Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH) is a common pathophysiological state that usually occurs in conditions such as vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease, both of which are characterized by cognitive impairment. In previous studies we found that learning capacity and memory were gradually impaired with CCH, which altered the expression of synaptophysin, microtubule associated protein-2, growth associated protein-43, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, nerve growth factor, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit 1, cAMP response element-binding protein and tau hyperphosphorylation in the hippocampus. However, the molecular basis of cognitive impairment in CCH remains obscure. Here we explore the hypothesis that the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt) signal pathway is involved in this type of cognitive impairment. In order to determine if the expression of PI3K, Akt and phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt) proteins are altered at different stages of CCH with differing levels of cognitive impairment. we performed permanent, bilateral occlusion of the common carotid arteries (2-VO) to induce CCH. Adult male SD rats were randomly divided into sham-operated group, 2-VO 1 week group, 2-VO 4 weeks group and 2-VO 8 weeks group. Behavior tests were utilized to assess cognitive abilities, while western blots were utilized to evaluate protein expression. Rats in the 2-VO groups spent less time exploring novel objects than those in the sham-operated group, and the discrimination ratio of the 2-VO 8 weeks group and the sham-operated group were higher than chance (0.50). Escape latencies in the Morris water maze task in the 2-VO 1 week group were longer than those in the sham-operated group on day 4 and day 5, while escape latencies in the 2-VO 4 weeks group were longer than those in the sham-operated group from day 3 to day 5. Escape latencies in 2-VO 8 weeks group were longer than those in the sham-operated group from day 2 to day 5. NE (northeast) square swimming times in the 2-VO 1 week group, 2-VO 4 weeks group and 2-VO 8 weeks group were shorter than that in the sham-operated group. Western blotting showed that the PI3K expression in the 2-VO 1 week group was lower than that in sham-operated group, while p-Akt expression in the 2-VO 8 weeks group was higher than that in the sham-operated group. There was a linear relationship between the PI3K expression and the discrimination ratio, as well as a linear relationship between the PI3K and NE square swimming time. Thus, we propose that the PI3K/Akt signal pathway is an important cell pathway that is associated with the cognitive impairment following CCH.
Ginsenoside Rb1 (RB1), the most clinically effective constituent of ginseng, possesses a variety of biological activities. The objectives of this study were to investigate the protective effects of RB1 and its underlying mechanism on renal injury induced by intestinal ischemia-reperfusion (IIR) in mice. RB1 was administered prior to inducing IIR achieved by occluding the superior mesenteric artery for 45 min followed by 120 min of reperfusion. All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) was used as an inhibitor of NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) signaling. Adult male C57BL/6J mice were randomly divided into six groups: (1) sham group, (2) IIR group, (3) RB1 group, (4) sham + ATRA group, (5) IIR + ATRA group, and (6) RB1 + ATRA group. Intestinal histology and pathological injury score were observed. Intestinal mucosal injury was also evaluated by measuring serum diamine oxidase (DAO). Renal injury induced by IIR was characterized by increased levels of histological severity score, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), serum creatinine (Scr) and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), which was accompanied with elevated renal TUNEL-positive cells and the Bcl-2/Bax expression ratio. RB1 significantly reduced renal injury and apoptosis as compared with IIR group, which was reversed by ATRA treatment. Immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis demonstrated that RB1 significantly upregulated the protein expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and Nrf2, which were attenuated by ATRA treatment. Taken together, these results suggest that the protective effects of RB1 pretreatment against renal injury induced by IIR are associated with activation of the Nrf2/ anti-oxidant response element (ARE) pathway.
TFIIB (transcription factor IIB) is a transcription factor that provides a bridge between promoter-bound TFIID and RNA polymerase II, and it is a target of various transcriptional activator proteins that stimulate the pre-initiation complex assembly. The localization and/or attachment matrix of TFIIB in the cytoplast is not well understood. This study focuses on the function of TFIIB and its interrelationship with α-tubulins in a mouse model. During oocyte maturation TFIIB distributes throughout the entire nucleus of the germinal vesicle (GV). After progression to GV breakdown (GVBD), TFIIB and α-tubulin co-localize and accumulate in the vicinity of the condensed chromosomes. During the MII stage, the TFIIB signals are more concentrated at the equatorial plate and the kinetochores. Colcemid treatment of oocytes disrupts the microtubule (MT) system, although the TFIIB signals are still present with the altered MT state. Injection of oocytes with TFIIB antibodies and siRNAs causes abnormal spindle formation and irregular chromosome alignment. These findings suggest that TFIIB dissociates from the condensed chromatids and then tightly binds to microtubules from GVBD to the MII phase. The assembly and disassembly of TFIIB may very well be associated with and driven by microtubules. TFIIB maintains its contact with the α-tubulins and its co-localization forms a unique distribution pattern. Depletion of Tf2b in oocytes results in a significant decrease in TFIIB expression, although polar body extrusion does not appear to be affected. Knockdown of Tf2b dramatically affects subsequent embryo development with more than 85% of the embryos arrested at the 2-cell stage. These arrested embryos still maintain apparently normal morphology for at least 96h without any obvious degeneration. Analysis of the effects of TFIIB in somatic cells by co-transfection of BiFC plasmids pHA-Tf2b and pFlag-Tuba1α further confirms a direct interaction between TFIIB and α-tubulins.
