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1.  Genetic targeting of sprouting angiogenesis using Apln-CreER 
Nature Communications  2015;6:6020.
Under pathophysiological conditions in adults, endothelial cells (ECs) sprout from pre-existing blood vessels to form new ones by a process termed angiogenesis. During embryonic development, Apelin (APLN) is robustly expressed in vascular ECs. In adult mice, however, APLN expression in the vasculature is significantly reduced. Here we show that APLN expression is reactivated in adult ECs after ischaemia insults. In models of both injury ischaemia and tumor angiogenesis, we find that Apln-CreER genetically labels sprouting but not quiescent vasculature. By leveraging this specific activity, we demonstrate that abolishment of the VEGF–VEGFR2 signalling pathway as well as ablation of sprouting ECs diminished tumour vascularization and growth without compromising vascular homeostasis in other organs. Collectively, we show that Apln-CreER distinguishes sprouting vessels from stabilized vessels in multiple pathological settings. The Apln-CreER line described here will greatly aid future mechanistic studies in both vascular developmental biology and adult vascular diseases.
Apelin expression is robust in embryonic but not in adult endothelial cells (ECs), where it can be reactivated by hypoxia. Liu et al. show that apelin-driven expression of Cre recombinase in mice can be used for labelling of, or gene ablation in, sprouting but not quiescent ECs in pathologies characterized by hypoxia.
PMCID: PMC4309445  PMID: 25597280
2.  Efficacy and safety of Shenyankangfu tablets for primary glomerulonephritis: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15(1):479.
Chronic kidney disease is a common disease. Most chronic kidney diseases evolve from primary glomerulonephritis. Proteinuria is an independent risk factor for the progression of chronic kidney disease. The general consensus is that therapy administered to decrease proteinuria should include steroids and/or immunosuppressants, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers. However, the side effects of, and adverse reactions to, these agents reduce the benefits to patients. In addition, the cost of these drugs is relatively high. Therefore, identification of inexpensive and effective drugs to decrease proteinuria is urgently needed. Shenyankangfu tablets have been a widely applied Chinese patent medicine for many years to decrease proteinuria. However, there is a lack of research-derived data regarding the clinical use. Therefore, we designed the present randomized controlled clinical trial to compare the efficacy and safety of Shenyankangfu tablets versus losartan potassium for control of proteinuria in patients with primary glomerulonephritis.
This study will be a multicenter, prospective, double-blind, double-dummy, randomized controlled clinical trial. We will enroll 720 patients diagnosed with primary glomerulonephritis. The eligible patients will be randomly divided into the following groups at a 1:1:1:1:1 ratio: Shenyankangfu tablets group, losartan potassium 50 mg group, losartan potassium 100 mg group, Shenyankangfu tablets + losartan potassium 50 mg group, and Shenyankangfu tablets + losartan potassium 100 mg group. All groups will be followed up for 48 weeks; follow-up visits will be performed, at weeks 0, 4, 8, 12, 24, 36, and 48. The primary efficacy outcome will be the post-treatment change in the 24-hour proteinuria level, and the secondary efficacy outcomes will be the post-treatment changes in the serum creatinine level, estimated glomerular filtration rate, traditional Chinese medicine syndrome score, and serum albumin level.
The results of this trial will provide solid data for use in evidence-based medicine with respect to the efficacy and safety of Shenyankangfu tablets for control of proteinuria in patients with primary glomerulonephritis compared to those of losartan potassium. Moreover, we infer that therapy comprising Shenyankangfu tablets + losartan potassium can decrease proteinuria to a larger extent than Shenyankangfu tablets or losartan potassium can alone.
Trial registration
This trial was registered on 12 February 2014 at (ID number NCT02063100).
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-479) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4289030  PMID: 25480673
Glomerulonephritis; Proteinuria; Shenyankangfu tablets; Losartan; Efficacy; Safety; Randomized controlled trial; Double-blind
3.  Developmental changes in cell proliferation and apoptosis in the normal duck bursa of Fabricius 
Journal of Veterinary Science  2014;15(4):465-474.
The aim of this work was to investigate developmental changes in cell proliferation and apoptosis in normal duck bursa of Fabricius using flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Studies were carried out on Tianfu ducks on days 24 and 27 of embryogenesis (E24 and E27) along with days 20, 70, and 200 of postnatal development (P20, P70, and P200). Results showed that the percentage of G0/G1 bursa cells significantly increased between E24 and P200 while the percentage of cells in the S phase or G2 + M phase as well as the proliferating index obviously decreased during the same period. Proliferation cell nuclear antigen was detected in lymphocyte and interfollicular epithelium. The proliferative lymphocyte density tended to decrease from E24 to P200. Apoptotic bodies in macrophages, free apoptotic bodies, or nuclei with condensed chromatin in lymphocytes in follicles were identified by transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling. Both flow cytometry and microscopic analysis reveal that the proportion of apoptotic cells and apoptotic lymphocyte density increased from E24 to P20, fell on P70, then rose again on P200. Our foundings demonstrate that cell proliferation decreases and apoptosis increases with age. These changes may account for duck bursa development and involution.
