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1.  BuShenYiQi Granule Inhibits Atopic Dermatitis via Improving Central and Skin Hypothalamic -Pituitary -Adrenal Axis Function 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0116427.
Dysfunction of central and skin Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis play important roles in pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD). Our previous studies showed that several Chinese herbs could improve HPA axis function. In this study, we evaluated the anti-inflammatory effects of BuShenYiQi granule (BSYQ), a Chinese herbs formula, in AD mice and explored the effective mechanism from regulation of HPA axis.
The ovalbumin (OVA) induced AD mice model were established and treated with BSYQ. We evaluated dermatitis score and histology analysis of dorsal skin lesions, meanwhile, serum corticosterone (CORT), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and inflammatory cytokines were determined by ELISA. The changes of CRH/proopiomelanocortin(POMC) axis elements, corresponding functional receptors and crucial genes of glucocorticosteroidogenesis in the skin were measured by quantitative real-time PCR and western blot, respectively.
The symptoms and pathological changes in skin of AD mice were significantly improved and several markers of inflammation and allergy descended obviously after BSYQ treatment. We found that AD mice had insufficient central HPA tone, but these conditions were markedly improved after BSYQ treatment. The AD mice also showed a disturbed expression of skin HPA. In lesion skin of AD mice, the mRNA and protein expressions of CRH decreased significantly, on the contrary, POMC and cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme (CYP11A1) increased markedly, meanwhile, NR3C1 (mouse GR), CRHR2 and 11-hydroxylase type 1(CYP11B1) were reduced locally. Most of these tested indexes were improved after BSYQ treatment.
AD mice displayed the differential expression pattern of central and skin HPA axis and BSYQ treatment significantly alleviated the symptoms of AD mice and presented anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects via regulating the expression of central and skin HPA axis.
PMCID: PMC4319736  PMID: 25658752
2.  Proteomic analysis of exosomes derived from human lymphoma cells 
Exosomes secreted by tumor cells contain specific antigens that may have immunotherapeutic purposes. The aim of this study was to characterize the proteomic content of lymphoma cell-derived exosomes (LCEXs).
In this study, exosomes derived from Raji cells (EXORaji) were purified and proteins of EXORaji were separated by one-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Protein bands were identified by mass spectrometry. The protein components of EXORaji were analyzed using shotgun technology, and the function proteins of EXORaji were defined and described using the Gene Ontology (GO) database and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis.
A total of 197 proteins were identified in EXORaji; 139 proteins were also identified in Raji cells, showing an overlap of 70.56% of the total proteins in EXORaji. Interestingly, the remaining 58 proteins were unique to EXORaji. The GO database and KEGG were used to define and describe the function of proteins. The data showed that some important proteins involved in antigen procession and presentation as well as cell migration and adhesion were also identified in EXORaji, such as MHC-I and II, HSC70, HSP90, and ICMA-1.
LCEXs express a discrete set of proteins involved in antigen presentation and cell migration and adhesion, suggesting that LCEXs play an important role in the regulation of immunity and interaction between lymphoma cells and their microenvironment. LCEXs harbor most of the proteins of lymphoma cells and could be one of the sources of lymphoma-associated antigens for immunotherapeutic purposes.
PMCID: PMC4329659  PMID: 25631545
Exosomes; Lymphoma cells; Shotgun; Gene ontology; Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes; Mass spectrometry
3.  Evidence for high dispersal ability and mito-nuclear discordance in the small brown planthopper, Laodelphax striatellus 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8045.
Understanding dispersal ability in pest species is critical for both theoretical aspects of evolutionary and population biology and from a practical standpoint, such as implementing effective forecasting systems. The small brown planthopper (SBPH), Laodelphax striatellus (Fallén), is an economically important pest, but few data exist on its dispersal ability. Here, we used mitochondrial and nuclear markers to elucidate the population genetic structure of SBPH and of the parasitic bacterium Wolbachia throughout temperate and subtropical China. Our results showed that the SBPH populations in China lack significant differences in genetic structure, suggesting extensive gene flow. Multilocus sequence typing revealed that Wolbachia infection was systematic and due to the same strain (wStri) within and across populations. However, the mtDNA haplogroups had a nonrandom distribution across the sampling localities, which correlated to latitudinal and climatic gradients. We explain this mito-nuclear discordance as a result of historical population recolonization or mitochondria adaptation to climate.
