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1.  Influence of Preferred Orientation on the Electrical Conductivity of Fluorine-Doped Tin Oxide Films 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3679.
Current development of high-performance transparent conductive oxide (TCO) films is limited with tradeoff between carrier mobility and concentration since none of them can be improved without sacrificing the other. In this study, we prepare fluorine doped tin oxide (FTO) films by chemical vapor deposition with inclusions of different additives and report that the mobility can be varied from 0.65 to 28.5 cm2 V−1 s−1 without reducing the achieved high carrier concentration of 4 × 1020 cm−3. Such an increase in mobility is shown to be clearly associated with the development of (200) preferred orientation (PO) but concurrent degradation of (110) PO in films. Thus, at a constant high carrier concentration, the electrical conductivity can be improved via carrier mobility simply by PO control. Such a one-step approach avoiding conventional post-deposition treatment is suggested for developing next-generation FTO as well as other TCO films with better than ever conductivities.
PMCID: PMC3890905  PMID: 24419455
2.  Somatic Mutations in Cerebral Cortical Malformations 
The New England journal of medicine  2014;371(8):733-743.
Although there is increasing recognition of the role of somatic mutations in genetic disorders, the prevalence of somatic mutations in neurodevelopmental disease and the optimal techniques to detect somatic mosaicism have not been systematically evaluated.
Using a customized panel of known and candidate genes associated with brain malformations, we applied targeted high-coverage sequencing (depth, ≥200×) to leukocyte-derived DNA samples from 158 persons with brain malformations, including the double-cortex syndrome (subcortical band heterotopia, 30 persons), polymicrogyria with megalencephaly (20), periventricular nodular heterotopia (61), and pachygyria (47). We validated candidate mutations with the use of Sanger sequencing and, for variants present at unequal read depths, subcloning followed by colony sequencing.
Validated, causal mutations were found in 27 persons (17%; range, 10 to 30% for each phenotype). Mutations were somatic in 8 of the 27 (30%), predominantly in persons with the double-cortex syndrome (in whom we found mutations in DCX and LIS1), persons with periventricular nodular heterotopia (FLNA), and persons with pachygyria (TUBB2B). Of the somatic mutations we detected, 5 (63%) were undetectable with the use of traditional Sanger sequencing but were validated through subcloning and subsequent sequencing of the subcloned DNA. We found potentially causal mutations in the candidate genes DYNC1H1, KIF5C, and other kinesin genes in persons with pachygyria.
Targeted sequencing was found to be useful for detecting somatic mutations in patients with brain malformations. High-coverage sequencing panels provide an important complement to whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing in the evaluation of somatic mutations in neuropsychiatric disease. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and others.)
PMCID: PMC4274952  PMID: 25140959
4.  Continuously tunable electronic structure of transition metal dichalcogenides superlattices 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8356.
Two dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides have very exciting properties for optoelectronic applications. In this work we theoretically investigate and predict that superlattices comprised of MoS2 and WSe2 multilayers possess continuously tunable electronic structure with direct bandgaps. The tunability is controlled by the thickness ratio of MoS2 versus WSe2 of the superlattice. When this ratio goes from 1:2 to 5:1, the dominant K-K direct bandgap is continuously tuned from 0.14 eV to 0.5 eV. The gap stays direct against −0.6% to 2% in-layer strain and up to −4.3% normal-layer compressive strain. The valance and conduction bands are spatially separated. These robust properties suggest that MoS2 and WSe2 multilayer superlattice should be a promising material for infrared optoelectronics.
PMCID: PMC4326700  PMID: 25677917
5.  Association between Polymorphism of the Interleukin-13 Gene and Susceptibility to Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0116682.
Interleukin-13 (IL-13) is a potent pleiotropic cytokine that is produced by activated CD4 T cells. This study was undertaken to determine the relationship between two IL-13 gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP rs1800925 and SNP rs20541) and the incidence of hepatitis B virus-related (HBV) hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Three hundred and ninety-eight HBV-positive individuals (192 HCC and 206 patients with chronic hepatitis) and one hundred and ninety-two healthy participants from the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University were enrolled in this study.
The results showed no significant differences between the genotype and allele frequencies of the IL-13 gene rs1800925 and rs20541 polymorphisms and chronic hepatitis B risk after adjusting for age, sex, tobacco use, and alcohol intake using binary logistic regression analyses. Regarding the rs20541 SNP, the GA genotype was significantly related to a decreased risk of HCC after adjusting for age, sex, tobacco use, and alcohol intake using binary logistic regression analyses (The odds ratio (OR) = 0.54, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.34–0.87). The adjusted OR for the GA and AA genotypes combined was 0.68 (95% CI 0.39–0.90).