PMCID: PMC4269588  PMID: 24962417
apoptosis; bursa of Fabricius; development; duck; proliferation
4.  Protective Roles of Sodium Selenite against Aflatoxin B1-Induced Apoptosis of Jejunum in Broilers 
The effects of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) exposure and sodium selenite supplementation on cell apoptosis of jejunum in broilers were studied. A total of 240 one-day-old male AA broilers were randomly assigned four dietary treatments containing 0 mg/kg of AFB1 (control), 0.3 mg/kg AFB1 (AFB1), 0.4 mg/kg supplement Se (+ Se) and 0.3 mg/kg AFB1 + 0.4 mg/kg supplement Se (AFB1 + Se), respectively. Compared with the control broilers, the number of apoptotic cells, the expression of Bax and Caspase-3 mRNA were significantly increased, while the expression of Bcl-2 mRNA and the Bcl-2/Bax ratio were significantly decreased in AFB1 broilers. The number of apoptotic cells and the expression of Caspase-3 mRNA in AFB1 + Se broilers were significantly higher than those in the control broilers, but significantly lower than those in AFB1 broilers. There were no significant changes in the expression of Bax mRNA between AFB1 + Se and control broilers; the expression of Bcl-2 mRNA and the Bcl-2/Bax ratio in AFB1 + Se broilers were significantly lower than those in the control broilers, but significantly higher than those in AFB1 broilers. In conclusion, 0.3 mg/kg AFB1 in the diet can increase cell apoptosis, decrease Bcl-2 mRNA expression, and increase of Bax and Caspase-3 mRNA expression in broiler’s jejunum. However, supplementation of dietary sodium selenite at the concentration of 0.4 mg/kg Se may ameliorate AFB1-induced apoptosis by increasing Bcl-2 mRNA expression, and decreasing Bax and Caspase-3 mRNA expression.
PMCID: PMC4276667  PMID: 25526081
aflatoxin B1; apoptosis; TUNEL; Bcl-2; Bax; Caspase-3
5.  Impact of type 2 diabetes mellitus on the prognosis of early stage triple-negative breast cancer in People’s Republic of China 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:2147-2154.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is one of the most common chronic metabolic diseases. Increased cause-specific mortality and decreased disease-free survival (DFS) have been reported among cancer patients with T2DM compared with patients without T2DM, even after adjustments of other comorbidities. However, less is known about the impact of T2DM and other comorbidities on DFS in Chinese patients with early stage triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Patients and methods
We assessed patients who were newly diagnosed with early stage primary TNBC at the Department of Breast Surgery, Fudan University, from 2003 to 2011. Of the 1,100 TNBC patients, 865 female patients had invasive and early stage TNBC. The association of the variables in the T2DM and non-T2DM groups was compared using the Pearson’s chi-square and independent t-tests. DFS was estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method. The effects of T2DM and other possible risk factors on DFS were assessed by Cox proportional hazards regression using univariate or multivariate analysis.
A total of 865 early stage primary TNBC cases were studied, including 104 (12.02%) subjects with T2DM. Metastatic or recurrent disease was detected in 24 (23.08%) patients in the T2DM group and 35 (4.60%) patients in the non-T2DM group. Patients with T2DM exhibited a significantly lower DFS than patients without T2DM (log-rank P<0.001). Similar results were observed when patients with positive lymph nodes were compared with patients with negative lymph nodes (log-rank P=0.003). T2DM was independently associated with a lower DFS after adjustments of other variables (adjusted hazard ratio, 7.719; 95% confidence interval, 4.304–13.843; P<0.001) and adjustments of lymph node positivity (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.407; 95% confidence interval, 1.391–4.166; P=0.002). The DFS rates at 2 years for the T2DM group and the non-T2DM group were 78% and 97%, respectively. The prognostic influence of T2DM was consistent across the subgroups, including subgroups by age (>50 or ≤50), menopausal status (post- or premenopausal), tumor size (>5 cm or ≤5 cm), lymph node involvement (positive or negative), and adjuvant chemotherapy (received or not) using the Kaplan–Meier method (log-rank P<0.05).
In the People’s Republic of China, T2DM is an independent prognostic risk factor that indicates an increased likelihood of recurrence and metastasis in patients with early stage TNBC. The presence of T2DM should be taken into account when evaluating the risk for an early stage TNBC patient. More effective therapeutic regimens are needed for early stage TNBC patients with T2DM.
PMCID: PMC4251575  PMID: 25473296
disease-free survival; hyperglycemia; highly aggressive breast cancer
6.  Synbindin in Extracellular Signal-Regulated Protein Kinase Spatial Regulation and Gastric Cancer Aggressiveness 
The molecular mechanisms that control the aggressiveness of gastric cancer (GC) remain poorly defined. Here we show that synbindin contributes to the aggressiveness of GC by activating extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) signaling on the Golgi apparatus.
Expression of synbindin was examined in normal gastric mucosa (n = 44), intestinal metaplastic gastric mucosa (n = 66), and GC tissues (n=52), and the biological effects of synbindin on tumor growth and ERK signaling were detected in cultured cells, nude mice, and human tissue samples. The interaction between synbindin and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK1)/ERK was determined by immunofluorescence and fluorescence resonance energy transfer assays. The transactivation of synbindin by nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) was detected using luciferase reporter assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation.