We report the use of poly(amidoamine) dendrimers as stabilizers to synthesize ultrathin Au nanowires (NWs) with a diameter of 1.3 nm via a hydrothermal approach. The formation of uniform Au NWs was optimized by varying the Au/Ag salt molar ratio, dendrimer stabilizers, and reaction solvent, temperature, and time. A novel growth mechanism involving a synergic facet-dependent deposition/reduction of Ag(I) and oriented migration of Au atoms is proposed based on density functional theory calculations and the experimental results. This work can significantly expand the scope of dendrimers as stabilizers to generate metal NWs in aqueous solution that may be further functionalized for different applications.
Plasmodium vivax is the main malaria parasite in China, and China is now making efforts to eliminate malaria by 2020. Radical cure of vivax malaria is one of challenges for malaria elimination. The purpose is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of artemisinin-naphthoquine (ANQ) versus chloroquine-primaquine (CQ-PQ) in treatment of vivax malaria in Yunnan Province, China.
An open-label randomized and non-inferiority design, eligible patients with monoinfections of P. vivax were randomly assigned to receive either a total target dose of ANQ 24.5 mg/kg (naphthoquine 7 mg/kg and artemisinin 17.5 mg/kg), once a day for three days, or a total CQ dose of 24 mg base/kg, once a day for three days plus a PQ dose of 0.45 mg base/kg/day, once a day for eight days. Patients were followed up for one year. The difference in efficacy between ANQ and CQ-PQ was compared via Wilson’s test.
By day 42, the number of patients free of recurrence was 125 (98.4%; 95% Confidence interval, 94.4-99.8%) for ANQ arm and 123 (96.1%; 95%CI, 91.1-98.7%) for CQ-PQ, and non-significant (P = 0.4496). By day 365, the number was 101 (79.5%; 95%CI, 71.8-85.9%) for ANQ and 106 (82.8%; 95%CI, 75.1-88.9%) for CQ-PQ, and non-significant (P = 0.610). So the proportions of patients free of recurrence had no significant difference between ANQ and CQ-PQ groups by day 28, 42 and 365; compared with CQ-PQ, the side effect of ANQ was mild.
ANQ is non-inferior to CQ-PQ in terms of patients free of recurrence, and safer than CQ-PQ.
Plasmodium vivax; Artemisinin-naphthoquine; Efficacy; Safety
Menstrual-related migraine is a common form of migraine affecting >50% of female migraineurs. Acupuncture may be a choice for menstrual-related migraine, when pharmacological prophylaxis is not suitable. However, the efficacy of acupuncture has not been confirmed. We design and perform a randomized controlled clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture compared with naproxen in menstrual-related migraine patients.
This is a multicenter, single blind, randomized controlled clinical trial. A total of 184 participants will be randomly assigned to two different groups. Participants will receive verum acupuncture and placebo medicine in the treatment group, while participants in the control group will be treated with sham acupuncture and medicine (Naproxen Sustained Release Tablets). All treatments will be given for 3 months (menstrual cycles).
The primary outcome measures are the change of migraine days inside the menstrual cycle and the proportion of responders (defined as the proportion of patients with at least a 50% reduction in the number of menstrual migraine days). The secondary outcome measures are the change of migraine days outside the menstrual cycle, duration of migraine attack, the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and intake of acute medication. The assessment will be made at baseline (before treatment), 3 months (menstrual cycles), and 4 months (menstrual cycles) after the first acupuncture session.
The results of this trial will be helpful to supply the efficacy of acupuncture for menstrual-related migraine prophylaxis.
Seasonal associations of cardiovascular mortality have been noted in most populations of European origin years ago, but are not well evaluated in Asian populations recently.
