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1.  Low-dose dexamethasone administration for three weeks favorably affects plasma HDL concentration and composition but does not affect very low density lipoprotein kinetics 
Objective
Subclinical hypercortisolemia often occurs in subjects with features of the metabolic syndrome, and it has been suggested that it may be, at least in part, responsible for the development of these metabolic abnormalities. However, the metabolic effects of glucocorticoid administration to mimic subclinical glucocorticoid excess have not been evaluated.
Methods
We used stable isotope-labeled tracer methods in conjunction with magnetic resonance techniques to measure the effect of glucocorticoid excess within the physiological range (~0.7 mg dexamethasone/day for 3 weeks) on glucose and free fatty acid (FFA) rates of appearance (Ra) into plasma, intrahepatic triglyceride (TG) content, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL)-TG and VLDL-apolipoprotein B-100 (apoB-100) kinetics and plasma lipoprotein subclass concentrations and particle sizes in 9 overweight and obese individuals.
Results
Dexamethasone treatment led to a very small but significant increase in body weight (from 87.4±7.1 to 88.6±7.2 kg; P=0.003) and increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol (from 45.9±2.8 to 55.1±4.6 mg/dl; P=0.037) and HDL particle (from 33.7±2.2 to 41.4±4.2 nmol/l; P=0.023) concentrations in plasma but had no effect on intrahepatic TG content, glucose and FFA Ra in plasma, hepatic VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 secretion rates and mean residence times in the circulation, plasma TG and LDL-cholesterol concentrations, and plasma lipoprotein particle sizes.
Conclusion(s)
Subclinical hypercortisolemia does not have significant adverse metabolic consequences.
doi:10.1530/EJE-12-0180
PMCID: PMC3638974  PMID: 22619349
glucocorticoids; very low density lipoprotein; high density lipoprotein; triglyceride; free fatty acid
2.  A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study of the Triple Stimulation Technique in the Assessment of Electroacupuncture for Motor Function Recovery in Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke 
The objective of this pilot study was to objectively assess electroacupuncture for motor function recovery in patients with acute ischemic stroke using the triple-stimulation technique (TST). The patients received either electroacupuncture plus western conventional medication (WCM) (n = 32) or single WCM (n = 31) for 14 days. The total clinical effective rate was statistically significantly superior in electroacupuncture group to that in WCM group (P < 0.01). Fugl-Meyer Assessment Scale (FMA) score, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, and TSTratio were statistically more significant in electroacupuncture group than those in WCM group (P < 0.01). There was positive correlation between TSTratio and NIHS score both before and after treatment (P < 0.01) and negative correlation between TSTratio and FAM score both before treatment and after treatment (P < 0.01). Comparing between the two groups or between pretreatment and posttreatment, adverse events, electrocardiogram, liver function, and kidney function showed no statistically significant difference (P > 0.05). In conclusion, electroacupuncture was beneficial for the motor function recovery of patients with acute ischemic stroke and was generally safe. TST can be used for quantitative evaluation of electroacupuncture for motor function recovery in patients with acute ischemic stroke because it can objectively analyze the injury and recovery of corticospinal tract impairments.
doi:10.1155/2013/431986
PMCID: PMC3691930  PMID: 23840255
3.  Effects of a 12-Month Physical Activity Intervention on Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome in Elderly Men and Women 
Background.
There is a lack of information on whether exercise training alone can reduce the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in elderly men and women.
Methods.
This study was an ancillary to the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Pilot Study, a four-site, single-blind, randomized controlled clinical trial comparing a 12-month physical activity (PA) intervention (N = 180) with a successful aging intervention (N = 181) in elderly (70–89 years) community-dwelling men and women at risk for physical disability. The PA intervention included aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises, with walking as the primary mode. MetS was defined using the National Cholesterol Education Program criteria.
Results.
There was no significant change in body weight or fat mass after either intervention. The trend of MetS prevalence over the intervention period was similar between PA and successful aging groups (p = .77). Overall, the prevalence of MetS decreased significantly from baseline to 6 months (p = .003) but did not change further from 6- to 12-month visits (p = .11). There were no group differences in any individual MetS components (p > .05 for all group by visit interactions). However, in individuals not using medications at any visit to treat MetS components, those in the PA intervention had lower odds of having MetS than those in the successful aging group during follow-up (odds ratio = 0.28, 95% confidence interval = 0.08–0.96).
Conclusions.
