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1.  Berberine-induced apoptotic and autophagic death of HepG2 cells requires AMPK activation 
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the primary liver cancer, is one of the most malignant human tumors with extremely poor prognosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the anti-cancer effect of berberine in a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (HepG2), and to study the underlying mechanisms by focusing on the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling cascade.
We found that berberine induced both apoptotic and autophagic death of HepG2 cells, which was associated with a significant activation of AMPK and an increased expression of the inactive form of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). Inhibition of AMPK by RNA interference (RNAi) or by its inhibitor compound C suppressed berberine-induced caspase-3 cleavage, apoptosis and autophagy in HepG2 cells, while AICAR, the AMPK activator, possessed strong cytotoxic effects. In HepG2 cells, mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activation was important for cell survival, and berberine inhibited mTORC1 via AMPK activation.
Together, these results suggested that berberine-induced both apoptotic and autophagic death requires AMPK activation in HepG2 cells.
PMCID: PMC4079188  PMID: 24991192
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Berberine; AMPK; Apoptosis; Autophagy and mTOR
2.  Long-term results of single-procedure catheter ablation for atrial fibrillationin pre- and post-menopausal women 
To address whether menopause affects outcome of catheter ablation (CA) for atrial fibrillation (AF) by comparing the safety and long-term outcome of a single-procedure in pre- and post-menopausal women.
A total of 743 female patients who underwent a single CA procedure of drug-refractory AF were retrospectively analyzed. The differences in clinical presentation and outcomes of CA for AF between the pre-menopausal women (PreM group, 94 patients, 12.7%) and the post-menopausal women (PostM group, 649 patients, 87.3%) were assessed.
The patients in the PreM group were younger (P < 0.001) and less likely to have hypertension (P < 0.001) and diabetes (P = 0.005) than those in the PostM group. The two groups were similar with regards to the proportion of concomitant mitral valve regurgitation coronary artery disease, left atrium dimensions, and left ventricular ejection fraction. The overall rate of complications related to AF ablation was similar in both groups (P = 0.385). After 43 (16–108) months of follow-up, the success rate of ablation was 54.3% in the PreM group and 54.2% in the PostM group (P = 0.842). The overall freedom from atrial tachyarrhythmia recurrence was similar in both groups. Menopause was not found to be an independent predictive factor of the recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmia.
The long-term outcomes of single-procedure CA for AF are similar in pre- and post-menopausal women. Results indicated that CA of AF appears to be as safe and effective in pre-menopausal women as in post-menopausal women.
PMCID: PMC4076451
Atrial fibrillation; Catheter ablation; Follow-up; Menopausal woman
3.  Synthesis of l-Ascorbic Acid Lactone Derivatives 
A small focused library which comprised of l-AA lactone derivatives was built with a facile method. This reported method was optimized by modifying the acidity of the solvent. As a result, 12 l-AA lactones were synthesized. Among these lactones, lactones 8–12 were new compounds. The cytotoxicity of these synthetic compounds were investigated.
PMCID: PMC4050306  PMID: 24955300
l-Ascorbic acid lactone; Cytotoxicity; Focused library
4.  The predictive value of anti-mullerian hormone on embryo quality, blastocyst development, and pregnancy rate following in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) 
The objective of this study was to investigate the predictive value of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) on fertilization rate (FR), blastocyst development, embryo quality, the outcome of the pregnancy and the live birth rate (LBR) following in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET)/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
In this prospective study outcomes were followed in 83 women undergoing cycles of IVF/ICSI within a university hospital. Basal serum AMH, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and antral follicle count (AFC) were measured on Day 3. Serum AMH (Gn6 AMH ) level was measured on Day 6 after the administration of gonadotrophin (Gn). AMH was measured in follicle fluid (FF AMH) on the day of ovum pick-up (dOPU). The numbers of retrieved and fertilized oocytes, good quality embryos and blastocysts were counted. Secondary outcome variables included clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) and LBR.
Spearman correlation analysis indicated that the numbers of oocytes, good quality embryos and blastocysts were associated with AMH (P < 0.05) and that LBR was correlated with FF AMH (r = 0.495, P < 0.05). No associations were found between FR and AMH (P > 0.05). Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed that the sensitivity of FF AMH at predicting CPR was 91.2 %; the specificity was 86.5 % and ROCAUC was 0.893 (P < 0.0001).
AMH parameters were correlated with good quality embryos and blastocysts, but only FF AMH showed a significant correlation with LBR and CPR.
