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1.  Cannabinoid Receptor CB2 Is Involved in Tetrahydrocannabinol-Induced Anti-Inflammation against Lipopolysaccharide in MG-63 Cells 
Mediators of Inflammation  2015;2015:362126.
Cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is effective in treating osteoarthritis (OA), and the mechanism, however, is still elusive. Activation of cannabinoid receptor CB2 reduces inflammation; whether the activation CB2 is involved in THC-induced therapeutic action for OA is still unknown. Cofilin-1 is a cytoskeleton protein, participating in the inflammation of OA. In this study, MG-63 cells, an osteosarcoma cell-line, were exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to mimic the inflammation of OA. We hypothesized that the activation of CB2 is involved in THC-induced anti-inflammation in the MG-63 cells exposed to LPS, and the anti-inflammation is mediated by cofilin-1. We found that THC suppressed the release of proinflammatory factors, including tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), interleukin- (IL-) 1β, IL-6, and IL-8, decreased nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) expression, and inhibited the upregulation of cofilin-1 protein in the LPS-stimulated MG-63 cells. However, administration of CB2 receptor antagonist or the CB2-siRNA, not CB1 antagonist AM251, partially abolished the THC-induced anti-inflammatory effects above. In addition, overexpression of cofilin-1 significantly reversed the THC-induced anti-inflammatory effects in MG-63 cells. These results suggested that CB2 is involved in the THC-induced anti-inflammation in LPS-stimulated MG-63 cells, and the anti-inflammation may be mediated by cofilin-1.
PMCID: PMC4310496  PMID: 25653478
2.  Detection of SRSF2-P95 Mutation by High-Resolution Melting Curve Analysis and Its Effect on Prognosis in Myelodysplastic Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115693.
Hotspot mutations of serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 2 (SRSF2) gene have been identified in a proportion of hematologic malignancies including myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The aim of the present study was to develop a new approach to screen SRSF2 mutation and analyze the clinical relevance of SRSF2 mutations in Chinese MDS. A protocol based on high-resolution melting analysis (HRMA) was established to screen SRSF2-P95 mutation in 108 MDS patients and was compared with Sanger sequencing. The clinical relevance of SRSF2 mutations was further evaluated. HRMA identified five (4.6%) cases with SRSF2 mutation, completely validated by Sanger sequencing without false positive or negative results. The sensitivities of HRMA and Sanger sequencing were 10% and 25% for the detection of SRSF2-P95H mutation, respectively, against the background of wild-type DNA. Patients with SRSF2 mutation had shorter overall survival time than those with wild-type SRSF2 in both the whole cohort of cases and those with normal karyotype (P = 0.069 and 0.023, respectively). Multivariate analysis confirmed SRSF2 mutation as an independent risk factor in both patient populations. We established a fast, high-throughput, and inexpensive HRMA-based method to screen SRSF2 mutation, which could be used in clinical diagnostic laboratories. SRSF2 mutations were significantly associated with mortality rate in the MDS affected Chinese.
PMCID: PMC4277410  PMID: 25541999
3.  Overexpression of MicroRNA-1 Promotes Cardiomyocyte Commitment from Human Cardiovascular Progenitors via Suppressing WNT and FGF Signaling Pathways 
Early heart development takes place through a complex series of steps, including the induction of cardiac mesoderm, formation of the cardiovascular progenitor cells and the commitment of cardiovascular lineage cells, such as cardiomyocytes (CMs), smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and endothelial cells (ECs). Recently, microRNAs, a family of endogenous, small non-coding RNAs, have been implicated as critical regulators at the posttranscriptional level in cardiogenesis as well as cardiovascular disease. Previous studies demonstrated that microRNA-1 (miR-1) could promote cardiac differentiation from mouse and human embryonic stem (ES) cells. However, the underlying mechanism largely remained unclear. We performed microRNA deep sequencing among human ES cells, ES cell derived-multipotent cardiovascular progenitors (MCPs), and MCP-specified CMs, ECs, and SMCs. A specific enrichment of miR-1 was found in CMs, not in SMCs or ECs, implying a key role of miR-1 in determining cardiovascular commitment from MCPs. When overexpressed in human pluripotent stem cells, miR-1 enhanced the expression of key cardiac transcriptional factors and sarcomeric genes. Importantly, we found miR-1 promoted CM differentiation and suppressed EC commitment from MCPs by modulating the activities of WNT and FGF signaling pathways. FZD7 and FRS2 were confirmed as miR-1 targets using luciferase reporter assay and western blot. Overall, this study reveals a switch role of miR-1 at early human cardiovascular commitment stage via suppressing both WNT and FGF signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC4268488  PMID: 23939491
MicroRNA-1; Induced pluripotent stem cells; Cardiomyocyte; Multipotent Cardiovascular Progenitors
4.  Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction of Arabinogalactan and Dihydroquercetin Simultaneously from Larix gmelinii as a Pretreatment for Pulping and Papermaking 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114105.
An ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) method using ethanol was applied for extracting arabinogalactan (AG) and dihydroquercetin (DHQ) simultaneously from larch wood, as a pretreatment for pulping and papermaking. The extraction parameters were optimized by a Box-Behnken experimental design with the yields of AG and DHQ as the response values. Under optimum conditions (three extractions, each using 40% ethanol, for 50 min, 200 W ultrasound power and 1∶18 solid-liquid ratio), the yields of AG and DHQ were 183.4 and 36.76 mg/g, respectively. After UAE pretreated, the wood chips were used for Kraft pulping (KP) and high boiling solvent pulping (HBSP). The pulping yield after pretreatment was higher than that of untreated (the pulping yields of untreated HBSP and KP were 42.37% and 39.60%, and the pulping yields of HBSP and KP after UAE-pretreated were 44.23% and 41.50% respectively), as indicated by a lower kappa number (77.91 and 27.30 for untreated HBSP and KP; 77.01 and 26.83 for UAE-pretreated HBSP and KP). Furthermore, the characteristics of paper produced from pretreated wood chips were superior to those from the untreated chips: the basis weight was lower (85.67 and 82.48 g·cm−2 for paper from untreated KP and HBSP; 79.94 and 80.25 g·cm−2 for paper from UAE-pretreated KP and HBSP), and the tensile strengths, tearing strengths, bursting strengths, and folding strengths were higher than these of paper after UAE-pretreated, respectively.
PMCID: PMC4252091  PMID: 25460911
5.  In Vitro and In Vivo Activities of HPi1, a Selective Antimicrobial against Helicobacter pylori 
A high-throughput screen (HTS) was performed to identify molecules specifically active against Helicobacter pylori, the causative agent of peptic ulcer and gastric carcinoma. Currently, treatment of H. pylori infection is suboptimal, with failure rates approaching 25%, despite triple therapy with two broad-spectrum antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor or quadruple therapy with added bismuth. The HTS was performed in 384-well plates, and reduction of the metabolic indicator resazurin was used as a reporter for cell growth. Diverse molecules from commercial sources were identified as hits, and in vitro validations included measurements of MIC and time-dependent killing as well as anaerobic susceptibility testing against a panel of gut microbes. In vivo validation included testing in the mouse model of H. pylori infection. The small molecule HPi1 (3-hydrazinoquinoxaline-2-thiol) had excellent potency, with an MIC of 0.08 to 0.16 μg/ml and good selectivity for H. pylori compared to a panel of commensal bacteria. HPi1 was also effective in a mouse model of H. pylori infection, reducing colony counts to below the limit of detection after oral dosing of 25 mg/kg/day for 3 days. HPi1 is a promising lead in the search for more effective and specific H. pylori therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC4068456  PMID: 24687512
6.  Capability of coupled CdSe/TiO2 heterogeneous structure for photocatalytic degradation and photoconductivity 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):636.
Highly ordered TiO2 nanotube arrays (TiO2-NTAs), with a uniform tube size on titanium substrate, were obtained by means of reoxidation and annealing. A composite structure, CdSe quantum dots@TiO2 nanotube arrays (CdSe QDs@TiO2-NTAs), was fabricated by assembling CdSe quantum dots into TiO2-NTAs via cyclic voltammetry electrochemical deposition. The X-ray diffractometer (XRD), field-emission scanning electron microscope (SEM), and transmission electron microscope (TEM) were carried out for the determination of the composition and structure of the tubular layers. Optical properties were investigated by ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer (UV-Vis). Photocurrent response under visible light illumination and photocatalytic activity of samples by degradation of methyl orange were measured. The results demonstrated that the photo absorption of the composite film shifted to the visible region, and the photocurrent intensity was greatly enhanced due to the assembly of CdSe QDs. Especially, photocurrent achieved a maximum of 1.853 μA/cm2 after five voltammetry cycles of all samples. After irradiation under ultra violet-visible light for 2 h, the degradation rate of composition to methyl orange (MO) reached 88.20%, demonstrating that the CdSe QDs@TiO2-NTAs exhibited higher photocatalytic activity.
PMCID: PMC4257061  PMID: 25489287
TiO2 nanotubes; CdSe quantum dots; Cyclic voltammetry; Photocatalysis
7.  Identification of a novel EXT1 mutation in patients with hereditary multiple exostosis by exome sequencing 
Oncology Reports  2014;33(2):547-552.