PMCID: PMC4309506  PMID: 25622966
4.  Listeria monocytogenes varies among strains to maintain intracellular pH homeostasis under stresses by different acids as analyzed by a high-throughput microplate-based fluorometry 
Listeria monocytogenes, a food-borne pathogen, has the capacity to maintain intracellular pH (pHi) homeostasis in acidic environments, but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we report a simple microplate-based fluorescent method to determine pHi of listerial cells that were prelabeled with the fluorescent dye carboxyfluorescein diacetate N-succinimidyl ester and subjected to acid stress. We found that L. monocytogenes responds differently among strains toward organic and inorganic acids to maintain pHi homeostasis. The capacity of L. monocytogenes to maintain pHi at extracellular pH 4.5 (pHex) was compromised in the presence of acetic acid and lactic acid, but not by hydrochloric acid and citric acid. Organic acids exhibited more inhibitory effects than hydrochloric acid at certain pH conditions. Furthermore, the virulent stains L. monocytogenes EGDe, 850658 and 10403S was more resistant to acidic stress than the avirulent M7 which showed a defect in maintaining pHi homeostasis. Deletion of sigB, a stress-responsive alternative sigma factor from 10403S, markedly altered intracellular pHi homeostasis, and showed a significant growth and survival defect under acidic conditions. Thus, this work provides new insights into bacterial survival mechanism to acidic stresses.
PMCID: PMC4304241  PMID: 25667585
Listeria monocytogenes; acid tolerance; intracellular pH; SigB; pH homeostasis
5.  BlockLogo: visualization of peptide and sequence motif conservation 
Journal of immunological methods  2013;0:10.1016/j.jim.2013.08.014.
BlockLogo is a web-server application for visualization of protein and nucleotide fragments, continuous protein sequence motifs, and discontinuous sequence motifs using calculation of block entropy from multiple sequence alignments. The user input consists of a multiple sequence alignment, selection of motif positions, type of sequence, and output format definition. The output has BlockLogo along with the sequence logo, and a table of motif frequencies. We deployed BlockLogo as an online application and have demonstrated its utility through examples that show visualization of T-cell epitopes and B-cell epitopes (both continuous and discontinuous). Our additional example shows a visualization and analysis of structural motifs that determine specificity of peptide binding to HLA-DR molecules. The BlockLogo server also employs selected experimentally validated prediction algorithms to enable on-the-fly prediction of MHC binding affinity to 15 common HLA class I and class II alleles as well as visual analysis of discontinuous epitopes from multiple sequence alignments. It enables the visualization and analysis of structural and functional motifs that are usually described as regular expressions. It provides a compact view of discontinuous motifs composed of distant positions within biological sequences. BlockLogo is available at: and
PMCID: PMC3856553  PMID: 24001880
T-cell epitope; B-cell epitope; protein-protein interaction; block entropy; sequence variability and conservation
6.  Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 expression is transiently up-regulated in the acute period of myocardial infarction in rat 
The proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) has been confirmed as a major factor regulating cholesterol homeostasis and has low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) independent effects. In addition, the pathogenesis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) involves lipids alteration and other acute phase responses. It remains unknown whether the PCSK9 expression is influenced by the impact of AMI. The present study aimed to investigate the changes of PCSK9 concentration using AMI rat model.
AMI (n = 6-8 at each time point) or sham operated (n = 6) adult male rats model were used. Whole blood and liver tissue were collected at 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 24, 48, and 96 hour (h) post infarction. The plasma PCSK9 concentration was measured by ELISA and lipid profiles were measured by enzymatic assay. The liver mRNA levels of PCSK9, LDLR, sterol response element binding protein-2 (SREBP-2) and hepatocyte nuclear factor 1α (HNF1α) were measured by quantitative real-time PCR.
The plasma PCSK9 concentration was increased from 12 h to 96 h (P < 0.05 vs. control). Paralleled with the enhanced plasma PCSK9 concentration, the hepatic PCSK9 mRNA expression was up-regulated by 2.2-fold at 12 h and 4.1-fold at 24 h. Hepatic mRNA levels of LDLR, SREBP-2 and HNF1α were all increased and lipid profiles underwent great changes at this acute period.
We firstly demonstrated that PCSK9 was transiently up-regulated in the acute period of AMI, which is also driven by transcriptional factors, SREBP-2 and HNF1α, suggesting that the role of PCSK9 in myocardial injury may be needed further study.
PMCID: PMC4279995  PMID: 25519174
Acute myocardial infarction; PCSK9; Rat
7.  Targeted fluorescent magnetic nanoparticles for imaging of human breast cancer 
Magnetic nanoclusters coated with ruthenium (II) complexes doped with silica (fluorescent magnetic nanoparticles or FMNPs) could be used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and optical imaging (OI) of human breast cancer. To achieve the targeting imaging of tumors, the peptide cyclic-arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) was chosen as the probe for specific targeting integrin αvβ3 over expressed in human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells. The cytotoxicity tests in vitro showed little toxicity of the synthesized RGD-FMNPs with the size of 150 nm. The in vivo study also showed no obvious acute toxicity after the injection of RGD-FMNPs in mice bearing MDA-MB-231 tumors. After 24 hours of co-culture with MDA-MB-231 cells, the cellular uptake of RGD-FMNPs significantly increased compared to that of FMNPs. T2-weighted (T2W) MRI demonstrated a negative enhancement in mice injected with RGD-FMNPs approximately three times of that injected with FMNPs (12.867 ± 0.451 ms vs. 4.833 ± 0.513 ms, P < 0.05). The Prussian blue staining results confirmed more RGD-FMNPs accumulated around the tumors than FMNPs. These results demonstrated the potential application of RGD-FMNPs as a targeting molecular probe for detection of breast cancer using MRI and OI. The synthesized RGD-FMNPs could be potentially used for biomedical imaging in the future.