Utilizing the electronic Hospitalization Summary Reports (HSRs) from 32 top-ranked hospitals in Beijing, China, we evaluated the association between winter season and the risk of cardiovascular death among hospitalized individuals. General additive models and logistic regression models were adjusted for confounding factors.
Older patients who were admitted to the hospital in the winter months (January, February, November and December) had a death risk that was increased by approximately 30% to 50% (P < 0.01) over those who were admitted in May. However, younger patients did not seem to experience the same seasonal variations in death risk. The excess winter deaths among older patients were associated with ischemic heart disease (RR = 1.22; 95% CI 1.13 to 1.31), pulmonary heart disease (RR = 1.42; 95% CI 1.10 to 1.83), cardiac arrhythmias (RR = 1.67; 95% CI 1.36 to 2.05), heart failure (RR = 1.30; 95% CI 1.09 to 1.54), ischemic stroke (RR = 1.30; 95% CI 1.17 to 1.43), and other cerebrovascular diseases (RR = 1.78; 95% CI 1.40 to 2.25). The risks of mortality were higher in winter months than in the month of May, regardless of the presence or absence of respiratory disease.
Winter season was associated with a substantially increased risk of cardiovascular death among older Chinese cardiovascular inpatients.
Cardiovascular disease; Winter; Seasonality; Older adults; Mortality; Asian population
To assess the therapeutic outcome and failure pattern of three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT)-based concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) for recurrence of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) after radical surgery.
Treatment outcome and failure pattern were retrospectively evaluated in 83 patients with localized cervical and thoracic recurrences after radical surgery for thoracic esophageal SCC. All patients were treated with 3DCRT-based CCRT (median radiation dose 60 Gy), in which 39 received concurrent cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil (PF), and 44 received concurrent docetaxel plus cisplatin (TP). Treatment response was evaluated at 1–3 months after CCRT.
With a median follow-up of 34 months (range, 2–116 months), the 3-year overall survival (OS) of all the patients was 51.8% and the median OS time was 43.0 months. The overall tumor response rate was 75.9% (63/83), with a complete remission (CR) rate of 44.6% (37/83). In univariate analysis, tumor response after CCRT (p = 0.000), recurrence site (p = 0.028) and concurrent chemotherapy (p = 0.090) showed a trend favoring better OS. Multivariate analysis revealed that tumor response after CCRT (p = 0.000) and concurrent chemotherapy (p = 0.010) were independent predictors of OS. Forty-seven patients had progressive diseases after CCRT, 27 had local failure (27/47, 57.4%), 18 had distant metastasis (18/47, 38.3%) and 2 had both local and distant failures (2/47, 4.3%).
3DCRT-based CCRT is effective in postoperatively recurrent esophageal SCC. Patients that obtained complete remission after CCRT appeared to achieve long-term OS and might benefit from concurrent TP regimen. Local and distant failures remained high and prospective studies are needed to validate these factors.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Postoperative recurrence; Concurrent chemoradiotherapy
Ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury is associated with intestinal microbial dysbiosis. The “gut-liver axis” closely links gut function and liver function in health and disease. Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) has been proven to reduce I/R injury in the surgery. This study aims to explore the effect of IPC on intestinal microbiota and to analyze characteristics of microbial structure shift following liver transplantation (LT).
The LT animal models of liver and gut IPC were established. Hepatic graft function was assessed by histology and serum ALT/AST. Intestinal barrier function was evaluated by mucosal ultrastructure, serum endotoxin, bacterial translocation, fecal sIgA content and serum TNF-α. Intestinal bacterial populations were determined by quantitative PCR. Microbial composition was characterized by DGGE and specific bacterial species were determined by sequence analysis.
Liver IPC improved hepatic graft function expressed as ameliorated graft structure and reduced ALT/AST levels. After administration of liver IPC, intestinal mucosal ultrastructure improved, serum endotoxin and bacterial translocation mildly decreased, fecal sIgA content increased, and serum TNF-α decreased. Moreover, liver IPC promoted microbial restorations mainly through restoring Bifidobacterium spp., Clostridium clusters XI and Clostridium cluster XIVab on bacterial genus level. DGGE profiles indicated that liver IPC increased microbial diversity and species richness, and cluster analysis demonstrated that microbial structures were similar and clustered together between the NC group and Liver-IPC group. Furthermore, the phylogenetic tree of band sequences showed key bacteria corresponding to 10 key band classes of microbial structure shift induced by liver IPC, most of which were assigned to Bacteroidetes phylum.