This study indicates that the functional IL-13 rs20541 polymorphism may contribute to the risk of HCC and that the rs20541 polymorphism is a protective factor for HCC.
PMCID: PMC4319784  PMID: 25658755
6.  In vivo monitoring of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine sensitivity in Plasmodium falciparum along the China-Myanmar border of Yunnan Province, China from 2007 to 2013 
Malaria Journal  2015;14:47.
Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is the recommended first-line treatment of falciparum malaria in all endemic countries. Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has been confirmed in the Greater Mekong subregion (GMS). Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DAPQ) is the most commonly used ACT in China. To understand the DAPQ sensitivity of P. falciparum, DAPQ resistance was monitored in vivo along the China-Myanmar border from 2007 to 2013.
Eligible patients with mono-infections of P. falciparum were recruited to this study after obtaining full informed consent. DAPQ tablets for different categories of kg body weight ranges were given once a day for three days. Patients were followed up for 42 days. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was conducted to distinguish between re-infection and recrudescence, to confirm the Plasmodium species. The data were entered and analysed by the Kaplan-Meier method. Treatment outcome was assessed according to the WHO recommended standards.
243 patients were completed valid follow-up. The fever clearance time (FCT) and asexual parasite clearance times (APCT) were, respectively, 36.5 ± 10.9 and 43.5 ± 11.8 hours, and there was an increasing trend of both FCT (F = 268.41, P < 0.0001) and APCT (F = 88.6, P < 0.0001) from 2007 to 2013. Eight (3.3%, 95% confidence interval, 1.4–6.4%) patients present parasitaemia on day three after medication; however they were spontaneous cure on day four. 241 (99.2%; 95% CI, 97.1–99.9%) of the patients were adequate clinical and parasitological response (ACPR) and the proportions of ACPR had not changed significantly from 2007 to 2013 (X2 = 2.81, P = 0.7288).
In terms of efficacy, DAPQ is still an effective treatment for falciparum malaria. DAPQ sensitivity in P. falciparum had not significantly changed along the China-Myanmar border of Yunnan Province, China. However more attentions should be given to becoming slower fever and parasite clearance.
PMCID: PMC4333884  PMID: 25652213
Plasmodium falciparum; Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine; In vivo test; Resistance; China-Myanmar border
7.  New Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat Locus Spacer Pair Typing Method Based on the Newly Incorporated Spacer for Salmonella enterica 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(8):2955-2962.
A clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) typing method has recently been developed and used for typing and subtyping of Salmonella spp., but it is complicated and labor intensive because it has to analyze all spacers in two CRISPR loci. Here, we developed a more convenient and efficient method, namely, CRISPR locus spacer pair typing (CLSPT), which only needs to analyze the two newly incorporated spacers adjoining the leader array in the two CRISPR loci. We analyzed a CRISPR array of 82 strains belonging to 21 Salmonella serovars isolated from humans in different areas of China by using this new method. We also retrieved the newly incorporated spacers in each CRISPR locus of 537 Salmonella isolates which have definite serotypes in the Pasteur Institute's CRISPR Database to evaluate this method. Our findings showed that this new CLSPT method presents a high level of consistency (kappa = 0.9872, Matthew's correlation coefficient = 0.9712) with the results of traditional serotyping, and thus, it can also be used to predict serotypes of Salmonella spp. Moreover, this new method has a considerable discriminatory power (discriminatory index [DI] = 0.8145), comparable to those of multilocus sequence typing (DI = 0.8088) and conventional CRISPR typing (DI = 0.8684). Because CLSPT only costs about $5 to $10 per isolate, it is a much cheaper and more attractive method for subtyping of Salmonella isolates. In conclusion, this new method will provide considerable advantages over other molecular subtyping methods, and it may become a valuable epidemiologic tool for the surveillance of Salmonella infections.
PMCID: PMC4136180  PMID: 24899040
8.  An outbreak following importation of wild poliovirus in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, 2011 
After more than 10 years without a case of wild poliovirus (WPV) in China, an outbreak occurred in 2011 in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) case surveillance was strengthened with epidemiological investigations and specimen collection and serological surveys were conducted among hospitalized patients.