In this sample, a 12-month PA intervention did not reduce the prevalence of MetS more than a successful aging intervention, perhaps due to the large proportion of individuals taking medications for treating MetS components.
doi:10.1093/gerona/glr187
PMCID: PMC3309873  PMID: 22024949
Metabolic syndrome; Elderly; Physical activity
4.  Genetic Control and Comparative Genomic Analysis of Flowering Time in Setaria (Poaceae) 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;3(2):283-295.
We report the first study on the genetic control of flowering in Setaria, a panicoid grass closely related to switchgrass, and in the same subfamily as maize and sorghum. A recombinant inbred line mapping population derived from a cross between domesticated Setaria italica (foxtail millet) and its wild relative Setaria viridis (green millet), was grown in eight trials with varying environmental conditions to identify a small number of quantitative trait loci (QTL) that control differences in flowering time. Many of the QTL across trials colocalize, suggesting that the genetic control of flowering in Setaria is robust across a range of photoperiod and other environmental factors. A detailed comparison of QTL for flowering in Setaria, sorghum, and maize indicates that several of the major QTL regions identified in maize and sorghum are syntenic orthologs with Setaria QTL, although the maize large effect QTL on chromosome 10 is not. Several Setaria QTL intervals had multiple LOD peaks and were composed of multiple syntenic blocks, suggesting that observed QTL represent multiple tightly linked loci. Candidate genes from flowering time pathways identified in rice and Arabidopsis were identified in Setaria QTL intervals, including those involved in the CONSTANS photoperiod pathway. However, only three of the approximately seven genes cloned for flowering time in maize colocalized with Setaria QTL. This suggests that variation in flowering time in separate grass lineages is controlled by a combination of conserved and lineage specific genes.
doi:10.1534/g3.112.005207
PMCID: PMC3564988  PMID: 23390604
Setaria; foxtail millet; QTL mapping; flowering time; comparative genomics
5.  GMATo: A novel tool for the identification and analysis of microsatellites in large genomes 
Bioinformation  2013;9(10):541-544.
Simple Sequence Repeats (SSR), also called microsatellite, is very useful for genetic marker development and genome application. The increasing whole sequences of more and more large genomes provide sources for SSR mining in silico. However currently existing SSR mining tools can’t process large genomes efficiently and generate no or poor statistics. Genome-wide Microsatellite Analyzing Tool (GMATo) is a novel tool for SSR mining and statistics at genome aspects. It is faster and more accurate than existed tools SSR Locator and MISA. If a DNA sequence was too long, it was chunked to short segments at several Mb followed by motifs generation and searching using Perl powerful pattern match function. Matched loci data from each chunk were then merged to produce final SSR loci information. Only one input file is required which contains raw fasta DNA sequences and output files in tabular format list all SSR loci information and statistical distribution at four classifications. GMATo was programmed in Java and Perl with both graphic and command line interface, either executable alone in platform independent manner with full parameters control. Software GMATo is a powerful tool for complete SSR characterization in genomes at any size.
Availability
The soft GMATo is freely available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/gmato/files/?source=navbar or on contact
doi:10.6026/97320630009541
PMCID: PMC3705631  PMID: 23861572
Genome; Microsatellite; SSR; Marker development; Software
6.  Very Low Density Lipoprotein Metabolism in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease 
Cardiorenal Medicine  2012;2(1):57-65.
Background
Hypertriglyceridemia is a common metabolic complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and an important risk factor for coronary heart disease in this patient population. The mechanisms responsible for the development of hypertriglyceridemia in subjects with CKD are not clear.
Methods
We studied very low density lipoprotein triglyceride (VLDL-TG) and VLDL-apolipoprotein B-100 (VLDL-apoB-100) kinetics in vivo in 6 subjects with non-dialysis-dependent CKD (CKD-ND), 6 subjects with CKD treated with peritoneal dialysis (CKD-PD) and 24 sex-, age- and body mass index-matched control subjects with normal renal function (12 control subjects each matched with the CKD-ND and CKD-PD group, respectively).
Results
The secretion rates of VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 into plasma were not different between CKD-ND or CKD-PD and their respective control groups. The mean residence times of VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 in plasma, which represents the time VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 spend in the circulation after secretion by the liver, tended to be greater in subjects with CKD-ND than in control subjects (222 ± 38 vs. 143 ± 21 min, p = 0.07, and 352 ± 102 vs. 200 ± 20 min, p = 0.06, respectively) and were about two-fold greater in subjects with CKD-PD compared with their control group (248 ± 51 vs. 143 ± 21 min and 526 ± 116 vs. 182 ± 16 min, respectively; both p ≤ 0.01).