Liver IPC cannot only improve hepatic graft function and intestinal barrier function, but also promote restorations of intestinal microbiota following LT, which may further benefit hepatic graft by positive feedback of the “gut-liver axis”.
Although Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is recognized as the most metastatic variant of locally advanced breast cancer, the molecular basis for the distinct clinical presentation and accelerated program of metastasis of IBC is unknown. Reverse phase protein arrays revealed activation of the receptor tyrosine kinase, anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and biochemically-linked downstream signaling molecules including JAK1/STAT3, AKT, mTor, PDK1, and AMPKβ in pre-clinical models of IBC. To evaluate the clinical relevance of ALK in IBC, analysis of 25 IBC patient tumors using the FDA approved diagnostic test for ALK genetic abnormalities was performed. These studies revealed that 20/25 (80%) had either increased ALK copy number, low level ALK gene amplification, or ALK gene expression, with a prevalence of ALK alterations in basal-like IBC. One of 25 patients was identified as having an EML4-ALK translocation. The generality of gains in ALK copy number in basal-like breast tumors with IBC characteristics was demonstrated by analysis of 479 breast tumors using the TGCA data-base and our newly developed 79 IBC-like gene signature. The small molecule dual tyrosine kinase cMET/ALK inhibitor, Crizotinib (PF-02341066/Xalkori®, Pfizer Inc), induced both cytotoxicity (IC50 = 0.89 μM) and apoptosis, with abrogation of pALK signaling in IBC tumor cells and in FC-IBC01 tumor xenograft model, a new IBC model derived from pleural effusion cells isolated from an ALK+ IBC patient. Based on these studies, IBC patients are currently being evaluated for the presence of ALK genetic abnormalities and when eligible, are being enrolled into clinical trials evaluating ALK targeted therapeutics.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-497) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Inflammatory breast cancer; Anaplastic lymphoma kinase; Reverse phase protein arrays; Crizotinib
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a deadly disease characterized by chronic inflammation and excessive collagen accumulation in the lung. Myofibroblasts are the primary collagen-producing cells in pulmonary fibrosis. Histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) can affect gene expression, and some, such as suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), are US FDA approved for cancer treatment. In this study, we investigated SAHA’s effects on the expression of collagen III alpha 1 (COL3A1) in primary human IPF fibroblasts and in a murine model of pulmonary fibrosis. We observed that increased COL3A1 expression in IPF fibroblasts can be substantially reduced by SAHA treatment at the level of transcription as detected by RT-PCR; collagen III protein level was also reduced, as detected by Western blots and immunofluorescence. The deacetylation inhibitor effect of SAHA was verified by observing higher acetylation levels of both histone H3 and H4 in treated IPF cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments demonstrated that the reduced expression of COL3A1 by SAHA is with increased association of the repressive chromatin marker, H3K27Me3, and decreased association of the active chromatin marker, H3K9Ac. In our murine model of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis, the SAHA treated group demonstrated significantly less collagen III, as detected by immunohistochemistry. Our data indicate that the HDACi SAHA alters the chromatin associated with COL3A1, resulting in its decreased expression.
histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi); suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA); histone modification; epigenetic; collagen III; COL3A1; fibroblasts; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
Protein function prediction is an important problem in the post-genomic era. Recent advances in experimental biology have enabled the production of vast amounts of protein-protein interaction (PPI) data. Thus, using PPI data to functionally annotate proteins has been extensively studied. However, most existing network-based approaches do not work well when annotation and interaction information is inadequate in the networks.
In this paper, we proposed a new method that combines PPI information and protein sequence information to boost the prediction performance based on collective classification. Our method divides function prediction into two phases: First, the original PPI network is enriched by adding a number of edges that are inferred from protein sequence information. We call the added edges implicit edges, and the existing ones explicit edges correspondingly. Second, a collective classification algorithm is employed on the new network to predict protein function.
We conducted extensive experiments on two real, publicly available PPI datasets. Compared to four existing protein function prediction approaches, our method performs better in many situations, which shows that adding implicit edges can indeed improve the prediction performance. Furthermore, the experimental results also indicate that our method is significantly better than the compared approaches in sparsely-labeled networks, and it is robust to the change of the proportion of annotated proteins.
Rationale: DNA methylation is an important epigenetic mechanism, which often occurs in response to environmental stimuli and is crucial in regulating gene expression. It is likely that epigenetic alterations contribute to pathogenesis in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Objectives: To determine the DNA methylation changes in IPF and their effects on gene expression.