High expression of synbindin was associated with larger tumor size (120.8 vs 44.8cm3; P = .01), advanced tumor node metastasis (TNM) stage (P = .003), and shorter patient survival (hazard ratio = 1.51; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01 to 2.27; P = .046). Synbindin promotes cell proliferation and invasion by activating ERK2 on the Golgi apparatus, and synbindin is directly transactivated by NF-κB. Synbindin expression level was statistically significantly higher in human GCs with activated ERK2 than those with low ERK2 activity (intensity score of 11.5, 95% CI = 10.4 to 12.4 vs intensity score of 4.6, 95% CI 3.9 to 5.3; P < .001). Targeting synbindin in xenograft tumors decreased ERK2 phosphorylation and statistically significantly reduced tumor volume (451.2mm3, 95% CI = 328.3 to 574.1 vs 726.1mm3, 95% CI = 544.2 to 908.2; P = .01).
Synbindin contributes to malignant phenotypes of GC by activating ERK on the Golgi, and synbindin is a potential biomarker and therapeutic target for GC.
PMCID: PMC4042874  PMID: 24104608
7.  Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) reduces the cost of performing a cognitive task on gait and postural control 
The European journal of neuroscience  2014;39(8):1343-1348.
This proof-of-concept, double-blind study is designed to determine the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on the “cost” of performing a secondary cognitive task on gait and postural control in healthy young adults. Twenty adults aged 22±2yrs completed two separate double-blind visits in which gait and postural control were assessed immediately before and after a 20-minute session of either real or sham tDCS (1.5 mA) targeting the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Gait speed and stride duration variability, along with standing postural sway speed and area, were recorded under normal conditions and while simultaneously performing a serial-subtraction cognitive task. Dual task cost was calculated as the percent change in each outcome from normal to dual task conditions. tDCS was well-tolerated by all subjects. Stimulation did not alter gait or postural control under normal conditions. As compared to sham stimulation, real tDCS led to increased gait speed (p=0.006), as well as decreased standing postural sway speed (p=0.01) and area (p=0.01), when performing serial-subtraction task. Real tDCS also diminished (p<0.01) the dual task cost on each of these outcomes. No effects of tDCS were observed for stride duration variability. A single session of tDCS targeting the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex improved the ability to adapt one’s gait and postural control to a concurrent cognitive task and reduced the cost normally associated with such dual tasking. These results highlight the involvement of cortical brain networks in gait and posture control, and implicate the modulation of prefrontal cortical excitability as a potential therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC4221849  PMID: 24443958
Standing; Walking; Balance; Noninvasive; Dual Task
8.  Prognostic Value of Myeloid Differentiation Primary Response 88 and Toll-Like Receptor 4 in Breast Cancer Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111639.
Breast cancer remains a major cause of death in women worldwide, and tumor metastasis is the leading cause of death in breast cancer patients after conventional treatment. Chronic inflammation is often related to the occurrence and growth of various malignancies. This study evaluated the prognosis of breast cancer patients based on contributors to the innate immune response: myeloid differentiation primary response 88 (MyD88) and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4).
We analyzed data from 205 breast invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) patients who were treated at the Department of Breast Surgery, Key Laboratory of Breast Cancer in Shanghai, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, from 2002 to 2006. Overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were compared.
In total, 152 patients (74.15%) were disease-free without relapse or metastasis, whereas 53 (25.85%) patients developed recurrence or metastasis. A significant positive correlation was observed between MyD88 and TLR4 expression (p<0.001). Patients with high expression were more likely to experience death and recurrence/metastasis events (p<0.05). Patients with low MyD88 or TLR4 expression levels had better DFS and OS than patients with high expression levels (log-rank test: p<0.001). Patients with low MyD88 and TLR4 expression levels had better DFS and OS than patients with high expression levels of either (log-rank test: p<0.001). In a multivariate analysis, high MyD88 expression was an independent predictive factor for decreased DFS (adjusted HR, 3.324; 95% CI, 1.663–6.641; p = 0.001) and OS (adjusted HR, 4.500; 95% CI, 1.546–13.098; p = 0.006).