Hereditary multiple exostosis (HME) is an autosomal inherited skeletal disease whose etiology is not fully understood. To further understand the genetic spectrum of the disease, we analyzed a five-generation Chinese family with HME that have observable inheritance. Exome sequencing was performed on three HME individuals and three unaffected individuals from the family. A downstream study confirmed a new C deletion at codon 442 on exon 5 of the exostosin-1 (EXT1) gene as the only pathogenic site which generated a stop codon and caused the truncation of the protein. We rediscovered the deletion in other affected individuals but not in the unaffected individuals from the family. Upon immunohistochemistry assay, we found that the EXT1 protein level of the patients with the novel mutation in our study was less than the level in the patients without the EXT1 mutation from another unrelated family. For a deeper understanding, we analyzed the mutation spectrum of the EXT1 gene. The present study should facilitate a further understanding of HME.
PMCID: PMC4306274  PMID: 25421355
hereditary multiple exostosis; Ext1; exome sequencing; immunohistochemistry; truncated protein
8.  Effect of annealing temperature on wettability of TiO2 nanotube array films 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):621.
Highly ordered TiO2 nanotube array (TN) films were prepared by anodization of titanium foil in a mixed electrolyte solution of glycerin and NH4F and then annealed at 200°C, 400°C, 600°C, and 800°C, respectively. The samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), water contact angle (WCA), and photoluminescence (PL). It was found that low temperature (below 600°C) has no significant influence on surface morphology, but the diameter of the nanotube increases from 40 to 50 nm with increasing temperature. At 800°C, the nanotube arrays are completely destroyed and only dense rutile film is observed. Samples unannealed and annealed at 200°C are amorphous. At 400°C, anatase phase appears. At 600°C, rutile phase appears. At 800°C, anatase phase changes into rutile phase completely. The wettability of the TN films shows that the WCAs for all samples freshly annealed at different temperatures are about 0°. After the annealed samples have been stored in air for 1 month, the WCAs increase to 130°, 133°, 135°, 141°, and 77°, respectively. Upon ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, they exhibit a significant transition from hydrophobicity to hydrophilicity. Especially, samples unannealed and annealed at 400°C show high photoinduced hydrophilicity.
PMCID: PMC4240947  PMID: 25426006
TiO2 nanotube arrays; Annealing temperature; Wettability; Photoinduced hydrophilicity
9.  Growth Hormone-Regulated mRNAs and miRNAs in Chicken Hepatocytes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112896.
Growth hormone (GH) is a key regulatory factor in animal growth, development and metabolism. Based on the expression level of the GH receptor, the chicken liver is a major target organ of GH, but the biological effects of GH on the chicken liver are not fully understood. In this work we identified mRNAs and miRNAs that are regulated by GH in primary hepatocytes from female chickens through RNA-seq, and analyzed the functional relevance of these mRNAs and miRNAs through GO enrichment analysis and miRNA target prediction. A total of 164 mRNAs were found to be differentially expressed between GH-treated and control chicken hepatocytes, of which 112 were up-regulated and 52 were down-regulated by GH. A total of 225 chicken miRNAs were identified by the RNA-Seq analysis. Among these miRNAs 16 were up-regulated and 1 miRNA was down-regulated by GH. The GH-regulated mRNAs were mainly involved in growth and metabolism. Most of the GH-upregulated or GH-downregulated miRNAs were predicted to target the GH-downregulated or GH-upregulated mRNAs, respectively, involved in lipid metabolism. This study reveals that GH regulates the expression of many mRNAs involved in metabolism in female chicken hepatocytes, which suggests that GH plays an important role in regulating liver metabolism in female chickens. The results of this study also support the hypothesis that GH regulates lipid metabolism in chicken liver in part by regulating the expression of miRNAs that target the mRNAs involved in lipid metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4227886  PMID: 25386791
10.  Maternal lifestyle factors in pregnancy and congenital heart defects in offspring: review of the current evidence 
The prognosis of children with congenital heart defects(CHDs) continues to improve with advancing surgical techniques; however, lack of information about modifiable risk factors for malformations in cardiovascular development impeded the prevention of CHDs. We investigated an association between maternal lifestyle factors and the risk of CHDs, because epidemiological studies have reported conflicting results regarding maternal lifestyle factors and the risk of CHDs recently. A review published on 2007 provided a summary of maternal exposures associated with an increased risk of CHDs. As part of noninherited risk factors, we conducted a brief overview of studies on the evidence linking common maternal lifestyle factors, specifically smoking, alcohol, illicit drugs, caffeine, body mass index and psychological factors to the development of CHDs in offspring. Women who smoke and have an excessive body mass index(BMI) during pregnancy are suspected to be associated with CHDs in offspring. Our findings could cause public health policy makers to pay more attention to women at risk and could be used in the development of population-based prevention strategies to reduce the incidence and burden of CHDs. However, more prospective studies are needed to investigate the association between maternal lifestyle factors and CHDs.
