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1.  Hydrogen Sulfide Targets EGFR Cys797/Cys798 Residues to Induce Na+/K+-ATPase Endocytosis and Inhibition in Renal Tubular Epithelial Cells and Increase Sodium Excretion in Chronic Salt-Loaded Rats 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2014;21(15):2061-2082.
Aims: The role of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in renal sodium and water homeostasis is unknown. We investigated whether H2S promoted Na+/K+-ATPase endocytosis via the H2S/EGFR/gab1/PI3K/Akt pathway in renal tubular epithelial cells. Results: H2S decreased Na+/K+-ATPase activity and induced its endocytosis in renal tubular epithelial cells, which was abrogated by small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and gab1, a dominant-negative mutant of Akt and PI3K inhibitors. H2S increased EGFR, gab1, PI3K, and Akt phosphorylation in both renal tubular epithelial cells and kidneys of chronic salt-loaded rats. These increases were abrogated by siRNA knockdown of EGFR, but not of c-Src. Radiolabeled H2S exhibited transient, direct binding to EGFR and directly activated EGFR. Some disulfide bonds in EGFR intracellular kinase domain were susceptible to H2S-induced cleavage. Mutations of EGFR Cys797 (human) or Cys798 (rat) residues increased EGFR activity and prevented H2S-induced Na+/K+-ATPase endocytosis. H2S also inhibited sodium hydrogen exchanger-3 (NHE3) activity in renal tubular epithelial cells. H2S treatment increased sodium excretion in chronic and acute salt-loaded rats and decreased blood pressure in chronic salt-loaded rats. Innovation and Conclusion: H2S directly targets some disulfide bonds in EGFR, which activates the EGFR/gab1/PI3K/Akt pathway and subsequent Na+/K+-ATPase endocytosis and inhibition in renal tubular epithelial cells. EGFR Cys797/Cys798 residues are essential for an intrinsic inhibitory mechanism and for H2S actions in renal tubular epithelial cells. Other pathways, including NHE3, may be involved in mediating the renal effects of H2S. Our results reveal a new renal sodium homeostasis mechanism, which may provide for novel treatment approaches for diseases related to renal sodium homeostasis dysfunction. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 21, 2061–2082.
PMCID: PMC4215382  PMID: 24684506
2.  VEGFR2 Functions As an H2S-Targeting Receptor Protein Kinase with Its Novel Cys1045–Cys1024 Disulfide Bond Serving As a Specific Molecular Switch for Hydrogen Sulfide Actions in Vascular Endothelial Cells 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;19(5):448-464.
Aims: The potential receptor for hydrogen sulfide (H2S) remains unknown. Results: H2S could directly activate vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) and that a small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of VEGFR2 inhibited H2S-induced migration of human vascular endothelial cells. H2S promoted angiogenesis in Matrigel plug assay in mice and this effect was attenuated by a VEGF receptor inhibitor. Using tandem mass spectrometry (MS), we identified a new disulfide complex located between Cys1045 and Cys1024 within VEGFR2 that was labile to H2S-mediated modification. Kinase activity of the mutant VEGFR2 (C1045A) devoid of the Cys1045–Cys1024 disulfide bond was significantly higher than wild-type VEGFR2. Transfection with vectors expressing VEGFR2 (C1045A) caused a significant increase in cell migration, while the migration-promoting effect of H2S disappeared in the cells transfected with VEGFR2 (C1045A). Therefore, the Cys1045–Cys1024 disulfide bond serves as an intrinsic inhibitory motif and functions as a molecular switch for H2S. The formation of the Cys1045–Cys1024 disulfide bond disrupted the integrity of the active conformation of VEGFR2. Breaking the Cys1045–Cys1024 disulfide bond recovered the active conformation of VEGFR2. This motif was prone to a nucleophilic attack by H2S via an interaction of their frontier molecular orbitals. siRNA-mediated knockdown of cystathionine γ-lyase attenuated migration of vascular endothelial cells induced by VEGF or moderate hypoxia. Innovation and Conclusion: The study provides the first piece of evidence of a molecular switch in H2S-targeting receptor protein kinase in H2S-induced angiogenesis and that may be applicable to additional kinases containing functionally important disulfide bonds in mediating various H2S actions. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 448–464.
PMCID: PMC3704125  PMID: 23199280
3.  Role of Hepatic and Intestinal P450 Enzymes in the Metabolic Activation of the Colon Carcinogen Azoxymethane in Mice 
Chemical Research in Toxicology  2014;27(4):656-662.