TLR4-MyD88 signaling pathway activation or MyD88 activation alone may be a risk factor for poor prognosis in breast cancer. Therefore, TLR4-MyD88 signaling pathway activation in tumor biology provides a novel potential target for breast cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC4216121  PMID: 25360699
9.  HBV serum and renal biopsy markers are associated with the clinicopathological characteristics of HBV-associated nephropathy 
Background: Accumulated evidence has shown that hepatitis B virus infection is associated with numerous types of nephropathy but it remains to clarify the different role of HBV markers, either in serum or deposit in kidney, in the pathogenesis of HBV-associated nephropathy. In this study, we investigated the relationship between HBV markers and HBV-associated nephropathy by using multi-linear regression in Chinese patients with HBV-associated membranous nephropathy (MN). Methods: A total of 196 cases of HBV-associated MN, which were diagnosed based on renal biopsy, were collected during the period of January 2000 to December 2009 from our hospital. Serum and renal biopsy HBV markers included HBsAg, anti-HBs, HBeAg, anti-HBe, and anti-HBC. HBV-associated nephropathy was characterized by a panel of clinical manifestations and pathological parameters, which included proteinuria, hematuria, serum creatinine, hypertension, and renal damage in glomeruli, tubules, interstitium, and blood vessels. Multilinear regression was used to analyze the relationship between the HBV markers in serum and renal biopsy and the clinicopathological characteristics of HBV-associated nephropathy. Results: After analysis of the clinical and pathological data in 196 cases of HBV-associated membranous nephropathy, this study revealed that glomerular lesion was marginally associated with serum HBsAg (P = 0.0528), Anti-HBs (P = 0.0978), but significantly associated with the presence of IgA (P = 0.0242), IgG (P < 0.0001) and C3 (P = 0.0064) in renal biopsy. There was no significant association between glomerular lesion and HBV markers in kidney. The presence of crescent and renal tube impairment was not related to HBV markers. The renal fibrosis was significantly related to gender (P = 0.023), age (P = 0.0211), HBsAg (P = 0.0001) and HBcAg (P = 0.0083) and C3 (P = 0.0299) in renal biopsy. Notably, the renal blood vessel impairment was significantly related to systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) (P < 0.0001), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (P = 0.0002), serum HBsAg (P = 0.0428), serum HBeAg (P = 0.0766), FRA (P = 0.0002), and HBsAg (P = 0.0241) and HBcAg (P = 0.0599) in renal tissues. Also, the renal interstitial infiltration was related to patient age (P = 0.015, SBP (P < 0.0001), DBP (P = 0.0001), C3 (P = 0.0028), FRA (P = 0.0165), HBsAg (P = 0.0016) and HBcAg (P = 0.0203) in kidney biopsy. These results suggest that the major pathological changes in kidneys in HBV patients are related to one or more HBV markers, such as HBsAg, HBeAg, or anti-HBs antibody. Besides, most of the pathological changes in kidneys are related to C3 and FRA in kidney tissues. The clinical markers of nephropathy, such as proteinuria, hematuria and creatine serum levels, were also evaluated for their relationship with HBV markers in serum and kidney tissues. We found proteinuria was marginally related to HBV DNA (P = 0.0537), significantly related to IgA (0.0223). Hematouria was significantly related to IgA (P = 0.0434), IgG (P < 0.0001), and C1q (P = 0.0282). The serum creatine level was related to patient gender (P = 0.0077), SBP (P < 0.0001), DBP (0.0049), IgG (P-0.0006), and C3 (P = 0.0113). These clinical manifestations were not related to HBV markers in either serum or kidney. These results indicate that some of clinical manifestations of nephropathy are related to HBV markers, but the relationship is limited.
PMCID: PMC4270632  PMID: 25550864
Hepatitis B virus; serum markers; nephropathy
10.  Enhanced breast cancer therapy with nsPEFs and low concentrations of gemcitabine 
Cancer Cell International  2014;14(1):98.
Chemotherapy either before or after surgery is a common breast cancer treatment. Long-term, high dose treatments with chemotherapeutic drugs often result in undesirable side effects, frequent recurrences and resistances to therapy.
The anti-cancer drug, gemcitabine (GEM) was used in combination with pulse power technology with nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs) for treatment of human breast cancer cells in vitro. Two strategies include sensitizing mammary tumor cells with GEM before nsPEF treatment or sensitizing cells with nsPEFs before GEM treatment. Breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 were treated with 250 65 ns-duration pulses and electric fields of 15, 20 or 25 kV/cm before or after treatment with 0.38 μM GEM.
Both cell lines exhibited robust synergism for loss of cell viability 24 h and 48 h after treatment; treatment with GEM before nsPEFs was the preferred order. In clonogenic assays, only MDA-MB-231 cells showed synergism; again GEM before nsPEFs was the preferred order. In apoptosis/necrosis assays with Annexin-V-FITC/propidium iodide 2 h after treatment, both cell lines exhibited apoptosis as a major cell death mechanism, but only MDA-MB-231 cells exhibited modest synergism. However, unlike viability assays, nsPEF treatment before GEM was preferred. MDA-MB-231 cells exhibited much greater levels of necrosis then in MCF-7 cells, which were very low. Synergy was robust and greater when nsPEF treatment was before GEM.
Combination treatments with low GEM concentrations and modest nsPEFs provide enhanced cytotoxicity in two breast cancer cell lines. The treatment order is flexible, although long-term survival and short-term cell death analyses indicated different treatment order preferences. Based on synergism, apoptosis mechanisms for both agents were more similar in MCF-7 than in MDA-MB-231 cells. In contrast, necrosis mechanisms for the two agents were distinctly different in MDA-MB-231, but too low to reliably evaluate in MCF-7 cells. While disease mechanisms in the two cell lines are different based on the differential synergistic response to treatments, combination treatment with GEM and nsPEFs should provide an advantageous therapy for breast cancer ablation in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4209047  PMID: 25379013
Breast cancer; MCF-7; MDA-MB-231; Nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs); Non-thermal; Gemcitabine; Synergism; Clonogenics; Apoptosis; Necrosis (necroptosis)
11.  FRET Imaging of Calcium Signaling in Live Cells under Microenvironment 
Microenvironment has been shown to regulate cellular functions including cell growth, differentiation, proliferation, migration, cancer development and metastasis. However, the underlying molecular mechanism remains largely unclear. We have integrated micro-pattern technology and molecular biosensors based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) to visualize calcium responses in cells constrained to grow on micro-patterned surface. Upon ATP stimulation, human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) cultured on different surface micro-patterns had a shorter decay time and reduced peak of a transient intracellular calcium rise comparing to control cells without constrains. The decay time is regulated by the plasma membrane and the membrane calcium channels, while the peak by endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium release. Further results revealed that voltage operated channels (VOCs), coupling the plasma membrane and ER, can affect both the decay time and the peak of calcium response. The inhibition of VOCs can eliminate the effect of different micro-patterns on calcium signals. When two connected HUVECs were constrained to grow on a micro-pattern, drastically distinct calcium responses upon ATP stimulation can be observed, in contrast to the similar responses of two connected cells cultured without patterns. Interestingly, the inhibition of VOCs also blocked this difference of calcium responses between two connected cells on micro-patterns. These results indicate that micro-patterned surface can have profound effect on the calcium responses of HUVECs under ATP stimulation, largely mediated by VOCs. Therefore, our results shed new lights on the molecular mechanism by which HUVECs perceive the microenvironment and regulate intracellular calcium signals.