PMCID: PMC4243331  PMID: 25385357
Congenital heart defects; Maternal lifestyle factors; Smoking; BMI
11.  Protein kinases are potential targets to treat inflammatory bowel disease 
Protein kinases play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the two main forms of which are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In this article, we will review the mechanisms of involvement of protein kinases in the pathogenesis of and intervention against IBD, in terms of their effects on genetics, microbiota, mucous layer and tight junction, and the potential of protein kinases as therapeutic targets against IBD.
PMCID: PMC4218950  PMID: 25374761
Inflammatory bowel disease; Protein kinase; Barrier function; Microbiota; Genetics
12.  The Stent-Assisted Coil-Jailing Technique Facilitates Efficient Embolization of Tiny Cerebral Aneurysms 
Korean Journal of Radiology  2014;15(6):850-857.
Tiny cerebral aneurysms are difficult to embolize because the aneurysm's sac is too small for a single small coil, and coils within the aneurysm may escape from the confinement of a stent. This study was performed to introduce the stent-assisted coil-jailing technique and to investigate its effect on the coil embolization of tiny intracranial aneurysms.
Materials and Methods
Sixteen patients with tiny intracranial aneurysms treated with the stent-assisted coil-jailing technique between January 2011 and December 2013 were retrospectively reviewed and followed-up.
All aneurysms were successfully treated with the coil-jailing technique, and at the end of embolization, complete occlusion of the aneurysm was achieved in 9 cases (56.3%), incomplete occlusion in 6 (37.5%), and partial occlusion in 1 (6.3%). Intraprocedural complications included acute thrombosis in one case (6.3%) and re-rupture in another (6.3%). Both complications were managed appropriately with no sequela. Follow-up was performed in all patients for 3-24 months (mean, 7.7 months) after embolization. Complete occlusion was sustained in the 9 aneurysms with initial complete occlusion, progressive thrombosis to complete occlusion occurred in the 6 aneurysms with initial near-complete occlusion, and one aneurysm resulted in progressive thrombosis to complete occlusion after initial partial occlusion. No migration of stents or coils occurred at follow-up as compared with their positions immediately after embolization. At follow-up, all patients had recovered with no sequela.
The stent-assisted coil-jailing technique can be an efficient approach for tiny intracranial aneurysms, even though no definite conclusion regarding its safety can be drawn from the current data.
PMCID: PMC4248643  PMID: 25469099
Tiny intracranial aneurysm; Stent-assisted coiling; Redundant coil tails; Coil migration
13.  Reperfusion times of ST-Segment elevation myocardial infarction in hospitals 
Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences  2014;30(6):1367-1371.
Objective: To investigate the reperfusion time in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) in Henan Province, China, and discuss the strategies for shortening that period.
Methods: The reperfusion times of 1556 STEMI cases in 30 hospitals in Henan Province were analyzed from January 2008 to August 2012, including 736 cases from provincial hospitals, 462 cases from municipal hospitals and 358 cases from country hospitals. The following data: Time period 1 (from symptom onset to first medical contact), Time period 2 (from first medical contact to diagnosis), Time period 3 (from the diagnosis to providing consent), Time period 4 (from the time of providing consent to the beginning of treatment) and Time period 5 (from the beginning of treatment to the patency) were recorded and analyzed.
Results: In patients receiving primary percutaneous coronary intervention, the door-to-balloon time of provincial hospitals and municipal hospitals was 172±13 minutes and 251±14 minutes, respectively. The hospitals at both levels had a delay comparison of 90 minutes largely caused by the delay in the time for obtaining consent. In patients receiving thrombolysis treatment, the door-to-needle times of provincial hospitals, municipal hospitals and country hospitals were 86±7, 91±7 and 123±11 minutes, respectively. The hospitals at all levels had delays lasting more than 30 minutes, which was mainly attributed to the delay in the time for providing consent. Compared with the time required by the guidelines, the reperfusion time of patients with STEMI in China is evidently delayed. In terms of China's national conditions, the door-to-balloon time is too general. Therefore, we suggest refining this time as the first medical contact–diagnosis time, consent provision time, therapy preparation time and the start of therapy balloon time.
Conclusion: Compared to the time required by the guidelines, the reperfusion time of patients with STEMI in China was obviously greater. In terms of China's national conditions, the door to balloon time is not applicable. So it is suggested to refine it as the first medical contact-diagnosis time, providing consent time, therapy prepare time and the start of therapy – balloon time.
PMCID: PMC4320732
Henan Province; ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction; Reperfusion time; Study
14.  Maternal Socioeconomic Status and the Risk of Congenital Heart Defects in Offspring: A Meta-Analysis of 33 Studies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111056.
