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1.  Molecular footprints of domestication and improvement in soybean revealed by whole genome re-sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:579.
Artificial selection played an important role in the origin of modern Glycine max cultivars from the wild soybean Glycine soja. To elucidate the consequences of artificial selection accompanying the domestication and modern improvement of soybean, 25 new and 30 published whole-genome re-sequencing accessions, which represent wild, domesticated landrace, and Chinese elite soybean populations were analyzed.
A total of 5,102,244 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 707,969 insertion/deletions were identified. Among the SNPs detected, 25.5% were not described previously. We found that artificial selection during domestication led to more pronounced reduction in the genetic diversity of soybean than the switch from landraces to elite cultivars. Only a small proportion (2.99%) of the whole genomic regions appear to be affected by artificial selection for preferred agricultural traits. The selection regions were not distributed randomly or uniformly throughout the genome. Instead, clusters of selection hotspots in certain genomic regions were observed. Moreover, a set of candidate genes (4.38% of the total annotated genes) significantly affected by selection underlying soybean domestication and genetic improvement were identified.
Given the uniqueness of the soybean germplasm sequenced, this study drew a clear picture of human-mediated evolution of the soybean genomes. The genomic resources and information provided by this study would also facilitate the discovery of genes/loci underlying agronomically important traits.
PMCID: PMC3844514  PMID: 23984715
Artificial selection; Evolution; Genetic diversity; Population genomics; Soybean
2.  The Bsister MADS Gene FST Determines Ovule Patterning and Development of the Zygotic Embryo and Endosperm 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58748.
Many homeotic MADS-box genes have been identified as controllers of the floral transition and floral development. However, information regarding Bsister (Bs)-function genes in monocots is still limited. Here, we describe the functional characterization of a Bs-group MADS-box gene FEMALE-STERILE (FST), whose frame-shift mutation (fst) results in abnormal ovules and the complete abortion of zygotic embryos and endosperms in rice. Anatomical analysis showed that the defective development in the fst mutant exclusively occurred in sporophytic tissues including integuments, fertilized proembryos and endosperms. Analyses of the spatio-temporal expression pattern revealed that the prominent FST gene products accumulated in the inner integument, nucellar cell of the micropylar side, apical and base of the proembryos and free endosperm nuclei. Microarray and gene ontology analysis unraveled substantial changes in the expression level of many genes in the fst mutant ovules and seeds, with a subset of genes involved in several developmental and hormonal pathways appearing to be down-regulated. Using both forward and reverse genetics approaches, we demonstrated that rice FST plays indispensable roles and multiple functions during ovule and early seed development. These findings support a novel function for the Bs-group MADS-box genes in plants.
PMCID: PMC3602522  PMID: 23527017
3.  Factors Associated with Myopia in School Children in China: The Beijing Childhood Eye Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52668.
To assess factors associated with myopia in school children in rural and urban parts of Greater Beijing.
The Beijing Pedriatic Eye Study was a population-based cross-sectional study, in which one school of each level (primary, junior high, senior high) was randomly selected from nine randomly selected districts out of 18 districts of Greater Beijing. The children underwent non-cylcoplegic refractometry and their parents an interview.
Of 16,771 eligible students, 15,066 (89.8%) children (7,769 (51.6%) girls) participated, with 8,860 (58.8%) participants living in the rural region. Mean age was 13.2±3.4 years (range:7–18 years). In multivariate analysis, prevalence of myopia (defined as ≤−1.00 diopters) was associated with higher age (Odds ratio(OR):1.37; 95% confidence interval(CI):1.35,1.39), female gender (OR:1.35;95%CI:1.25,1.47), key school type (OR:0.77;95%CI: 0.70,0.85), higher family income (OR:1.04;95%CI:1.01,1.07), parental myopia (OR:1.46;95%CI:1.40,1.53), dim reading illumination (OR:0.93;95%CI: 0.88,0.98), longer daily studying duration (OR:1.10;95%CI:1.06,1.15), shorter duration of watching television (or computer) (OR:0.93;95%CI:0.89,0.97), higher self-reported protein intake (OR:0.94;95%CI:0.90,0.99), feeling well about life and status (OR:0.93;95%CI:0.89,0.98), and feeling tired or dizzy (OR:0.94;95%CI:0.91,0.97). Prevalence of high myopia (defined as ≤−6.00 diopters) was associated with higher age (OR:1.43;95%CI:1.38, 1.48), key school type (OR:0.61;95%CI:0.49,0.74), family income (OR:1.07;95%CI:1.02,1.13), parental myopia (OR:1.65;95%CI:1.54,1.76), dim reading illumination (OR:0.86;95%CI:0.77,0.96), less rest during studying (OR:1.18;95%CI:1.10,1.27), feeling well about life and studying (OR:0.88;95%CI: 0.81,0.96) and feeling dizzy or tired (OR:0.93;95%CI:0.87,0.99). Prevalence of high myopia (defined as ≤−8.00 diopters) was significantly associated with higher age (OR:1.39;95%CI:1.31,1.48;), key school type (OR:0.61;95%CI:0.42,0.88) and parental myopia (OR:1.87;95%CI:1.66,2.12).