Conclusion
Impaired plasma clearance of VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 is the major abnormality associated with hypertriglyceridemia in patients with either CKD-ND or CKD-PD.
doi:10.1159/000335509
PMCID: PMC3318940  PMID: 22493604
Isotope tracer; Lipoprotein; Metabolism; Renal failure
7.  Caloric Restriction, Aerobic Exercise Training, and Soluble Lectin-like Oxidized LDL Receptor-1 Levels in Overweight and Obese Postmenopausal Women 
Background
Elevated circulating levels of soluble lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 (sLOX-1) have been observed in obese persons and are reduced by weight loss. However, it is not known if combining caloric restriction (CR) with exercise training is better in reducing sLOX-1 levels than CR alone.
Objective
We examined whether the addition of aerobic exercise to a weight loss intervention differentially affects sLOX-1 levels in 61 abdominally obese postmenopausal women randomly assigned to a CR only (n=22), CR + moderate-intensity exercise (n=22), or CR + vigorous-intensity exercise (n=17) intervention for 20 weeks. The caloric deficit was ~2,800 kcal/week for all groups.
Results
The intervention groups were similar at baseline with respect to body weight, body composition, lipids, and blood pressure. However, plasma sLOX-1 levels were higher in the CR only group (99.90 ± 8.23 pg/ml) compared to both the CR + moderate-intensity exercise (69.39 ± 8.23 pg/ml, p=0.01) and CR + vigorous-intensity exercise (72.83 ± 9.36 pg/ml, p=0.03) groups. All three interventions significantly reduced body weight (~14%), body fat, and waist and hip circumferences to a similar degree. These changes were accompanied by a 23% reduction in sLOX-1 levels overall (−19.00 ± 30.08 pg/ml, p<0.0001), which did not differ among intervention groups (p=0.13). Changes in body weight, body fat, and VO2 max were not correlated with changes in sLOX-1 levels. In multiple regression analyses in all women combined, baseline sLOX-1 levels (β = − 0.70 ± 0.06, p<0.0001), age (β = 0.92 ± 0.43, p=0.03) and baseline BMI (β = 1.88 ± 0.66, p=0.006) were independent predictors of the change in sLOX-1 with weight loss.
Conclusions
Weight loss interventions of equal energy deficit have similar effects on sLOX-1 levels in overweight and obese postmenopausal women, with the addition of aerobic exercise having no added benefit when performed in conjunction with CR.
doi:10.1038/ijo.2010.199
PMCID: PMC3023845  PMID: 20856256
obesity; weight loss; caloric restriction; aerobic exercise; soluble receptor
8.  Adipose tissue endocannabinoid system gene expression: depot differences and effects of diet and exercise 
Background
Alterations of endocannabinoid system in adipose tissue play an important role in lipid regulation and metabolic dysfunction associated with obesity. The purpose of this study was to determine whether gene expression levels of cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) and fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) are different in subcutaneous abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue, and whether hypocaloric diet and aerobic exercise influence subcutaneous adipose tissue CB1 and FAAH gene expression in obese women.
Methods
Thirty overweight or obese, middle-aged women (BMI = 34.3 ± 0.8 kg/m2, age = 59 ± 1 years) underwent one of three 20-week weight loss interventions: caloric restriction only (CR, N = 9), caloric restriction plus moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (CRM, 45-50% HRR, N = 13), or caloric restriction plus vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise (CRV, 70-75% HRR, N = 8). Subcutaneous abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue samples were collected before and after the interventions to measure CB1 and FAAH gene expression.
Results
At baseline, FAAH gene expression was higher in abdominal, compared to gluteal adipose tissue (2.08 ± 0.11 vs. 1.78 ± 0.10, expressed as target gene/β-actin mRNA ratio × 10-3, P < 0.05). Compared to pre-intervention, CR did not change abdominal, but decreased gluteal CB1 (Δ = -0.82 ± 0.25, P < 0.05) and FAAH (Δ = -0.49 ± 0.14, P < 0.05) gene expression. CRM or CRV alone did not change adipose tissue CB1 and FAAH gene expression. However, combined CRM and CRV (CRM+CRV) decreased abdominal adipose tissue FAAH gene expression (Δ = -0.37 ± 0.18, P < 0.05). The changes in gluteal CB1 and abdominal FAAH gene expression levels in the CR alone and the CRM+CRV group were different (P < 0.05) or tended to be different (P = 0.10).