We conducted this meta-analysis to address the open question of a possible association between maternal socioeconomic status and congenital heart defects (CHDs).
We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE from their inception to January 1, 2014 for case-control and cohort studies that assessed the association between maternal socioeconomic status and the risk of CHDs. Study-specific relative risk estimates were polled according to random-effect or fixed-effect models.
From 3343 references, a total of 31 case-control studies and 2 cohort studies were enrolled in this meta-analysis, including more than 50,000 cases. We observed that maternal educational attainment, family income and maternal occupation were negatively associated with an 11% (pooled RR = 1.11, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.21), 5% (pooled RR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.09) and 51% (pooled RR = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.02, 2.24) increased risk of CHDs, respectively. In a subgroup analysis by geographic region, the results were inconsistent for the European region (RR = 1.29, 95% CI: 0.99–1.69) and USA/Canada region (RR = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.97, 1.16) in maternal educational attainment.
In summary, this meta-analysis suggests that a lower degree of maternal socioeconomic status is modestly associated with an increased risk of CHDs. However, further investigations are needed to confirm the association.
PMCID: PMC4210244  PMID: 25347676
15.  Microwave-Assisted Simultaneous Extraction of Luteolin and Apigenin from Tree Peony Pod and Evaluation of Its Antioxidant Activity 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:506971.
An efficient microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) technique was employed in simultaneous extraction of luteolin and apigenin from tree peony pod. The MAE procedure was optimized using response surface methodology (RSM) and compared with other conventional extraction techniques of macerate extraction (ME) and heat reflux extraction (HRE). The optimal conditions of MAE were as follows: employing 70% ethanol volume fraction as solvent, soaking time of 4 h, liquid-solid ratio of 10 (mL/g), microwave irradiation power of 265 W, microwave irradiation time of 9.6 min, and 3 extraction cycles. Under the optimal conditions, 151 μg/g luteolin and 104 μg/g apigenin were extracted from the tree peony pod. Compared with ME and HRE, MAE gave the highest extraction efficiency. The antioxidant activities of the extracts obtained by MAE, ME, and HRE were evaluated using a 2,2-di(4-tert-octylphenyl)-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical-scavenging assay, a ferric reducing antioxidant power assay (FRAP), and a reducing power assay. Meanwhile, the structural changes of the unprocessed and processed tree peony pod samples were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy.
PMCID: PMC4227382  PMID: 25405227
16.  Combined biophysical and soluble factor modulation induces cardiomyocyte differentiation from human muscle derived stem cells 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6614.
Cellular cardiomyoplasty has emerged as a novel therapy to restore contractile function of injured failing myocardium. Human multipotent muscle derived stem cells (MDSC) can be a potential abundant, autologous cell source for cardiac repair. However, robust conditions for cardiomyocyte (CM) differentiation are not well established for this cell type. We have developed a new method for CM differentiation from human MDSC that combines 3-dimensional artificial muscle tissue (AMT) culture with temporally controlled biophysical cell aggregation and delivery of 4 soluble factors (microRNA-206 inhibitor, IWR-1, Lithium Chloride, and BMP-4) (4F-AG-AMT). The 4F-AG-AMT displayed cardiac-like response to β-adrenergic stimulation and contractile properties. 4F-AG-AMT expressed major cardiac (NKX2-5, GATA4, TBX5, MEF2C) transcription factors and structural proteins. They also express cardiac gap-junction protein, connexin-43, similar to CMs and synchronized spontaneous calcium transients. These results highlight the importance of temporal control of biophysical and soluble factors for CM differentiation from MDSCs.
PMCID: PMC4196107  PMID: 25310989
17.  Maternal Parity and the Risk of Congenital Heart Defects in Offspring: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Epidemiological Observational Studies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108944.
Epidemiological studies have reported conflicting results regarding maternal parity and the risk of congenital heart defects (CHDs). However, a meta-analysis of the association between maternal parity and CHDs in offspring has not been conducted.
We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE for articles catalogued between their inception and March 8, 2014; we identified relevant published studies that assessed the association between maternal parity and CHD risk. Two authors independently assessed the eligibility of the retrieved articles and extracted data from them. Study-specific relative risk estimates were pooled by random-effects or fixed-effects models. From the 11272 references, a total of 16 case-control studies and 3 cohort studies were enrolled in this meta-analysis.