PMCID: PMC4307418  PMID: 25663971
Fluorescent magnetic nanoparticles (FMNPs); magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); optical imaging (OI); ruthenium complexes; RGD; breast cancer
8.  The Prevalence and Prognosis of Resistant Hypertension in Patients with Heart Failure 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114958.
Resistant hypertension is associated with adverse clinical outcome in hypertensive patients. However, the prognostic significance of resistant hypertension in patients with heart failure remains uncertain.
Methods and Results
The 1 year survival and heart failure re-hospitalization rate of 1288 consecutive patients admitted to a university hospital for either newly diagnosed heart failure or an exacerbation of prior chronic heart failure was analyzed. Resistant hypertension was defined as uncontrolled blood pressure (>140/90 mmHg) despite being compliant with an antihypertensive regimen that includes 3 or more drugs (including a diuretic). A total of 176 (13.7%) heart failure patients had resistant hypertension. There was no difference in all cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and heart failure related re-hospitalization between patients with versus without resistant hypertension. Diabetes [hazard ratio = 1.62, 95% confidence interval = 1.13–2.34; P = 0.010] and serum sodium >139 mmol/L (hazard ratio = 1.54, 95% confidence interval = 1.06–2.23; P = 0.024) were independently associated with resistant hypertension. Patients with resistant hypertension had a relatively higher survival rate (86.9% vs. 83.8%), although the difference was not significant (log-rank x2 = 1.00, P = 0.317). In patients with reduced ejection fraction, heart failure related re-hospitalization was significantly lower in patients with resistant hypertension (45.8% vs. 59.1%, P = 0.050).
Resistant hypertension appears to be not associated with adverse clinical outcome in patients with heart failure, in fact may be a protective factor for reduced heart failure related re-hospitalization in patients with reduced ejection fraction.
PMCID: PMC4260939  PMID: 25490405
9.  A New Scoring System for Spontaneous Closure Prediction of Perimembranous Ventricular Septal Defects in Children 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113822.
Perimembranous ventricular septal defect (PMVSD) is a congenital heart aberration, which is surgically treated by patch or device closure, but also can heal without operation as spontaneous closure (SC).
We analyzed data from 1873 PMVSD patients admitted to our hospital during September 2001 and December 2009, in order to establish a Cox regression model for PMVSD SC probability prediction (derivative cohort). Initial contact age, ventricular septal defect (VSD) diameter, shunt flow, aneurysmal tissue of the ventricular membranous septum (ATVMS) development, associated complications, and left ventricular end-diastolic dimension (LVDD) were analyzed for correlations with SC. The derived scoring system based on the coefficients of the model was developed and applied to another cohort with 382 PMVSD patients to evaluate the validity for SC probability forecast (validation cohort).
Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that SC of PMVSD was associated with age at first contact, defect size, diffuse shunt flow, ATVMS formation, associated complication, as well as increased LVDD, which were used to establish a new scoring system. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of our predictive scaling was 0.831 (95% CI 0.804–0.858, p<0.001) in the derivative cohort. The scoring system also accurately predicted SC with an area under the ROC curve of 0.863 (95% CI 0.785–0.941, p<0.001) in the validation cohort.
Our scoring system using factors affecting SC can predict the probability of SC in PMVSD patients.
PMCID: PMC4257539  PMID: 25479616
10.  Genetically Modified Neural Stem Cells for a Local and Sustained Delivery of Neuroprotective Factors to the Dystrophic Mouse Retina 
Stem Cells Translational Medicine  2013;2(12):1001-1010.
In two mouse models of retinitis pigmentosa, intravitreal transplantations of adherently cultivated neural stem cells that had been modified to secrete ciliary neurotrophic factor resulted in a sustained delivery of functionally relevant quantities of the cytokine to the dystrophic retina. These transplantations may thus represent a useful method for preclinical studies aimed at evaluating the therapeutic potential of a cell-based administration of neurotrophic factors in mouse models of photoreceptor degeneration.
