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1.  Effects of C-reactive protein on K+ channel interaction protein 2 in cardiomyocytes 
Several studies have found that C-reactive protein (CRP) was associated with QTc interval prolongation and ventricular arrhythmia. However, little is known about the mechanisms involved. K+ channel interaction protein 2 (KChIP2) is a necessary subunit for the formation of transient outward potassium current (Ito.f) which plays a critical role in early repolarization and QTc interval of heart. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of CRP on KChIP2 and Ito.f in cardiomyocytes and to explore the potential mechanism. The neonatal mice ventricular cardiomyocytes were cultured and treated with CRP at different concentrations. The expression of KChIP2 was detected by real time quantitative PCR and Western blot. In addition, Ito.f current density was evaluated by whole cell patch clamp techniques. Our results showed that CRP significantly decreased the mRNA and protein expression of KChIP2 in time and doses dependent manners (P < 0.05), and also reduced the current density of Ito.f (P < 0.05). In addition, CRP increased the expression of NF-κB and decreased IκBα expression without significant influence on the expression of ERK1/2 and JNK. Meanwhile, the NF-κB inhibitor PDTC significantly attenuated the effects of CRP on KChIP2 and Ito.f current density. In conclusion, CRP could significantly down-regulate KChIP2 expression and reduce current density of Ito.f partly through NF-κB pathway, suggesting that CRP may directly or indirectly influence QTc interval and arrhythmia via influencing KChIP2 expression and Ito.f current density of cardiomyocytes.
PMCID: PMC4494143  PMID: 26175853
C-reactive protein; cardiomyocytes; KChIP2; Ito.f current density
2.  The Cardioprotective Effect of Vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol) Is Strongly Related to Age and Gender in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0137405.
Vitamin E (VitE) only prevented cardiovascular diseases in some patients and the mechanisms remain unknown. VitE levels can be affected by aging and gender. We hypothesize that age and gender can influence VitE’s cardioprotective effect. Mice were divided into 4 groups according to age and gender, and each group of mice were divided into a control group and a VitE group. The mice were administered water or VitE for 21 days; Afterward, the cardiac function and myocardial infarct size and cardiomyocyte apoptosis were measured after myocardial ischemia reperfusion(MI/R). VitE may significantly improved cardiac function in young male mice and aged female mice by enhancing ERK1/2 activity and reducing JNK activity. Enhanced expression of HSP90 and Bcl-2 were also seen in young male mice. No changes in cardiac function and cardiac proteins were detected in aged male mice and VitE was even liked to exert a reverse effect in cardiac function in young mice by enhancing JNK activity and reducing Bcl-2 expression. Those effects were in accordance with the changes of myocardial infarction size and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in each group of mice. VitE may reduce MI/R injury by inhibiting cardiomyocyte apoptosis in young male mice and aged female mice but not in aged male mice. VitE was possibly harmful for young female mice, shown as increased cardiomyocyte apoptosis after MI/R. Thus, we speculated that the efficacy of VitE in cardiac protection was associated with age and gender.
PMCID: PMC4557942  PMID: 26331272
3.  Apocynin Attenuates Cardiac Injury in Type 4 Cardiorenal Syndrome via Suppressing Cardiac Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 With Oxidative Stress Inhibition 
Type 4 cardiorenal syndrome (CRS) refers to the cardiac injury induced by chronic kidney disease. We aimed to assess oxidative stress and cardiac injury in patients with type 4 CRS, determine whether the antioxidant apocynin attenuated cardiac injury in rats with type 4 CRS, and explore potential mechanisms.