Methods: Total DNA methylation and DNA methyltransferase expression were compared in IPF and normal control lung tissues. IPF and normal tissues were subjected to comparative analysis of genome-wide DNA methylation and RNA expression using DNA hybridization to the Illumina HumanMethylation27 BeadChip and RNA hybridization to Illumina HumanHT-12 BeadChip. Functional analyses of differentially expressed and differentially methylated genes were done. Selected genes were validated at DNA, RNA, and protein levels.
Measurements and Main Results: DNA methylation status was altered in IPF. IPF samples demonstrated higher DNA methyltransferase expression without observed alterations in global DNA methylation. Genome-wide differences in DNA methylation status and RNA expression were demonstrated by array hybridization. Among the genes whose DNA methylation status and RNA expression were both significantly altered, 16 genes were hypermethylated in DNA associated with decreased mRNA expression or vice versa. We validated CLDN5, ZNF467, TP53INP1, and DDAH1 genes at the level of DNA methylation status, RNA, and protein-level expression.
Conclusions: Changes in DNA methylation correspond to altered mRNA expression of a number of genes, some with known and others with previously uncharacterized roles in IPF, suggesting that DNA methylation is important in the pathogenesis of IPF.
idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; DNA methylation; gene expression; microarray
Previous studies have showed that wheat gluten hydrolysate (WGH) has the anti-oxidative property. In the present study, we examined the possible safety property of WGH and the beneficial effects of WGH to extend lifespan and induce stress resistance using nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as the in vivo assay system. We found that WGH at concentrations of 0.1–1 mg/mL did not cause lethality, influence development, alter locomotion behavior and brood size, and induce significant intestinal autofluorescence and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in young adults. Treatment with 0.1–1 mg/mL of WGH significantly extended lifespans of nematodes under the normal conditions. Moreover, WGH treatment significantly inhibited the induction of intestinal autofluorescence and suppressed the decrease in locomotion behavior during the aging process of nematodes. Furthermore, pre-treatment with 1 mg/mL of WGH significantly suppressed the adverse effects caused by heat-stress or oxidative stress on nematodes as indicated by the alterations of both lifespan and intestinal ROS production. Therefore, WGH treatment is relatively safe and has beneficial effects on nematodes under both the normal conditions and the stress conditions.
Rapid and simultaneous splicing of multiple DNA fragments is frequently required in many recombinant DNA projects. However, former overlap extension PCRs, the most common methods for splicing DNA fragments, are not really simultaneous fusing of multiple DNA fragments.
We performed an optimized method which allowed simultaneous splicing of multiple DNA fragments in one PCR reaction. Shorter outermost primers were prior mixed with other PCR components at the same time. A sequential thermo cycling program was adopted for overlap extension reaction and amplification of spliced DNA. Annealing temperature was relatively higher in the overlap extension reaction stage than in the fused DNA amplification. Finally we successfully harvested target PCR products deriving from fusion of two to seven DNA fragments after 5–10 cycles for overlap extension reaction and then 30 cycles for fused DNA amplification.
Our method provides more rapid, economical and handy approach to accurately splice multiple DNA fragments. We believe that our simultaneous splicing overlap extension PCR can be used to fuse more than seven DNA fragments as long as the DNA polymerase can match.
Simultaneous splicing; Multiple DNA fragments; Overlap extension PCR
Xenoestrogens are either natural or synthetic compounds that mimic the effects of endogenous estrogen. These compounds, such as bisphenol-A (BPA), and phthalates, are commonly found in plastic wares. Exposure to these compounds poses major risk to human health because of the potential to cause endocrine disruption. There is huge demand for a wide range of chemicals to be assessed for such potential for the sake of public health. Classical in vivo assays for endocrine disruption are comprehensive but time-consuming and require sacrifice of experimental animals. Simple preliminary in vitro screening assays can reduce the time and expense involved. We previously demonstrated that catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is transcriptionally regulated by estrogen via estrogen receptor (ER). Therefore, detecting corresponding changes of COMT expression in estrogen-responsive cells may be a useful method to estimate estrogenic effects of various compounds. We developed a novel cell-based ELISA to evaluate cellular response to estrogenicity by reduction of soluble-COMT expression in ER-positive MCF-7 cells exposed to estrogenic compounds. In contrast to various existing methods that only detect bioactivity, this method elucidates direct physiological effect in a living cell in response to a compound. We validated our assay using three well-characterized estrogenic plasticizers - BPA, benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), and di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP). Cells were exposed to either these plasticizers or 17β-estradiol (E2) in estrogen-depleted medium with or without an ER-antagonist, ICI 182,780, and COMT expression assayed. Exposure to each of these plasticizers (10-9-10-7M) dose-dependently reduced COMT expression (p<0.05), which was blocked by ICI 182,780. Reduction of COMT expression was readily detectable in cells exposed to picomolar level of E2, comparable to other in vitro assays of similar sensitivity. To satisfy the demand for in vitro assays targeting different cellular components, a cell-based COMT assay provides useful initial screening to supplement the current assessments of xenoestrogens for potential estrogenic activity.