A continuous intraocular delivery of neurotrophic factors (NFs) is being explored as a strategy to rescue photoreceptor cells and visual functions in degenerative retinal disorders that are currently untreatable. To establish a cell-based intraocular delivery system for a sustained administration of NFs to the dystrophic mouse retina, we used a polycistronic lentiviral vector to genetically modify adherently cultivated murine neural stem (NS) cells. The vector concurrently encoded a gene of interest, a reporter gene, and a resistance gene and thus facilitated the selection, cloning, and in vivo tracking of the modified cells. To evaluate whether modified NS cells permit delivery of functionally relevant quantities of NFs to the dystrophic mouse retina, we expressed a secretable variant of ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) in NS cells and grafted the cells into the vitreous space of Pde6brd1 and Pde6brd10 mice, two animal models of retinitis pigmentosa. In both mouse lines, grafted cells attached to the retina and lens, where they differentiated into astrocytes and some neurons. Adverse effects of the transplanted cells on the morphology of host retinas were not observed. Importantly, the CNTF-secreting NS cells significantly attenuated photoreceptor degeneration in both mutant mouse lines. The neuroprotective effect was significantly more pronounced when clonally derived NS cell lines selected for high expression levels of CNTF were grafted into Pde6brd1 mice. Intravitreal transplantations of modified NS cells may thus represent a useful method for preclinical studies aimed at evaluating the therapeutic potential of a cell-based intraocular delivery of NFs in mouse models of photoreceptor degeneration.
PMCID: PMC3841080  PMID: 24167317
Neural stem cell; Stem cell transplantation; Retinal photoreceptors; Lentiviral vector; Ciliary neurotrophic factor
11.  Which is the best postoperative chemotherapy regimen in patients with rectal cancer after neoadjuvant therapy? 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):888.
There is no general agreement about whether patients who have already received neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy need further postoperative chemotherapy based on 5-fluorouracil(5-FU) or 5-FU plus oxaliplatin.
Medicare beneficiaries from 1992 to 2008 with Union for International Cancer Control ypStages I to III primary carcinoma of the rectum who underwent 5-FU-based neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and surgery for curative intent were identified through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare-linked database. A Cox proportional hazards model and propensity score-matched techniques were used to evaluate the effect of treatment on survival.
For patients with resected rectal cancer who have already received 5-FU-based neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, postoperative 5-FU-based chemotherapy did not prolong cancer-specific survival (CSS) in ypStage I (P = 0.960) and ypStage II (P = 0.134); however, it significantly improved the CSS in ypStage III (hazard ratio = 1.547, 95% CI = 1.101-2.173, P = 0.012). No significant differences in survival between the 5-FU group and oxaliplatin group were observed.
For patients with resected rectal cancer who have already received 5-FU-based neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, postoperative 5-FU-based chemotherapy prolongs the CSS of groups in ypStage III. Adding oxaliplatin to fluoropyrimidines in the postoperative chemotherapy did not improve the CSS for patients who received neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-888) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4255436  PMID: 25428401
Rectal neoplasms; SEER program; Chemotherapy; Neoadjuvant therapy
12.  Three-Dimensional Fe2O3 Nanocubes/Nitrogen-doped Graphene Aerogels: Nucleation Mechanism and Lithium Storage Properties 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7171.
We developed a solvothermal-induced self-assembly approach to construct three dimensional (3D) macroscopic Fe2O3 nanocubes/nitrogen-doped graphene (Fe2O3-NC/GN) aerogel as anode materials for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). The Fe2O3 nanocubes with length of ~50 nm are homogeneously anchored on 3D GN frameworks and as spacers to separate the neighboring GN sheets. Based on intensively investigations on the early stages of formation process, it is discovered that a non-classical nanoparticle-mediated crystallization process and a subsequent classical ion-mediated growth dominate the nanocube formation. This is totally different from the commonly recognized classical atom-mediated crystallization and ripening mechanism. Benefitting from the unique structures and characteristics, the optimized Fe2O3-NC/GN aerogel exhibits excellent rate capability, outstanding long-term cyclic stability at high current densities, which are outperforming most of Fe2O3/GS hybrid electrodes. These results suggest us to in-depth understand the detailed crystallization process, and rational design and precisely control the morphologies of nanocrystals on graphene for high performance energy applications.
PMCID: PMC4243062  PMID: 25421070
13.  Acceptability and Correlates of Primary and Secondary Prevention of Cervical Cancer among Medical Students in Southwest China: Implications for Cancer Education 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110353.
To understand knowledge about, and acceptability of, cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccines among medical students; and to explore potential factors that influence their acceptability in China.
We conducted a survey among medical students at six universities across southwest China using a 58-item questionnaire regarding knowledge and perceptions of HPV, cervical cancer, and HPV vaccines.
