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1.  Large-Scale Genome-Wide Association Studies and Meta-Analyses of Longitudinal Change in Adult Lung Function 
Tang, Wenbo | Kowgier, Matthew | Loth, Daan W. | Soler Artigas, María | Joubert, Bonnie R. | Hodge, Emily | Gharib, Sina A. | Smith, Albert V. | Ruczinski, Ingo | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Mathias, Rasika A. | Harris, Tamara B. | Hansel, Nadia N. | Launer, Lenore J. | Barnes, Kathleen C. | Hansen, Joyanna G. | Albrecht, Eva | Aldrich, Melinda C. | Allerhand, Michael | Barr, R. Graham | Brusselle, Guy G. | Couper, David J. | Curjuric, Ivan | Davies, Gail | Deary, Ian J. | Dupuis, Josée | Fall, Tove | Foy, Millennia | Franceschini, Nora | Gao, Wei | Gläser, Sven | Gu, Xiangjun | Hancock, Dana B. | Heinrich, Joachim | Hofman, Albert | Imboden, Medea | Ingelsson, Erik | James, Alan | Karrasch, Stefan | Koch, Beate | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Kumar, Ashish | Lahousse, Lies | Li, Guo | Lind, Lars | Lindgren, Cecilia | Liu, Yongmei | Lohman, Kurt | Lumley, Thomas | McArdle, Wendy L. | Meibohm, Bernd | Morris, Andrew P. | Morrison, Alanna C. | Musk, Bill | North, Kari E. | Palmer, Lyle J. | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I. | Schulz, Holger | Smith, Lewis J. | Sood, Akshay | Starr, John M. | Strachan, David P. | Teumer, Alexander | Uitterlinden, André G. | Völzke, Henry | Voorman, Arend | Wain, Louise V. | Wells, Martin T. | Wilk, Jemma B. | Williams, O. Dale | Heckbert, Susan R. | Stricker, Bruno H. | London, Stephanie J. | Fornage, Myriam | Tobin, Martin D. | O′Connor, George T. | Hall, Ian P. | Cassano, Patricia A. | Chen, Lin
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e100776.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci influencing cross-sectional lung function, but less is known about genes influencing longitudinal change in lung function.
We performed GWAS of the rate of change in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) in 14 longitudinal, population-based cohort studies comprising 27,249 adults of European ancestry using linear mixed effects model and combined cohort-specific results using fixed effect meta-analysis to identify novel genetic loci associated with longitudinal change in lung function. Gene expression analyses were subsequently performed for identified genetic loci. As a secondary aim, we estimated the mean rate of decline in FEV1 by smoking pattern, irrespective of genotypes, across these 14 studies using meta-analysis.
The overall meta-analysis produced suggestive evidence for association at the novel IL16/STARD5/TMC3 locus on chromosome 15 (P  =  5.71 × 10-7). In addition, meta-analysis using the five cohorts with ≥3 FEV1 measurements per participant identified the novel ME3 locus on chromosome 11 (P  =  2.18 × 10-8) at genome-wide significance. Neither locus was associated with FEV1 decline in two additional cohort studies. We confirmed gene expression of IL16, STARD5, and ME3 in multiple lung tissues. Publicly available microarray data confirmed differential expression of all three genes in lung samples from COPD patients compared with controls. Irrespective of genotypes, the combined estimate for FEV1 decline was 26.9, 29.2 and 35.7 mL/year in never, former, and persistent smokers, respectively.
In this large-scale GWAS, we identified two novel genetic loci in association with the rate of change in FEV1 that harbor candidate genes with biologically plausible functional links to lung function.
PMCID: PMC4077649  PMID: 24983941
2.  Place and Cause of Death in Centenarians: A Population-Based Observational Study in England, 2001 to 2010 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(6):e1001653.
Catherine J. Evans and colleagues studied how many and where centenarians in England die, their causes of death, and how these measures have changed from 2001 to 2010.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Centenarians are a rapidly growing demographic group worldwide, yet their health and social care needs are seldom considered. This study aims to examine trends in place of death and associations for centenarians in England over 10 years to consider policy implications of extreme longevity.
Methods and Findings
This is a population-based observational study using death registration data linked with area-level indices of multiple deprivations for people aged ≥100 years who died 2001 to 2010 in England, compared with those dying at ages 80-99. We used linear regression to examine the time trends in number of deaths and place of death, and Poisson regression to evaluate factors associated with centenarians’ place of death. The cohort totalled 35,867 people with a median age at death of 101 years (range: 100–115 years). Centenarian deaths increased 56% (95% CI 53.8%–57.4%) in 10 years. Most died in a care home with (26.7%, 95% CI 26.3%–27.2%) or without nursing (34.5%, 95% CI 34.0%–35.0%) or in hospital (27.2%, 95% CI 26.7%–27.6%). The proportion of deaths in nursing homes decreased over 10 years (−0.36% annually, 95% CI −0.63% to −0.09%, p = 0.014), while hospital deaths changed little (0.25% annually, 95% CI −0.06% to 0.57%, p = 0.09). Dying with frailty was common with “old age” stated in 75.6% of death certifications. Centenarians were more likely to die of pneumonia (e.g., 17.7% [95% CI 17.3%–18.1%] versus 6.0% [5.9%–6.0%] for those aged 80–84 years) and old age/frailty (28.1% [27.6%–28.5%] versus 0.9% [0.9%–0.9%] for those aged 80–84 years) and less likely to die of cancer (4.4% [4.2%–4.6%] versus 24.5% [24.6%–25.4%] for those aged 80–84 years) and ischemic heart disease (8.6% [8.3%–8.9%] versus 19.0% [18.9%–19.0%] for those aged 80–84 years) than were younger elderly patients. More care home beds available per 1,000 population were associated with fewer deaths in hospital (PR 0.98, 95% CI 0.98–0.99, p<0.001).