PMCID: PMC3663964  PMID: 23504440
Anti-Mullerian hormone; Fertilization; Blastocyte; Live birth rate; Pregnancy
5.  Analysis of the Microbial Community Structure by Monitoring an Hg Methylation Gene (hgcA) in Paddy Soils along an Hg Gradient 
Knowledge of the diversity of mercury (Hg)-methylating microbes in the environment is limited due to a lack of available molecular biomarkers. Here, we developed novel degenerate PCR primers for a key Hg-methylating gene (hgcA) and amplified successfully the targeted genes from 48 paddy soil samples along an Hg concentration gradient in the Wanshan Hg mining area of China. A significant positive correlation was observed between hgcA gene abundance and methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations, suggesting that microbes containing the genes contribute to Hg methylation in the sampled soils. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) showed that the hgcA gene diversity in microbial community structures from paddy soils was high and was influenced by the contents of total Hg, SO42−, NH4+, and organic matter. Phylogenetic analysis showed that hgcA microbes in the sampled soils likely were related to Deltaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, Chloroflexi, Euryarchaeota, and two unclassified groups. This is a novel report of hgcA diversity in paddy habitats, and results here suggest a link between Hg-methylating microbes and MeHg contamination in situ, which would be useful for monitoring and mediating MeHg synthesis in soils.
PMCID: PMC3993304  PMID: 24584244
6.  Analysis on the Relevance of Asthma Susceptibility with the Alteration of Integrin β 4 Expression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95533.
Accumulated research has suggested the importance of the adhesion molecules modulation as therapeutic approach for bronchial asthma. Adhesion molecules expression alteration contributes to the pathogenesis of asthma. In order to probe the roles of expression imbalance of adhesion molecules in asthma pathogenesis, expression profiling of adhesion molecules was performed using cDNA microarray assay. The results showed that the expression pattern of adhesion molecules was altered in peripheral blood leucocytes of asthma patients. In this study, we focused on one of the abnormally expressed molecule, integrin β4, which was down-regulated in all asthma patients, to analyze the relevance of asthma susceptibility with the alteration of integrin β4 expressions. Real time PCR was used to verify the down-regulation of integrin β4 in additional 38 asthma patients. Next, the 5′flanking region of integrin β4 DNA were amplified, sequenced and site-directed mutagenesis technology in correspondent variation sites were carried out. Among 4 variation sites found in 5′ flanking region of integrin β4, 3 were related to asthma susceptibility: -nt1029 G/A, -nt 1051 G/A, and -nt 1164 G/C. A reduction of human integrin β4 promoter activity was observed at mutants of these sites. This study demonstrates that various adhesion molecules in asthma patients are abnormally expressed. Mutations in 5′ flanking region result in reduced integrin β4 expression, which is related to increased risk of asthma.
PMCID: PMC3989341  PMID: 24740264
7.  An Agomir of miR-144-3p Accelerates Plaque Formation through Impairing Reverse Cholesterol Transport and Promoting Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Production 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94997.
ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) mediates the efflux of cholesterol and phospholipids to lipid-poor apolipoproteins, which then form nascent HDL, a key step in the mechanism of reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). While a series of microRNAs (miRNAs) have been identified as potent post-transcriptional regulators of lipid metabolism, their effects on ABCA1 function and associated mechanisms remain unclear.
Methods and Results
ABCA1 was identified as a potential target of miR-144-3p, based on the results of bioinformatic analysis and the luciferase reporter assay, and downregulated after transfection of cells with miR-144-3p mimics, as observed with real-time PCR and western blot. Moreover, miR-144-3p mimics (agomir) enhanced the expression of inflammatory factors, including IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α, in vivo and in vitro, inhibited cholesterol efflux in THP-1 macrophage-derived foam cells, decreased HDL-C circulation and impaired RCT in vivo, resulting in accelerated pathological progression of atherosclerosis in apoE−/− mice. Clinical studies additionally revealed a positive correlation of circulating miR-144-3p with serum CK, CK-MB, LDH and AST in subjects with AMI.
Our findings clearly indicate that miR-144-3p is essential for the regulation of cholesterol homeostasis and inflammatory reactions, supporting its utility as a potential therapeutic target of atherosclerosis and a promising diagnostic biomarker of AMI.
PMCID: PMC3986368  PMID: 24733347
8.  MicroRNA-222 Expression and Its Prognostic Potential in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:908326.
Overexpression of miR-222 has been found in several types of cancers; however, the expression of miR-222 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and its prognostic values are unclear. This study aimed to investigate whether the miR-222 expression level is related to clinicopathological factors and prognosis of NSCLC. Through a prospective study, 100 pairs of NSCLC tissues and adjacent normal tissues were examined by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. The correlation between miR-222 expression and clinicopathological features was analyzed, and the significance of miR-222 as a prognostic factor and its relationship with survival were determined. Results showed that the expression levels of miR-222 were significantly elevated in the NSCLC tissue compared with that in adjacent normal tissue. In addition, Cox's proportional hazards model analysis confirmed that miR-222 high expression level was an independent predictor of poor prognosis. In conclusion, miR-222 overexpression is involved in the poor prognosis of NSCLC and can be used as a biomarker for selection of cases requiring especial attention.