P450-mediated bioactivation of azoxymethane (AOM), a colon carcinogen, leads to the formation of DNA adducts, of which O6-methylguanine (O6-mG) is the most mutagenic and contributes to colon tumorigenesis. To determine whether P450 enzymes of the liver and intestine both contribute to AOM bioactivation in vivo, we compared tissue levels of AOM-induced DNA adducts, microsomal AOM metabolic activities, and incidences of colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) among wild-type (WT), liver-specific P450 reductase (Cpr)-null (LCN), and intestinal epithelium-specific Cpr-null (IECN) mice. At 6 h following AOM treatment (at 14 mg/kg, s.c.), O6-mG and N7-mG levels were highest in the liver, followed by the colon, and then small intestine in WT mice. As expected, hepatic adduct levels were significantly lower (by >60%) in LCN mice but unchanged in IECN mice, whereas small-intestinal adduct levels were unchanged or increased in LCN mice but lower (by >50%) in IECN mice compared to that in WT mice. However, colonic adduct levels were unchanged in IECN mice compared to that in WT mice and increased in LCN mice (by 1.5–2.9-fold). The tissue-specific impact of the CPR loss in IECN and LCN mice on microsomal AOM metabolic activity was confirmed by rates of formation of formaldehyde and N7-mG in vitro. Furthermore, the incidence of ACF, a lesion preceding colon cancer, was similar in the three mouse strains. Thus, AOM-induced colonic DNA damage and ACF formation is not solely dependent on either hepatic or intestinal microsomal P450 enzymes. P450 enzymes in both the liver and intestine likely contribute to AOM-induced colon carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4002058  PMID: 24552495
4.  Targeted microbubbles for ultrasound mediated gene transfection and apoptosis induction in ovarian cancer cells 
Ultrasonics sonochemistry  2012;20(1):171-179.
Ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) technique can be potentially used for non-viral delivery of gene therapy. Targeting wild-type p53 (wtp53) tumor suppressor gene may provide a clinically promising treatment for patients with ovarian cancer. However, UTMD mediated gene therapy typically uses non-targeted microbubbles with suboptimal gene transfection efficiency. We synthesized a targeted microbubble agent for UTMD mediated wtp53 gene therapy in ovarian cancer cells. Lipid micro-bubbles were conjugated with a Luteinizing Hormone–Releasing Hormone analog (LHRHa) via an avidin– biotin linkage to target the ovarian cancer A2780/DDP cells that express LHRH receptors. The microbubbles were mixed with the pEGFP-N1-wtp53 plasmid. Upon exposure to 1 MHz pulsed ultrasound beam (0.5 W/cm2) for 30 s, the wtp53 gene was transfected to the ovarian cancer cells. The transfection efficiency was (43.90 ± 6.19)%. The expression of wtp53 mRNA after transfection was (97.08 ± 12.18)%. The cell apoptosis rate after gene therapy was (39.67 ± 5.95)%. In comparison with the other treatment groups, ultrasound mediation of targeted microbubbles yielded higher transfection efficiency and higher cell apoptosis rate (p < 0.05). Our experiment verifies the hypothesis that ultrasound mediation of targeted microbubbles will enhance the gene transfection efficiency in ovarian cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC4332827  PMID: 22841613
Ovarian cancer; Ultrasound; Microbubbles; Gene transfection; LHRHa peptide
5.  Topping-off technique prevents aggravation of degeneration of adjacent segment fusion revealed by retrospective and finite element biomechanical analysis 
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the Topping-off technique in preventing the aggravation of degeneration caused by adjacent segment fusion.
Clinical parameters of patients who underwent L5-S1 posterior lumbar interbody fusion + interspinous process at L4-L5 (PLIF + ISP) with the Wallis system (Topping-off group) were compared retrospectively with those of patients who underwent solely PLIF. Pre- and post-operative x-ray measurements, visual analogue scale (VAS) scores, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores were assessed in all subjects. Normal L1-S1 lumbosacral finite element models were established in accordance with the two types of surgery in our study, respectively. Virtual loading was added to assess the motility, disc pressure, and facet joint stress of L4-L5.
There were 22 and 23 valid cases included in the Topping-off and PLIF groups. No degeneration was observed in either group. Both VAS and JOA scores improved significantly post-operatively (P < 0.01). The intervertebral angle and lumbar lordosis of L4-L5 were both significantly increased (t = −2.89 and −2.68, P < 0.05 in the Topping-off group and t = −2.25 and −2.15, P < 0.05 in the PLIF group). In the Topping-off group, x-ray in dynamic position showed no significant difference in the angulation or distance of the anterior movement of the L4-L5 segment. The angle of hyper-extension and distance of the posterior movement of L4 were significantly decreased. In the PLIF group, both hyper-flexion and hyper-extension and posterior movement were increased significantly. In finite element analysis, displacement of the L4 vertebral body, pressure of the annulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus, and stress of the bilateral facet joint were less in the Topping-off group under loads of anterior flexion and posterior extension. Facet joint stress on the left side of the L4-L5 segment was also less in the Topping-off group under left flexion loads.
Short-term efficacy and safety between Topping-off and PLIF were similar, whilst the Topping-off technique could restrict the hyper-extension movement of adjacent segments, prevent back and forth movement of proximal vertebrae, and decrease loads of intervertebral disc and facet joints.
PMCID: PMC4324860  PMID: 25627068
Spinal fusion; Topping-off operation; Biomechanics; Finite element analysis
6.  miRNA-30 Family Inhibition Protects Against Cardiac Ischemic Injury by Regulating Cystathionine-γ-Lyase Expression 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2015;22(3):224-240.