Myopia in school children in Greater Beijing was associated with higher age, female gender, school type, parental myopia, higher socioeconomic background, dim reading illumination, longer daily studying duration, less rest during study, shorter duration of watching television (or computer), higher self-reported protein intake, feeling well about life and status, and feeling tired and dizzy.
PMCID: PMC3531363  PMID: 23300738
4.  The Receiver Operational Characteristic for Binary Classification with Multiple Indices and Its Application to the Neuroimaging Study of Alzheimer’s Disease 
Given a single index, the receiver operational characteristic (ROC) curve analysis is routinely utilized for characterizing performances in distinguishing two conditions/groups in terms of sensitivity and specificity. Given the availability of multiple data sources (referred to as multi-indices), such as multimodal neuroimaging data sets, cognitive tests, and clinical ratings and genomic data in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) studies, the single-index-based ROC underutilizes all available information. For a long time, a number of algorithmic/analytic approaches combining multiple indices have been widely used to simultaneously incorporate multiple sources. In this study, we propose an alternative for combining multiple indices using logical operations, such as “AND,” “OR,” and “at least n” (where n is an integer), to construct multivariate ROC (multiV-ROC) and characterize the sensitivity and specificity statistically associated with the use of multiple indices. With and without the “leave-one-out” cross-validation, we used two data sets from AD studies to showcase the potentially increased sensitivity/specificity of the multiV-ROC in comparison to the single-index ROC and linear discriminant analysis (an analytic way of combining multi-indices). We conclude that, for the data sets we investigated, the proposed multiV-ROC approach is capable of providing a natural and practical alternative with improved classification accuracy as compared to univariate ROC and linear discriminant analysis.
PMCID: PMC4085147  PMID: 23702553
Alzheimer’s dementia (AD); multiple indices; multiV-ROC; receiver operational characteristic (ROC)
5.  Bonding of Resin Cement to Zirconia with High Pressure Primer Coating 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101174.
To investigate the effect of air-drying pressure during ceramic primer coating on zirconia/resin bonding and the surface characteristics of the primed zirconia.
Two ceramic primers (Clearfil Ceramic Primer, CCP, Kuraray Medical Inc. and Z-Prime Plus, ZPP, Bisco Inc.) were applied on the surface of air-abraded zirconia (Katana zirconia, Noritake) and dried at 4 different air pressures (0.1–0.4 MPa). The primed zirconia ceramic specimens were bonded with a resin-based luting agent (SA Luting Cement, Kuraray). Micro-shear bond strengths of the bonded specimens were tested after 3 days of water storage or 5,000× thermocycling (n = 12). Failure modes of the fractured specimens were examined with scanning electron miscopy. The effects of air pressure on the thickness of the primer layers and the surface roughness (Sa) of primed zirconia were evaluated using spectroscopic ellipsometry (n = 6), optical profilometry and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) (n = 6), respectively.
Clearfil Ceramic Primer air-dried at 0.3 and 0.4 MPa, yielding significantly higher µSBS than gentle air-drying subgroups (p<0.05). Compared to vigorous drying conditions, Z-Prime Plus air-dried at 0.2 MPa exhibited significantly higher µSBS (p<0.05). Increasing air-drying pressure reduced the film thickness for both primers. Profilometry measurements and ESEM showed rougher surfaces in the high pressure subgroups of CCP and intermediate pressure subgroup of ZPP.
Air-drying pressure influences resin/zirconia bond strength and durability significantly. Higher air-drying pressure (0.3-0.4 MPa) for CCP and intermediate pressure (0.2 MPa) for ZPP are recommended to produce strong, durable bonds between resin cement and zirconia ceramics.
PMCID: PMC4081122  PMID: 24992678
6.  Overexpression of both platelet-derived growth factor-BB and vascular endothelial growth factor-C and its association with lymphangiogenesis in primary human non-small cell lung cancer 
Diagnostic Pathology  2014;9:128.
Metastatic spread of tumor through lymphatic vasculature is an important adverse prognostic factor in a variety of human cancer and tumor lymphangiogenesis requires the interplay of several growth factors. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C are two important molecules involving in tumor metastasis and lymphangiogenesis. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the coexpression of PDGF-BB and VEGF-C in primary human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and its association with lymphangiogenesis.
Using immunohistochemical staining, PDGF-BB and VEGF-C expression were detected in 109 primary NSCLC tissues, while the lymphatic micro-vessel density (LMVD) was counted.