PMCID: PMC4009118  PMID: 24955421
9.  Evolution of light-induced vapor generation at a liquid-immersed metallic nanoparticle 
Nano letters  2013;13(4):1736-1742.
When an Au nanoparticle in a liquid medium is illuminated with resonant light of sufficient intensity, a nanometer scale envelope of vapor -a “nanobubble”- surrounding the particle, is formed. This is the nanoscale onset of the well-known process of liquid boiling, occurring at a single nanoparticle nucleation site, resulting from the photothermal response of the nanoparticle. Here we examine bubble formation at an individual metallic nanoparticle in detail. Incipient nanobubble formation is observed by monitoring the plasmon resonance shift of an individual, illuminated Au nanoparticle, when its local environment changes from liquid to vapor. The temperature on the nanoparticle surface is monitored during this process, where a dramatic temperature jump is observed as the nanoscale vapor layer thermally decouples the nanoparticle from the surrounding liquid. By increasing the intensity of the incident light or decreasing the interparticle separation, we observe the formation of micron sized bubbles resulting from the coalescence of nanoparticle-“bound” vapor envelopes. These studies provide the first direct and quantitative analysis of the evolution of light-induced steam generation by nanoparticles from the nanoscale to the macroscale, a process that is of fundamental interest for a growing number of applications.
PMCID: PMC3888228  PMID: 23517407
Plasmonic heating; Au Nanoparticle; LSPR; Nanobubble; Microbubble
10.  The structural basis of transferrin sequestration by transferrin-binding protein B 
Neisseria meningitidis, the causative agent of bacterial meningitis, acquires the essential element iron from the host glycoprotein transferrin (Tf) during infection via a surface Tf receptor system composed of proteins TbpA and TbpB. Here in we present the crystal structures of TbpB from N. meningitidis, in its apo form and in complex with human Tf (hTf). The structure reveals how TbpB sequesters hTf and initiates iron release from hTf.
PMCID: PMC3981719  PMID: 22343719 CAMSID: cams4091
11.  The has-miR-526b Binding-Site rs8506G>A Polymorphism in the lincRNA-NR_024015 Exon Identified by GWASs Predispose to Non-Cardia Gastric Cancer Risk 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90008.
Gastric cancer including the cardia and non-cardia types is the second frequent cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. A subset of non-cardia gastric cancer genetic susceptibility loci have been addressed among Asian through genome-wide association studies (GWASs). This study was to evaluate the effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) on non-cardia gastric cancer susceptibility in Chinese populations. We selected long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) located in non-cardia gastric cancer risk-related loci and identified 10 SNPs located within lincRNA exonic regions. We examined whether genetic polymorphisms in lincRNAs exons are associated with non-cardia gastric cancer risk in 438 non-cardia gastric cancer patients and 727 control subjects in Chinese populations using logistic regression. Functional relevance was further examined by biochemical assays. We found that lincRNA-NR_024015 rs8506AA carrier was significantly associated with risk of non-cardia gastric cancer (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.56, 95%CI = 1.03–2.39, compared with the rs8506 AG or GG genotype. Further stratification analysis showed that the risk effect was more pronounced in subgroups of smokers (P = 0.001). Biochemical analysis demonstrated that the G to A base change at rs8506G>A disrupts the binding site for has-miR-526b, thereby influencing the transcriptional activity of lincRNA-NR_024015 and affecting cell proliferation. Our present study established a robust association between the rs8506G>A polymorphism in the lincRNA-NR_024015 exon and the risk of non-cardia gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC3942390  PMID: 24595048
12.  Comparisons of the effects of long-acting and short-acting GnRH agonists on embryo quality, endometrial thickness and pregnancy rate in human in vitro fertilization 
Archives of Medical Science : AMS  2014;10(1):161-166.
The aim was to compare the efficacy of long-acting and short-acting gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists by long protocol on embryo quality, endometrial thickness and pregnancy rate in in vitro fertilization.
Material and methods
In this retrospective study, long-term pituitary downregulation, achieved with long- and short-acting GnRH agonists (GnRHa), was performed for patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (n = 175).
There were no significant differences between the long and short-acting GnRH group (63.16% vs. 66.26%, p > 0.05), and the secondary and primary infertility group (63.47% vs. 66.86%, p > 0.05) in embryo quality. Logistic regression analysis showed that type of infertility and endometrial thickness were significantly associated with pregnancy outcome. Patients in the long-acting GnRHa group had a thicker endometrium on the day of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) administration (10.79 ±2.62 mm vs. 9.64 ±1.97 mm, p < 0.01), lower serum luteinizing hormone (LH) concentration (1.21 ±1.13 vs. 2.53 ±3.39) and a higher pregnancy rate (59.60% vs. 43.42%, p < 0.05) than those of patients in the short-acting GnRHa group.