Aims: Myocardial infarction (MI) is a leading cause of death globally. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been identified as a novel class of MI injury regulators. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a gaseous signaling molecule that regulates cardiovascular function. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of the miR-30 family in protecting against MI injury by regulating H2S production. Results: The expression of miR-30 family was upregulated in the murine MI model as well as in the primary cardiomyocyte hypoxic model. However, the cystathionine-γ-lyase (CSE) expression was significantly decreased. The overexpression of miR-30 family decreased CSE expression, reduced H2S production, and then aggravated hypoxic cardiomyocyte injury. In contrast, silencing the whole miR-30 family can protect against hypoxic cell injury by elevating CSE and H2S level. Nonetheless, the protective effect was abolished by cotransfecting with CSE-siRNA. Systemic delivery of a locked nucleic acid (LNA)-miR-30 family inhibitor correspondingly increased CSE and H2S level, then reduced infarct size, decreased apoptotic cell number in the peri-infarct region, and improved cardiac function in response to MI. However, these cardioprotective effects were absent in CSE knockout mice. MiR-30b overexpression in vivo aggravated MI injury because of H2S reduction, and this could be rescued by S-propargyl-cysteine (SPRC), which is a novel modulator of CSE, or further exacerbated by propargylglycine (PAG), which is a selective inhibitor of CSE. Innovation and Conclusion: Our findings reveal a novel molecular mechanism for endogenous H2S production in the heart at the miRNA level and demonstrate the therapeutic potential of miR-30 family inhibition for ischemic heart diseases by increasing H2S production. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 22, 224–240.
PMCID: PMC4283074  PMID: 25203395
7.  Ultrasound-Mediated Destruction of LHRHa Targeted and Paclitaxel Loaded Lipid Microbubbles Induces Proliferation Inhibition and Apoptosis in Ovarian Cancer Cells 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2013;11(1):40-48.
Although paclitaxel (PTX) is used with platinum as the first line chemotherapy regimen for ovarian cancer, its clinical efficacy is often limited by severe adverse effects. Ultrasound targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) technique holds a great promise in minimizing the side effects and maximizing the therapeutic efficacy. However, the technique typically uses non-targeted microbubbles with suboptimal efficiency. We synthesized targeted and PTX-loaded microbubbles (MBs) for UTMD mediated chemotherapy in ovarian cancer cells. PTX-loaded lipid MBs were coated with a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogue (LHRHa) through a biotin-avidin linkage to target the ovarian cancer A2780/DDP cells that express the LHRH receptor. In the cell culture studies, PTX-loaded and LHRHa targeted MBs (TPLMBs) in combination with ultrasound (300 kHz, 0.5 W/cm2, 30 seconds) demonstrated anti-proliferative activities of 41.30 ± 3.93%, 67.76 ± 2.45%, and 75.93 ± 2.81% at 24 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours after the treatment, respectively. The cell apoptosis ratio at 24 hours after the treatment is 32.6 ± 0.79 %, which is significantly higher than other treatment groups such as PTX only and no-targeted PTX-loaded MBs (NPLMBs) with or without ultrasound mediation. Our experiment verifies the hypothesis that ultrasound mediation of ovarian cancer targeted and drug loaded MBs will enhance the PTX therapeutic efficiency.
PMCID: PMC3903397  PMID: 24266423
Paclitaxel; ultrasound; microbubble; ovarian cancer; apoptosis
8.  Ultrasound-Mediated Destruction of LHRHa Targeted and Paclitaxel Loaded Lipid Microbubbles for the Treatment of Intraperitoneal Ovarian Cancer Xenografts 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2013;11(1):49-58.
Ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) is a promising technique to facilitate the delivery of chemotherapy in cancer treatment. However, the process typically uses non-specific microbubbles, leading to low tumor-to-normal tissue uptake ratio and adverse side effects. In this study, we synthesized the LHRH receptor targeted and paclitaxel (PTX) loaded lipid microbubbles (TPLMBs) for tumor-specific binding and enhanced therapeutic effect at the tumor site. An ovarian cancer xenograft model was established by injecting A2780/DDP cells intraperitoneally in BALB/c nude mice. Microscopic imaging of tumor sections after intraperitoneal injection of TPLMBs showed effective binding of the microbubbles with cancer cells. Ultrasound mediated destruction of the intraperitoneally injected TPLMBs yielded a superior therapeutic outcome in comparison with other treatment options. Immunohistochemical analyses of the dissected tumor tissue further confirmed the increased tumor apoptosis and reduced angiogenesis. Our experiment suggests that ultrasound mediated intraperitoneal administration of the targeted drug-loaded microbubbles may be a useful method for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
PMCID: PMC3899929  PMID: 24237050
Microbubbles; ovarian cancer; intraperitoneal injection; ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction; paclitaxel; luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone
9.  Snail Recruits Ring1B to Mediate Transcriptional Repression and Cell Migration in Pancreatic Cancer Cells 
Cancer research  2014;74(16):4353-4363.
Transcriptional repressor Snail is a master regulator of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), yet the epigenetic mechanism governing Snail to induce EMT is not well understood. Here, we report that in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), elevated levels of the ubiquitin E3 ligase Ring1B and Snail, along with elevated monoubiquitination of H2A at K119 (H2AK119Ub1), are highly correlated with poor survival. Mechanistic investigations identified Ring1B as a Snail-interacting protein and showed that the carboxyl zinc fingers of Snail recruit Ring1B and its paralog Ring1A to repress its target promoters. Simultaneous depletion of Ring1A and Ring1B in pancreatic cancer cells decreased Snail binding to the target chromatin, abolished H2AK119Ub1 modification, and thereby compromised Snail-mediated transcriptional repression and cell migration. We found that Ring1B and the SNAG-associated chromatin modifier EZH2 formed distinct protein complexes with Snail and that EZH2 was required for Snail-Ring1A/B recruitment to the target promoter. Collectively, our results unravel an epigenetic mechanism underlying transcriptional repression by Snail, suggest Ring1A/B as a candidate therapeutic target, and identify H2AK119Ub1 as a potential biomarker for PDAC diagnosis and prognosis. Cancer Res; 74(16); 4353-63. ©2014 AACR
PMCID: PMC4285394  PMID: 24903147
10.  Activity-dependent hyperpolarization of EGABA is absent in cutaneous DRG neurons from inflamed rats 
Neuroscience  2013;256:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.10.004.