Of 109 cases, PDGF-BB and VEGF-C overexpression was 66.97% (73/109) and 65.14% (71/109), respectively. 52 (47.7%) had overexpression of both PDGF-BB and VEGF-C (P + V+), 21 (19.3%) overexpression of PDGF-BB but low expression of VEGF-C (P + V-), 19(17.4%) overexpression of VEGF-C but low expression of PDGF-BB (P-V+) and 17(15.6%) low expression of both PDGF-BB and VEGF-C (P-V-). PDGF-BB expression was positively related to that of VEGF-C (r = 0.451, p = 0.034). LMVD in cases with P + V + was much higher than those with P-V- (p = 0.004). In addition, the patients with P + V + were younger and also had larger tumor size, more likely lymph node metastasis and worse histological differentiation than those with P-V-. Moreover, the overall survival (OS) of patients with P + V + was shorter than those with P-V- (p = 0.015).
Coexpression of both PDGF-BB and VEGF-C was associated with lymphangiogenesis and poor prognosis in NSCLC, and might play a critical role in NSCLC progression.
Virtual Slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC4085714  PMID: 24972450
Platelet-derived growth factor-BB; Vascular endothelial growth factor-C; Lymphatic micro-vessel density; Non-small cell lung cancer
7.  In Vitro Characterization of Human Adenovirus Type 55 in Comparison with Its Parental Adenoviruses, Types 11 and 14 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100665.
Human adenovirus type 55 (HAdV-B55) represents a re-emerging human pathogen, and this adenovirus has been reported to cause outbreaks of acute respiratory diseases among military trainees and in school populations around the world. HAdV-B55 has been revealed to have evolved from homologous recombination between human adenovirus type 14 (HAdV-B14) and type 11 (HAdV-B11), but it presents different clinical manifestations from parental virus HAdV-B11. In the present paper, we report the distinct biological features of HAdV-B55 in comparison with the parental viruses HAdV-B11 and HAdV-B14 in cell cultures. The results showed that HAdV-B55 replicated well in various cells, similar to HAdV-B11 and HAdV-B14, but that its processing had a slower and milder cytopathic effect in the early stages of infection. Viral fitness analysis showed that HAdV-B55 exhibited higher levels of replication in respiratory cells than did either of its parents. Cytotoxicity and apoptosis analyses in A549 cells indicated that HAdV-B55 was less cytotoxic than HAdV-B11 and HAdV-B14 were and induced milder apoptosis. Finally, thermal sensitivity analysis revealed that HAdV-B55 exhibited lower thermostability than did either HAdV-B11 or HAdV-B14, which may limit the transmission of HAdV-B55 in humans. Together, the findings described here expand current knowledge about this re-emerging recombinant HAdV, shedding light on the pathogenesis of HAdV-B55.
PMCID: PMC4067339  PMID: 24956280
8.  Impacts of the Callipyge Mutation on Ovine Plasma Metabolites and Muscle Fibre Type 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99726.
The ovine Callipyge mutation causes postnatal muscle hypertrophy localized to the pelvic limbs and torso, as well as body leanness. The mechanism underpinning enhanced muscle mass is unclear, as is the systemic impact of the mutation. Using muscle fibre typing immunohistochemistry, we confirmed muscle specific effects and demonstrated that affected muscles had greater prevalence and hypertrophy of type 2X fast twitch glycolytic fibres and decreased representation of types 1, 2C, 2A and/or 2AX fibres. To investigate potential systemic effects of the mutation, proton NMR spectra of plasma taken from lambs at 8 and 12 weeks of age were measured. Multivariate statistical analysis of plasma metabolite profiles demonstrated effects of development and genotype but not gender. Plasma from Callipyge lambs at 12 weeks of age, but not 8 weeks, was characterized by a metabolic profile consistent with contributions from the affected hypertrophic fast twitch glycolytic muscle fibres. Microarray analysis of the perirenal adipose tissue depot did not reveal a transcriptional effect of the mutation in this tissue. We conclude that there is an indirect systemic effect of the Callipyge mutation in skeletal muscle in the form of changes of blood metabolites, which may contribute to secondary phenotypes such as body leanness.
PMCID: PMC4061035  PMID: 24937646
9.  Pharmacokinetics of Anti-HBV Polyoxometalate in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98292.
Polyoxometalates are non-nucleoside analogs that have been proven to exhibit broad-spectrum antiviral activity. In particular, Cs2K4Na[SiW9Nb3O40].H2O 1 shows low toxicity and high activity against HBV. The preclinical pharmacokinetics of Compound 1 in rats were characterized by establishing and applying inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry method to determine the concentration of W in plasma, urine, feces, bile and organ samples. The quantitative ICP-MS method demonstrated good sensitivity and application in the pharmacokinetics study of polyoxometalates. The pharmacokinetic behavior of Compound 1 after intravenous or oral administration fit a two-compartment model. Tmax ranges from 0.1 h to 3 h and the T1/2 of Compound 1 is between 20 h and 30 h. The absolute bioavailability of Compound 1 at 45, 180 and 720 mg/kg groups were 23.68%, 14.67% and 11.93%, respectively. The rates of plasma protein binding of Compound 1 at 9, 18 and 36 mg/ml of Compound 1 are 62.13±9.41%, 71.20±24.98% and 49.00±25.59%, respectively. Compound 1 was widely distributed throughout the body, and high levels of compound 1 were found in the kidney and liver. The level of Compound 1 in excretion was lower: 30% for urine, 0.28% for feces and 0.42% for bile, respectively. For elaborate pharmacokinetic characteristics to be fully understood, the metabolism of Compound 1 needs to be studied further.