Methods and Results
A cross-sectional study was conducted among patients with type 4 CRS (n=17) and controls (n=16). Compared with controls, patients with type 4 CRS showed elevated oxidative stress, which was significantly correlated with cardiac hypertrophy and decreased ejection fraction. In vivo study, male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent 5/6 subtotal nephrectomy and sham surgery, followed with apocynin or vehicle treatment for 8 weeks. Eight weeks after surgery, the 5/6 subtotal nephrectomy rats mimicked type 4 CRS, showing increased serum creatinine, cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis, and decreased ejection fraction compared with sham-operated animals. Cardiac malondialdehyde, NADPH oxidase activity, fibroblast growth factor-2, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) phosphorylation increased significantly in the 5/6 subtotal nephrectomy rats. These changes were significantly attenuated by apocynin. In vitro study showed that apocynin reduced angiotensin II–induced NADPH oxidase–dependent oxidative stress, upregulation of fibroblast growth factor-2 and fibrosis biomarkers, and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in cardiac fibroblasts. Importantly, the ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126 reduced the upregulation of fibroblast growth factor-2 and fibrosis biomarkers in angiotensin II–treated fibroblasts.
Oxidative stress is a candidate mediator for type 4 CRS. Apocynin attenuated cardiac injury in type 4 CRS rats via inhibiting NADPH oxidase–dependent oxidative stress-activated ERK1/2 pathway and subsequent fibroblast growth factor-2 upregulation. Our study added evidence to the beneficial effect of apocynin in type 4 CRS.
PMCID: PMC4608061  PMID: 26109504
cardiac remodeling; cardiorenal syndrome; extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2; fibroblast growth factor; pharmacology
4.  Type D Personality Parents of Children With Leukemia Tend to Experience Anxiety 
Medicine  2015;94(10):e627.
The aims were to access anxiety and type D personality (TDP) in parents of children with leukemia, and to determine the mediating effect of social support and coping style on the relationship between TDP and anxiety.
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 231 parents of children with leukemia and 261 parents of children with acute diseases in hospitals. Parents completed questionnaires on anxiety, TDP, social support, coping styles, children's clinical characteristics, and demographic characteristics.
Parents of children with leukemia showed higher prevalence of anxiety (64.5% vs 40.2%, P < 0.01) and TDP (44.2% vs 24.1%, P < 0.01) compared with controls. TDP (odds ratio [OR] = 4.34, P < 0.01), lower social support (OR = 1.92, P = 0.02), and less positive coping (OR = 1.87, P = 0.02) were independently associated with anxiety. Parents with TDP showed lower social support and less positive coping, but more negative coping compared with those without. Moreover, multiple mediation analyses revealed that the significant effect of TDP on anxiety was partially mediated by social support and positive coping.
In conclusion, anxiety and TDP were highly prevalent in parents of children with leukemia. The predictive factors could be used to identify those parents who are at high risk of anxiety and may also be targets for prevention and intervention.
PMCID: PMC4602458  PMID: 25761192
5.  Hierarchical Li4Ti5O12/TiO2 composite tubes with regular structural imperfection for lithium ion storage 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:3490.
Hierarchical Li4Ti5O12/TiO2 tubes composed of ultrathin nanoflakes have been successfully fabricated via the calcination of the hydrothermal product of a porous amorphous TiO2 precursor and lithium hydroxide monohydrate. The hierarchical tubes are characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, nitrogen adsorption/desorption, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy techniques. These nanoflakes exhibit a quite complex submicroscopic structure with regular structural imperfection, including a huge number of grain boundaries and dislocations. The lithium ion storage property of these tubes is evaluated by galvanostatic discharge/charge experiment. The product shows initial discharge capacities of 420, 225, and 160 mAh g−1 at 0.01, 0.1, and 1.0 A g−1, respectively. After 100 cycles, the discharge capacity is 139 mAh g−1 at 1.0 A g−1 with a capacity retention of 87%, demonstrating good high-rate performance and good cycleability. The high electrochemical performance is attributed to unique structure and morphology of the tubes. The regular structural imperfection existed in the nanoflakes also benefit to lithium ion storage property of these tubes. The hierarchical Li4Ti5O12/TiO2 tubes are a promising anode material for lithium-ion batteries with high power and energy densities.