A shift in GABAA signaling from inhibition to excitation in primary afferent neurons appears to contribute to the inflammation-induced increase in afferent input to the central nervous system (CNS). An activity-dependent depolarization of the GABA equilibrium potential (EGABA) has been described in CNS neurons which drives a shift in GABAA signaling from inhibition to excitation. The purpose of the present study was to determine if such an activity-dependent depolarization of EGABA occurs in primary afferents and whether the depolarization is amplified with persistent inflammation. Acutely dissociated retrogradely labeled cutaneous DRG neurons from naïve and inflamed rats were studied with gramicidin perforated patch recording. Rather than a depolarization, 200 action potentials delivered at 2 Hz resulted in a ~10 mV hyperpolarization of EGABA in cutaneous neurons from naïve rats. No such hyperpolarization was observed in neurons from inflamed rats. The shift in EGABA was not blocked by 10 µM bumetanide. Furthermore, because activity-dependent hyperpolarization of EGABA was fully manifest in the absence of HCO3− in the bath solution, this shift was not dependent on a change in HCO3−-Cl− exchanger activity, despite evidence of HCO3−-Cl− exchangers in DRG neurons that may contribute to the establishment of EGABA in the presence of HCO3−. While the mechanism underlying the activity-dependent hyperpolarization of EGABA has yet to be identified, because this mechanism appears to function as a form of feedback inhibition, facilitating GABA mediated inhibition of afferent activity, it may serve as a novel target for the treatment of inflammatory pain.
PMCID: PMC3872175  PMID: 24135545
Chloride equilibrium potential; inflammatory pain; nociceptor sensitization; sodium-potassium-chloride co-transporter (NKCC1); feedback-inhibition
11.  Insulin Stimulates Mitochondrial Fusion and Function in Cardiomyocytes via the Akt-mTOR-NFκB-Opa-1 Signaling Pathway 
Diabetes  2013;63(1):75-88.
Insulin regulates heart metabolism through the regulation of insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Studies have indicated that insulin can also regulate mitochondrial function. Relevant to this idea, mitochondrial function is impaired in diabetic individuals. Furthermore, the expression of Opa-1 and mitofusins, proteins of the mitochondrial fusion machinery, is dramatically altered in obese and insulin-resistant patients. Given the role of insulin in the control of cardiac energetics, the goal of this study was to investigate whether insulin affects mitochondrial dynamics in cardiomyocytes. Confocal microscopy and the mitochondrial dye MitoTracker Green were used to obtain three-dimensional images of the mitochondrial network in cardiomyocytes and L6 skeletal muscle cells in culture. Three hours of insulin treatment increased Opa-1 protein levels, promoted mitochondrial fusion, increased mitochondrial membrane potential, and elevated both intracellular ATP levels and oxygen consumption in cardiomyocytes in vitro and in vivo. Consequently, the silencing of Opa-1 or Mfn2 prevented all the metabolic effects triggered by insulin. We also provide evidence indicating that insulin increases mitochondrial function in cardiomyocytes through the Akt-mTOR-NFκB signaling pathway. These data demonstrate for the first time in our knowledge that insulin acutely regulates mitochondrial metabolism in cardiomyocytes through a mechanism that depends on increased mitochondrial fusion, Opa-1, and the Akt-mTOR-NFκB pathway.
PMCID: PMC3868041  PMID: 24009260
12.  Daphnoretin-induced apoptosis in HeLa cells: a possible mitochondria-dependent pathway 
Cytotechnology  2013;66(1):51-61.
Daphnoretin is a bicoumarin compound isolated from a natural product, Wikstroemia indica, which has been used to treat many diseases. It has strong antiviral and anti-tumor activities. Taking the anti-tumor activity of daphnoretin as a starting point, the present study aimed to test the pro-apoptotic effect of daphnoretin and its underlying mechanism in HeLa cells. The inhibitory effects of daphnoretin on viability and proliferation of HeLa cells were determined by the MTT assay. Daphnoretin-induced apoptotic morphological changes were analyzed by mitochondrial membrane potential and Hoechst staining. The number and stage of apoptotic HeLa cells were determined by flow cytometry. Gene expression was determined by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Protein expression was determined by western blot. The caspase activity of HeLa cells was detected by a caspase-3 and caspase-9 colorimetric assay kit. We found that daphnoretin significantly inhibited HeLa cells’ viability by the MTT assay and flow cytometry. The nuclei of the apoptotic cells exhibited strong, blue fluorescence in Hoechst staining. Bax mRNA and protein levels were increased while bcl-2 mRNA levels were decreased after daphnoretin treatment. Daphnoretin also activated both caspase-3 and caspase-9. These findings suggest that daphnoretin promotes apoptosis of HeLa cells in a mitochondria-mediated way. Daphnoretin therefore has potential to be a promising drug to treat uterine cervix cancer.