To compare the quality of volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) or intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans generated by an automated inverse planning system with that of dosimetrist-generated IMRT treatment plans for patients with stage III lung cancer.
Methods and Materials
Two groups of eight patients with stage III lung cancer were randomly selected. For group I, the dosimetrists spent their best effort in designing IMRT plans to compete with the automated inverse planning system (mdaccAutoPlan); for group II, the dosimetrists were not in competition and spent their regular effort. Five experienced radiation oncologists independently blind-reviewed and ranked the three plans for each patient, a rank of “1” being the best and “3” the worst. Dosimetric measures were also performed to quantitatively evaluate the three types of plans.
Blind rankings from different oncologists were generally consistent. For group I, the auto-VMAT, auto-IMRT, and manual-IMRT plans received average ranks of 1.6, 2.13, and 2.18, respectively. The auto-VMAT plans in group I had 10% higher PTV conformality and 24% lower esophagus V70 than the manual-IMRT plans; they also resulted in over 20% higher complication-free tumor control probability (p+) than either type of IMRT plans. The auto- and manual-IMRT plans in this group yielded generally comparable dosimetric measures. For group II, the auto-VMAT, auto-IMRT, and manual-IMRT plans received average ranks of 1.55, 1.75, and 2.75, respectively. Compared to the manual-IMRT plans in this group, the auto-VMAT plans and the auto-IMRT plans showed, respectively, 17% and 14% higher PTV dose conformality, 8% and 17% lower mean lung dose, 17% and 26% lower mean heart dose, and 36% and 23% higher p+.
mdaccAutoPlan is capable of generating high-quality VMAT and IMRT treatment plans for stage III lung cancer. Manual-IMRT plans could achieve quality similar to auto-IMRT plans if best effort were spent.
VMAT; IMRT; Stage III lung cancer; Automated inverse planning
The eyes and skin are obvious retinoid target organs. Vitamin A deficiency causes night blindness and retinoids are widely used to treat acne and psoriasis. However, more than 90% of total body retinol is stored in liver stellate cells. In addition, hepatocytes produce the largest amount of retinol binding protein and cellular retinoic acid binding protein to mobilize retinol from the hepatic storage pool and deliver retinol to its receptors, respectively. Furthermore, hepatocytes express the highest amount of retinoid x receptor alpha (RXRα) among all the cell types. Surprisingly, the function of endogenous retinoids in the liver has received very little attention.
Based on the data generated from chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing, the global DNA binding of transcription factors including retinoid x receptor α (RXRα) along with its partners i.e. retinoic acid receptor α (RARα), pregnane x receptor (PXR), liver x receptor (LXR), farnesoid x receptor (FXR), and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) has been established. Based on the binding, functional annotation illustrated the role of those receptors in regulating hepatic lipid homeostasis. To correlate the DNA binding data with gene expression data, the expression patterns of 576 genes that regulate lipid homeostasis were studied in wild type and liver RXRα-null mice treated with and without RA. The data showed that RA treatment and RXRα-deficiency had opposite effects in regulating lipid homeostasis. A subset of genes (114), which could clearly differentiate the effect of ligand treatment and receptor deficiency, were selected for further functional analysis. The expression data suggested that RA treatment could produce unsaturated fatty acids and induce triglyceride breakdown, bile acid secretion, lipolysis, and retinoids elimination. In contrast, RXRα deficiency might induce the synthesis of saturated fatty acids, triglyceride, cholesterol, bile acids, and retinoids. In addition, DNA binding data indicated extensive cross-talk among RARα, PXR, LXR, FXR, and PPARα in regulating those RA/RXRα-dependent gene expression levels. Moreover, RA reduced serum cholesterol, triglyceride, and bile acid levels in mice.
We have characterized the role of hepatic RA for the first time. Hepatic RA mediated through RXRα and its partners regulates lipid homeostasis.