PMCID: PMC4055585  PMID: 24921932
10.  Non-pharmacological treatments for adult patients with functional constipation: a systematic review protocol 
BMJ Open  2014;4(6):e004982.
The aim of this review is to assess the effectiveness, efficacy and safety of non-pharmacological therapies for patients with functional constipation.
Methods and analysis
We will electronically search OVID MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane library, CINAHL, AMED and ISI web of knowledge without any language restrictions. We will also try to obtain literatures from other sources, such as a hand search of library journals or conference abstracts. After searching and screening of the studies, we will run a meta-analysis of the included randomised-controlled trials. We will summarise the results as risk ratio for dichotomous data and standardised or weighted mean difference for continuous data.
This systematic review will summarise current evidence for using non-pharmacological therapies to treat functional constipation, and will be disseminated through peer-review publications or conference presentations.
Trial registration number
PROSPERO 2014: CRD42014006686.
PMCID: PMC4054651  PMID: 24902731
Complementary Medicine
11.  A Fully Automatic Method for Lung Parenchyma Segmentation and Repairing 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2012;26(3):483-495.
Considering that the traditional lung segmentation algorithms are not adaptive for the situations that most of the juxtapleural nodules, which are excluded as fat, and lung are not segmented perfectly. In this paper, several methods are comprehensively utilized including optimal iterative threshold, three-dimensional connectivity labeling, three-dimensional region growing for the initial segmentation of the lung parenchyma, based on improved chain code, and Bresenham algorithms to repair the lung parenchyma. The paper thus proposes a fully automatic method for lung parenchyma segmentation and repairing. Ninety-seven lung nodule thoracic computed tomography scans and 25 juxtapleural nodule scans are used to test the proposed method and compare with the most-cited rolling-ball method. Experimental results show that the algorithm can segment lung parenchyma region automatically and accurately. The sensitivity of juxtapleural nodule inclusion is 100 %, the segmentation accuracy of juxtapleural nodule regions is 98.6 %, segmentation accuracy of lung parenchyma is more than 95.2 %, and the average segmentation time is 0.67 s/frame. The algorithm can achieve good results for lung parenchyma segmentation and repairing in various cases that nodules/tumors adhere to lung wall.
PMCID: PMC3649062  PMID: 23053904
Computer-aided diagnosis; Thoracic CT image; Lung parenchyma; Segmentation; Repairing; Improved chain code; Bresenham algorithms
12.  An increase in the cerebral infarction area during fatigue is mediated by il-6 through an induction of fibrinogen synthesis 
Clinics  2014;69(6):426-432.
Our study aimed to investigate the impact of fatigue on the severity of stroke and to explore the underlying mechanisms.
Fatigued male rats underwent middle cerebral artery occlusion and the infarcted brain area was determined. Then, coagulation parameters were assessed in the fatigued group and a control group. In addition, the level of fibrinogen was determined in rats deprived of sleep for various numbers of days. To study whether interleukin-6 was involved in fibrinogen synthesis during fatigue, we also measured levels of interleukin-6 in rats deprived of sleep for various numbers of days. Furthermore, brain injury by middle cerebral artery occlusion was measured in wild-type mice, interleukin-6-/- mice and wild-type mice treated with bezafibrate.
More severe cerebral infarction was observed in the fatigued rats, resulting in an infarct ratio of 23.4%. The infarct ratio was significantly increased in the fatigued rats compared with that in the control group (8%, p<0.05). The level of fibrinogen was increased significantly in the fatigued rats compared with that in the control group. In addition, a marked reduction in fibrinogen level was observed in the fatigued interleukin-6-/- mice compared to their wild-type counterparts, whereas no difference was observed between fatigued wild-type mice and interleukin-6-/- rats treated with recombinant human interleukin-6. The reduction in brain injury due to middle cerebral artery occlusion during fatigue was observed in interleukin-6-/- mice and wild-type mice treated with bezafibrate.
Fatigue could increase stroke severity and was associated with the interleukin-6-induced expression of fibrinogen.
PMCID: PMC4050324  PMID: 24964308
Fibrinogen IL-6; Fatigue; Stroke; Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion
13.  High glucose increases LPS-induced DC apoptosis through modulation of ERK1/2, AKT and Bax/Bcl-2 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14:98.
This study investigates the effect of glucose on the LPS-induced apoptosis of dendritic cells in the intestinal tract of mice and the dendritic cell line DC2.4.