PMCID: PMC3886545  PMID: 24091880
Daphnoretin; Anti-tumor; Apoptosis; Mitochondria; HeLa cells
13.  Asymmetric Synthesis and Evaluation of Danshensu-Cysteine Conjugates as Novel Potential Anti-Apoptotic Drug Candidates 
We have previously reported that the danshensu-cysteine conjugate N-((R)-3-benzylthio-1-methoxy-1-oxo-2-propanyl)-2-acetoxy-3-(3,4-diacetoxyphenyl) propanamide (DSC) is a potent anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic agent. Herein, we further design and asymmetrically synthesize two diastereoisomers of DSC and explore their potential bioactivities. Our results show that DSC and its two diastereoisomers exert similar protective effects in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced cellular injury in SH-SY5Y cells, as evidenced by the increase of cell viability, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and reduced glutathione (GSH) activity, and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) expression, and the decrease of cellular morphological changes and nuclear condensation, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, and malondialdehyde (MDA) production. In H2O2-stimulated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), DSC concentration-dependently attenuates H2O2-induced cell death, LDH release, mitochondrial membrane potential collapse, and modulates the expression of apoptosis-related proteins (Bcl-2, Bax, caspase-3, and caspase-9). Our results provide strong evidence that DSC and its two diastereoisomers have similar anti-oxidative activity and that DSC exerts significant vascular-protective effects, at least in part, through inhibition of apoptosis and modulation of endogenous antioxidant enzymes.
PMCID: PMC4307265  PMID: 25551606
Danshensu derivative; apoptosis; asymmetric synthesis; endothelial cells
14.  T helper cell dysregulation with hepatitis B and rebalance with glucocorticoids 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(48):18354-18359.
AIM: To investigate T helper 17/regulatory T cell alterations in early severe hepatitis B and the effect of glucocorticoids.
METHODS: The study included 20 patients in the early stage of severe hepatitis B (SHB) and 11 healthy controls. All patients had elevated T helper 17 (Th17) levels, decreased regulatory T (Treg) cell levels, and significant Th17/Treg ratios.
RESULTS: After glucocorticoid treatment, 16 patients showed improvement with significant decreases in Th17 levels, increases in Treg, and rebalanced Th17/Treg ratios. The four patients who showed no improvement had increases in both Th17 and Treg levels and an even higher Th17/Treg ratio than before.
CONCLUSION: Glucocorticoid treatment can rectify Th17/Treg dysregulation in patients with SHB.
PMCID: PMC4277972  PMID: 25561802
Severe hepatitis B; T helper 17 cell; Regulatory T cell; Dysregulation; Glucocorticoid
15.  Brain regions involved in moxibustion-induced analgesia in irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study 
Moxibustion is one of the most commonly used therapies in acupuncture practice, and is demonstrated to be beneficial for patients with diarrhea from irritable bowel syndrome (D-IBS). But its mechanism remains unclear. Because visceral hypersensitivity in IBS patients has been documented by evaluation of perceived stimulations through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, we focused on observing brain imaging changes in D-IBS patients during rectal balloon distention before and after moxibustion in order to reveal its possible central mechanism and further evaluate its effect.
This clinical trial is registered under the number: ChiCTR-TRC-10000887. Eighty D-IBS patients were randomly divided into a moxibustion and sham moxibustion group (control group) for a 4-week treatment. Fifteen patients in moxibustion group and thirteen patients in control group completed two fMRI scans during a 50 and 100 ml rectal balloon distention before and after treatment. Rectal pain were obtained with a scan test. Birmingham IBS Symptom Scale and IBS Quality of Life (QOL) Scale were used to evaluate therapeutic effect.
After treatment, the decrease in Birmingham IBS Symptom Scale and IBS QOL Scale scores in moxibustion group was significantly greater than that of control group (P < 0.01). The defecation urge threshold and the pain perception threshold of moxibustion group was also significantly higher after treatment than that of control group (P < 0.01). The decrease in pain score during the 100 ml rectal balloon distention in moxibustion group was significantly greater than that of control group (P < 0.05). There was no definite activated center during the 50 ml rectal distention in either group before treatment. After treatment, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) was affected in moxibustion group, while the PFC and the anterior cingulated cortex (ACC) were affected in control group. During the 100 ml distention before treatment in both groups, the PFC and ACC were activated. After treatment, they disappeared in moxibustion group but remained in control group.
Moxibustion can improve symptoms and quality of life in D-IBS patients. It can also decrease rectal sensitivity. The activation of PFC and ACC during a 100 ml rectal distention disappeared after moxibustion treatment.
PMCID: PMC4301658  PMID: 25516481
Moxibustion; fMRI; D-IBS
16.  Resection of a cholangiocarcinoma via laparoscopic hepatopancreato- duodenectomy: A case report 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(45):17260-17264.