We surveyed 1878 medical students with a mean age of 20.8 years (standard deviation: 1.3 years). Of these, 48.8% and 80.1% believed cervical cancer can be prevented by HPV vaccines and screening respectively, while 60.2% and 71.2% would like to receive or recommend HPV vaccines and screening. 35.4% thought HPV vaccines ought to be given to adolescents aged 13–18 years. 32% stated that women should start to undergo screening from the age of 25. 49.2% felt that women should receive screening every year. Concern about side effects (38.3% and 39.8%), and inadequate information (42.4% and 35.0%) were the most cited barriers to receiving or recommending HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening. Females were more likely to accept HPV vaccines (OR, 1.86; 95% CI: 1.47–2.35) or cervical cancer screening (OR, 3.69; 95% CI: 2.88–4.74). Students with a higher level of related knowledge were much more willing to receive or recommend vaccines (P<0.001) or screening (P<0.001). Students who showed negative or uncertain attitudes towards premarital sex were less likely to accept either HPV vaccines (OR, 0.67; 95% CI: 0.47–0.96), or screening (OR, 0.68; 0.47–0.10). Non-clinical students showed lower acceptability of cervical screening compared to students in clinical medicine (OR, 0.74; 95% CI: 0.56–0.96).
The acceptability of HPV vaccines and cervical cancer screening is relatively low among medical students in southwest China. Measures should be taken to improve knowledge about cervical cancer and awareness of HPV vaccines and screening among medical students at university.
PMCID: PMC4215919  PMID: 25360743
14.  B7-H3 expression in breast cancer and upregulation of VEGF through gene silence 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:1979-1986.
B7-H3, a novel member of the B7 family, was previously known as a regulatory ligand regulating T-cell-mediated immune response, and in recent years it was found to take a significant role in various cancers. In some tumor types, high expression of B7-H3 had been linked to a poor prognosis, whereas in other cancers the opposite effect had been observed. The precise role of B7-H3 in tumor immunity is unclear, and further investigations are needed. In the present study, we studied the expression of B7-H3 in the pathologic specimens of 221 patients treated for breast cancer by immunohistochemistry. Strong B7-H3 expression was found in cancer tissues from 80.55% patients, and B7-H3 expression had a negative relation with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression, microvascular density for CD34, and tumor size. Furthermore, through lipopolysaccharide-mediated delivery of stable short hairpin ribonucleic acid we observed that silencing of B7-H3 could increase the transcription and secreting of VEGF in breast cancer cell line MCF-7. In summary, the present study demonstrated that B7-H3 suppressed tumor growth through inhibiting VEGF expression. These results increased knowledge of the nonimmunological role of B7-H3 protein and provided novel insights into great biological functions and a putative therapeutic target in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4218908  PMID: 25378933
breast cancer; B7-H3; vascular endothelial growth factor
15.  A transcriptomic analysis of Chrysanthemum nankingense provides insights into the basis of low temperature tolerance 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):844.
A major constraint affecting the quality and productivity of chrysanthemum is the unusual period of low temperature occurring during early spring, late autumn, and winter. Yet, there has been no systematic investigation on the genes underlying the response to low temperature in chrysanthemum. Herein, we used RNA-Seq platform to characterize the transcriptomic response to low temperature by comparing different transcriptome of Chrysanthemum nankingense plants and subjecting them to a period of sub-zero temperature, with or without a prior low temperature acclimation.
Six separate RNA-Seq libraries were generated from the RNA samples of leaves and stems from six different temperature treatments, including one cold acclimation (CA), two freezing treatments without prior CA, two freezing treatments with prior CA and the control. At least seven million clean reads were obtained from each library. Over 77% of the reads could be mapped to sets of C. nankingense unigenes established previously. The differentially transcribed genes (DTGs) were identified as low temperature sensing and signalling genes, transcription factors, functional proteins associated with the abiotic response, and low temperature-responsive genes involved in post-transcriptional regulation. The differential transcription of 15 DTGs was validated using quantitative RT-PCR.
The large number of DTGs identified in this study, confirmed the complexity of the regulatory machinery involved in the processes of low temperature acclimation and low temperature/freezing tolerance.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-844) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4197275  PMID: 25277256
Transcriptome; RNA Sequencing; Low temperature tolerance; Ornamental plant
16.  PEGylation of cationic, shell-crosslinked-knedel-like nanoparticles modulates inflammation and enhances cellular uptake in the lung 
The airway provides a direct route for administration of nanoparticles bearing therapeutic or diagnostic payloads to the lung, however optimization of nanoplatforms for intracellular delivery remains challenging. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) surface modification improves systemic performance but less is known about PEGylated nanoparticles administered to the airway. To test this, we generated a library of cationic, shell crosslinked knedel-like nanoparticles (cSCKs), including PEG (1.5 kDa PEG; 2, 5, 10 molecules/polymer arm) on the outer shell. Delivery of PEGylated cSCK to the mouse airway showed significantly less inflammation in a PEG dose-dependent manner. PEGylation also enhanced the entry of cSCKs in lung alveolar epithelial cells and improved surfactant penetration. The PEGylation effect could be explained by the altered mechanism of endocytosis. While non-PEGylated cSCKs used the clathrin-dependent route for endocytosis, entry of PEGylated cSCK was clathrin-independent. Thus, nanoparticle surface modification with PEG represents an advantageous design for lung delivery.