There were 21 WPV cases and 23 clinical compatible polio cases reported. WPV was isolated from 14 contacts of AFP cases and 13 in the healthy population. Incidence of WPV and clinical compatible polio cases were both highest among children <1 years, however, 24/44 (54.5%) polio cases were reported among adults aged 15–39 years.
High coverage of routine immunization should be maintained among children until WPV transmission is globally eradicated. Expansion of AFP case surveillance and use of serologic surveys to estimate population immunity should be conducted rapidly to guide preparedness and response planning for future WPV outbreaks.
PMCID: PMC4336520  PMID: 25636581
Wild poliovirus; Importation; Acute flaccid paralysis; Supplementary immunization activities; Serological survey
9.  Perioperative dynamics and significance of amino acid profiles in patients with cancer 
Metabolome analysis including amino acid profile is under investigation as an approach in cancer screening. The present study aims to analyze plasma free amino acid (PFAA) profiles in cancer patients and investigate their potential as biomarkers of malignancy.
Plasma samples from 56 gastric cancer patients, 28 breast cancer patients, 33 thyroid cancer patients, and 137 age-matched healthy controls were collected in the study. PFAA levels were measured and their perioperative alterations were analyzed. Biological effects of ten cancer-related amino acids were further validated in gastric and breast cancer cells.
We found that PFAA profiles of cancer patients differed significantly from those of healthy controls. Decreased concentrations of PFAAs were associated with lymph node metastases in gastric cancer. Levels of PFAAs such as aspartate and alanine increased after tumor resection. PFAA levels correlated with clinical tumor markers in gastric cancer patients and pathological immunohistochemistry markers in breast cancer patients. Specifically, alanine, arginine, aspartate and cysteine had proliferative effects on breast cancer cells. Proliferation of gastric cancer cells was promoted by cysteine, but inhibited by alanine and glutamic acid. Furthermore, alanine treatment decreased total and stable fraction of gastric cancer cells, and alanine and glutamic acid induced apoptosis of gastric cancer cells.
PFAA patterns in cancer patients are altered perioperatively. Tumor-related amino acids identified by dynamic study of PFAA patterns may have the potential to be developed as novel biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of cancer patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-015-0408-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4332895  PMID: 25622826
Amino acid profile; Plasma; Metabolism; Cancer; Perioperation
10.  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
11.  Identification of Potential Transcriptomic Markers in Developing Ankylosing Spondylitis: A Meta-Analysis of Gene Expression Profiles 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:826316.
The goal of this study was to identify potential transcriptomic markers in developing ankylosing spondylitis by a meta-analysis of multiple public microarray datasets. Using the INMEX (integrative meta-analysis of expression data) program, we performed the meta-analysis to identify consistently differentially expressed (DE) genes in ankylosing spondylitis and further performed functional interpretation (gene ontology analysis and pathway analysis) of the DE genes identified in the meta-analysis. Three microarray datasets (26 cases and 29 controls in total) were collected for meta-analysis. 905 consistently DE genes were identified in ankylosing spondylitis, among which 482 genes were upregulated and 423 genes were downregulated. The upregulated gene with the smallest combined rank product (RP) was GNG11 (combined RP = 299.64). The downregulated gene with the smallest combined RP was S100P (combined RP = 335.94). In the gene ontology (GO) analysis, the most significantly enriched GO term was “immune system process” (P = 3.46 × 10−26). The most significant pathway identified in the pathway analysis was antigen processing and presentation (P = 8.40 × 10−5). The consistently DE genes in ankylosing spondylitis and biological pathways associated with those DE genes identified provide valuable information for studying the pathophysiology of ankylosing spondylitis.
PMCID: PMC4320922
12.  A Turn-Key Approach for Large-Scale Identification of Complex Posttranslational Modifications 
Journal of Proteome Research  2014;13(3):1190-1199.
The conjugation of complex post-translational modifications (PTMs) such as glycosylation and Small Ubiquitin-like Modification (SUMOylation) to a substrate protein can substantially change the resulting peptide fragmentation pattern compared to its unmodified counterpart, making current database search methods inappropriate for the identification of tandem mass (MS/MS) spectra from such modified peptides. Traditionally it has been difficult to develop new algorithms to identify these atypical peptides because of the lack of a large set of annotated spectra from which to learn the altered fragmentation pattern. Using SUMOylation as an example, we propose a novel approach to generate large MS/MS training data from modified peptides and derive an algorithm that learns properties of PTM-specific fragmentation from such training data. Benchmark tests on data sets of varying complexity show that our method is 80–300% more sensitive than current state-of-the-art approaches. The core concepts of our method are readily applicable to developing algorithms for the identifications of peptides with other complex PTMs.