Some laterally advanced cholangiocarcinomas behave as ductal spread or local invasion, and hepatopancreatoduodenectomy (HPD) may be performed for R0 resection. To date, there have been no reports of laparoscopic HPD (LHPD) in the English literature. We report the first case of LHPD for the resection of a Bismuth IIIa cholangiocarcinoma invading the duodenum. The patient underwent laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy and right hemihepatectomy. Child’s approach was used for the reconstruction. The patient recovered well with bile leakage from the 2nd postoperative day and was discharged on the 16th postoperative day with a drainage tube in place which was removed 2 wk after discharge. Postoperative pathology revealed a well-differentiated cholangiocarcinoma and the margin of liver parenchyma, pancreas and stomach was negative for metastases. The results suggest that LHPD is a feasible and safe procedure when performed in highly specialized centers and in suitable patients with cholangiocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4258600  PMID: 25493044
Laparoscopic surgery; Hemihepatectomy; Pancreaticoduodenectomy; Hepatopancreatoduodenectomy; Cholangiocarcinoma
17.  Sodium Hydrosulfide Prevents Myocardial Dysfunction through Modulation of Extracellular Matrix Accumulation and Vascular Density 
The aim was to examine the role of exogenous hydrogen sulfide (H2S) on cardiac remodeling in post-myocardial infarction (MI) rats. MI was induced in rats by ligation of coronary artery. After treatment with sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS, an exogenous H2S donor, 56 μM/kg·day) for 42 days, the effects of NaHS on left ventricular morphometric features, echocardiographic parameters, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), matrix metalloproteinases-9 (MMP-9), type I and type III collagen, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), CD34, and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in the border zone of infarct area were analyzed to elucidate the protective mechanisms of exogenous H2S on cardiac function and fibrosis. Forty-two days post MI, NaHS-treatment resulted in a decrease in myocardial fibrotic area in association with decreased levels of type I, type III collagen and MMP-9 and improved cardiac function. Meanwhile, NaHS administration significantly increased cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE), HO-1, α-SMA, and VEGF expression. This effect was accompanied by an increase in vascular density in the border zone of infarcted myocardium. Our results provided the strong evidences that exogenous H2S prevented cardiac remodeling, at least in part, through inhibition of extracellular matrix accumulation and increase in vascular density.
PMCID: PMC4284761  PMID: 25514418
cardioprotection; hydrogen sulfide; infarction; neovascularization; remodeling
18.  The novel proteins Rng8 and Rng9 regulate the myosin-V Myo51 during fission yeast cytokinesis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2014;205(3):357-375.
In fission yeast, Rng8 and Rng9 form oligomers and cluster multiple Myo51 dimers to regulate Myo51 localization and function during cytokinesis.
The myosin-V family of molecular motors is known to be under sophisticated regulation, but our knowledge of the roles and regulation of myosin-Vs in cytokinesis is limited. Here, we report that the myosin-V Myo51 affects contractile ring assembly and stability during fission yeast cytokinesis, and is regulated by two novel coiled-coil proteins, Rng8 and Rng9. Both rng8Δ and rng9Δ cells display similar defects as myo51Δ in cytokinesis. Rng8 and Rng9 are required for Myo51’s localizations to cytoplasmic puncta, actin cables, and the contractile ring. Myo51 puncta contain multiple Myo51 molecules and walk continuously on actin filaments in rng8+ cells, whereas Myo51 forms speckles containing only one dimer and does not move efficiently on actin tracks in rng8Δ. Consistently, Myo51 transports artificial cargos efficiently in vivo, and this activity is regulated by Rng8. Purified Rng8 and Rng9 form stable higher-order complexes. Collectively, we propose that Rng8 and Rng9 form oligomers and cluster multiple Myo51 dimers to regulate Myo51 localization and functions.
PMCID: PMC4018781  PMID: 24798735
19.  Specific-detection of clinical samples, systematic functional investigations, and transcriptome analysis reveals that splice variant MUC4/Y contributes to the malignant progression of pancreatic cancer by triggering malignancy-related positive feedback loops signaling 
MUC4 plays important roles in the malignant progression of human pancreatic cancer. But the huge length of MUC4 gene fragment restricts its functional and mechanism research. As one of its splice variants, MUC4/Y with coding sequence is most similar to that of the full-length MUC4 (FL-MUC4), together with alternative splicing of the MUC4 transcript has been observed in pancreatic carcinomas but not in normal pancreas. So we speculated that MUC4/Y might be involved in malignant progression similarly to FL-MUC4, and as a research model of MUC4 in pancreatic cancer. The conjecture was confirmed in the present study.
MUC4/Y expression was detected by real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) using gene-specific probe in the clinic samples. The effects of MUC4/Y were observed by serial in vitro and in vivo experiments based on stable over-expressed cell model. The underlying mechanisms were investigated by sequence-based transcriptome analysis and verified by qRT-PCR, Western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.
The detection of clinical samples indicates that MUC4/Y is significantly positive-correlated with tumor invasion and distant metastases. Based on stable forced-expressed pancreatic cancer PANC-1 cell model, functional studies show that MUC4/Y enhances malignant activity in vitro and in vivo, including proliferation under low-nutritional-pressure, resistance to apoptosis, motility, invasiveness, angiogenesis, and distant metastasis. Mechanism studies indicate the novel finding that MUC4/Y triggers malignancy-related positive feedback loops for concomitantly up-regulating the expression of survival factors to resist adverse microenvironment and increasing the expression of an array of cytokines and adhesion molecules to affect the tumor milieu.