Nuclear receptor; Retinoids x receptor; Retinoic acid receptor; Farnesnoid x receptor; Peroxisomal proliferator-activated receptor α; Liver x receptor; Pregnane x receptor; Chromatin immunoprecipitation; Sequencing; Microarray
Immune-related pancytopenia (IRP) is one kind of bone marrow failure diseases which is related to autoantibodies. Autoantibodies have been detected on the membrane of various bone marrow (BM) hemopoietic cells by BM mononuclear-cell-Coombs test or flow cytometric analysis. There are autoantibodies in the BM supernatant of IRP patients, which can target several antigens on hematopoietic cells membranes by western blot. T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are the true helper cells for Ab responses, which represent one of the most numerous and important subsets of effector T cells. Dysregulation of Tfh cell function or expression of Tfh cell-associated molecules could contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. Currently, there are no studies regarding the role of Tfh cells in IRP patients. The percentages of Tfh cells, Tfh-related molecules ICOS, CD40L, IL-21, and Bcl-6 in BM were investigated in 90 patients with IRP, and 25 healthy controls. We observed that there exist increased quantity and hyperfunction of Tfh cells in IRP, and the results were correlated with patient characteristics. It was indicated that dysregulated Tfh cells might be involved in the pathogenesis of IRP and that inhibition of Tfh cells effector molecules might provide opportunities for new therapeutic approaches to IRP and even other human autoimmune diseases.
With market-oriented economic and health-care reform, public hospitals in China have received unprecedented pressures from governmental regulations, public opinions, and financial demands. To adapt the changing environment and keep pace of modernizing healthcare delivery system, public hospitals in China are expanding clinical services and improving delivery efficiency, while controlling costs. Recent experiences are valuable lessons for guiding future healthcare reform. Here we carefully study three teaching hospitals, to exemplify their experiences during this period.
We performed a systematic analysis on hospitalization costs, health-care quality and delivery efficiencies from 2006 to 2010 in three teaching hospitals in Beijing, China. The analysis measured temporal changes of inpatient cost per stay (CPS), cost per day (CPD), inpatient mortality rate (IMR), and length of stay (LOS), using a generalized additive model.
There were 651,559 hospitalizations during the period analyzed. Averaged CPS was stable over time, while averaged CPD steadily increased by 41.7% (P<0.001), from CNY 1,531 in 2006 to CNY 2,169 in 2010. The increasing CPD seemed synchronous with the steady rising of the national annual income per capita. Surgical cost was the main contributor to the temporal change of CPD, while medicine and examination costs tended to be stable over time. From 2006 and 2010, IMR decreased by 36%, while LOS reduced by 25%. Increasing hospitalizations with higher costs, along with an overall stable CPS, reduced IMR, and shorter LOS, appear to be the major characteristics of these three hospitals at present.
These three teaching hospitals have gained some success in controlling costs, improving cares, adopting modern medical technologies, and increasing hospital revenues. Effective hospital governance and physicians' professional capacity plus government regulations and supervisions may have played a role. However, purely market-oriented health-care reform could also misguide future healthcare reform.
The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (ASCT) on the response and outcome of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) and to analyze the factors influencing the prognosis of the disease. Retrospective analysis was performed in 27 patients with MM who had been treated by ASCT (ASCT group) and 28 patients treated with combined chemotherapy only (non-ASCT group) from May 2004 to August 2011. The impact on the depth of response, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) times, as well as associated prognostic factors of patients with MM, were analyzed. All patients successfully underwent hematopoietic reconstruction without transplantation-related mortality. The complete remission (CR) rate of patients in the ASCT group significantly increased from 25.9% (7/27) before ASCT to 70.4% (19/27) following ASCT (P<0.01). The probability of OS for 5 years was 52.2% for the patients in the ASCT group and 33.1% for those in the non-ASCT group (P>0.05). Univariate analysis in the ASCT group demonstrated that maintenance and consolidation therapies were associated with significant increases in PFS (P=0.01) and OS (P<0.01) times. The present study demonstrated that ASCT further increases the CR rate, prolongs PFS time and potentially increases the OS time. Incorporation of these novel agents, including the protea-some inhibitor bortezomib and the immunomodulatory drugs thalidomide and lenalidomide, into the induction, consolidation and maintenance phases has optimized the anti-myeloma activity of ASCT.
multiple myeloma; autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; prognosis
AIM: To investigate whether tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) mediates ischemia-reperfusion (I/R)-induced intestinal mucosal injury through c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation.