The overall relative risk of CHD in parous versus nulliparous women was 1.01 (95% CI, 0.97–1.06; Q = 32.34; P = 0.006; I2 = 53.6%). Furthermore, we observed a significant association between the highest versus lowest parity number, with an overall RR = 1.20 (95% CI, 1.10–1.31; (Q = 74.61, P<0.001, I2 = 82.6%). A dose–response analysis also indicated a positive effect of maternal parity on CHD risk, and the overall increase in relative risk per one live birth was 1.06 (95% CI, 1.02–1.09); Q = 68.09; P<0.001; I2 = 80.9%). We conducted stratified and meta-regression analyses to identify the origin of the heterogeneity among studies. A Galbraith plot was created to graphically assess the sources of heterogeneity.
In summary, this meta-analysis provided a robust estimate of the positive association between maternal parity and risk of CHD.
PMCID: PMC4189919  PMID: 25295723
18.  A Functional Polymorphism in the 3'-UTR of PXR Interacts with Smoking to Increase Lung Cancer Risk in Southern and Eastern Chinese Smoker 
Pregnane X receptor (PXR) is an important member of the nuclear receptor superfamily that copes with various endobiotic and xenobiotic stimuli, such as carcinogens by regulating an array of environmental response genes. Low PXR expression has been shown to promote tumor initiation and metastasis. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of PXR could alter lung cancer susceptibility in Chinese by affecting the function or expression of PXR. We genotyped three putatively functional SNPs of PXR (i.e., rs3814055C>T, rs3732360C>T, and rs3814058C>T) and analyzed their associations with lung cancer risk in a two-stage case-control study with a total of 1559 lung cancer cases and 1679 controls in the southern and eastern Chinese population. We found that in comparison to the rs3814058CC common genotype, the rs3814058T variants (TC/TT) which is located in the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of PXR conferred a consistently increased risk of lung cancer in both the southern Chinese (odd ratios (OR) = 1.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.03−1.49) and the eastern Chinese (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.02−1.75). The variants also significantly interacted with smoking on increasing cancer risk (p = 0.023). Moreover, lung cancer tissues with the rs3814058T variants showed significantly lower PXR expression than those with rs3814058CC genotype in the smokers (p = 0.041). These results suggested that the rs3814058C>T polymorphism of PXR interacts with smoking on increasing lung cancer risk in Chinese smokers, which might be a functional genetic biomarker for lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC4227172  PMID: 25268617
pregnane X receptor (PXR); lung cancer; susceptibility
19.  Double CEBPA mutations are prognostically favorable in non-M3 acute myeloid leukemia patients with wild-type NPM1 and FLT3-ITD  
This study is aimed to investigate the pattern of CEBPA mutations and its clinical significance in Chinese non-M3 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. The entire coding region of CEBPA gene was amplified by PCR and then sequenced in samples from 233 non-M3 AML patients. Fifty mutations were identified in 37 (15.8%) patients with eleven (4.7%) double mutated CEBPA (dmCEBPA) and twenty-six (11.1%) single mutated CEBPA (smCEBPA). dmCEBPA was exclusively observed in M1 and M2 subtypes of FAB classification (P = 0.008), whereas smCEBPA occurred in almost all subtypes (P = 0.401). Patients with dmCEBPA had significantly younger age and higher WBC counts than those with wtCEBPA (P = 0.016 and 0.043, respectively). Both dmCEBPA and smCEBPA were mainly present in cytogenetically normal patients. Patients with dmCEBPA achieved higher rate of complete (CR) than wtCEBPA patients (88% vs. 51%, P = 0.037), whereas smCEBPA and wtCEBPA groups are similar (47% vs. 51%, P = 0.810). Patients with dmCEBPA had a superior overall survival (OS) compared with patients with wtCEBPA (P = 0.033), whereas patients with smCEBPA had a similar OS as patients with wtCEBPA (P = 0.976). dmCEBPA but not smCEBPA was also associated with favorable outcome in patients with wild-type NPM1 and FLT3-ITD (NPM1wtFLT3-ITDwt). Our data confirm that dmCEBPA but not smCEBPA is prognostically favorable in NPM1wtFLT3-ITDwt AML, and suggest that the entity AML with mutated CEBPA should be definitely designated as AML with dmCEBPA in WHO classification and smCEBPA should be excluded from the favorable risk of molecular abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC4230151  PMID: 25400766
CEBPA; mutation; prognosis; acute myeloid leukemia
20.  Positive Selection and Multiple Losses of the LINE-1-Derived L1TD1 Gene in Mammals Suggest a Dual Role in Genome Defense and Pluripotency 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(9):e1004531.