PMCID: PMC3993922  PMID: 24437954
small ubiquitin-like modification (SUMOylation); posttranslational modification (PTM); combinatorial peptide library; peptide fragmentation patterns; algorithms; database search method; linked peptides
13.  Hesitant Fuzzy Soft Sets with Application in Multicriteria Group Decision Making Problems 
The Scientific World Journal  2015;2015:806983.
Soft sets have been regarded as a useful mathematical tool to deal with uncertainty. In recent years, many scholars have shown an intense interest in soft sets and extended standard soft sets to intuitionistic fuzzy soft sets, interval-valued fuzzy soft sets, and generalized fuzzy soft sets. In this paper, hesitant fuzzy soft sets are defined by combining fuzzy soft sets with hesitant fuzzy sets. And some operations on hesitant fuzzy soft sets based on Archimedean t-norm and Archimedean t-conorm are defined. Besides, four aggregation operations, such as the HFSWA, HFSWG, GHFSWA, and GHFSWG operators, are given. Based on these operators, a multicriteria group decision making approach with hesitant fuzzy soft sets is also proposed. To demonstrate its accuracy and applicability, this approach is finally employed to calculate a numerical example.
PMCID: PMC4320852
14.  Physicochemical and biological properties of a novel injectable polyurethane system for root canal filling 
A root canal sealer with antibacterial activity can be efficacious in preventing reinfection that results from residual microorganisms and/or the leakage of microorganisms. In the present study, a series of injectable, self-curing polyurethane (PU)-based antibacterial sealers with different concentrations of silver phosphate (Ag3PO4) were fabricated. Subsequently, their physicochemical properties, antibacterial abilities, and preliminary cytocompatibilities were evaluated. The results indicated that the fabricated PU-based sealers can achieve a high conversion rate in a short amount of time. More than 95% of the isocyanate group of PU sealers with 3 wt% (PU3) and 5 wt% (PU5) concentrations of Ag3PO4 were included in the curing reaction after 7 hours. With the exception of those for film thickness for PU5, the results of setting time, film thickness, and solubility were able to meet the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization. The antibacterial tests showed that PU3 and PU5 exhibit stronger antimicrobial effects than that achieved with 1 wt% Ag3PO4 (PU1) and AH Plus (positive control) against Streptococcus mutans. The cytocompatibility evaluation revealed that the PU1 and PU3 sealers possess good cytocompatibility and low cytotoxicity. These results demonstrate that the PU3 sealer offers good physicochemical and antimicrobial properties along with cytocompatibility, which may hold great application potential in the field of root canal fillings.
PMCID: PMC4303460  PMID: 25653518
root canal sealer; polyurethane; silver phosphate; antibacterial properties; direct contact test
15.  Anti-inflammatory effects of BHBA in both in vivo and in vitro Parkinson’s disease models are mediated by GPR109A-dependent mechanisms 
Accumulating evidence suggests that neuroinflammation plays an important role in the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Excessively activated microglia produce several pro-inflammatory enzymes and pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to damage to surrounding neurons and eventually inducing neurodegeneration. Therefore, the inhibition of microglial overactivation may be a potential therapeutic strategy to prevent the further progression of PD. β-Hydroxybutyric acid (BHBA) has been shown to suppress lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in BV-2 cells and to protect dopaminergic neurons in previous studies, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Thus, in this study, we further investigated this mechanism in LPS-induced in vivo and in vitro PD models.
For the in vitro experiments, primary mesencephalic neuron-glia cultures were pretreated with BHBA and stimulated with LPS. [3H]dopamine (DA) uptake, tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) neurons and morphological analysis were evaluated and analyzed in primary mesencephalic neuron-glia cultures. In vivo, microglial activation and the injury of dopaminergic neurons were induced by LPS intranigral injection, and the effects of BHBA treatment on microglial activation and the survival ratio and function of dopaminergic neurons were investigated. Four our in vitro mechanistic experiment, primary microglial cells were pretreated with BHBA and stimulated with LPS; the cells were then assessed for the responses of pro-inflammatory enzymes and pro-inflammatory cytokines, and the NF-κB signaling pathway was evaluated and analyzed.
