incompletely defined. In this study, we assessed the outcome of brain metastases from non-small cell lung cancer treated by WBRT followed by GK, gefitinib, or the combination of GK and gefitinib.
Material and methods
We retrieved the records of NSCLC patients with brain metastases from the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) of Taiwan from 2004 to 2010. WBRT either with or without resection was the first line treatment for nearly all patients. The decision to add GK and/or gefitinib treatment was at the discretion of the treating physician and based upon a patient’s medical records and imaging data. These patients were classified into four groups including WBRT, WBRT + gefitinib, WBRT + GK, WBRT + gefitinib + GK. These data was evaluated for difference in survival and factors that portended an extended survival from the time of brain metastasis diagnosis.
Of the 60194 patients with newly diagnosed NSCLC, 23874 (39.6 %) developed brain metastases. The distribution of patients for the groups was WBRT for 20241, WBRT + gefitinib for 3379, WBRT + GK for 155, and WBRT+ gefitinib + GK for 99 patients. The median survival for the time of brain metastasis diagnosis for WBRT, WBRT+ gefitinib, WBRT+ GK, WBRT+ gefitinib + GK groups was 0.53, 1.01, 1.46, and 2.25 years, respectively (p < 0.0001). The hazard ratio (95 % CI) for survival was 1, 0.56, 0.43, and 0.40, respectively (p < 0.001). The adjusted hazard ratio (95 % CI) by age, sex and Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) was 1, 0.73, 0.49, and 0.42, respectively (p < 0.001).
Patients with brain metastases from NSCLC receiving GK or gefitinib demonstrated extended survival. The improved survival seen with GK and gefitinib suggests a survival benefit in selected patients receiving the combined treatment. Further Phase II study should be conducted to assessment these influence.
PMCID: PMC4490645  PMID: 26048754
IRESSA; Gamma knife; Lung cancer; Brain irradiation
7.  CCL5 promotes VEGF-dependent angiogenesis by down-regulating miR-200b through PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in human chondrosarcoma cells 
Oncotarget  2014;5(21):10718-10731.
Chondrosarcoma is the second most common primary malignant bone cancer, with potential for local invasion and distant metastasis. Chemokine CCL5 (formerly RANTES) of the CC-chemokine family plays a crucial role in metastasis. Angiogenesis is essential for the cancer metastasis. However, correlation of CCL5 with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and angiogenesis in human chondrosarcoma is still unknown. CCL5-mediated VEGF expression was assessed by qPCR, ELISA, and Western blotting. CCL5-induced angiogenesis was examined by migration and tube formation in endothelial progenitor cells in vitro. CCL5 increased VEGF expression and also promoted chondrosarcoma conditional medium-mediated angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Stimulation of chondrosarcoma with CCL5 augmented PI3K and Akt phosphorylation, while PI3K and Akt inhibitor or siRNA abolished CCL5-induced VEGF expression and angiogenesis. We also demonstrated CCL5 inhibiting miR-200b expression and miR-200b mimic reversing the CCL5-enhanced VEGF expression and angiogenesis. Moreover, in chondrosarcoma patients showed the positive correlation between CCL5 and VEGF; negative correlation between CCL5 and miR-200b. Taken together, results demonstrate CCL5 promoting VEGF-dependent angiogenesis in human chondrosarcoma cells by down-regulating miR-200b through PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4279405  PMID: 25301739
Angiogenesis; CCL5; Chondrosarcoma; miR-200b; VEGF
8.  Risk factors for subsidence in anterior cervical fusion with stand-alone polyetheretherketone (PEEK) cages: a review of 82 cases and 182 levels 
To determine risk factors for subsidence in patients treated with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and stand-alone polyetheretherketone (PEEK) cages.
Materials and methods
Records of patients with degenerative spondylosis or traumatic disc herniation resulting in radiculopathy or myelopathy between C2 and C7 who underwent ACDF with stand-alone PEEK cages were retrospectively reviewed. Cages were filled with autogenous cancellous bone harvested from iliac crest or hydroxyapatite. Subsidence was defined as a decrease of 3 mm or more of anterior or posterior disc height from that measured on the postoperative radiograph. Eighty-two patients (32 males, 50 females; 182 treatment levels) were included in the analysis.
Most patients had 1–2 treatment levels (62.2 %), and 37.8 % had 3–4 treatment levels. Treatment levels were from C2–7. Of the 82 patients, cage subsidence occurred in 31 patients, and at 39 treatment levels. Multivariable analysis showed that subsidence was more likely to occur in patients with more than two treatment levels, and more likely to occur at treatment levels C5–7 than at levels C2–5. Subsidence was not associated with postoperative alignment change but associated with more disc height change (relatively oversized cage).
Subsidence is associated with a greater number of treatment levels, treatment at C5–7 and relatively oversized cage use.
PMCID: PMC4168225  PMID: 25099076
Anterior cervical discectomy; Fusion; Stand-alone; PEEK cage; Subsidence
9.  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.
PMCID: PMC3965461  PMID: 24667577
10.  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.
PMCID: PMC3540013  PMID: 23320110
11.  CTGF Increases IL-6 Expression in Human Synovial Fibroblasts through Integrin-Dependent Signaling Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51097.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3515445  PMID: 23227240
12.  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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3366938  PMID: 22675553
13.  Endoscopic discectomy of L5-S1 disc herniation via an interlaminar approach: Prospective controlled study under local and general anesthesia 
Open discectomy remains the standard method for treatment of lumbar disc herniation, but can traumatize spinal structure and leaves symptomatic epidural scarring in more than 10% of cases. The usual transforaminal approach may be associated with difficulty reaching the epidural space due to anatomical peculiarities at the L5–S1 level. The endoscopic interlaminar approach can provide a direct pathway for decompression of disc herniation at the L5–S1 level. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical results of endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy at the L5–S1 level and compare the technique feasibility, safety, and efficacy under local and general anesthesia (LA and GA, respectively).
One hundred twenty-three patients with L5–S1 disc herniation underwent endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy from October 2006 to June 2009 by two spine surgeons using different anesthesia preferences in two medical centers. Visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back pain and leg pain and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) sores were recorded preoperatively, and at 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Results were compared to evaluate the technique feasibility, safety, and efficacy under LA and GA.
VAS scores for back pain and leg pain and ODI revealed statistically significant improvement when they were compared with preoperative values. Mean hospital stay was statistically shorter in the LA group. Complications included one case of dural tear with rootlet injury and three cases of recurrence within 1 month who subsequently required open surgery or endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy. There were no medical or infectious complications in either group.
Disc herniation at the L5–S1 level can be adequately treated endoscopically with an interlaminar approach. GA and LA are both effective for this procedure. However, LA is better than GA in our opinion.
PMCID: PMC3130490  PMID: 21748045
General anesthesia; interlaminar approach; local anesthesia; lumbar disc herniation; percutaneous endoscopic discectomy
14.  Intradiscal electrothermal therapy in the treatment of chronic low back pain: Experience with 93 patients 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2940097  PMID: 20847918
Chronic low back pain; intradiscal electrothermal therapy; discogenic pain

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