Flow cytometry was used to detect dendritic cell apoptosis both in vivo and in vitro. Hoechst 33258 staining was used to detect the morphological changes characteristic of apoptotic nuclei. Expression of apoptosis related proteins was investigated by western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry.
Pretreatment with a high concentration of glucose increased apoptosis of LPS-treated dendritic cells both in vivo and in vitro at 24 h. No effect was evident at the earlier time points of 15 min and 6 h in vitro. Furthermore, at 24 hours the expression of the survival proteins AKT, ERK and Bcl-2 was decreased, while the expression of the proapoptotic protein Bax was increased. AKT, ERK, Bcl-2 and Bax were mainly located in the cytoplasm by immunohistochemistry.
These results suggest that high glucose concentrations might prime dendritic cells for apoptosis induced by LPS in the intestinal tract through upregulating the expression of Bax and downregulating the expression of AKT, ERK and Bcl-2. Therefore, this study may give clues to understanding the immunological mechanism behind gastrointestinal complications in diabetes mellitus.
PMCID: PMC4081508  PMID: 24885625
Dendritic cell; Apoptosis; Diabetes mellitus; Glucose; Gastrointestinal complications diabetes
14.  Prevalence and Clinical Relevance of T-Helper Cells, Th17 and Th1, in Hepatitis B Virus-Related Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96080.
Background and Aims
An immune imbalance in the cytokine profile exerts a profound influence on the progression of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The present study evaluated the immune status of T helper (Th) 17 and Th1 cells in patients with HBV-related and non-HBV-related HCC.
We randomly enrolled 150 patients with HCC. Blood samples and tissue samples were obtained. The distributions and phenotypic features of Th17 and Th1 cells were determined by flow cytometry and/or immunohistochemistry.
Compared to corresponding non-tumor regions, the levels of Th17 and Th1 cells were significantly increased in tumors of patients with HCC (P<0.001). The intratumoral densities of IL-17-producing cells and IFN-γ-producing cells were associated with overall survival (OS, P = 0.001) and disease-free survival (DFS, P = 0.001) of patients with HCC. The ratio of Th17 to Th1 in HBV-related HCC was higher than in non-HBV-related HCC. A multivariate Cox analysis revealed that the Th17 to Th1 ratio was an independent prognostic factor for OS (HR = 2.651, P = 0.007) and DFS (HR = 2.456, P = 0.002).
HBV infections can lead to an imbalance in immune status in patients with HCC. An elevated Th17 to Th1 ratio may promote tumor progression. The Th17 to Th1 ratio could serve as a potential prognostic marker for scoring the severity of HCC.
PMCID: PMC4035251  PMID: 24867183
15.  Antiviral Activity of Total Flavonoid Extracts from Selaginella moellendorffii Hieron against Coxsackie Virus B3 In Vitro and In Vivo 
The antiviral activity of total flavonoid extracts from Selaginella moellendorffii Hieron and its main constituents amentoflavone were investigated against coxsackie virus B3 (CVB3). When added during or after viral infection, the extracts and amentoflavone prevented the cytopathic effect (CPE) of CVB3, as demonstrated in a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) colorimetric assay, with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) from 19 ± 1.6 to 41 ± 1.2 μg/mL and 25 ± 1.2 to 52 ± 0.8 μg/mL, respectively. KM mice were used as animal models to test the extracts' activity in vivo. Oral administration of the total flavonoid extracts at 300 mg/kg/day significantly reduced mean viral titers in the heart and kidneys as well as mortality after infection for 15 days. The experimental results demonstrate that in vitro and in vivo the model mice infected with CVB3 can be effectively treated by the total flavonoid extracts from Selaginella moellendorffii Hieron.
PMCID: PMC4055240  PMID: 24963331
16.  The Different Roles of Glucocorticoids in the Hippocampus and Hypothalamus in Chronic Stress-Induced HPA Axis Hyperactivity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97689.
Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) hyperactivity is observed in many patients suffering from depression and the mechanism underling the dysfunction of HPA axis is not well understood. Chronic stress has a causal relationship with the hyperactivity of HPA axis. Stress induces the over-synthesis of glucocorticoids, which will arrive at all the body containing the brain. It is still complicated whether glucocorticoids account for chronic stress-induced HPA axis hyperactivity and in which part of the brain the glucocorticoids account for chronic stress-induced HPA axis hyperactivity. Here, we demonstrated that glucocorticoids were indispensable and sufficient for chronic stress-induced hyperactivity of HPA axis. Although acute glucocorticoids elevation in the hippocampus and hypothalamus exerted a negative regulation of HPA axis, we found that chronic glucocorticoids elevation in the hippocampus but not in the hypothalamus accounted for chronic stress-induced hyperactivity of HPA axis. Chronic glucocorticoids exposure in the hypothalamus still exerted a negative regulation of HPA axis activity. More importantly, we found mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) - neuronal nitric oxide synthesis enzyme (nNOS) - nitric oxide (NO) pathway mediated the different roles of glucocorticoids in the hippocampus and hypothalamus in regulating HPA axis activity. This study suggests that the glucocorticoids in the hippocampus play an important role in the development of HPA axis hyperactivity and the glucocorticoids in the hypothalamus can't induce hyperactivity of HPA axis, revealing new insights into understanding the mechanism of depression.