Conclusions
There are depot differences in subcutaneous adipose tissue endocannabinoid system gene expression in obese individuals. Aerobic exercise training may preferentially modulate abdominal adipose tissue endocannabinoid-related gene expression during dietary weight loss.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00664729.
doi:10.1186/1476-511X-10-194
PMCID: PMC3213035  PMID: 22035053
Cannabinoid Type 1 Receptor; Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase; Fat Depots; Diet; Exercise
9.  Muscle strength is associated with adipose tissue gene expression of inflammatory adipokines in postmenopausal women 
Age and Ageing  2010;39(5):656-659.
doi:10.1093/ageing/afq024
PMCID: PMC2948813  PMID: 20233733
muscle strength; inflammatory adipokine; gene expression; older adults; elderly
10.  Metabolic actions of insulin in men and women 
Insulin is an important regulator of glucose, lipid and protein metabolism. It suppresses hepatic glucose and triglyceride production, inhibits adipose tissue lipolysis and whole-body and muscle proteolysis and stimulates glucose uptake in muscle. In this review we discuss what is currently known about the control of substrate metabolism by insulin in men and women. The data available so far indicate that women are more sensitive to insulin with regards to glucose metabolism (both in the liver and in muscle) whereas there are no differences between men and women in insulin action on lipolysis. Potential differences exist in the regulation of plasma triglyceride concentration and protein metabolism by insulin and in changes in insulin-action in response to stimuli (e.g., weight loss and exercise) that are known to alter insulin sensitivity. However, these areas have not been studied comprehensively enough to draw firm conclusions.
doi:10.1016/j.nut.2009.10.013
PMCID: PMC2893237  PMID: 20392600
glucose uptake; hepatic glucose production; lipolysis; triglyceride secretion; triglyceride clearance; proteolysis
11.  A novel high-throughput in vivo molecular screen for shade avoidance mutants identifies a novel phyA mutation 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;62(8):2973-2987.
The shade avoidance syndrome (SAS) allows plants to anticipate and avoid shading by neighbouring plants by initiating an elongation growth response. The phytochrome photoreceptors are able to detect a reduction in the red:far red ratio in incident light, the result of selective absorption of red and blue wavelengths by proximal vegetation. A shade-responsive luciferase reporter line (PHYB::LUC) was used to carry out a high-throughput screen to identify novel SAS mutants. The dracula 1 (dra1) mutant, that showed no avoidance of shade for the PHYB::LUC response, was the result of a mutation in the PHYA gene. Like previously characterized phyA mutants, dra1 showed a long hypocotyl in far red light and an enhanced hypocotyl elongation response to shade. However, dra1 additionally showed a long hypocotyl in red light. Since phyB levels are relatively unaffected in dra1, this gain-of-function red light phenotype strongly suggests a disruption of phyB signalling. The dra1 mutation, G773E within the phyA PAS2 domain, occurs at a residue absolutely conserved among phyA sequences. The equivalent residue in phyB is absolutely conserved as a threonine. PAS domains are structurally conserved domains involved in molecular interaction. Structural modelling of the dra1 mutation within the phyA PAS2 domain shows some similarity with the structure of the phyB PAS2 domain, suggesting that the interference with phyB signalling may be the result of non-functional mimicry. Hence, it was hypothesized that this PAS2 residue forms a key distinction between the phyA and phyB phytochrome species.
doi:10.1093/jxb/err062
PMCID: PMC3202935  PMID: 21398429
Arabidopsis thaliana; light; luciferase; phytochrome; shade avoidance
12.  Acute Impact of Moderate-Intensity and Vigorous-Intensity Exercise Bouts on Daily Physical Activity Energy Expenditure in Postmenopausal Women 
Journal of Obesity  2010;2011:342431.
This study determined whether performing a single moderate- or vigorous-intensity exercise bout impacts daily physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE, by accelerometer). Overweight/obese postmenopausal women underwent a 5-month caloric restriction and moderate- (n = 18) or vigorous-intensity (n = 18) center-based aerobic exercise intervention. During the last month of intervention, in women performing moderate-intensity exercise, PAEE on days with exercise (577.7 ± 219.7 kcal·d−1) was higher (P = .011) than on days without exercise (450.7 ± 140.5 kcal·d−1); however, the difference (127.0 ± 188.1 kcal·d−1) was much lower than the energy expended during exercise. In women performing vigorous-intensity exercise, PAEE on days with exercise (450.6 ± 153.6 kcal·d−1) was lower (P = .047) than on days without exercise (519.2 ± 127.4 kcal·d−1). Thus, women expended more energy on physical activities outside of prescribed exercise on days they did NOT perform center-based exercise, especially if the prescribed exercise was of a higher intensity.
doi:10.1155/2011/342431
PMCID: PMC2931398  PMID: 20847895
13.  Racial Disparities between the Sex Steroid Milieu and the Metabolic Risk Profile 
Journal of Obesity  2010;2010:174652.