We found that BHBA concentration-dependently attenuated the LPS-induced decrease in [3H]DA uptake and loss of TH-ir neurons in the primary mesencephalic neuron/glia mixed culture. BHBA treatment significantly improved the motor dysfunction of the PD model rats induced by intranigral injection of LPS, and this beneficial effect of BHBA was attributed to the inhibition of microglial overactivation and the protection of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). Our in vitro mechanistic study revealed that the inhibitory effect of BHBA on microglia was mediated by G-protein-coupled receptor 109A (GPR109A) and involved the NF-κB signaling pathway, causing the inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzyme (iNOS and COX-2) and pro-inflammatory cytokine (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6) production.
In conclusion, the present study supports the effectiveness of BHBA in protecting dopaminergic neurons against inflammatory challenge.
PMCID: PMC4310035  PMID: 25595674
BHBA; GPR109A; Parkinson’s disease; neuroinflammation; LPS; NF-κB
16.  RNA-binding protein HuR promotes growth of small intestinal mucosa by activating the Wnt signaling pathway 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(21):3308-3318.
HuR is essential for normal mucosal growth in the small intestine by altering Wnt signals via up-regulation of LRP6 expression. The results highlight a novel role of HuR deficiency in the pathogenesis of intestinal mucosal atrophy under pathological conditions.
Inhibition of growth of the intestinal epithelium, a rapidly self-renewing tissue, is commonly found in various critical disorders. The RNA-binding protein HuR is highly expressed in the gut mucosa and modulates the stability and translation of target mRNAs, but its exact biological function in the intestinal epithelium remains unclear. Here, we investigated the role of HuR in intestinal homeostasis using a genetic model and further defined its target mRNAs. Targeted deletion of HuR in intestinal epithelial cells caused significant mucosal atrophy in the small intestine, as indicated by decreased cell proliferation within the crypts and subsequent shrinkages of crypts and villi. In addition, the HuR-deficient intestinal epithelium also displayed decreased regenerative potential of crypt progenitors after exposure to irradiation. HuR deficiency decreased expression of the Wnt coreceptor LDL receptor–related protein 6 (LRP6) in the mucosal tissues. At the molecular level, HuR was found to bind the Lrp6 mRNA via its 3′-untranslated region and enhanced LRP6 expression by stabilizing Lrp6 mRNA and stimulating its translation. These results indicate that HuR is essential for normal mucosal growth in the small intestine by altering Wnt signals through up-regulation of LRP6 expression and highlight a novel role of HuR deficiency in the pathogenesis of intestinal mucosal atrophy under pathological conditions.
PMCID: PMC4214778  PMID: 25165135
17.  miR-29b Modulates Intestinal Epithelium Homeostasis by Repressing Menin Translation 
The Biochemical journal  2015;465(2):315-323.
Menin regulates distinct cellular functions by regulating gene transcription through its interaction with partner transcription factors, but the exact mechanisms that control Menin levels remain largely unknown. Here we report that Men1 mRNA, encoding Menin, is a novel target of microRNA-29b (miR-29b) and that miR-29b/Men1 mRNA association regulates Menin expression posttranscriptionally in rat intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). Overexpression of a miR-29b precursor lowered modestly the levels of Men1 mRNA, but reduced robustly the de novo synthesis of Menin; conversely, antagonization of miR-29b enhanced Menin protein synthesis and steady-state levels. The repressive effect of miR-29b on Menin expression was mediated through a single binding site in the coding region of Men1 mRNA, since point mutation of this site prevented miR-29b-induced repression of Menin translation. Increasing cellular polyamines due to overexpression of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) enhanced Menin translation by reducing miR-29b, whereas polyamine depletion by inhibiting ODC increased miR-29b, thus suppressing Menin expression. Moreover, an increase in Menin abundance in miR-29b-silenced population of IECs led to increased sensitivity to apoptosis, which was prevented by silencing Menin. These findings indicate that miR-29b represses translation of Men1 mRNA, in turn affecting intestinal epithelial homeostasis by altering IEC apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4286465  PMID: 25317587
18.  Differentiation between mycoplasma and viral community-acquired pneumonia in children with lobe or multi foci infiltration: a retrospective case study 
BMJ Open  2015;5(1):e006766.
To analyse the clinical features, inflammatory markers and radiographs of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) cases with lobe or multi foci infiltration; with a special focus on factors which allow the differential diagnosis of viral and mycoplasma pneumonia.
Retrospective chart review of CAP cases in a large university teaching hospital.
126 paediatric CAP cases, with lobe or multi foci infiltration, presenting between May 2012 and April 2013. Demographic data, clinical presentation on admission or referral, laboratory tests, prior history, and radiography were collected for each case if available.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
We used univariate and multivariate logistic regression to determine the significant factors which allow the differential diagnosis of viral and mycoplasma CAP with lobe or multi foci infiltration.