PMCID: PMC4022669  PMID: 24831808
17.  Association between Irrigation Fluids, Washout Volumes and Risk of Local Recurrence of Anterior Resection for Rectal Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of 427 Cases and 492 Controls 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95699.
Rectal washout can prevent local recurrence after anterior resection of rectal cancer. Few studies have focused particularly on the association between irrigation fluids volume or agents and the risk of local recurrence after anterior resection of rectal cancer.
To estimate the association between irrigation fluids types, volumes of rectal washout and risk of local recurrence after anterior resection for cancer.
Data Sources
Relevant studies were identified by a search of Medline, Embase, Wiley Online Library, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Cochrane Oral Health Group Specialized Register, Wanfang databases and Google Website from their inception until October 18,2013.
Study Selection
Studies reporting the association between rectal washout types and volumes and risk of local recurrence after anterior resection for cancer were included.
Eligible studies used rectal washout. Control groups were defined as no washout.
Study Appraisal and Synthesis Methods
Random-effects model were used to obtain summary estimates of RR and 95% CI, with Stata version 11 and RevMan 5.2.5 softwares used. The quality of report was appraised in reference to the MINORS item.
Of the 919 rectal cancer patients in 8 included studies, a total of 61(6.64%) cases of local recurrence were reported, with a pooled RR 0.51 (95%CI = 0.28–0.92, P = 0.03). The RRs 0.37 and 0.39 in normal saline and washout volume (≥1500 ml normal saline) subgroup, respectively, indicated that rectal washout with normal saline, or ≥1500 ml in volume could significantly reduce local recurrence (LR) rate (95% CI = 0.17–0.79, P = 0.01; 95% CI = 0.18–0.87, P = 0.02) after anterior resection for cancer.
The included studies were non-randomized observational studies, with diversity of study designs.
Rectal washout with normal saline alone can reduce the risk of local recurrence in patients with resectable rectal cancer, and 1.5 liters rectal washout in volume is recommended.
PMCID: PMC4019500  PMID: 24824812
18.  Rhein Induces a Necrosis-Apoptosis Switch in Pancreatic Acinar Cells 
Objectives. The Chinese herbal medicine Da-Cheng-Qi decoction can regulate a necrosis-apoptosis switch in injured pancreatic acinar cells. This study investigated the effects of rhein, a component of this medicine, on a necrosis-apoptosis switch in pancreatic rat AR42J cells. Methods. Cerulein-treated AR42J cells were used. After pretreatment with 479, 119.8, or 29.9 μg/L rhein, cells were cocultured with rhein and cerulein (10−8 M) for 4, 8, or 16 h. Apoptosis and necrosis were examined using annexin V and propidium iodide costaining. Mitochondria-dependent apoptosis-associated proteins were examined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and western blotting. Results. Few cells died in untreated samples. The number was significantly higher in 16-h-cerulein-treated samples and treatment with 479 μg/L rhein most effectively increased the apoptotic-to-necrotic cell ratio (P < 0.05). In cerulein-treated cells, rhein increased the concentrations of p53, cytochrome C, and caspase-3, and increased the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in a time- and dose-dependent manner, with the maximum effect in cells treated with 479 μg/L rhein for 16 h (P < 0.05). Conclusions. Rhein induces the necrosis-apoptosis switch in injured pancreatic acinar cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Mitochondria-dependent apoptosis signaling pathways might play an important role in this effect.
PMCID: PMC4053146  PMID: 24959186
19.  Reduction Patterns of Acute Schistosomiasis in the People's Republic of China 
Despite significant, steady progress in schistosomiasis control in the People's Republic of China over the past 50 years, available data suggest that the disease has re-emerged with several outbreaks of acute infections in the early new century. In response, a new integrated strategy was introduced.
This retrospective study was conducted between Jan 2005 and Dec 2012, to explore the effectiveness of a new integrated control strategy that was implemented by the national control program since 2004.
A total of 1,047 acute cases were recorded between 2005 and 2012, with an annual reduction in prevalence of 97.7%. The proportion of imported cases of schistosomiasis was higher in 2011 and 2012. Nine clusters of acute infections were detected by spatio-temporal analysis between June and November, indicating that the high risk areas located in the lake and marshland regions.
This study shows that the new integrated strategy has played a key role in reducing the morbidity of schistosomiasis in the People's Republic of China.