This work suggests that types of agonist protocol and infertility may not affect embryo quality. Type of infertility and endometrial thickness may be positive predictors for clinical pregnancy, but the key finding is that the long-acting GnRHa protocol may be an effective method of improving endometrial thickness, endometrial receptivity and pregnancy rate in in vitro fertilization.
PMCID: PMC3953985  PMID: 24701229
embryo quality; endometrial thickness; fragmentation; GnRH agonist; pregnancy
13.  Feasibility of omitting clinical target volume for limited-disease small cell lung cancer treated with chemotherapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy 
To analyze the feasibility of omitting clinical target volume (CTV) for limited small cell lung cancer treated with chemotherapy and intensity modulated radiotherapy.
Methods and materials
89 patients were treated from January 1, 2008 to August 31, 2011, 54 cases were irradiated with target volume without CTV, and 35 cases were irradiated with CTV. Both arms were irradiated post chemotherapy tumor extent and omitted elective nodal irradiation; dose prescription was 95% PTV56-63 Gy/28-35 F/5.6-7 weeks.
In the arm without CTV and arm with CTV, the local relapse rates were 16.7% and 17.1% (p = 0.586) respectively. In the arm without CTV, of the 9 patients with local relapse, 6 recurred in-field, 2 recurred in margin, 1 recurred out of field. In the arm with CTV, of the 6 patients with local relapse, 4 recurred in-field, 1 recurred in margin, 1 recurred out of field. The distant metastases rates were 42.6% and 51.4% (p = 0.274) respectively. Grade 3-4 hematological toxicity and radiation esophagitis had no statistically significant, but grade 3-4 radiation pneumonia was observed in only 7.4% in the arm without CTV, compared 22.9% in the arm with CTV (p = 0.040). The median survival in the arm without CTV had not reached, compared with 38 months in the with CTV arm. The l- years, 2- years, 3- years survival rates of the arm without CTV and the arm with CTV were 81.0%, 66.2%, 61.5% and 88.6%, 61.7%, 56.6% (p = 0.517). The multivariate analysis indicated that the distant metastases (p = 0.000) and PCI factor (p = 0.004) were significantly related to overall survival.
Target delineation omitting CTV for limited-disease small cell lung cancer received IMRT was feasible. The distant metastases and PCI factor were significantly related to overall survival.
PMCID: PMC4006522  PMID: 24410971
Radiotherapy; Lung cancer; Limited-disease small cell lung cancer; Clinical target volume; Local relapse; Intensity-modulated radiotherapy; Radiation pneumonia
14.  Genome-wide analysis of light-regulated alternative splicing mediated by photoreceptors in Physcomitrella patens 
Genome Biology  2014;15(1):R10.
Light is one of the most important factors regulating plant growth and development. Light-sensing photoreceptors tightly regulate gene expression to control photomorphogenic responses. Although many levels of gene expression are modulated by photoreceptors, regulation at the mRNA splicing step remains unclear.
We performed high-throughput mRNA sequencing to analyze light-responsive changes in alternative splicing in the moss Physcomitrella patens, and found that a large number of alternative splicing events were induced by light in the moss protonema. Light-responsive intron retention preferentially occurred in transcripts involved in photosynthesis and translation. Many of the alternatively spliced transcripts were expressed from genes with a function relating to splicing or light signaling, suggesting a potential impact on pre-mRNA splicing and photomorphogenic gene regulation in response to light. Moreover, most light-regulated intron retention was induced immediately upon light exposure, while motif analysis identified a repetitive GAA motif that may function as an exonic regulatory cis element in light-mediated alternative splicing. Further analysis in gene-disrupted mutants was consistent with a function for multiple red-light photoreceptors in the upstream regulation of light-responsive alternative splicing.
Our results indicate that intensive alternative splicing occurs in non-vascular plants and that, during photomorphogenesis, light regulates alternative splicing with transcript selectivity. We further suggest that alternative splicing is rapidly fine-tuned by light to modulate gene expression and reorganize metabolic processes, and that pre-mRNA cis elements are involved in photoreceptor-mediated splicing regulation.
PMCID: PMC4054894  PMID: 24398233
15.  Association between Lutein and Zeaxanthin Status and the Risk of Cataract: A Meta-Analysis 
Nutrients  2014;6(1):452-465.
The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the relationship between blood lutein and zeaxanthin concentration and the risk of age-related cataract (ARC). MEDLINE, EMBASE, ISI and Cochrane Library were searched to identify relevant studies up to April 2013. Meta-analysis was conducted to obtain pooled relative risks (RRs) for the highest-versus-lowest categories of blood lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations. One cohort study and seven cross-sectional studies were included in the meta-analysis. There were significant inverse associations between nuclear cataract and blood lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations, with the pooled RRs ranging from 0.63 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.49, 0.77) for zeaxanthin to 0.73 (95% CI: 0.59, 0.87) for lutein. A stronger association between nuclear cataract and blood zeaxanthin might be noted for the studies conducted in the European Nations. Blood lutein and zeaxanthin were also noted to lead towards a decrease in the risk of cortical cataract and subcapsular cataract; however, these pooled RRs were not statistically significant, with the exception of a marginal association between lutein and subcapsular cataract. Our results suggest that high blood lutein and zeaxanthin are significantly associated with a decrease in the risk of nuclear cataract. However, no significant associations were found for ARC in other regions of the lens.