There were 71 (56%) male and 55 (44%) female CAP cases with lobar or multi foci infiltration. 70 pneumonia cases were caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae and 18 by viruses. Univariate analysis of the mycoplasma and viral causes of the CAP revealed that increased respiratory rate, wheeze, male gender and lymphocyte percentage were the factors associated with the differentiation of mycoplasma and viral aetiologies of pneumonia (p<0.05). A stepwise logistic regression analysis was performed to assess independent factors which allow the differential diagnosis of viral and mycoplasma pneumonia. Increased respiratory rate, wheeze, and lymphocyte percentage were reliable independent factors which allow the differential diagnosis of viral and mycoplasma CAP with lobar or multi foci infiltration.
Whether the CAP with lobar or multi foci infiltration was caused by mycoplasma species or viruses could not be inferred from the radiological patterns. Wheeze, lymphocyte percentage and respiratory rate were independent factors which allowed the differential diagnosis of viral and mycoplasma CAP with lobar or multi foci infiltration.
PMCID: PMC4298093  PMID: 25596200
19.  Sesquiterpene Lactones Inhibit Advanced Oxidation Protein Product-Induced MCP-1 Expression in Podocytes via an IKK/NF-κB-Dependent Mechanism 
Inflammation is a relevant factor in the pathogenesis of diabetes nephropathy (DN). Sesquiterpene lactones (SLs), originally isolated from Tanacetum parthenium, have been reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects but few studies have examined their effects on DN. To determine whether advanced oxidation protein products (AOPPs) can induce the expression of chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein- (MCP-) 1 in cultured mouse podocytes and to explore the mechanisms of the potential renoprotection of SLs, we treated podocytes with AOPPs and SLs (parthenolide and its derivatives micheliolide, compound 1, and compound 2). MCP-1 mRNA and protein expression were tested using quantitative real-time PCR and ELISA, respectively, and the protein levels of IKKβ, phospho-IKKβ, IκBα, NF-κB p65, phospho-NF-κB p65, and tubulin were analyzed by Western blotting. AOPPs activated the expression of MCP-1 mRNA and protein in a dose- and time-dependent manner, activated IKKβ and NF-κB p65, and promoted IκBα degradation. The IKK/NF-κB inhibitor parthenolide decreased AOPP-induced MCP-1 expression. Pretreatment with SLs inhibited MCP-1 mRNA and protein expression and suppressed IKKβ and NF-κB p65 phosphorylation and IκBα degradation. Taken together, these findings provide a novel explanation for the anti-inflammatory effects of SLs that will ultimately benefit DN and potentially other inflammatory and immune renal diseases.
PMCID: PMC4309307  PMID: 25664142
20.  Emergence and Prevalence of Non-H2S-Producing Salmonella enterica Serovar Senftenberg Isolates Belonging to Novel Sequence Type 1751 in China 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(7):2557-2565.
Salmonella enterica serovar Senftenberg is a common nontyphoidal Salmonella serotype which causes human Salmonella infections worldwide. In this study, 182 S. Senftenberg isolates, including 17 atypical non-hydrogen sulfide (H2S)-producing isolates, were detected in China from 2005 to 2011. The microbiological and genetic characteristics of the non-H2S-producing and selected H2S-producing isolates were determined by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), multilocus sequence typing (MLST), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) analysis. The phs operons were amplified and sequenced. The 17 non-H2S-producing and 36 H2S-producing isolates belonged to 7 sequence types (STs), including 3 new STs, ST1751, ST1757, and ST1758. Fourteen of the 17 non-H2S-producing isolates belonged to ST1751 and had very similar PFGE patterns. All 17 non-H2S-producing isolates had a nonsense mutation at position 1621 of phsA. H2S-producing and non-H2S-producing S. Senftenberg isolates were isolated from the same stool sample from three patients; isolates from the same patients displayed the same antimicrobial susceptibility, ST, and PFGE pattern but could be discriminated based on CRISPR spacers. Non-H2S-producing S. Senftenberg isolates belonging to ST1751 have been prevalent in Shanghai, China. It is possible that these emerging organisms will disseminate further, because they are difficult to detect. Thus, we should strengthen the surveillance for the spread of this atypical S. Senftenberg variant.