PMCID: PMC3724762  PMID: 23453959
airway; macrophage; surfactant; alveolar epithelial cells; Poly(ethylene glycol)
17.  Metabolomic analysis of simvastatin and fenofibrate intervention in high-lipid diet-induced hyperlipidemia rats 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2014;35(10):1265-1273.
To investigate the metabolite changes caused by simvastatin or fenofibrate intervention in diet-induced hyperlipidemia rats using a GC-MS-based metabolomic profiling approach.
SD rats were fed with high-lipid diet for 4 weeks to induce hyperlipidemia, then the rats were fed with normal diet, and orally administered with simvastatin (10 mg·kg−1·d−1) or fenofibrate (150 mg·kg−1·d−1) for 2 weeks. Blood samples were collected once a week, and potential biomarkers were examined using commercial assay kits and a metabolomic approach. The metabolomics data were analyzed using a multivariate statistical technique and a principal component analysis (PCA).
Oral administration of simvastatin or fenofibrate significantly decreased the plasma levels of total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increased the plasma level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the hyperlipidemia rats. Plasma samples were scattered in the PCA scores plots in response to the diet and to the drugs administered. The main metabolites changed in the hyperlipidemia rats were cholesterol, creatinine, linoleic acid, β-hydroxybutyric acid, tyrosine, isoleucine and ornithine. The plasma level of creatinine was significantly lower in the simvastatin-treated rats than in the fenofibrate-treated rats. The plasma tyrosine concentration was declined following intake of high-lipid diet, which was reversed by fenobrate, but not by simvastatin.
A series of potential biomarkers including tyrosine, creatinine, linoleic acid, β-hydroxybutyric acid and ornithine have been identified by metabolomic profiling, which may be used to identify the metabolic changes during hyperlipidemia progression.
PMCID: PMC4186989  PMID: 25220639
simvastatin; fenofibrate; hyperlipidemia; metabolomics; biomarker; creatinine; LDL cholesterol; GC-MS
18.  Smoking and Major Depressive Disorder in Chinese Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106287.
To investigate the risk factors that contribute to smoking in female patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and the clinical features in depressed smokers.
We examined the smoking status and clinical features in 6120 Han Chinese women with MDD (DSM-IV) between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Logistic regression was used to determine the association between clinical features of MDD and smoking status and between risk factors for MDD and smoking status.
Among the recurrent MDD patients there were 216(3.6%) current smokers, 117 (2.0%) former smokers and 333(5.6%) lifetime smokers. Lifetime smokers had a slightly more severe illness, characterized by more episodes, longer duration, more comorbid illness (panic and phobias), with more DSM-IV A criteria and reported more symptoms of fatigue and suicidal ideation or attempts than never smokers. Some known risk factors for MDD were also differentially represented among smokers compared to non-smokers. Smokers reported more stressful life events, were more likely to report childhood sexual abuse, had higher levels of neuroticism and an increased rate of familial MDD. Only neuroticism was significantly related to nicotine dependence.
Although depressed women smokers experience more severe illness, smoking rates remain low in MDD patients. Family history of MDD and environmental factors contribute to lifetime smoking in Chinese women, consistent with the hypothesis that the association of smoking and depression may be caused by common underlying factors.
PMCID: PMC4152240  PMID: 25180682
19.  Acute paraquat poisoning with sinus bradycardia: A case report 
Paraquat (PQ) is a highly toxic herbicide, which not only leads to acute organ damage, but also to a variety of complications. Patients with severe PQ-induced poisoning may succumb to multiple organ failure involving the circulatory and respiratory systems. Although numerous studies have been performed investigating PQ poisoning, cases of extreme bradycardia caused by acute PQ-induced poisoning are rare. In the present case report, a 59-year-old male who ingested PQ was admitted to the Department of Poisoning and Occupational Disease at Qilu Hospital of Shandong University (Jinan, China) after three days. The patient received treatment known as the ‘Qilu scheme’, which was established in the Department of Poisoning and Occupational Disease. However, the heart rate of the patient remained low following the administration of conventional medicines, until thyroid tablets were administered. To the best of our knowledge, cases of bradycardia following PQ poisoning are rare.
PMCID: PMC4186487  PMID: 25289040
paraquat; poisoning; sinus bradycardia; treatment
20.  Identification and Genetic Analysis of a Factor IX Gene Intron 3 Mutation in a Hemophilia B Pedigree in China 
Turkish Journal of Hematology  2014;31(3):226-230.