PMCID: PMC3916871  PMID: 24451312
lutein; zeaxanthin; blood; age-related cataract; meta-analysis
16.  A Non-Biological Method for Screening Active Components against Influenza Virus from Traditional Chinese Medicine by Coupling a LC Column with Oseltamivir Molecularly Imprinted Polymers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84458.
To develop a non-biological method for screening active components against influenza virus from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) extraction, a liquid chromatography (LC) column prepared with oseltamivir molecularly imprinted polymer (OSMIP) was employed with LC-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). From chloroform extracts of compound TCM liquid preparation, we observed an affinitive component m/z 249, which was identified to be matrine following analysis of phytochemical literatures, OSMIP-LC column on-line of control compounds and MS/MS off-line. The results showed that matrine had similar bioactivities with OS against avian influenza virus H9N2 in vitro for both alleviating cytopathic effect and hemagglutination inhibition and that the stereostructures of these two compounds are similar while their two-dimensional structures were different. In addition, our results suggested that the bioactivities of those affinitive compounds were correlated with their chromatographic behaviors, in which less difference of the chromatographic behaviors might have more similar bioactivities. This indicates that matrine is a potential candidate drug to prevent or cure influenza for human or animal. In conclusion, the present study showed that molecularly imprinted polymers can be used as a non-biological method for screening active components against influenza virus from TCM.
PMCID: PMC3873415  PMID: 24386385
17.  Prevalence of asthenopia and its risk factors in Chinese college students 
To determine the prevalence of asthenopia and identify any associated risk factors in the college students in Xi'an, China.
From April to September 2012, 1 500 students from five universities in Xi'an were selected according to a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling method. Data on demographic features, lifestyle or dietary habits, health status, living environment conditions, sleep and mental status, and asthenopia symptoms were collected through a self-administered validated questionnaire. Univariate logistic regression and multivariate logistic regression analysis modified by the factor analysis were performed to evaluate risk factors for asthenopia.
Fifty-seven percent of the college students complained of asthenopia. Statistically significant risk factors for asthenopia in the univariate analysis included 13 variables. Multivariate analysis revealed a significant relationship between the use of computer and asthenopia (OR 1.21, 95%CI: 1.09 to 1.35). Good sleep and mental status (OR 0.86, 95%CI: 0.76 to 0.97), good living environment conditions (OR 0.67, 95%CI: 0.60 to 0.76), and high intake of green leafy vegetables (OR 0.89, 95%CI: 0.80 to 0.98) were found to be strong predictors of decreasing the occurrence of asthenopia complaints.
Asthenopia symptom appears to be common among college students; and it is strongly associated with computer use, psychosocial state, environment conditions and dietary habits, suggesting that additional studies are warranted to verify these risk factors and establish prevention guidelines, especially for college students.
PMCID: PMC3808927  PMID: 24195055
asthenopia; risk factor; epidemiological feature; college student
18.  Serum proteomics analysis and comparisons using iTRAQ in the progression of hepatitis B 
The aim of this study was to analyze the changes in serum protein levels in the progression of hepatitis B using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) analysis, in addition to comparing the serum protein levels of patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB), patients with hepatitis B virus-induced acute-on-chronic liver failure (HBV-induced ACLF) and normal individuals. Protein analysis was performed on 15 serum samples using iTRAQ. The study population included healthy controls (n=5), patients with CHB (n=5) and patients with HBV-induced ACLF (n=5). Western blotting was used to verify the results in an additional nine serum samples from healthy controls, patients with CHB and patients with HBV-induced ACLF (n=3, respectively). Using iTRAQ analysis, 16 different serum proteins with ≥1.5-fold differences in expression levels were identified in the patients with CHB and ACLF compared with the healthy controls. Five of those proteins, C-reactive protein precursor, hemoglobin β chain variant Hb S-Wake, apolipoprotein J precursor, platelet factor 4 precursor and vitronectin, which demonstrated the greatest differences in their expression levels and the most significant correlation with liver diseases, were subsequently verified using western blotting. The western blotting results were consistent with the results from the iTRAQ. Two of the five proteins are not classified by biological process, and the biological functions of all the proteins in HBV-induced ACLF remain unclear. This preliminary study demonstrated that a correlation between the expression of various serum proteins and the different pathogenetic conditions induced by HBV may exist. The analysis of a larger number of samples is required to identify potential protein biomarkers that may be involved in the pathogenesis and progression of hepatitis B.