PMCID: PMC4097678  PMID: 24829240
21.  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
22.  Radiobiological characteristics of cancer stem cells from esophageal cancer cell lines 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(48):18296-18305.
AIM: To study the cancer stem cell population in esophageal cancer cell lines KYSE-150 and TE-1 and identify whether the resulting stem-like spheroid cells display cancer stem cells and radiation resistance characteristics.
METHODS: A serum-free medium (SFM) suspension was used to culture esophageal cancer stem cell lines and enrich the esophageal stem-like spheres. A reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay was used to detect stem cell gene expression in the spheroid cells. Radiosensitivity of stem-like spheres and parental cells were evaluated by clonogenic assays. Furthermore, different cells after different doses of irradiation were tested to evaluate the change in sphere formation, cell cycle and CD44+CD271+ expression of tumor stem-like spheroid cells using flow cytometry before and after irradiation.
RESULTS: The cells were observed to generate an increased number of spheres in SFM with increasing cell passage. Radiation increased the rate of generation of stem-like spheres in both types of cells. The average survival fraction (SF2) of the cultured KYSE-150 compared with TE-1 stem-like spheres after 2 Gy of radiation was 0.81 ± 0.03 vs 0.87 ± 0.01 (P < 0.05), while the average SF2 of KYSE-150 compared with TE-1 parental cells was 0.69 ± 0.04 vs 0.80 ± 0.03, P < 0.05. In the esophageal parental cells, irradiation dose-dependently induced G2 arrest. Stem-like esophageal spheres were resistant to irradiation-induced G2 arrest without significant changes in the percentage population of irradiated stem-like cells. Under irradiation at 0, 4, and 8 Gy, the CD44+CD271+ cell percentage for KYSE150 parental cells was 1.08% ± 0.03% vs 1.29% ± 0.07% vs 1.11% ± 0.09%, respectively; the CD44+CD271+ cell percentage for TE1 parental cells was 1.16% ± 0.11% vs 0.97% ± 0.08% vs 1.45% ± 0.35%, respectively. The differences were not statistically significant. Under irradiation at 0, 4, and 8 Gy, the CD44+CD271+ cell percentage for KYSE-150 stem-like spheres was 35.83% ± 1.23% vs 44.9% ± 1.67% vs 57.77% ± 1.88%, respectively; the CD44+CD271+ cell percentage for TE1 stem-like spheres was 16.07% ± 0.91% vs 22.67% ± 1.12%, 16.07% ± 0.91% vs 33.27% ± 1.07%, respectively. The 4 and 8 Gy irradiated KYSE-150 and TE-1 stem-like spheres were compared with the 0 Gy irradiated group, and the differences were statistically significant (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: The KYSE-150 and TE-1 stem-like spheres are more radioresistant than their parental cells which may suggest that cancer stem cells are related to radioresistance.
PMCID: PMC4277966  PMID: 25561796
Esophageal neoplasms; Radiation resistance; Neoplastic stem cell; Cell spheres; Cell cycle
23.  Association of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in VDR and DBP Genes with HBV-Related Hepatocellular Carcinoma Risk in a Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e116026.
Polymorphisms of genes encoding components of the vitamin D pathway including vitamin D receptor (VDR) and vitamin D binding protein (DBP) have been widely investigated because of the complex role played by vitamin D in cancer tumorogenesis. In this study, we investigated the association between VDR and DBP gene polymorphisms and HBV-related HCC risk in a Chinese population.
Study subjects were divided into three groups: 184 HBV patients with HCC, 296 HBV patients without HCC, and 180 healthy controls. The VDR rs2228570, and rs3782905 and the DBP rs7041 polymorphisms were genotyped using PCR-RFLP and the VDR rs11568820 polymorphism was genotyped by PCR-SSP, respectively. DNA sequencing was performed to validate the genotype results.
We found that there were significant differences in the genotype and allele frequencies of the VDR rs2228570 and DBP rs7041 polymorphisms between HBV patients with HCC and healthy controls. The rs2228570 T allele was associated with a significant increased HBV-related HCC risk as compared with the C allele. The rs2228570 TT and TT/TC genotypes were correlated with a significant increased HBV-related HCC risk when compared with the wild-type CC homozygote. Similarly, the rs7041 G allele was associated with a significant increased HBV-related HCC risk as compared with the T allele. The rs7041 GG and GG/TG genotypes were correlated with a significant increased HBV-related HCC risk when compared with the wild-type TT homozygote. However, we did not observe any significant effect of VDR rs11568820, and rs3782905 polymorphisms on HBV-related HCC risk in this population. In haplotype analysis, we also did not find any significant differences in haplotype frequencies of the VDR gene between HBV patients with HCC and the healthy controls.