Centenarians are more likely to have causes of death certified as pneumonia and frailty and less likely to have causes of death of cancer or ischemic heart disease, compared with younger elderly patients. To reduce reliance on hospital care at the end of life requires recognition of centenarians’ increased likelihood to “acute” decline, notably from pneumonia, and wider provision of anticipatory care to enable people to remain in their usual residence, and increasing care home bed capacity.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors’ Summary
People who live to be more than 100 years old—centenarians—are congratulated and honored in many countries. In the UK, for example, the Queen sends a personal greeting to individuals on their 100th birthday. The number of UK residents who reach this notable milestone is increasing steadily, roughly doubling every 10 years. The latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures indicate that 13,350 centenarians were living in the UK in 2012 (20 centenarians per 100,000 people in the population) compared to only 7,740 in 2002. If current trends continue, by 2066 there may be more than half a million centenarians living in the UK. And similar increases in the numbers of centenarians are being seen in many other countries. The exact number of centenarians living worldwide is uncertain but is thought to be around 317,000 and is projected to rise to about 18 million by the end of this century.
Why Was This Study Done?
Traditional blessings often include the wish that the blessing’s recipient lives to be at least 100 years old. However, extreme longevity is associated with increasing frailty—declining physical function, increasing disability, and increasing vulnerability to a poor clinical outcome following, for example, an infection. Consequently, many centenarians require 24-hour per day care in a nursing home or a residential care home. Moreover, although elderly people, including centenarians, generally prefer to die in a home environment rather than a clinical environment, many centenarians end up dying in a hospital. To ensure that centenarians get their preferred end-of-life care, policy makers and clinicians need to know as much as possible about the health and social needs of this specific and unique group of elderly people. In this population-based observational study, the researchers examine trends in the place of death and factors associated with the place of death among centenarians in England over a 10-year period.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted information about the place and cause of death of centenarians in England between 2001 and 2010 from the ONS death registration database, linked these data with area level information on deprivation and care-home bed capacity, and analyzed the data statistically. Over the 10-year study period, 35,867 centenarians (mainly women, average age 101 years) died in England. The annual number of centenarian deaths increased from 2,823 in 2001 to 4,393 in 2010. Overall, three-quarters of centenarian death certificates stated “old age” as the cause of death. About a quarter of centenarians died in the hospital, a quarter died in a nursing home, and a third died in a care home without nursing; only one in ten centenarians died at home. The proportion of deaths in a nursing home increased slightly over the study period but there was little change in the number of hospital deaths. Compared with younger age groups (80–84 year olds), centenarians were more likely to die from pneumonia and “old age” and less likely to die from cancer and heart disease. Among centenarians, dying in the hospital was more likely to be reported to be associated with pneumonia or heart disease than with dementia; death in the hospital was also associated with having four or more contributing causes of death and with living in a deprived area. Finally, living in an area with a higher care-home bed capacity was associated with a lower risk of dying in the hospital.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that many centenarians have outlived death from the chronic diseases that are the common causes of death among younger groups of elderly people and that dying in the hospital is often associated with pneumonia. Overall, these findings suggest that centenarians are a group of people living with a risk of death from increasing frailty that is exacerbated by acute lung infection. The accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by the quality of UK death certification data. Although this is generally high, the strength of some of the reported associations may be affected, for example, by the tendency of clinicians to record the cause of death in the very elderly as “old age” to provide some comfort to surviving relatives. Importantly, however, these findings suggest that care-home capacity and the provision of anticipatory care should be increased in England (and possibly in other countries) to ensure that more of the growing number of centenarians can end their long lives outside hospital.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Institute on Aging provides information about healthy aging, including information on longevity (in English and Spanish)
The National End of Life Care Intelligence Network, England is a government organization that gathers data on care provided to adults approaching the end of life to improve service quality and productivity
The Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance promotes universal access to affordable palliative care through the support of regional and national palliative care organizations