PMCID: PMC3820766  PMID: 24223640
serum; proteomics; isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation; hepatitis B
19.  Synthesising 30 Years of Mathematical Modelling of Echinococcus Transmission 
Echinococcosis is a complex zoonosis that has domestic and sylvatic lifecycles, and a range of different intermediate and definitive host species. The complexities of its transmission and the sparse evidence on the effectiveness of control strategies in diverse settings provide significant challenges for the design of effective public health policy against this disease. Mathematical modelling is a useful tool for simulating control packages under locally specific transmission conditions to inform optimal timing and frequency of phased interventions for cost-effective control of echinococcosis. The aims of this review of 30 years of Echinococcus modelling were to discern the epidemiological mechanisms underpinning models of Echinococcus granulosus and E. multilocularis transmission and to establish the need to include a human transmission component in such models.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A search was conducted of all relevant articles published up until July 2012, identified from the PubMED, Web of Knowledge and Medline databases and review of bibliographies of selected papers. Papers eligible for inclusion were those describing the design of a new model, or modification of an existing mathematical model of E. granulosus or E. multilocularis transmission. A total of 13 eligible papers were identified, five of which described mathematical models of E. granulosus and eight that described E. multilocularis transmission. These models varied primarily on the basis of six key mechanisms that all have the capacity to modulate model dynamics, qualitatively affecting projections. These are: 1) the inclusion of a ‘latent’ class and/or time delay from host exposure to infectiousness; 2) an age structure for animal hosts; 3) the presence of density-dependent constraints; 4) accounting for seasonality; 5) stochastic parameters; and 6) inclusion of spatial and risk structures.
This review discusses the conditions under which these mechanisms may be important for inclusion in models of Echinococcus transmission and proposes recommendations for the design of dynamic human models of transmission. Accounting for the dynamic behaviour of the Echinococcus parasites in humans will be key to predicting changes in the disease burden over time and to simulate control strategies that optimise public health impact.
Author Summary
Echinococcosis is a complex zoonosis for which there is sparse evidence on the effectiveness of control strategies in diverse settings. This presents significant challenges for the design of effective public health policy against this disease. Mathematical modelling is a useful tool for simulating control packages under locally specific transmission conditions to inform optimal timing and frequency of phased interventions for cost-effective control of echinococcosis. This systematic review of 30 years of Echinococcus modelling discusses the importance of six key epidemiological mechanisms underpinning models of Echinococcus granulosus and E. multilocularis transmission and establishes the need to include a human transmission component. Accounting for the dynamic behaviour of the Echinococcus parasites in humans will be key to predicting changes in the disease burden over time and to simulate control strategies that optimise public health impact.
PMCID: PMC3757076  PMID: 24009786
20.  Decreased Obesity and Atherosclerosis in Human Paraoxonase 3 Transgenic Mice 
Circulation research  2007;100(8):1200-1207.
Paraoxonase 3 (PON3) is a member of the PON family, which includes PON1, PON2, and PON3. Recently, PON3 was shown to prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein in vitro. To test the role of PON3 in atherosclerosis and related traits, 2 independent lines of human PON3 transgenic (Tg) mice on the C57BL/6J (B6) background were constructed. Human PON3 mRNA was detected in various tissues, including liver, lung, kidney, brain, adipose, and aorta, of both lines of Tg mice. The human PON3 mRNA levels in the livers of PON3 Tg mice were 4- to 7-fold higher as compared with the endogenous mouse Pon3 mRNA levels. Human PON3 protein and activity were detected in the livers of Tg mice as well. No significant differences in plasma total, high-density lipoprotein, and very-low-density lipoprotein/low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride and glucose levels were observed between the PON3 Tg and non-Tg mice. Interestingly, atherosclerotic lesion areas were significantly smaller in both lines of male PON3 Tg mice as compared with the male non-Tg littermates on B6 background fed an atherogenic diet. When bred onto the low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mouse background, the male PON3 Tg mice also exhibited decreased atherosclerotic lesion areas and decreased expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 in the aorta as compared with the male non-Tg littermates. In addition, decreased adiposity and lower circulating leptin levels were observed in both lines of male PON3 Tg mice as compared with the male non-Tg mice. In an F2 cross, adipose Pon3 mRNA levels inversely correlated with adiposity and related traits. Our study demonstrates that elevated PON3 expression significantly decreases atherosclerotic lesion formation and adiposity in male mice. PON3 may play an important role in protection against obesity and atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3740095  PMID: 17379834