PMCID: PMC3860011  PMID: 24336187
6.  Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker Attenuates Intrarenal Renin-Angiotensin-System and Podocyte Injury in Rats with Myocardial Infarction 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67242.
The mechanisms and mediators underlying common renal impairment after myocardial infarction (MI) are still poorly understood. The present study aimed to test the hypothesis that angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers (ARBs) provides renoprotective effects after MI by preventing augmented intrarenal renin-angiotensin-system (RAS)-induced podocyte injury. Sprague–Dawley rats that underwent ligation of their coronary arteries were treated with losartan (20 mg/kg/d) or vehicle for 3 or 9 weeks. Renal function, histology and molecular changes were assessed. The current study revealed that MI-induced glomerular podocyte injury was identified by increased immunostaining for desmin and p16ink4a, decreased immunostaining for Wilms’ tumor-1 and podocin mRNA expression, and an induced increase of blood cystatin C at both 3 and 9 weeks. These changes were associated with increased intrarenal angiotensin II levels and enhanced expressions of angiotensinogen mRNA and angiotensin II receptor mRNA and protein. These changes were also associated with decreased levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and decreased expressions of IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) protein and mRNA and phosphorylated(p)-Akt protein at 9 weeks, as well as increased expressions of 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine at both time points. Treatment with losartan significantly attenuated desmin- and p16ink4a-positive podocytes, restored podocin mRNA expression, and decreased blood cystatin C levels. Losartan also prevented RAS activation and oxidative stress and restored the IGF-1/IGF-1R/Akt pathway. In conclusion, ARBs prevent the progression of renal impairment after MI via podocyte protection, partially by inhibiting the activation of the local RAS with subsequent enhanced oxidative stress and an inhibited IGF-1/IGF-1R/Akt pathway.
PMCID: PMC3682995  PMID: 23799145
7.  Short term effects of different omega-3 fatty acid formulation on lipid metabolism in mice fed high or low fat diet 
Bioactivities of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) depend on their chemical forms. The present study was to investigate short term effects of triglyceride (TG), ethyl ester (EE), free fatty acid (FFA) and phospholipid (PL) forms of omega-3 fatty acid (FA) on lipid metabolism in mice, fed high fat or low fat diet.
Male Balb/c mice were fed with 0.7% different Omega-3 fatty acid formulation: DHA bound free fatty acid (DHA-FFA), DHA bound triglyceride (DHA-TG), DHA bound ethyl ester (DHA-EE) and DHA bound phospholipid (DHA-PL) for 1 week, with dietary fat levels at 5% and 22.5%. Serum and hepatic lipid concentrations were analyzed, as well as the fatty acid composition of liver and brain.
At low fat level, serum total cholesterol (TC) level in mice fed diets with DHA-FFA, DHA-EE and DHA-PL were significantly lower than that in the control group (P < 0.05). Hepatic TG level decreased significantly in mice fed diets with DHA-TG (P < 0.05), DHA-EE (P < 0.05) and DHA-PL (P < 0.05), while TC level in liver was significantly lower in mice fed diets with TG and EE compared with the control group (P < 0.05). At high fat level, mice fed diets with DHA-EE and DHA-PL had significantly lower hepatic TC level compared with the control diet (P < 0.05). Hepatic PL concentration experienced a significant increase in mice fed the diet with PL at high fat level (P < 0.05). Furthermore, both at low and high fat levels, hepatic DHA level significantly increased and AA level significantly decreased in all forms of DHA groups (P < 0.05), compared to control groups at two different fat levels, respectively. Additionally, cerebral DHA level in mice fed diets with DHA-FFA, DHA-EE and DHA-PL significantly increased compared with the control at high fat level (P < 0.05), but no significant differences were observed among dietary treatments for mice fed diets with low fat level.