Objective: Hemophilia B is caused by coagulation defects in the factor IX gene located in Xq27.1 on the X chromosome. A wide range of mutations, showing extensive molecular heterogeneity, have been described in hemophilia B patients. Our study was aimed at genetic analysis and prenatal diagnosis of hemophilia B in order to further elucidate the pathogenesis of the hemophilia B pedigree in China.
Materials and Methods: Polymerase chain reaction amplification and direct sequencing of all the coding regions was conducted in hemophilia B patients and carriers. Prenatal diagnosis of the proband was conducted at 20 weeks.
Results: We identified the novel point mutation 10.389 A>G, located upstream of the intron 3 acceptor site in hemophilia B patients. The fetus of the proband’s cousin was identified as a carrier.
Conclusion: Our identification of a novel mutation in the F9 gene associated with hemophilia B provides novel insight into the pathogenesis of this genetically inherited disorder and also represents the basis of prenatal diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC4287022  PMID: 25330515
Hemophilia B; Factor IX; mutation; Intron 3; mRNA splice site
21.  Fast-track surgery versus traditional perioperative care in laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery: a meta-analysis 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):607.
Both laparoscopic and fast-track surgery (FTS) have shown some advantages in colorectal surgery. However, the effectiveness of using both methods together is unclear. We performed this meta-analysis to compare the effects of FTS with those of traditional perioperative care in laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery.
We searched the PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and Ovid databases for eligible studies until April 2014. The main end points were the duration of the postoperative hospital stay, time to first flatus after surgery, time of first bowel movement, total postoperative complication rate, readmission rate, and mortality.
Five randomized controlled trials and 5 clinical controlled trials with 1,317 patients were eligible for analysis. The duration of the postoperative hospital stay (weighted mean difference [WMD], –1.64 days; 95% confidence interval [CI], –2.25 to –1.03; p < 0.001), time to first flatus (WMD, –0.40 day; 95% CI, –0.77 to –0.04; p = 0.03), time of first bowel movement (WMD, –0.98 day; 95% CI, –1.45 to –0.52; p < 0.001), and total postoperative complication rate (risk ratio [RR], 0.67; 95% CI, 0.56–0.80; p < 0.001) were significantly reduced in the FTS group. No significant differences were noted in the readmission rate (RR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.41–1.01; p = 0.06) or mortality (RR, 1.55; 95% CI, 0.42–5.71; p = 0.51).
Among patients undergoing laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery, FTS is associated with a significantly shorter postoperative hospital stay, more rapid postoperative recovery, and, notably, greater safety than is expected from traditional care.
PMCID: PMC4161840  PMID: 25148902
Fast track surgery; Laparoscopic surgery; Colorectal cancer
22.  The coexpression and clinical significance of costimulatory molecules B7-H1, B7-H3, and B7-H4 in human pancreatic cancer 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:1465-1472.
We investigated the expression of the inhibitory costimulatory molecules B7-H1, B7-H3, and B7-H4 in human pancreatic cancer to define their clinical significance and mechanism in a tumor microenvironment.
Patients and methods
Sixty-three pancreatic cancer tissues and 12 normal pancreatic tissues were examined in our research. Patients were enrolled in the study between December 2000 and August 2010. Expression levels of the B7 family of molecules and densities of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in the tissues were characterized with immunohistochemical assays.
More than 50% of the patients expressed B7-H1 and B7-H4, and nearly 100% of the patients expressed B7-H3. B7-H1 expression was correlated with tumor size, B7-H3 expression was correlated with lymph-node metastasis and differentiation grade, and B7-H4 expression was correlated with tumor size, lymph-node metastasis, and invasion depth. High B7-H4 expression was also correlated with poor survival in pancreatic cancer. We determined the value of these three B7 family molecules in the postoperative survival prognosis for patients with pancreatic cancer, and pancreatic cancer patients with less coexpression of the B7 family of molecules had a significantly higher survival rate. B7-H1 expression was found to be negatively related to the intensity of both CD3+ T cells and CD8+ T cells, and B7-H4 expression was negatively related to CD3+ T-cell infiltration intensity, but not to CD8+ T cells.
B7-H1, B7-H3, and B7-H4 are involved in pancreatic cancer progression, and their coexpression could be a valuable prognostic indicator. Negative regulation of T-cell infiltration might be the main mechanism of action of the B7 family of molecules in pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4145732  PMID: 25170273
pancreatic cancer; B7-H1; B7-H3; B7-H4; tumor-infiltrated T cell
23.  Effects of Two Chinese Herbal Formulae for the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103168.
The study aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of two Chinese herbal formulae for the treatment of stable COPD.
A multicenter, double-blind, double-dummy, and randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted. All groups were treated with additional conventional medicines. There were a 6-month treatment and a 12-month follow-up for 5 times. Primary outcomes included lung function test, exacerbation frequency, score of SGRQ. Second outcomes consisted of 6MWD, BODE index, psychological field score, inflammatory factors and cortisol.