Mammalian genomes comprise many active and fossilized retroelements. The obligate requirement for retroelement integration affords host genomes an opportunity to ‘domesticate’ retroelement genes for their own purpose, leading to important innovations in genome defense and placentation. While many such exaptations involve retroviruses, the L1TD1 gene is the only known domesticated gene whose protein-coding sequence is almost entirely derived from a LINE-1 (L1) retroelement. Human L1TD1 has been shown to play an important role in pluripotency maintenance. To investigate how this role was acquired, we traced the origin and evolution of L1TD1. We find that L1TD1 originated in the common ancestor of eutherian mammals, but was lost or pseudogenized multiple times during mammalian evolution. We also find that L1TD1 has evolved under positive selection during primate and mouse evolution, and that one prosimian L1TD1 has ‘replenished’ itself with a more recent L1 ORF1 from the prosimian genome. These data suggest that L1TD1 has been recurrently selected for functional novelty, perhaps for a role in genome defense. L1TD1 loss is associated with L1 extinction in several megabat lineages, but not in sigmodontine rodents. We hypothesize that L1TD1 could have originally evolved for genome defense against L1 elements. Later, L1TD1 may have become incorporated into pluripotency maintenance in some lineages. Our study highlights the role of retroelement gene domestication in fundamental aspects of mammalian biology, and that such domesticated genes can adopt different functions in different lineages.
Author Summary
Transposable elements comprise major portions of most animal genomes and are selfish genetic elements that may encode proteins needed for their own spread to new genomic locations. Though often considered genomic parasites, these elements also occasionally create novel genes that prove beneficial to the host, a process called 'domestication'. Here, we describe the evolution of a gene, L1TD1, which is derived from the protein-coding regions of the L1 mobile element family. We show that L1TD1 was born in the common ancestor of placental mammals. L1TD1 expression in stem cells and its requirement to maintain the pluripotent state of human embryonic stem cells suggested it might have been originally domesticated for such a pluripotency role. We find that L1TD1's evolution does not fit with the predictions of this model; in fact, L1TD1 has rapidly evolved in primates and mice and has been lost several times in mammals. We suggest an alternate model that L1TD1 was born as a means to defend genomes against transposable elements, perhaps L1 itself. We propose that following this initial domestication, L1TD1 later became incorporated into pluripotency programs in some mammalian lineages.
PMCID: PMC4161310  PMID: 25211013
21.  Study familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy using patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells 
Cardiovascular Research  2014;104(2):258-269.
Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is one the most common heart disorders, with gene mutations in the cardiac sarcomere. Studying HCM with patient-specific induced pluripotent stem-cell (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes (CMs) would benefit the understanding of HCM mechanism, as well as the development of personalized therapeutic strategies.
Methods and results
To investigate the molecular mechanism underlying the abnormal CM functions in HCM, we derived iPSCs from an HCM patient with a single missense mutation (Arginine442Glycine) in the MYH7 gene. CMs were next enriched from HCM and healthy iPSCs, followed with whole transcriptome sequencing and pathway enrichment analysis. A widespread increase of genes responsible for ‘Cell Proliferation’ was observed in HCM iPSC-CMs when compared with control iPSC-CMs. Additionally, HCM iPSC-CMs exhibited disorganized sarcomeres and electrophysiological irregularities. Furthermore, disease phenotypes of HCM iPSC-CMs were attenuated with pharmaceutical treatments.
Overall, this study explored the possible patient-specific and mutation-specific disease mechanism of HCM, and demonstrates the potential of using HCM iPSC-CMs for future development of therapeutic strategies. Additionally, the whole methodology established in this study could be utilized to study mechanisms of other human-inherited heart diseases.
PMCID: PMC4217687  PMID: 25209314
Induced pluripotent stem cells; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Cardiomyocyte; Heart
22.  A Newfound Association between MDC1 Functional Polymorphism and Lung Cancer Risk in Chinese 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106794.
Mediator of DNA damage checkpoint protein 1 (MDC1) plays an early and core role in Double-Strand Break Repair (DDR) and ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) mediated response to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), and thus involves the pathogenesis of several DNA damage-related diseases such as cancer. We hypothesized that the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of MDC1 which have potencies on affecting MDC1 expression or function were associated with risk of lung cancer. In a two-stage case-control study, we tested the association between 5 putatively functional SNPs of MDC1 and lung cancer risk in a southern Chinese population, and validated the promising association in an eastern Chinese population. We found the SNP rs4713354A>C that is located in the 5′-untranslated region of MDC1 was significantly associated with lung cancer risk in both populations (P = 0.024), with an odds ratio as 1.23(95% confidence interval  = 1.35–1.26) for the rs4713354C (CA+CC) genotypes compared to the rs4713354AA genotype. However, no significant association was observed between other SNPs and lung cancer risk. The gene-based analysis rested with these SNPs suggested the MDC1 as a susceptible gene for lung cancer (P = 0.009). Moreover, by querying the gene expression database, we further found that the rs4713354C genotypes confer a significantly lower mRNA expression of MDC1 than the rs4713354AA genotype in 260 cases of lymphoblastoid cells (P = 0.002). Our data suggested that the SNP rs4713354A>C of MDC1 may be a functional genetic biomarker for susceptibility to lung cancer in Chinese.