The present study suggested that not only total dietary fat content but also the molecular forms of omega-3 fatty acids contributed to lipid metabolism in mice. DHA-PL showed effective bioactivity in decreasing hepatic and serum TC, TG levels and increasing omega-3 concentration in liver and brain.
PMCID: PMC3393618  PMID: 22676394
Omega-3 fatty acid; DHA; EPA; Lipid metabolism; Triglycerides; Ethyl ester; Phospholipids
8.  Altered serum levels of IL-33 in patients with advanced systolic chronic heart failure: correlation with oxidative stress 
Interleukin-33 (IL-33) has been linked to chronic heart failure (CHF) in animal studies, but data on serum IL-33 levels in human CHF are not available. We analyzed levels of IL-33 in serum, and investigated the possible role of IL-33 in oxidative stress.
A total of 191 subjects with advanced systolic CHF (CHF group), 175 patients with pre-existing cardiac diseases but no CHF (non-CHF group), and 177 healthy controls (HC group) were enrolled. Serum levels of IL-33, soluble ST2 (sST2) and N-terminal-pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), malondialdehyde (MDA) content, erythrocyte superoxide dismutase (eSOD) activity, as well as left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), were determined. The exact form of IL-33 in serum was identified. Effects of IL-33 and sST2 on MDA content and SOD activity in angiotensin (Ang II)-stimulated AC16 cells were assessed.
Serum levels of IL-33 and sST2 were elevated in CHF patients, whereas IL-33/sST2 ratios were decreased. In CHF patients, pre-existing cardiac diseases and medications used upon hospital admission did not affect IL-33 concentrations or the IL-33/sST2 ratio. Full-length IL-33, which could not be detected in serum from HC and barely detected in non-CHF patients, was significantly up-regulated in CHF patients. IL-33 levels were positively correlated with markers of CHF severity. IL-33/sST2 ratios were slightly and negatively related to MDA concentrations. IL-33 directly reduced MDA and enhanced SOD activity in Ang II-stimulated AC16 cells, which were greatly attenuated by sST2.
Serum levels of IL-33, especially the full-length form, were elevated in CHF patients whereas IL-33 bioactivity was reduced. In advanced CHF, IL-33 may exert anti-oxidation effects, which may be overwhelmed by concurrently elevated levels of sST2.
PMCID: PMC3514300  PMID: 22682001
Chronic heart failure; Interleukin-33; Soluble ST2; Oxidative stress
9.  Human herpesvirus 6A induces apoptosis of primary human fetal astrocytes via both caspase-dependent and -independent pathways 
Virology Journal  2011;8:530.
Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is a T-lymphtropic and neurotropic virus that can infect various types of cells. Sequential studies reported that apoptosis of glia and neurons induced by HHV-6 might act a potential trigger for some central nervous system (CNS) diseases. HHV-6 is involved in the pathogenesis of encephalitis, multiple sclerosis (MS) and fatigue syndrome. However, the mechanisms responsible for the apoptosis of infected CNS cells induced by HHV-6 are poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the cell death processes of primary human fetal astrocytes (PHFAs) during productive HHV-6A infection and the underlying mechanisms.
HHV-6A can cause productive infection in primary human fetal astrocytes. Annexin V-PI staining and electron microscopic analysis indicated that HHV-6A was an inducer of apoptosis. The cell death was associated with activation of caspase-3 and cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), which is known to be an important substrate for activated caspase-3. Caspase-8 and -9 were also significantly activated in HHV-6A-infected cells. Moreover, HHV-6A infection led to Bax up-regulation and Bcl-2 down-regulation. HHV-6A infection increased the release of Smac/Diablo, AIF and cytochrome c from mitochondria to cytosol, which induced apoptosis via the caspase-dependent and -independent pathways. In addition, we also found that anti-apoptotic factors such as IAPs and NF-κB decreased in HHV-6A infected PHFAs.