We conclude that the VDR rs2228570 and DBP rs7041 polymorphisms may contribute to increased susceptibility to HBV-related HCC in the Chinese population. Due to the marginal significance, further large and well-designed studies in diverse ethnic populations are needed to confirm our results.
PMCID: PMC4277456  PMID: 25541958
24.  A novel GFP nude rat model to investigate tumor-stroma interactions 
Cancer Cell International  2014;14(1):541.
A key strategy for the study of the tumor microenvironment is to implant human tumor cells in an immunodeficient rodent strain ubiquitously expressing a fluorescent marker. Here, a novel nude rat expressing a green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgene was established and engrafted with primary human tumor tissue in order to separate tumor from stromal cell populations for subsequent molecular analysis.
SD-TG (GFP) 2BalRrrc transgenic rats were crossed with HsdHan™: rnu/rnu Rowett nude rats to develop a GFP expressing immunocompromised rat. PCR and flow cytometry were used to follow the GFP genotype and phenotype in newborns. After three to four generations, animals were implanted with 4 T1 dsRed murine breast cancer cells or primary human glioblastoma (GBM) biopsies to generate xenografts for subsequent separation by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS).
Fluorecence microscopy and reverse transcription-PCR demonstrated that GFP, under the control of the human ubiquitin C promoter, was stably maintained and expressed in diverse organs over several generations. Immunophenotyping of blood samples by flow cytometry confirmed that the immunodeficient features of the parental rat strain, HsdHan™: rnu/rnu, were retained in the GFP nude rat. Both the murine cell line and human GBM biopsies engrafted, and stromal cell populations were isolated from dissociated xenografts by FACS to > 95% purity.
A GFP transgene was stably introduced into a nude rat background in which human and murine cancer cells successfully engrafted. This animal strain provides a novel in vivo system for detailed cellular and molecular characterization of tumor-stroma interactions.
PMCID: PMC4319225  PMID: 25663822
Xenograft; Tumor-stroma interaction; Glioblastoma; Breast cancer; Tumor biology
25.  Histone acetyltransferase inhibitor II induces apoptosis in glioma cell lines via the p53 signaling pathway 
Histone acetyltransferase (HAT) inhibitors can inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in cancer cell lines. The novel cell-permeable p300/CREB-binding protein (CBP)-selective HAT inhibitor HATi II can reduce histone H3 acetylation and induce chromatin condensation in HeLa cells. Here, we examined the effects and mechanism of action of HATi II in glioma cell lines.
Cell viability was assessed using the CCK-8 assay. Cell cycle analysis was performed using flow cytometry. Apoptosis was evaluated using Annexin V staining and flow cytometry, Hoechst 33342 staining and the TUNEL assay. Expression and cleavage of caspase-3, caspase-9 and poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) were assessed by Western blotting. Statistical analysis was performed using two-tailed Student’s t-tests. The gene expression profiles of U251 glioma cells treated with HATi II or DMSO were analyzed using the Arraystar Human 8 x 60 K LncRNA/mRNA expression array; data was analyzed using MEV (Multi Experiment View) cluster software. Datasets representing genes with altered expression profiles (≥2-fold) derived from the cluster analyses were subjected to gene ontology and pathway analysis.
HATi II inhibited the proliferation of U251, U87, HS683 and SHG44 cells in a dose-dependent manner. HATi II induced cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase, and induced significant levels of apoptosis, apoptotic body formation and DNA fragmentation in HATi II-treated U251 and SHG44 cells. HATi II induced cleavage of caspase-3, caspase-9 and PARP in U251 and SHG44 cells. In HATi II-treated U251 cells, 965 genes were upregulated, 984 genes were downregulated and 3492/33327 lncRNAs were differentially expressed. GO analysis showed the differentially expressed genes with known functions are involved in a variety of processes; alcoholism, p53 signaling pathway, cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction and transcriptional mis-regulation in cancer were the four most significant pathways. Upregulation of p53 signaling pathway-related genes in HATi II-treated cells was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting.
HATi II inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis via the caspase-dependent pathway in human glioma cell lines, possibly by activating the p53 signaling pathway. HATi II deserves further investigation as a novel treatment for glioma.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13046-014-0108-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4321714  PMID: 25523932
HATi II; Glioma; Apoptosis; LncRNA/mRNA; p53 signaling pathway

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