atherosclerosis; obesity; genetics
21.  Kinetics of 1,2-Dichloroethane and 1,2-Dibromoethane Biodegradation in Anaerobic Enrichment Cultures 
1,2-Dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) and 1,2-dibromoethane (ethylene dibromide [EDB]) contaminate groundwater at many hazardous waste sites. The objectives of this study were to measure yields, maximum specific growth rates (μ̂), and half-saturation coefficients (KS) in enrichment cultures that use 1,2-DCA and EDB as terminal electron acceptors and lactate as the electron donor and to evaluate if the presence of EDB has an effect on the kinetics of 1,2-DCA dehalogenation and vice versa. Biodegradation was evaluated at the high concentrations found at some industrial sites (>10 mg/liter) and at lower concentrations found at former leaded-gasoline sites (1.9 to 3.7 mg/liter). At higher concentrations, the Dehalococcoides yield was 1 order of magnitude higher when bacteria were grown with 1,2-DCA than when they were grown with EDB, while μ̂'s were similar for the two compounds, ranging from 0.19 to 0.52 day−1 with 1,2-DCA to 0.28 to 0.36 day−1 for EDB. KS was larger for 1,2-DCA (15 to 25 mg/liter) than for EDB (1.8 to 3.7 mg/liter). In treatments that received both compounds, EDB was always consumed first and adversely impacted the kinetics of 1,2-DCA utilization. Furthermore, 1,2-DCA dechlorination was interrupted by the addition of EDB at a concentration 100 times lower than that of the remaining 1,2-DCA; use of 1,2-DCA did not resume until the EDB level decreased close to its maximum contaminant level (MCL). In lower-concentration experiments, the preferential consumption of EDB over 1,2-DCA was confirmed; both compounds were eventually dehalogenated to their respective MCLs (5 μg/liter for 1,2-DCA, 0.05 μg/liter for EDB). The enrichment culture grown with 1,2-DCA has the advantage of a more rapid transition to 1,2-DCA after EDB is consumed.
PMCID: PMC3568614  PMID: 23263950
22.  Construction and characterization of an infectious replication competent clone of porcine endogenous retrovirus from Chinese miniature pigs 
Virology Journal  2013;10:228.
Xenotransplantation from animals has been considered to be a preferable approach to alleviate the shortage of human allografts. Pigs are the most suitable candidate because of the anatomical and physiological similarities shared with humans as well as ethical concerns. However, it may be associated with the risk of transmission of infectious porcine pathogens. Porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs) are of particular concern because they have been shown to infect human cells in vitro. To date, researches on the molecular characteristics and potential pathogenicity of PERV are still tenuous. In this report, an infectious replication competent clone of PERV from Wuzhishan pigs (WZSPs) in China was generated and characterized. This infectious clone will contribute to studies on PERV virology and control of PERV in xenotransplantation using Chinese miniature pigs.
The proviral DNA of PERV from WZSPs was amplified in two overlapping halves. Then the two fragments were isolated, subcloned and fused to generate pBluescriptαSK+-WZS-PERV recombinant clones. Screened with RT-PCR, a molecular clone of PERV designated as WZS-PERV(2) was selected. Its infectivity and replication competency were characterized in HEK293 cells by PCR, real-time fluorescent quantitative RT-PCR, western blot, indirect immunofluorescence assay as well as sequence analysis.
The ability of WZS-PERV(2) to infect human cells and produce infectious virions were shown after transfection of the clone into HEK293 cells and infection of PERV derived from this recombinant clone. The expression of Gag proteins were detected in HEK293 cells infected with the virus derived from the clone by the indirect immunofluorescence assay and western blot. The results of sequences analysis and comparison combined with the PCR based genotyping result demonstrated that the WZS-PERV(2) belonged to PERV-A subgroup. Compared with a previous proviral DNA clone of PERV (PERV-WZSP), G to A hypermutation occurred in the env gene of WZS-PERV(2) was found, whereas APOBEC proteins have the potential to inhibit the replication of a variety of retroviruses through a cDNA cytosine deamination mechanism, so we presumed these G to A hypermutation might be the contribution of porcine APOBEC3F.
Altogether, an infectious replication competent clone of PERV from Chinese miniature pigs (WZSPs) termed WZS-PERV(2) was generated, characterized and sequenced.
PMCID: PMC3718662  PMID: 23837947
Chinese miniature pigs; Porcine endogenous retroviruses; Infectious molecular clone; Xenotransplantation
23.  Dihydrocapsaicin Attenuates Plaque Formation through a PPARγ/LXRα Pathway in apoE−/− Mice Fed a High-Fat/High-Cholesterol Diet 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66876.
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease and represents the major cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. There is evidence that dihydrocapsaicin (DHC) can exert multiple pharmacological and physiological effects. Here, we explored the effect of DHC in atherosclerotic plaque progression in apoE−/− mice fed a high-fat/high-cholesterol diet.