This is the first demonstration of caspase-dependent and -independent apoptosis in HHV-6A-infected glial cells. These findings would be helpful in understanding the mechanisms of CNS diseases caused by HHV-6.
PMCID: PMC3253131  PMID: 22152093
Apoptosis; Human herpesvirus 6A; Primary human fetal astrocyte; Caspase
10.  Ds-echinoside A, a new triterpene glycoside derived from sea cucumber, exhibits antimetastatic activity via the inhibition of NF-κB-dependent MMP-9 and VEGF expressions*  
Ds-echinoside A (DSEA), a non-sulfated triterpene glycoside, was isolated from the sea cucumber Pearsonothuria graeffei. In vitro and in vivo investigations were conducted on the effects of DSEA on tumor cell adhesion, migration, invasion, and angiogenesis. In this study, we found that DSEA inhibited the proliferation of human hepatocellular liver carcinoma cells Hep G2, with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 2.65 μmol/L, and suppressed Hep G2 cell adhesion, migration, and invasion in a dose-dependent manner. DSEA also reduced tube formation of human endothelial cells ECV-304 on matrigel in vitro and attenuated neovascularization in the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay in vivo. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed that DSEA significantly decreased the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), which plays an important role in the degradation of basement membrane in tumor metastasis and angiogenesis. DSEA also increased the protein expression level of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), an important regulator of MMP-9 activation. From the results of Western blotting, the expressions of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were found to be remarkably reduced by DSEA. These findings suggest that DSEA exhibits a significant anti-metastatic activity through the specific inhibition of NF-κB-dependent MMP-9 and VEGF expressions.
PMCID: PMC3134607  PMID: 21726060
Triterpene glycoside; Ds-echinoside A (DSEA); Metastasis; Angiogenesis; Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB); Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9); Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
11.  Vitamin E Modulates Cigarette Smoke Extract-induced Cell Apoptosis in Mouse Embryonic Cells 
Vitamin E (VE) can effectively prevent occurrence of lung cancer caused by passive smoking in mice. However, whether VE prevents smoking-induced cytotoxicity remains unclear. In this study, a primary culture of embryonic lung cells (ELCs) was used to observe the cytotoxic effects of cigarette smoke extract (CSE), including its influence on cell survival, cell cycle, apoptosis, and DNA damage, and also to examine the effects of VE intervention on CSE-induced cytotoxicity. Our results showed that CSE could significantly inhibit the survival of ELCs with dose- and time-dependent effects. Furthermore, CSE clearly disturbed the cell cycle of ELCs by decreasing the proportion of cells at the S and G2/M phases and increasing the proportion of cells at the G0/G1 phase. CSE promoted cell apoptosis, with the highest apoptosis rate reaching more than 40%. CSE also significantly caused DNA damage of ELCs. VE supplementation could evidently inhibit or reverse the cytotoxic effects of CSE in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The mechanism of CSE effects on ELCs and that of VE intervention might involve the mitochondrial pathway of cytochrome c-mediated caspase activation. Our study validate that VE plays a clearly protective effect against CSE-induced cytotoxicity in mouse embryonic lung cells.
PMCID: PMC3157267  PMID: 21850202
vitamin E; intervention; cytotoxicity; cigarette smoke extract; embryonic lung cell
12.  Dietary saponins of sea cucumber alleviate orotic acid-induced fatty liver in rats via PPARα and SREBP-1c signaling 
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common chronic liver disease in the world, and is becoming increasingly prevalent. Saponins of sea cucumber (SSC) are proven to exhibit various biological activities. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to examine the effect of saponins extracted from sea cucumber (Pearsonothuria graeffei) on the preventive activity of fatty liver in rats.
Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into five groups, including normal control group, fatty liver model group, SSC-treated group with SSC at levels of 0.01%, 0.03% and 0.05%. Model rats were established by administration with 1% orotic acid (OA). After the experiment period, serum total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), and hepatic lipid concentrations were determined. To search for a possible mechanism, we examined the changes of key enzymes and transcriptional factors involved in hepatic lipids biosynthesis, fatty acid β-oxidation.