A total of 331 patients were randomly divided into two active treatment groups (Bushen Yiqi (BY) granule group, n = 109; Bushen Fangchuan (BF) tablet group, n = 109) and a placebo group (n = 113). Finally 262 patients completed the study. BY granule & BF tablet increased the values of VC, FEV1 (%) and FEV1/FVC (%), compared with placebo. BY granule improved PEF. Both treatments reduced acute exacerbation frequency (P = 0.067), BODE index and psychological field score, while improved 6MWD. In terms of descent rang of SGRQ score, both treatments increased (P = 0.01). Both treatments decreased inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-8, and IL-17(P = 0.0219). BY granule obviously descended IL-17(P<0.05), IL-1β (P = 0.05), IL-6, compared with placebo. They improved the level of IL-10 and cortisol. BY granule raised cortisol (P = 0.07) and decreased TNF-α. Both treatments slightly descended TGF-β1. In terms of safety, subject compliance and drug combination, there were no differences (P>0.05) among three groups.
BY granule and BF tablet were positively effective for the treatment of COPD, and the former performed better in general.
Trial Registration
Chinese Clinical Trial Register center ChiCTR-TRC-09000530
PMCID: PMC4132093  PMID: 25118962
24.  Icariin Ameliorates Cigarette Smoke Induced Inflammatory Responses via Suppression of NF-κB and Modulation of GR In Vivo and In Vitro 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e102345.
To investigate the effects of icariin, a major constituent of flavonoids isolated from the herb Epimedium, on cigarette smoke (CS) induced inflammatory responses in vivo and in vitro.
In vivo, BALB/c mice were exposed to smoke of 15 cigarettes for 1 h/day, 6 days/week for 3 months and dosed with icariin (25, 50 and 100 mg/kg) or dexamethasone (1 mg/kg). In vitro, A549 cells were incubated with icariin (10, 50 and 100 µM) followed by treatments with CSE (2.5%).
We found that icariin significantly protected pulmonary function and attenuated CS-induced inflammatory response by decreasing inflammatory cells and production of TNF-α, IL-8 and MMP-9 in both the serum and BALF of CS-exposed mice and decreasing production of TNF-α and IL-8 in the supernatant of CSE-exposed A549 cells. Icariin also showed properties in inhibiting the phosphorylation of NF-κB p65 protein and blocking the degradation of IΚB-α protein. Further studies revealed that icariin administration markedly restore CS-reduced GR protein and mRNA expression, which might subsequently contribute to the attenuation of CS-induced respiratory inflammatory response.
Together these results suggest that icariin has anti-inflammatory effects in cigarette smoke induced inflammatory models in vivo and in vitro, possibly achieved by suppressing NF-κB activation and modulating GR protein expression.
PMCID: PMC4121073  PMID: 25089961
25.  Identification and validation of a novel microRNA-like molecule derived from a cytoplasmic RNA virus antigenome by bioinformatics and experimental approaches 
Virology Journal  2014;11:121.
It is generally believed that RNA virus replicating in the cell cytoplasm would not encode microRNAs (miRNAs) due to nucleus inaccessibility. Recent studies have described cytoplasmic RNA virus genome-derived miRNAs in West Nile virus (WNV) and Dengue virus (DENV). However, naturally occurring miRNAs derived from the antigenome of a cytoplasmic RNA virus have not been described.
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) was served as a model virus to investigate whether the antigenome of a cytoplasmic RNA virus would be processed into miRNAs or miRNA-like small RNAs upon infection. HAV antigenome was queried for putative miRNA precursors (pre-miRNA) with the VMir analyzer program. Mature miRNA prediction was performed using MatureBayes and Bayes-SVM-MiRNA web server v1.0. Finally, multiple experimental approaches, including cloning and sequencing-, RNAi-, plasmid-based miRNA expression- and luciferase reporter assays, were performed to identify and validate naturally occurring viral antigenome-derived miRNAs.
Using human HAV genotype IA (isolate H2) (HAVH2), a virally encoded miRNA-like small RNA was detected on the antigenome and named hav-miR-N1-3p. Transcription of viral pre-miRNA in KMB17 and HEK293T cells led to mature hav-miR-N1-3p production. In addition, silencing of the miRNA-processing enzyme Dicer or Drosha caused a dramatic reduction in miRNA levels. Furthermore, artificial target of hav-miR-N1-3p was silenced by synthesized viral miRNA mimics and the HAVH2 naturally-derived hav-miR-N1-3p.
These results suggested that the antigenome of a cytoplasmic RNA virus could be processed into functional miRNAs. Our findings provide new evidence supporting the hypothesis that cytoplasmic RNA viruses naturally encode miRNAs through cellular miRNA processing machinery.
PMCID: PMC4087238  PMID: 24981144
Hepatitis A virus; Antigenome; MicroRNA-like molecule; Picornavirus

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