Author Summary
A retrospective study on the incidence of acute schistosomiasis in the People's Republic of China (P.R. China) was performed, in order to assess the new integrated control strategy that was implemented through the national control program from 2005 to 2012. The lake and marshland regions have been identified as high risk areas as shown by the nine spatio-temporal clusters that we found in the transmission period between June and November each year. When a total of 1,047 reported cases of acute schistosomiasis were analyzed, a reduction in prevalence of 97.7% between 2005 and 2012 was found. In contrast, imported cases of acute schistosomiasis increased between 2011 and 2012. These findings support the approach and effectiveness of the new integrated strategy in the reduction of schistosomiasis morbidity.
PMCID: PMC4014431  PMID: 24810958
20.  Rural Residents in China Are at Increased Risk of Exposure to Tick-Borne Pathogens Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Ehrlichia chaffeensis 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:313867.
As emerging tick born rickettsial diseases caused by A. phagocytophilum and E. chaffeensis, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis have become a serious threat to human and animal health throughout the world. In particular, in China, an unusual transmission of nosocomial cases of human granulocytic anaplasmosis occurred in Anhui Province in 2006 and more recent coinfection case of A. phagocytophilum and E. chaffeensis was documented in Shandong Province. Although the seroprevalence of human granulocytic anaplasmosis (former human granulocytic ehrlichiosis, HGE) has been documented in several studies, these data existed on local investigations, and also little data was reported on the seroprevalence of human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME) in China. In this cross-sectional epidemiological study, indirect immunofluorescence antibody assay (IFA) proposed by WHO was used to detect A. phagocytophilum and E. chaffeensis IgG antibodies for 7,322 serum samples from agrarian residents from 9 provinces/cities and 819 urban residents from 2 provinces. Our data showed that farmers were at substantially increased risk of exposure. However, even among urban residents, risk was considerable. Seroprevalence of HGA and HME occurred in diverse regions of the country and tended to be the highest in young adults. Many species of ticks were confirmed carrying A. phagocytophilum organisms in China while several kinds of domestic animals including dog, goats, sheep, cattle, horse, wild rabbit, and some small wild rodents were proposed to be the reservoir hosts of A. phagocytophilum. The broad distribution of vector and hosts of the A. phagocytophilum and E. chaffeensis, especially the relationship between the generalized susceptibility of vectors and reservoirs and the severity of the disease's clinical manifestations and the genetic variation of Chinese HGA isolates in China, is urgently needed to be further investigated.
PMCID: PMC4022244  PMID: 24877080
21.  Helicobacter pylori isolates from ethnic minority patients in Guangxi: Resistance rates, mechanisms, and genotype 
AIM: To investigate the rate of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) resistance to clarithromycin among ethnic minority patients in Guangxi, explore the underlying mechanisms, and analyze factors influencing genotype distribution of H. pylori isolates.
METHODS: H. pylori strains were isolated, cultured and subjected to drug sensitivity testing. The 23S rRNA gene of H. pylori isolates was amplified by PCR and analyzed by PCR-RFLP and direct sequencing to detect point mutations. REP-PCR was used for genotyping of H. pylori isolates, and NTsys_2 software was used for clustering analysis based on REP-PCR DNA fingerprints. Factors potentially influencing genotype distribution of H. pylori isolates were analyzed.
RESULTS: The rate of clarithromycin resistance was 31.3%. A2143G and A2144G mutations were detected in the 23S rRNA gene of all clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori isolates. At a genetic distance of 78%, clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori isolates could be divided into six groups. Significant clustering was noted among H. pylori isolates from patients with peptic ulcer or gastritis.
CONCLUSION: The rate of clarithromycin resistance is relatively high in ethnic minority patients in Guangxi. Main mechanisms of clarithromycin resistance are A2143G and A2144G mutations in the 23S rRNA gene. Clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori isolates can be divided into six groups based on REP-PCR DNA fingerprints. Several factors such as disease type may influence the genotype distribution of H. pylori isolates.
PMCID: PMC4000514  PMID: 24782630
Helicobacter pylori; Antibiotic resistance; Mechanism; Clarithromycin; Genotype
22.  Toll-Like Receptor 4 Mediates Inflammatory Cytokine Secretion in Smooth Muscle Cells Induced by Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95935.
Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL)-regulated secretion of inflammatory cytokines in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) is regarded as an important step in the progression of atherosclerosis; however, its underlying mechanism remains unclear. This study investigated the role of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in oxLDL-induced expression of inflammatory cytokines in SMCs both in vivo and in vitro. We found that the levels of TLR4, interleukin 1-β (IL1-β), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) expression were increased in the SMCs of atherosclerotic plaques in patients with femoral artery stenosis. In cultured primary arterial SMCs from wild type mice, oxLDL caused dose- and time-dependent increase in the expression levels of TLR4 and cytokines. These effects were significantly weakened in arterial SMCs derived from TLR4 knockout mice (TLR4−/−). Moreover, the secretion of inflammatory cytokines was blocked by TLR4-specific antibodies in primary SMCs. Ox-LDL induced activation of p38 and NFκB was also inhibited in TLR4−/− primary SMCs or when treated with TLR4-specific antibodies. These results demonstrated that TLR4 is a crucial mediator in oxLDL-induced inflammatory cytokine expression and secretion, and p38 and NFκB activation.