In light of the enormity of the potential regulatory circuitry in cancer afforded by MUC4 and/or MUC4/Y, repressing MUC4 transcription, inhibiting post-transcriptional regulation, including alternative splicing, or blocking various pathways simultaneously may be helpful for controlling malignant progression. MUC4/Y- expression model is proven to a valuable tool for the further dissection of MUC4-mediated functions and mechanisms.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-014-0309-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4236435  PMID: 25367394
MUC4/Y; Alternative splicing; Pancreatic neoplasms; Cell movement; Angiogenesis; Neoplasm metastasis; Gene expression regulation; Signal transduction
Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology  2013;64:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2013.08.005.
It is believed that the diabetic myocardium is refractory to cardioprotection by ischemic preconditioning (IPC) mainly because of impaired insulin signaling to posphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and protein kinase B (PKB or Akt). However, human as well as animal studies have clearly showed that hearts of type 2 diabetic humans and animals may exhibit increased signaling through PI3K-Akt but yet are resistant to cardioprotection by IPC or ischemic post-conditioning. Therefore, this study was designed to determine whether activation of insulin signaling prior to IPC is detrimental for cardioprotection and to assess the role of insulin receptors (IRs) and Akt in mediating this effect. Wild-type (WT) hearts, hearts lacking IRs or hearts expressing an active form of Akt (myrAkt1) were perfused ex vivo using a Langendorff preparation and were subjected to IPC (3 cycles of 5 min ischemia followed by 5 min reflow before 30 min no flow ischemia and then by 45 min reperfusion) in the presence or absence of 1 nmol/L insulin. Interestingly, whereas insulin was protective against I/R (30 min no flow ischemia and 45 min reperfusion), it completely abolished cardioprotection by IPC in WT hearts but not in mice lacking insulin receptors (IRs) in cardiomyocytes (CIRKO) or in all cardiac cells (TIRKO). The suppression of IPC-mediated cardioprotection was mediated through downstream signaling to Akt and Gsk3β. In addition, transgenic induction of Akt in the heart was sufficient to abrogate IPC even when insulin was absent, further confirming the involvement of Akt in insulin’s suppression of cardioprotection by IPC. These data provide evidence that excessive insulin signaling to Akt is detrimental for cardioprotection by IPC and could explain the failure of the diabetic myocardium to precondition.
PMCID: PMC3835741  PMID: 23994159
insulin; cardioprotection; insulin signaling; ischemia; reperfusion
21.  H2AK119Ub1 and H3K27Me3 in molecular staging for survival prediction of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(21):10421-10433.
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins Ring1B and EZH2, which have been characterized as catalyzing the two epigenetic modifications H2AK119 monoubiquitination (H2AK119Ub1) and H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27Me3), are well-known epigenetic silencers implicated in embryonic development and tumorigenesis. However, the status of polycomb-associated histone modifications and their clinical implications in pancreatic cancer remain unclear. Here, we performed immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays (TMAs) containing 80 pairs of human pancreatic cancer specimens to assess the expression levels of Ring1B, H2AK119Ub1, EZH2, and H3K27Me3 in tumors. More than 50% of the tumor cells showed a high expression of H2AK119Ub1, Ring1B, and EZH2, whereas more than 50% of the tumor cells showed a low level of H3K27Me3. Different expression patterns of H2AK119Ub1 and H3K27Me3 in tumors were negatively correlated (r = −0.247, P = 0.027). Both H2AK119Ub1 and H3K27Me3 independently predicted the clinical prognosis. In particular, a combinatorial pattern of elevated H2AK119Ub1 and decreased H3K27Me3 in tumors was significantly correlated with a poorer prognosis. Furthermore, compared to the tumor, lymph node, metastasis (TNM) staging system, histone modifications can discriminate the survival difference more accurately, especially for patients with stage I or stage II tumors. Simultaneous silencing of Ring1B and EZH2 via shRNA depleted H2AK119Ub1 and H3K27Me3 in the pancreatic cancer cells PanC1 and AsPC1, enhanced HOX gene derepression, and inhibited tumor cell growth in vitro and in tumor xenograft models. These results demonstrated that H2AK119Ub1 and H3K27Me3 cooperate in tumors and are associated with the clinical prognosis in combinatorial patterns. We have proposed that epigenetic modifications may serve as discriminatory biomarkers for molecular staging of pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4279383  PMID: 25431952
histone modification; molecular staging; prognosis; pancreatic cancer
22.  Meta-analysis of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug intake and prostate cancer risk 
Epidemiological studies of the association between nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) intake and the risk of prostate cancer still remain controversial. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the potential association between NSAID intake and prostate cancer risk.
Eligible studies were retrieved by both computerized searches and reviews of references. Subgroup analyses on country and design of study were also performed. Random or fixed-effect models were used to pool estimates of odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
We observed that the intake of aspirin was associated with a marginally decreased risk of prostate cancer (OR =0.95, 95% CI =0.93 to 0.98). A similar result was found between nonaspirin NSAIDs and prostate cancer risk (OR =0.94, 95% CI =0.90 to 0.98). However, a positive relation between all-NSAID intake and prostate cancer risk was observed (OR =1.18, 95% CI =1.15 to 1.22).