Aims and Method. The present study examined the relationship between the metabolic risk profile (MRP) and total testosterone (TT) and free testosterone using the free androgen index (FAI) and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in 36 Caucasian American (CA) and 30 African-American (AA) women volunteering for a weight loss study. Results. After controlling for age, significant relationships were found between TT and diastolic blood pressure (P = .004 and P = .015 in CA and AA women, resp.). Additionally, total cholesterol (P = .003), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (P = .004), apolipoprotein B (P = .006), and the total cholesterol/high density lipoprotein cholesterol (P = .027) were significantly related to TT in AA women only. In CA women, similar measures of glucose/insulin status related to FAI, were also related to SHBG. In both CA and AA women, SHBG was related to waist (P = .031 and P = .022 resp.). Conclusion. Our findings showed racial disparities in the relationship between the sex steroid milieu and the MRP in overweight/obese CA and AA women.
doi:10.1155/2010/174652
PMCID: PMC2915646  PMID: 20721288
14.  Resting energy expenditure changes with weight loss: racial differences 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2009;18(1):86-91.
It is controversial whether weight loss reduces resting energy expenditure (REE) to a different magnitude in black and white women. This study was to determine whether changes in REE with weight loss were different between black and white postmenopausal women, and whether changes in body composition (including regional lean and fat mass) were associated with REE changes within each race. Black (n= 26) and white (n= 65) women (age= 58.2±5.4 years, 25< BMI< 40 kg·m−2) completed a 20-week weight loss intervention. Body weight, lean and fat mass (total body, limb and trunk) via dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, and REE via indirect calorimetry were measured before and after the intervention. We found that baseline REE positively correlated with body weight, lean and fat mass (total, limb, and trunk) in white women only (p< 0.05 for all). The intervention decreased absolute REE in both races similarly (1279±162 to 1204±169 kcal·day−1 in blacks; 1315±200 to 1209±185 kcal·day−1 in whites). REE remained decreased after adjusting for changes in total or limb lean mass in black (1302 to 1182 kcal·day−1, p= 0.043; 1298 to 1144 kcal·day−1, p= 0.006, respectively), but not in white, women. Changes in REE correlated with changes in body weight (partial r = 0.277) and fat mass (partial r= 0.295, 0.275, and 0.254 for total, limb, and trunk, respectively; p< 0.05) independent of baseline REE in white women. Therefore, with weight loss, REE decreased in proportion to the amount of fat and lean mass lost in white, but not black, women.
doi:10.1038/oby.2009.163
PMCID: PMC2798012  PMID: 19478786
energy expenditure; weight loss; body composition; race
15.  Weight Regain is Related to Decreases in Physical Activity During Weight Loss 
Purpose
To examine whether adaptations in physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) and resting metabolic rate (RMR) during weight loss were associated with future weight regain in overweight/obese, older women.
Research Methods and Procedures
Thirty-four overweight/obese (BMI=25–40 kg/m2), postmenopausal women underwent a 20-week weight loss intervention of hypocaloric diet with (low- or high-intensity) or without treadmill walking (weekly caloric deficit was ~11760 kJ), with a subsequent 12-month follow-up. RMR (via indirect calorimetry), PAEE (by RT3 accelerometer) and body composition (by DXA) were measured before and after intervention. Body weight and self-reported information on physical activity were collected after intervention, and at 6- and 12-months following intervention.
Results
The intervention resulted in decreases in body weight, lean mass, fat mass, percent body fat, RMR, and PAEE (p < 0.001 for all). Weight regain was 2.9 ± 3.3 kg (−3.1 to +9.2 kg) at 6- months and 5.2 ± 5.0 kg (−2.3 to +21.7 kg) at 12-months following intervention. The amount of weight regained after 6- and 12-months was inversely associated with decreases in PAEE during the weight loss intervention (r= −0.521, p = 0.002 and r= −0.404, p = 0.018, respectively), such that women with larger declines in PAEE during weight loss experienced greater weight regain during follow-up. Weight regain was not associated with changes in RMR during intervention or with self-reported physical activity during follow-up.
Conclusion
This study demonstrates that, while both RMR and PAEE decreased during weight loss in postmenopausal women, maintaining high levels of daily physical activity during weight loss may be important to mitigate weight regain after weight loss.
doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31817d8176
PMCID: PMC2797708  PMID: 18799988
energy expenditure; resting metabolic rate; weight loss intervention; hypocaloric diet

Results 1-15 (15)