PMCID: PMC4165894  PMID: 23250282
Micro/nano-fabrication; Surface pattern; FRET; soft lithography; live cell imaging
12.  Quantitative Estimation of Renal Function with Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced MRI Using a Modified Two-Compartment Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105087.
To establish a simple two-compartment model for glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal plasma flow (RPF) estimations by dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI).
Materials and Methods
A total of eight New Zealand white rabbits were included in DCE-MRI. The two-compartment model was modified with the impulse residue function in this study. First, the reliability of GFR measurement of the proposed model was compared with other published models in Monte Carlo simulation at different noise levels. Then, functional parameters were estimated in six healthy rabbits to test the feasibility of the new model. Moreover, in order to investigate its validity of GFR estimation, two rabbits underwent acute ischemia surgical procedure in unilateral kidney before DCE-MRI, and pixel-wise measurements were implemented to detect the cortical GFR alterations between normal and abnormal kidneys.
The lowest variability of GFR and RPF measurements were found in the proposed model in the comparison. Mean GFR was 3.03±1.1 ml/min and mean RPF was 2.64±0.5 ml/g/min in normal animals, which were in good agreement with the published values. Moreover, large GFR decline was found in dysfunction kidneys comparing to the contralateral control group.
Results in our study demonstrate that measurement of renal kinetic parameters based on the proposed model is feasible and it has the ability to discriminate GFR changes in healthy and diseased kidneys.
PMCID: PMC4139329  PMID: 25141138
13.  Incidence of Retinopathy of Prematurity in Southwestern China and Analysis of Risk Factors 
The aim of this study was to screen for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in southwestern China and understand the prevalence and risk factors of ROP, which may provide evidence useful in the prevention and treatment of ROP.
1864 preterm infants (gestational age of <37 weeks and birth weight of ≤2500 g) underwent ROP screening from January 2009 to November 2012 in Southwest China. The medical information of infants during perinatal period was reviewed, and risk factors of ROP were determined. A total of 1614 infants were recruited for final analysis.
Incidence of ROP was 12.8%. The first, second, third, and fourth stage of ROP was found in 64.6%, 29.6%, 3.4%, and 0.5% of infants, respectively. No fifth stage of ROP was observed. In addition, 7.7% of infants required surgical intervention. In our Department of Neonatology, the incidence of ROP was 20.0%, which was significantly higher than in non-hospitalized patients (9.9%). The incidence of ROP remained unchanged over the years. Independent risk factors of ROP included low birth weight (p=0.049), low gestational age (p=0.008), days of oxygen supplementation (p=0.008), and myocardial injury after birth (p=0.001).
The prevalence of ROP in preterm infants is relatively high in Southwest China, and low birth weight, low gestational age, days of oxygen supplementation, and myocardial injury after birth are independent risk factors for ROP.
PMCID: PMC4144944  PMID: 25124335
China; Prevalence; Retinopathy of Prematurity; Risk Factors
14.  Toxicological Effects of Nickel Chloride on IgA+ B Cells and sIgA, IgA, IgG, IgM in the Intestinal Mucosal Immunity in Broilers 
The objective of this study was to investigate the toxicological effects of dietary NiCl2 on IgA+ B cells and the immunoglobulins including sIgA, IgA, IgG and IgM in the small intestine and cecal tonsil of broilers by the methods of immunohistochemistry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Two hundred and forty one-day-old avian broilers were randomly divided into four groups and fed on a control diet and three experimental diets supplemented with 300, 600, and 900 mg/kg NiCl2 for 42 days. Compared with the control group, the IgA+ B cell number and the sIgA, IgA, IgG, and IgM contents in the NiCl2-treated groups were significantly decreased (p < 0.05 or p < 0.01). It was concluded that dietary NiCl2 in the excess of 300 mg/kg had negative effects on the IgA+ B cell number and the abovementioned immunoglobulin contents in the small intestine and the cecal tonsil. NiCl2-reduced sIgA, IgA, IgG and IgM contents is due to decrease in the population and/or the activation of B cell. The results suggest that NiCl2 at high levels has intestinal mucosal humoral immunotoxicity in animals.