We observed a marginally inverse correlation between the intake of aspirin and prostate cancer risk. On the contrary, a positive relationship between all-NSAID intake and prostate cancer was detected. Further research needs to be conducted to better clarify potential biological mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4194408  PMID: 25282624
Etiology; Meta-analysis; NSAIDs; Prostate cancer
23.  Elevation of MMP-9 and IDO induced by pancreatic cancer cells mediates natural killer cell dysfunction 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):738.
Natural killer (NK) cells play a key role in non-specific immune response in different cancers, including pancreatic cancer. However the anti-tumor effect of NK cells decreases during pancreatic cancer progression. The regulatory pathways by which NK cells facilitate tumor immune escape are unclear, therefore our purpose was to investigate the roles of the contributory factors.
NK cells isolated from fresh healthy peripheral blood were co-cultured with normal human pancreatic ductal cells hTERT-HPNE and human pancreatic cancer cell lines SW1990 and BxPc-3 in vitro. Then NK cell function was determined by Flow cytometric analysis of surface receptors and cytotoxic granules in NK cells, NK cell apoptosis and cytotoxicity, and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of cytokines. Expression level of MMP-9, IDO and COX-2 in hTERT-HPNE and SW1990 cells were detected by quantitative RT-PCR. Statistical differences between data groups were determined by independent t-tests using SPSS 19.0 software.
Our results showed that NK cell function was significantly downregulated following exposure to pancreatic cancer cells compared to normal pancreatic cells, as demonstrated by lower expressions of activating surface receptors (NKG2D, DNAM-1, NKp30 and NKp46) and cytotoxic granules (Perforin and Granzyme B); decreased secretion of cytokines (TNF-α and IFN-γ); and reduced cytotoxicity against myelogenous leukemia K562 cells. Further investigations revealed that MMP-9 and IDO may be implicated in SW1990 cell-induced NK cell dysfunction by facilitating tumor immune evasion. Blockade by TIMP-1 and/or 1-MT could partially restore NK function.
Taken together, elevation of MMP-9 and IDO induced by pancreatic cancer cells mediates NK cell dysfunction. Our findings could contribute to the development of NK cell-based immunotherapy in patients with pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4287420  PMID: 25274283
Pancreatic cancer; Natural killer cell dysfunction; MMP-9; IDO
24.  Effects of xuelian injection on cerebral TNF-α, IL-1β and MMP-9 in rats experienced focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion 
Xuelian, as the raw material and also one of the representatives in the ethnodrugs (Uygur drugs) in Xinjiang, playing a role in anti-inflammation, clearing and activating channels and collaterals, improving body immunity, promoting blood circulation and enhancing the metabolism of cells. The aims of present study is to explore the protective effects of Xuelian injection on cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury. Rat model of cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury was created by the middle cerebral artery embolization (MCAO). The expressions of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukins 1β (IL-1β) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) were investigated with immunohistochemistry and HE staining at 24 h of reperfusion following 2 h ischemia in the basal ganglia. The infarct volumes were recorded to evaluate the protective effects of high-dose, low-dose and middle-dose Xuelian injection on cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury. The result indicated the administration of Xuelian injection significantly reduced TNF-α, IL-1β and MMP-9 expression, reduced infarct volume in MCAO rats (P < 0.01). The present study provides in vivo evidence that high-dose Xuelian injection protects against cerebral ischemia reperfusion injury. The mechanism is related to the decrease of cerebral levels of TNF-α, IL-1β and MMP-9.
PMCID: PMC4211769  PMID: 25356119
Cerebral ischemia and reperfusion; xuelian injection; TNF-α; IL-1β; MMP-9; rats
25.  Randomized controlled trial: Moxibustion and acupuncture for the treatment of Crohn’s disease 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(31):11000-11011.
AIM: To evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of acupuncture and moxibustion for the treatment of active Crohn’s disease (CD).
METHODS: Ninety-two patients were equally and randomly divided into the treatment group and received herb-partitioned moxibustion combined with acupuncture, and the control group received wheat bran-partitioned moxibustion combined with superficial acupuncture. The patients received three treatment sessions per week for 12 wk and were followed up for 24 wk. The main outcome was evaluated using the CD Activity Index (CDAI) score, and the secondary outcomes were evaluated using laboratory indicators such as hemoglobin (HGB), C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate, quality-of-life, endoscopic ratings, and intestinal histology scores.
RESULTS: The CDAI scores of both the treatment and control groups were significantly reduced after treatment compared with those measured before treatment. However, the degree of improvement in the treatment group was significantly greater than that of the control group. The improvement in symptoms in patients of the treatment group was sustained at follow-up, whereas that of the control group was not. The overall efficacy of the treatment was significantly greater than that of the control. Both groups demonstrated significant improvements in quality-of-life ratings after treatment, but the improvement was significantly greater in the treatment group than in the control group. In addition, the patients in the treatment group showed significantly increased HGB and significantly decreased CRP levels and histopathological scores at the end of treatment, whereas the control group did not exhibit significant changes.
CONCLUSION: Moxibustion with acupuncture provided significant therapeutic benefits in patients with active CD beyond the placebo effect and is therefore an effective and safe treatment for active CD.
PMCID: PMC4138481  PMID: 25152604
Moxibustion; Acupuncture; Crohn’s disease; Randomized controlled trial; Traditional Chinese medicine

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