PMCID: PMC4157800  PMID: 25198518
23.  Smoking and Major Depressive Disorder in Chinese Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106287.
To investigate the risk factors that contribute to smoking in female patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and the clinical features in depressed smokers.
We examined the smoking status and clinical features in 6120 Han Chinese women with MDD (DSM-IV) between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Logistic regression was used to determine the association between clinical features of MDD and smoking status and between risk factors for MDD and smoking status.
Among the recurrent MDD patients there were 216(3.6%) current smokers, 117 (2.0%) former smokers and 333(5.6%) lifetime smokers. Lifetime smokers had a slightly more severe illness, characterized by more episodes, longer duration, more comorbid illness (panic and phobias), with more DSM-IV A criteria and reported more symptoms of fatigue and suicidal ideation or attempts than never smokers. Some known risk factors for MDD were also differentially represented among smokers compared to non-smokers. Smokers reported more stressful life events, were more likely to report childhood sexual abuse, had higher levels of neuroticism and an increased rate of familial MDD. Only neuroticism was significantly related to nicotine dependence.
Although depressed women smokers experience more severe illness, smoking rates remain low in MDD patients. Family history of MDD and environmental factors contribute to lifetime smoking in Chinese women, consistent with the hypothesis that the association of smoking and depression may be caused by common underlying factors.
PMCID: PMC4152240  PMID: 25180682
24.  A Conformational Restriction in the Influenza A Virus Neuraminidase Binding Site by R152 Results in a Combinational Effect of I222T and H274Y on Oseltamivir Resistance 
The I222K, I222R, and I222T substitutions in neuraminidase (NA) have been found in clinically derived 2009 pandemic influenza A/H1N1 viruses with altered susceptibilities to NA inhibitors (NAIs). The effects of these substitutions, together with the most frequently observed resistance-related substitution, H274Y, on viral fitness and resistance mechanisms were further investigated in this study. Reduced sensitivities to oseltamivir were observed in all three mutants (I222K, I222R, and I222T). Furthermore, the I222K and I222T substitutions had a combinational effect of further increasing resistance in the presence of H274Y, which might result from a conformational restriction in the NA binding site. Of note, by using molecular dynamics simulations, R152, the neighbor of T222, was observed to translate to a position closer to T222, resulting in the narrowing of the binding pocket, which otherwise only subtends the residue substitution of H274Y. Moreover, significantly attenuated NA function and viral growth abilities were found in the I222K+H274Y double mutant, while the I222T+H274Y double mutant exhibited slightly delayed growth but had a peak viral titer similar to that of the wild-type virus in MDCK cells. The relative growth advantage of the I222T mutant versus the I222K mutant and the higher frequency of I222T emerging in N1 subtype influenza viruses raise concerns necessitating close monitoring of the dual substitutions I222T and H274Y.
PMCID: PMC3957868  PMID: 24366752
25.  Hemodynamic monitoring and management of patients undergoing high-risk surgery: a survey among Chinese anesthesiologists 
Journal of Biomedical Research  2014;28(5):376-382.
Hemodynamic monitoring and optimization improve postoperative outcome during high-risk surgery. However, hemodynamic management practices among Chinese anesthesiologists are largely unknown. This study sought to evaluate the current intraoperative hemodynamic management practices for high-risk surgery patients in China. From September 2010 to November 2011, we surveyed anesthesiologists working in the operating rooms of 265 hospitals representing 28 Chinese provinces. All questionnaires were distributed to department chairs of anesthesiology or practicing anesthesiologists. Once completed, the 29-item questionnaires were collected and analyzed. Two hundred and 10 questionnaires from 265 hospitals in China were collected. We found that 91.4% of anesthesiologists monitored invasive arterial pressure, 82.9% monitored central venous pressure (CVP), 13.3% monitored cardiac output (CO), 10.5% monitored mixed venous saturation, and less than 2% monitored pulse pressure variation (PPV) or systolic pressure variation (SPV) during high-risk surgery. The majority (88%) of anesthesiologists relied on clinical experience as an indicator for volume expansion and more than 80% relied on blood pressure, CVP and urine output. Anesthesiologists in China do not own enough attention on hemodynamic parameters such as PPV, SPV and CO during fluid management in high-risk surgical patients. The lack of CO monitoring may be attributed largely to the limited access to technologies, the cost of the devices and the lack of education on how to use them. There is a need for improving access to these technologies as well as an opportunity to create guidelines and education for hemodynamic optimization in China.
PMCID: PMC4197388  PMID: 25332709
high risk surgery patients; hemodynamic management; China; fluid responsiveness

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