PMCID: PMC4143856  PMID: 25116637
nickel chloride; IgA+ B cell; immunoglobulins; small intestine; cecal tonsil; broiler
15.  Histological Lesions, Cell Cycle Arrest, Apoptosis and T Cell Subsets Changes of Spleen in Chicken Fed Aflatoxin-contaminated Corn  
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of corn naturally contaminated with aflatoxin B1 and aflatoxin B2 on pathological lesions, apoptosis, cell cycle phases and T lymphocyte subsets of spleen, and to provide an experimental basis for understanding the mechanism of aflatoxin-induced immunosuppression. A total of 900 COBB500 male broilers were randomly allocated into five groups with six replicates per group and 30 birds per replicate. The experiment lasted for 6 weeks and the five dietary treatments consisted of control, 25% contaminated corn, 50% contaminated corn, 75% contaminated corn and 100% contaminated corn groups. The histopathological spleen lesions from the contaminated corn groups was characterized as congestion of red pulp, increased necrotic cells and vacuoles in the splenic corpuscle and periarterial lymphatic sheath. The contaminated corn intake significantly increased relative weight of spleen, percentages of apoptotic splenocytes, induced cell cycle arrest of splenocytes, increased the percentages of CD3+CD8+ T cells and decreased the ratios of CD3+CD4+ to CD3+CD8+. The results suggest that AFB-induced immunosuppression maybe closely related to the lesions of spleen.
PMCID: PMC4143878  PMID: 25141002
aflatoxin; broiler; pathological lesion; apoptosis; cell cycle
16.  De-SUMOylation of FOXC2 by SENP3 promotes the epithelial-mesenchymal transition in gastric cancer cells 
Oncotarget  2014;5(16):7093-7104.
The impact of cellular oxidative stress in promoting the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been noticed. Our previous study shows that SENP3, a redox-sensitive SUMO2/3-specific protease, accumulates in a variety of cancers, but whether SENP3 and SUMOylation involve in the regulation of EMT is unclear. The present study uncovers a novel role of SENP3 in promoting the EMT process in gastric cancer via regulating an EMT-inducing transcription factor, forkhead box C2 (FOXC2). We demonstrate that the expression of mesenchymal marker genes and cell migration ability are enhanced in SENP3-overexpressing gastric cancer cells and attenuated in SENP3-knockdown cells. A nude mouse model and a set of patient's specimens suggest the correlation between SENP3 and gastric cancer metastasis. Biochemical assays identify FOXC2 as a substrate of SENP3. Meanwhile N-cadherin is verified as a target gene of FOXC2, which is transcriptionally activated by a SUMO-less FOXC2. Additionally, reactive oxygen species-induced de-SUMOylation of FOXC2 can be blocked by silencing endogenous SENP3. In conclusion, SENP3, which is increased in gastric cancer cells, potentiates the transcriptional activity of FOXC2 through de-SUMOylation, in favor of the induction of specific mesenchymal gene expression in gastric cancer metastasis.
PMCID: PMC4196186  PMID: 25216525
epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT); reactive oxygen species (ROS); SENP3; SUMO2/3; FOXC2; gastric cancer
17.  Targeting IRAK1 as a therapeutic approach for Myelodysplastic Syndrome 
Cancer cell  2013;24(1):90-104.
Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) arise from a defective hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell. Consequently, there is an urgent need to develop targeted therapies capable of eliminating the MDS-initiating clones. We identified that IRAK1, an immune modulating kinase, is overexpressed and hyperactivated in MDS. MDS clones treated with a small-molecule IRAK1 inhibitor (IRAK1/4-Inh) exhibited impaired expansion and increased apoptosis, which coincided with TRAF6/NF- κB inhibition. Suppression of IRAK1, either by RNAi or with IRAK1/4-Inh, is detrimental to MDS cells while sparing normal CD34+ cells. Based on an integrative gene expression analysis, we combined IRAK1 and BCL2 inhibitors and found that co-treatment more effectively eliminated MDS clones. In summary, these findings implicate IRAK1 as a drugable target in MDS.
PMCID: PMC3711103  PMID: 23845443
18.  Evaluation and clinical significance of the stomach age model for evaluating aging of the stomach-a multicenter study in China 
A higher prevalence of chronic atrophic gastritis (CAG) occurs in younger adults in Asia. We used Stomach Age to examine the different mechanisms of CAG between younger adults and elderly individuals, and established a simple model of cancer risk that can be applied to CAG surveillance.
Stomach Age was determined by FISH examination of telomere length in stomach biopsies. Δψm was also determined by flow cytometry. Sixty volunteers were used to confirm the linear relationship between telomere length and age while 120 subjects were used to build a mathematical model by a multivariate analysis. Overall, 146 subjects were used to evaluate the validity of the model, and 1,007 subjects were used to evaluate the relationship between prognosis and Δage (calculated from the mathematical model). ROC curves were used to evaluate the relationship between prognosis and Δage and to determine the cut-off point for Δage.
We established that a tight linear relationship between the telomere length and the age. The telomere length was obvious different between patients with and without CAG even in the same age. Δψm decreased in individuals whose Stomach Age was greater than real age, especially in younger adults. A mathematical model of Stomach Age (real age + Δage) was successfully constructed which was easy to apply in clinical work. A higher Δage was correlated with a worse outcome. The criterion of Δage >3.11 should be considered as the cut-off to select the subgroup of patients who require endoscopic surveillance.
Variation in Stomach Age between individuals of the same biological age was confirmed. Attention should be paid to those with a greater Stomach Age, especially in younger adults. The Δage in the Simple Model can be used as a criterion to select CAG patients for gastric cancer surveillance.