Both 0.03% and 0.05% SSC treatment alleviated hepatic steatosis and reduced serum TG and TC concentration significantly in OA fed rats. Hepatic lipogenic enzymes, such as fatty acid synthase (FAS), malic enzyme (ME), and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH) activities were inhibited by SSC treatment. SSC also decreased the gene expression of FAS, ME, G6PDH and sterol-regulatory element binding protein (SREBP-1c). Otherwise, the rats feeding with SSC showed increased carnitine palmitoyl transferase (CPT) activity in the liver. Hepatic peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPARα), together with its target gene CPT and acyl-CoA oxidase (ACO) mRNA expression were also upregulated by SSC.
According to our study, the lipids-lowering effect of dietary SSC may be partly associated with the enhancement of β-oxidation via PPARα activation. In addition, the inhibited SREBP-1c- mediated lipogenesis caused by SSC may also contribute to alleviating fatty liver.
PMCID: PMC2846940  PMID: 20211032
13.  The mechanism of dietary cholesterol effects on lipids metabolism in rats 
Cholesterol administration has been reported to influence hepatic lipid metabolism in rats. In the present study, the effect of dietary cholesterol on hepatic activity and mRNA expression of the enzymes involved in lipid metabolism were investigated. Fourteen male Wistar rats were randomly divided into 2 groups and fed 1% cholesterol or cholesterol free AIN76 diets for 4 weeks.
The serum triglyceride and high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were significantly decreased but the total cholesterol and non high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were significantly increased in the cholesterol-fed rats compared with the control rats. And the concentrations of the hepatic total cholesterol and triglyceride increased about 4-fold and 20-fold separately by dietary cholesterol. The activities of hepatic malic enzyme, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, fatty acid synthase, phosphatidate phophatase and carnitine palmitoyl transferase were depressed by the cholesterol feeding (40%, 70%, 50%, 15% and 25% respectively). The results of mRNA expression showed that fatty acid synthase, carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1, carnitine palmitoyl transferase 2, and HMG-CoA reductase were down-regulated (35%, 30%, 50% and 25% respectively) and acyl-CoA: cholesterol acyltransferase and cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase were up regulated (1.6 and 6.5 folds) in liver by the cholesterol administration.
The dietary cholesterol increased the triglyceride accumulation in liver, but did not stimulate the activity and the gene expression of hepatic enzymes related to triglyceride and fatty acid biosynthesis.
PMCID: PMC2820024  PMID: 20070910
14.  Antioxidant intervention of smoking-induced lung tumor in mice by vitamin E and quercetin 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:383.
Epidemiological and in vitro studies suggest that antioxidants such as quercetin and vitamin E (VE) can prevent lung tumor caused by smoking; however, there is limited evidence from animal studies.
In the present study, Swiss mouse was used to examine the potential of quercetin and VE for prevention lung tumor induced by smoking.
Our results suggest that the incidence of lung tumor and tumor multiplicity were 43.5% and 1.00 ± 0.29 in smoking group; Quercetin has limited effects on lung tumor prevention in this in vivo model, as measured by assays for free radical scavenging, reduction of smoke-induced DNA damage and inhibition of apoptosis. On the other hand, vitamin E drastically decreased the incidence of lung tumor and tumor multiplicity which were 17.0% and 0.32 ± 0.16, respectively (p < 0.05); and demonstrated prominent antioxidant effects, reduction of DNA damage and decreased cell apoptosis (p < 0.05). Combined treatment with quercetin and VE in this animal model did not demonstrate any effect greater than that due to vitamin E alone. In addition, gender differences in the occurrence of smoke induced-lung tumor and antioxidant intervention were also observed.
We conclude that VE might prevent lung tumor induced by smoking in Swiss mice.
PMCID: PMC2625366  PMID: 19099597

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