PMCID: PMC3995878  PMID: 24755612
23.  Expression and Clinical Significance of YAP, TAZ, and AREG in Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Journal of Immunology Research  2014;2014:261365.
Purpose. Yes-associated protein (YAP) and PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) are two important effectors of Hippo pathway controlling the balance of organ size and carcinogenesis. Amphiregulin (AREG) is a member of the epidermal growth factor family, a direct target gene of YAP and TAZ. The role of these proteins in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is unclear. Methods. The expression of YAP, TAZ, and AREG in HCC was analyzed by immunohistochemical staining. The level of secreted serum AREG was also assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) assay. Results. YAP, TAZ, and AREG were expressed in 69.2% (27/39), 66.7% (26/39), and 61.5% (24/39) of HCC patients. The expression of YAP was significantly correlated with Edmondson stage (P > 0.05), serum AFP level (P > 0.05), and HCC prognosis (P > 0.05). AREG expression was also significantly correlated with Edmondson stage (P > 0.05) and serum AFP level (P > 0.05). In addition, the expression of serum AREG was higher than serum AFP in HCC patients. Further multivariate analysis showed that YAP expression was an independent prognostic factor that significantly affected the overall survival of HCC patients. Conclusions. YAP maybe an independent prognostic indicator for HCC patients and serum AREG may be a serological biomarker of HCC.
PMCID: PMC4016924  PMID: 24860833
24.  Parallel mRNA and MicroRNA Profiling of HEV71-Infected Human Neuroblastoma Cells Reveal the Up-Regulation of miR-1246 in Association with DLG3 Repression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95272.
Human enterovirus 71 (HEV71) has emerged as the leading cause of viral encephalitis in children in most Asian countries. The roles of host miRNAs in the neurological pathogenesis of HEV71 infection remain unknown. In the present study, comprehensive miRNA expression profiling in HEV71-infected human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells was performed using the Affymetrix Gene Chip microarray assay and was validated using real-time RT-PCR. Among the 69 differentially expressed miRNAs, miR-1246 was specifically induced by HEV71 infection in human neuroblastoma cells, but inhibition of miR-1246 failed to affect HEV71 replication. Parallel mRNA and microRNA profiling based on the 35 K Human Genome Array identified 182 differentially regulated genes. Target prediction of miR-1246 and network modeling revealed 14 potential target genes involved in cell death and cell signaling. Finally, a combined analysis of the results from mRNA profiling and miR-1246 target predication led to the identification of disc-large homolog 3 (DLG3), which is associated with neurological disorders, for further validation. Sequence alignment and luciferase reporter assay showed that miR-1246 directly bound with the 3′-UTR of DLG3 gene. Down-regulation of miR-1246 induced significant changes in DLG3 expression levels in HEV71-infected SHSY5Y cells. Together, these results suggested that miR-1246 might play a role in neurological pathogenesis of HEV71 by regulating DLG3 gene in infected cells. These findings provide new information on the miRNA and mRNA profiles of HEV71-infected neuroblastoma cells. The biological significance of miR-1246 and DLG3 during the course of HEV71 infection deserves further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3989279  PMID: 24739954
25.  Quantitative analysis of real-time tissue elastography for evaluation of liver fibrosis 
The present study aimed to investigate the feasibility of quantitative analysis of liver fibrosis using real-time tissue elastography (RTE) and its pathological and molecule biological basis. Methods: Fifty-four New Zealand rabbits were subcutaneously injected with thioacetamide (TAA) to induce liver fibrosis as the model group, and another eight New Zealand rabbits served as the normal control group. Four rabbits were randomly taken every two weeks for real-time tissue elastography (RTE) and quantitative analysis of tissue diffusion. The obtained twelve characteristic quantities included relative mean value (MEAN), standard deviation (SD), blue area % (% AREA), complexity (COMP), kurtosis (KURT), skewness (SKEW), contrast (CONT), entropy (ENT), inverse different moment (IDM), angular secon moment (ASM), correlation (CORR) and liver fibrosis index (LF Index). Rabbits were executed and liver tissues were taken for pathological staging of liver fibrosis (grouped by pathological stage into S0 group, S1 group, S2 group, S3 group and S4 group). In addition, the collagen I (Col I) and collagen III (Col III) expression levels in liver tissue were detected by Western blot. Results: Except for KURT, there were significant differences among the other eleven characteristic quantities (P < 0.05). LF Index, Col I and Col III expression levels showed a rising trend with increased pathological staging of liver fibrosis, presenting a positive correlation with the pathological staging of liver fibrosis (r = 0.718, r = 0.693, r = 0.611, P < 0.05). Conclusion: RTE quantitative analysis is expected for noninvasive evaluation of the pathological staging of liver fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4057854  PMID: 24955175
Ultrasound; elastography; liver fibrosis; non-invasive diagnosis

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