PMCID: PMC4096444  PMID: 25057261
Stomach Age; Chronic atrophic gastritis; Gastric cancer surveillance; Model
19.  Death associated protein kinase 2 is expressed in cortical interstitial cells of the mouse kidney 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:345.
DAPK2 is a pro-apoptotic protein kinase that associates with TGFβ receptors. The homolog DAPK1 has been shown to mediate apoptosis in kidney injury. Expression databases indicate that DAPK2 is expressed in the kidney, and in this work we investigate the localization of renal DAPK2 expression and its role in the kidney.
Immunostaining demonstrates DAPK2 expression in interstitial cells of the renal cortex including PDGFRβ-positive pericytes and the CD73-positive erythropoietin-expressing fibroblast population. Tubulointerstitial fibrosis in experimental CKD arises directly from resident interstitial cells, and we therefore evaluated the expression of DAPK2 in the expanded interstitium of mice with kidney disease induced by chronic cisplatin administration. Expanded renal interstitium in these animals was negative for DAPK2 expression, but healthy areas of the kidney in which the tubular interstitium had not expanded expressed DAPK2 at levels similar to the uninjured control. Dapk2 null mice were generated to evaluate if DAPK2 is required for formation of the kidney, or its maintenance in the adult. Kidneys of Dapk2 null mice did not show overt malformations or age-related degeneration, but did show a slight increase in the number of interstitial fibroblasts. Differences were seen between Dapk2 null mice and wild type controls in the response to tubulointerstitial fibrosis caused by chronic cisplatin administration. Although mutant and wild type mice displayed comparable levels of alpha smooth muscle actin, interstitial proliferation and SMAD2 signaling, Dapk2 null mice showed reduced interstitial collagen accumulation.
In the kidney, DAPK2 is strongly and specifically expressed in interstitial cells of the cortex, providing a useful marker for this important cell population. Dapk2 null mice are phenotypically normal under steady state conditions, but display some resistance to extracellular matrix deposition in experimental renal fibrosis indicating that DAPK2 plays a profibrotic role in kidney injury.
PMCID: PMC4059477  PMID: 24906443
DAPK2; Kidney; Chronic kidney disease; Fibrosis; TGFβ; Cisplatin
20.  Genetic Variations of IL-12B, IL-12Rβ1, IL-12Rβ2 in Behcet's Disease and VKH Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98373.
To investigate the associations of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of three genes (IL-12B, IL-12Rβ1 and IL-12Rβ2) in Behcet's disease (BD) and Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) syndrome in a Chinese Han population.
A total of 806 BD cases, 820 VKH patients, and 1600 healthy controls were involved in this study. The first investigation included 400 BD patients, 400 VKH cases, and 600 healthy individuals. A second confirmatory study included a separate set of 406 BD patients, 420 VKH cases and another 1000 normal controls. Genotyping was carried out by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism assay and results were validated by using direct sequencing. The χ2 test was performed to compare the allele and genotype frequencies between cases and healthy controls.
This study comprised two phases. In the first phase study, a significantly increased frequency of the rs3212227/IL-12B genotype CC and C allele was found in BD patients as compared to controls (Bonferroni corrected p value (pc) = 0.009, OR 1.8; pc = 0.024, OR 1.3, respectively). Moreover, the frequency of the C allele of rs3212227/IL-12B was also significantly increased in VKH patients (pc = 0.012, OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.6). No associations were found for the other seven tested SNPs either in BD or VKH disease. The second study as well as the combined data confirmed the significant association of rs3212227/IL-12B with BD (CC genotype: combined pc = 6.3×10−7, OR = 1.8; C allele: combined pc = 2.0×10−5, OR = 1.3, respectively) and the C allele frequency of rs3212227/IL-12B as the risk factor to VKH patients (combined pc = 2.5×10−5, OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.2 to 1.5).
Our study revealed that the IL-12B gene is involved both in the susceptibility to BD as well as VKH syndrome.
PMCID: PMC4032269  PMID: 24859272
21.  Association of a TNIP1 Polymorphism with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Syndrome but Not with Ocular Behcet’s Disease in Han Chinese 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95573.
The aim of the study was to investigate the association of TNFα-induced protein 3 interacting with protein 1 (TNIP1) gene polymorphisms with Vogt–Koyanagi–Harada (VKH) syndrome and Behcet’s disease (BD) in a Han Chinese population.
A total of 656 BD patients, 961 VKH syndrome patients and 1534 healthy controls were included in this two-stage case control study. Seven SNPs, including rs17728338, rs7708392, rs10036748, rs3762999, rs999556, rs4958881 and rs3792783, belonging to TNIP1 were genotyped and analyzed by the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method. The data were analyzed by using the χ2 or Fisher's exact test and corrected for multiple comparisons by the Bonferroni method.
A significantly increased frequency of the GG genotype and a decreased frequency of the AG genotype of rs17728338 were found in VKH patients (Pc = 0.038 OR = 1.934, 95% CI  = 1.438∼2.601). No significant difference was noted in allele or genotype frequencies of rs7708392, rs10036748, rs3762999, rs999556, rs4958881 and rs3792783, between VKH patients and healthy controls (Pc>0.05). No significant difference was noted in allele or genotype frequencies of the tested 7 SNPs between BD patients and healthy controls. Analysis of extraocular clinical findings, did not reveal an association of the TNIP1 gene polymorphisms with BD or VKH syndrome subgroups.