METHODS: In this study, intestinal I/R was induced by 60-min occlusion of the superior mesenteric artery in rats followed by 60-min reperfusion, and the rats were pretreated with a TNF-α inhibitor, pentoxifylline, or the TNF-α antibody infliximab. After surgery, part of the intestine was collected for histological analysis. The mucosal layer was harvested for RNA and protein extraction, which were used for further real-time polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blotting analyses. The TNF-α expression, intestinal mucosal injury, cell apoptosis, activation of apoptotic protein and JNK signaling pathway were analyzed.
RESULTS: I/R significantly enhanced expression of mucosal TNF-α at both the mRNA and protein levels, induced severe mucosal injury and cell apoptosis, activated caspase-9/caspase-3, and activated the JNK signaling pathway. Pretreatment with pentoxifylline markedly downregulated TNF-α at both the mRNA and protein levels, whereas infliximab pretreatment did not affect the expression of TNF-α induced by I/R. However, pretreatment with pentoxifylline or infliximab dramatically suppressed I/R-induced mucosal injury and cell apoptosis and significantly inhibited the activation of caspase-9/3 and JNK signaling.
CONCLUSION: The results indicate there was a TNF-α-mediated JNK activation response to intestinal I/R injury.
Tumor necrosis factor-α; Intestine; Mucosa; Apoptosis; c-Jun N-terminal kinase
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) as a key group of non-coding RNAs have gained widely attention. Though lncRNAs have been functionally annotated and systematic explored in higher mammals, few are under systematical identification and annotation. Owing to the expression specificity, known lncRNAs expressed in embryonic brain tissues remain still limited. Considering a large number of lncRNAs are only transcribed in brain tissues, studies of lncRNAs in developmental brain are therefore of special interest. Here, publicly available RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) data in embryonic brain are integrated to identify thousands of embryonic brain lncRNAs by a customized pipeline. A significant proportion of novel transcripts have not been annotated by available genomic resources. The putative embryonic brain lncRNAs are shorter in length, less spliced and show less conservation than known genes. The expression of putative lncRNAs is in one tenth on average of known coding genes, while comparable with known lncRNAs. From chromatin data, putative embryonic brain lncRNAs are associated with active chromatin marks, comparable with known lncRNAs. Embryonic brain expressed lncRNAs are also indicated to have expression though not evident in adult brain. Gene Ontology analysis of putative embryonic brain lncRNAs suggests that they are associated with brain development. The putative lncRNAs are shown to be related to possible cis-regulatory roles in imprinting even themselves are deemed to be imprinted lncRNAs. Re-analysis of one knockdown data suggests that four regulators are associated with lncRNAs. Taken together, the identification and systematic analysis of putative lncRNAs would provide novel insights into uncharacterized mouse non-coding regions and the relationships with mammalian embryonic brain development.
Recently Echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4- anaplastic lymphoma kinase (EML4-ALK) fusion gene has become an important biomarker for ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitor (crizotinib) treatment in NSCLC. However, the best detection method and the significance of EML4-ALK variant types remain uncertain.
Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), fluorescence in Situ hybridization (FISH) and Immunohistochemical (IHC) stain were performed on tumor tissues of 312 NSCLC patients for detection of ALK rearrangements. Mutation analyses for EGFR and KRAS genes were also performed.
Thirteen of the 312 patients (4.17%) had ALK rearrangements detected by RT-PCR. If RT-PCR data was used as the gold standard, FISH tests had a low sensitivity (58.33%), but very good specificity (99.32%). IHC stain had better sensitivity (91.67%) than FISH, but lower specificity (79.52%), when the cut off was IHC2+. All of the 8 patients with high abundance of EML4-ALK positive cells in tumor tissues (assessed by the signal intensities of the RT-PCR product), were also have high expression of ALK protein (IHC3+), and positive for FISH, except one failed in FISH. Variants 3a+3b (4/5, 80%) of EML4-ALK fusion gene were more common to have high abundance of EML4-ALK positive cells in tumor tissues than variant 1 (1/3, 33.3%). Meta-analysis of the published data of 2273 NSCLC patients revealed that variant 3 (23/44, 52.3%) was the most common type in Chinese population, while variant 1 (28/37, 75.7%) was most common in Caucasian.
Among the three detection methods, RT-PCR could detect not only the presence of EML4-ALK fusion gene and their variant types, but also the abundance of EML4-ALK positive cells in NSCLC tumor tissues. The latter two factors might affect the treatment response to anti-ALK inhibitor. Including RT-PCR as a diagnostic test for ALK inhibitor treatment in the prospective clinical trials is recommended.