Methods and Results
apoE−/− mice were randomly divided into two groups and fed a high-fat/high-cholesterol diet with or without DHC for 12 weeks. We demonstrated that cellular cholesterol content was significantly decreased while apoA1-mediated cholesterol efflux was significantly increased following treatment with DHC in THP-1 macrophage-derived foam cells. We also observed that plasma levels of TG, LDL-C, VLDL-C, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and CRP were markedly decreased while plasma levels of apoA1 and HDL-C were significantly increased, and consistent with this, atherosclerotic lesion development was significantly inhibited by DHC treatment of apoE−/− mice fed a high-fat/high-cholesterol diet. Moreover, treatment with both LXRα siRNA and PPARγ siRNA made the up-regulation of DHC on ABCA1, ABCG1, ABCG5, SR-B1, NPC1, CD36, LDLR, HMGCR, apoA1 and apoE expression notably abolished while made the down-regulation of DHC on SRA1 expression markedly compensated. And treatment with PPARγ siRNA made the DHC-induced up-regulation of LXRα expression notably abolished while treatment with LXRα siRNA had no effect on DHC-induced PPARγ expression.
These observations provide direct evidence that DHC can significantly decrease atherosclerotic plaque formation involving in a PPARγ/LXRα pathway and thus DHC may represent a promising candidate for a therapeutic agent for the treatment or prevention of atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3694162  PMID: 23840542
24.  Effect of endogenous insulin-like growth factor and stem cell factor on diabetic colonic dysmotility 
AIM: To investigate whether the reduction of stem cell factor (SCF) is mediated by decreased endogenous insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 in diabetic rat colon smooth muscle.
METHODS: Sixteen Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into two groups: control group and streptozotocin-induced diabetic group. After 8 wk of streptozotocin administration, colonic motility function and contractility of circular muscle strips were measured. The expression of endogenous IGF-1 and SCF was tested in colonic tissues. Colonic smooth muscle cells were cultured from normal adult rats. IGF-1 siRNA transfection was used to investigate whether SCF expression was affected by endogenous IGF-1 expression in smooth muscle cells, and IGF-1 induced SCF expression effects were studied. The effect of high glucose on the expression of endogenous IGF-1 and SCF was also investigated.
RESULTS: Diabetic rats showed prolonged colonic transit time (252 ± 16 min vs 168 ± 9 min, P < 0.01) and weakness of circular muscle contraction (0.81 ± 0.09 g vs 2.48 ± 0.23 g, P < 0.01) compared with the control group. Endogenous IGF-1 and SCF protein expression was significantly reduced in the diabetic colonic muscle tissues. IGF-1 and SCF mRNA expression also showed a paralleled reduction in diabetic rats. In the IGF-1 siRNA transfected smooth muscle cells, SCF mRNA and protein expression was significantly decreased. IGF-1 could induce SCF expression in a concentration and time-dependent manner, mainly through the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2 signal pathway. High glucose inhibited endogenous IGF-1 and SCF expression and the addition of IGF-1 to the medium reversed the SCF expression.
CONCLUSION: Myopathy may resolve in colonic motility dysfunction in diabetic rats. Deficiency of endogenous IGF-1 in colonic smooth muscle cells leads to reduction of SCF expression.
PMCID: PMC3671085  PMID: 23745035
Diabetes; Gastrointestinal motility function; Insulin-like growth factor-1; Stem cell factor; Smooth muscle cell
25.  Prostate volume as an independent predictor of prostate cancer in men with PSA of 10–50 ng ml−1 
Asian Journal of Andrology  2013;15(3):409-412.
Prostate volume (PV) has been shown to be associated with prostate cancer (PCa) detection rates in men with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the ‘grey zone' (2.0–10.0 ng ml−1). However, the PSA ‘grey zone' in Asian men should be higher because the incidence of PCa in Asian men is relatively low. Therefore, we evaluated the association between PV and PCa detection rates in men with PSAs measuring 10–50 ng ml−1. Men who underwent a 13-core prostatic biopsy with PV documentation participated in the study. A multivariate stepwise regression was used to evaluate whether the PV at time of prostate biopsy could predict the risk of PCa. The rates of PCa among men in different PSA ranges, stratified by PV medians (<60 and ≥60 ml), were calculated. There were 261 men included in the final analysis. PV was the strongest predictor of PCa risk (odds ratio, 0.02; P<0.001) compared to other variables. The PCa rates in men with PVs measuring <60 and ≥60 ml in the 10–19.9 ng ml−1 PSA group were 40.6% and 15.1%, respectively, while the rates for men with PSAs measuring 20–50 ng ml−1 were 65.1% and 26.8%. PV is an independent predictor of PCa in men with PSA measuring 10–50 ng ml−1. In clinical practice, particularly for those countries with lower incidences of PCa, PV should be considered when counselling patients with PSAs measuring 10–50 ng ml−1 regarding their PCa risks.
PMCID: PMC3739650  PMID: 23564045
prostate biopsy; prostate cancer (PCa); prostate-specific antigen (PSA); prostate volume (PV)

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