A TNIP1 polymorphism may be a risk factor for VKH syndrome in Han Chinese.
PMCID: PMC4008420  PMID: 24788730
22.  A long non-coding RNA signature to improve prognosis prediction of colorectal cancer 
Oncotarget  2014;5(8):2230-2242.
Increasing evidence suggests long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are frequently aberrantly expressed in cancers, however, few related lncRNA signatures have been established for prediction of cancer prognosis. We aimed to develop a lncRNA signature to improve prognosis prediction of colorectal cancer (CRC). Using a lncRNA-mining approach, we performed lncRNA expression profiling in large CRC cohorts from Gene Expression Ominus (GEO), including GSE39582 test series(N=436), internal validation series (N=117); and two independent validation series GSE14333 (N=197) and GSE17536(N=145). We established a set of six lncRNAs that were significantly correlated with the disease free survival (DFS) in the test series. Based on this six-lncRNA signature, the test series patients could be classified into high-risk and low-risk subgroups with significantly different DFS (HR=2.670; P<0.0001). The prognostic value of this six-lncRNA signature was confirmed in the internal validation series and another two independent CRC sets. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) analysis suggested that risk score positively correlated with several cancer metastasis related pathways. Functional experiments demonstrated three dysregulated lncRNAs, AK123657, BX648207 and BX649059 were required for efficient invasion and proliferation suppression in CRC cell lines. Our results might provide an efficient classification tool for clinical prognosis evaluation of CRC.
PMCID: PMC4039159  PMID: 24809982
colorectal cancer; lncRNAs; survival; GSEA
23.  A Novel MRI-compatible Tactile Stimulator for Cortical Mapping of Foot Sole Pressure Stimuli with fMRI 
Foot sole somatosensory feedback is critical to motor control and declines with aging and disease. To enable study of cortical networks underlying foot sole somatosensation we developed a pneumatic tactile stimulator capable of producing 1-DOF oscillations with preset waveform, frequency (≤10 Hz), force magnitude (5-500 N), duty cycle (20%-100%) and contacted surface area over which pressures are applied to the foot sole. Image tests (anatomical/functional/field map) of a phantom demonstrated that the device is compatible with 3T MRI. GRE-EPI images of seven healthy young adults using a typical block-designed 1Hz sinusoidal stimulation protocol revealed significant activation contralaterally within the primary somatosensory cortex and paracentral gyrus, and bilaterally within the secondary somatosensory cortex. The stimulation system may therefore serve as a research tool to study functional brain networks involved in the perception and modulation of foot sole somatosensation and its relationship to motor control.
PMCID: PMC3704153  PMID: 22678849
Plantar; somatosensory; gait; feedback; pneumatic
24.  Combined PTEN Mutation and Protein Expression Associate with Overall and Disease-Free Survival of Glioblastoma Patients12 
Translational Oncology  2014;7(2):196-205.e1.
Phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) is a tumor suppressor commonly inactivated in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), but the prognostic significance of PTEN remains controversial. Here, we demon- strate significant prognostic value of combined PTEN mutation and expression for the survival of patients with GBM on the basis of analysis of large-scale cancer genomic data. PTEN nonsense mutations associated with sig- nificantly shorter disease-free survival and overexpression of PTEN protein linked to shorter disease-free and overall survival of patients with GBM. PTEN nonsense mutations correlated with decreased p53 and Gata3 protein levels and increased genomic instability in human GBM tissues. Expression of nonsense PTEN mutant decreased p53 and Gata3 levels, producing increased DNA damage both in vitro and in vivo. Mice carrying xenograft tumors with nonsense PTEN mutant displayed significantly shorter survival. Our data demonstrated the prognostic value of combined PTEN mutation and protein expression for patients with GBM and highlighted distinct biologic effects of nonsense and missense mutations of PTEN.
PMCID: PMC4101389  PMID: 24721394
25.  Heterogeneity of Li-Fraumeni Syndrome links to unequal gain-of-function effects of p53 mutations 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4223.
Mutations of p53 cause not only loss of wild-type function but also gain of novel oncogenic functions (GOF). Accumulating evidence suggest that p53 hotspot mutations may confer different types and magnitudes of GOF. Here we add support to the heterogeneity of mutant p53 GOF by showing their unequal association with early tumor onset and spectrum of tumor types. We stratified Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) patients according to carried p53 mutations using data from the updated p53 germline mutation database. When compared to loss-of-function nonsense mutations, the R282 GOF mutation associated with significantly earlier onset, while the G245 mutation displayed later onset. The R175, Y220, R248, R282 and nonsense mutations showed preferential distribution in certain cancer types, which varied in the age of onset. Multivariate COX regression model adjusting for cancer types and patient sex suggested that nonsense and G245 mutations had lower risk than R248 for early onset, suggesting unequal strengths of mutant GOF effects. Our results suggest that Li-Fraumeni syndrome can be subdivided into subtypes linking to unequal GOF effects of p53 mutations. These findings have potential implications in the prevention, early detection and targeted treatment of LFS tumors.
PMCID: PMC3936234  PMID: 24573247

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