The non-for-profit organization AgeUK provides information about all aspects of aging
Wikipedia has a page on centenarians (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The International Longevity Centre-UK is an independent, non-partisan think tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population; its “Living Beyond 100” report examines the research base on centenarians and calls for policy to reflect the ongoing UK increase in extreme longevity
This study is part of GUIDE_Care, a project initiated by the Cicely Saunders Institute to investigate patterns in place of death and the factors that affect these patterns
PMCID: PMC4043499  PMID: 24892645
3.  Novel Nanodimension artificial red blood cells that act as O2 and CO2 carrier with enhanced antioxidant activity: PLA-PEG nanoencapsulated PolySFHb-superoxide dismutase-catalase-carbonic anhydrase 
Poly(ethylene glycol)-Poly(lactic acid) block-copolymer (PEG-PLA) was prepared and characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometer (FTIR). Glutaraldehyde was used to crosslink stroma-free hemoglobin (SFHb), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and carbonic anhydrase (CA) into a soluble complex of PolySFHb-SOD-CAT-CA. PEG-PLA was then used to nanoencapsulated PolySFHb-SOD-CAT-CA by oil in water emulsification. This resulted in the formation of PLA-PEG-PolySFHb-SOD-CAT-CA nanocapsules that have enhanced antioxidant activity and that can transport both O2 and CO2. These are homogeneous particles with an average diameter of 100 nm with good dispersion and core shell structure, high entrapment efficiency (EE%), and nanocapsule percent recovery. A lethal hemorrhagic shock model in rats was used to evaluate the therapeutic effect of the PLA-PEG-PolySFHb-SOD-CAT-CA nanocapsules. Infusion of this preparation resulted in the lowering of the elevated tissue PCO2 and also recovery of the mean arterial pressure (MAP).
PMCID: PMC3725180  PMID: 23336597 CAMSID: cams2647
artificial cells; carbon dioxide; catalase; carbonic anhydrase; oxygen; PLA-PEG nanocapsules; PolySFHb-SOD-CAT-CA; polyhemoglobin; transport; transfusion; superoxide dismutase
4.  Monoclonal Antibodies Directed Against Chicken β2-Microglobulin Developed With a Synthesized Peptide 
We developed a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAb) against chicken β2-microglobulin (chβ2M) by fusions between SP2/0 myeloma cells and spleen cells from mice immunized with a synthesized peptide corresponding to positions 91-119 of the COOH domain of chβ2M. Two of them, 6E7 and 3D1, identified as IgG1/κ, could react with chβ2M protein from avian macrophage HD11 cells and human 293T cells transfected with pcDNA3.1-chβ2M in immunofluorescence assays. Only a 12 kDa protein band of chβ2M could be detected in the HD11 and 293T/chβ2M cell lysates by Western blot analysis. Chicken β2M in serum and plasma could be found in Western blot by MAb 3D1. Moreover, MAb 3D1 also recognized the chβ2M antigen on the cell membranes in flow cytometry. Immunohistochemical staining with these MAbs revealed that chβ2M was present in chicken thymus, spleen, and bursa. These MAbs will be good tools for analyzing the mechanism of the chicken immune system.
PMCID: PMC3733132  PMID: 23750479
5.  Levels of 1,25(OH)2D3 for patients with pulmonary tuberculosis and correlations of 1,25(OH)2D3 with the clinical features of TB 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(6):760-764.
To determine the 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] concentrations to patients with tuberculosis (TB) and whether it influenced the patient’s clinical features.
For the first part, a total of 153 healthy adults and 74 patients with pulmonary TB (PTB) were enrolled. Serum concentrations of 1,25(OH)2D3 were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectroscopy to examine the 1,25(OH)2D3 concentrations of the two groups from the peripheral blood. If there are differences between the two groups, what follow will increase the experimental group numbers to examine the relationship among the 1,25(OH)2D3 concentrations with the numbers of the lesion area, the tubercule bacilli in sputum and the CD4/CD8 ratio of T lymphocytes in the peripheral blood.
In the first part, the 1,25(OH)2D3 concentrations was lower in patients with TB than in those healthy adults [365.9 (SD 235.7) vs. 464.3 (SD 335.6), P<0.05]. In the second part, we increased the sample size to 134 (male 91 cases, female 43 cases). we found that the plasma levels of 1,25(OH)2D3 are not correlated with the numbers of the lesion area and the tubercule bacilli in sputum, but the 1,25(OH)2D3 levels can interact the ratio of CD4/CD8 T lymphocytes, it shows a positive correlation with the ratio of CD4/CD8 T lymphocytes.
The 1,25(OH)2D3 concentrations in TB patients lower than the healthy adults, it might exist as a risk factor during the development of TB or TB might affect the levels of 1,25(OH)2D3. But the different status vitamin D concentration might not affect the numbers of the lesion area, the tubercule bacilli in sputum. It shows a positive correlation with the ratio of CD4/CD8 T lymphocytes. The study will have a significance value to clinical medicine, but further study will need to study the levels of 1,25(OH)2D3 with the TB.
PMCID: PMC4073399  PMID: 24977000
Tuberculosis (TB); 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3]; clinical features; CD4/CD8 T lymphocytes
6.  Prognostic value of coronary artery calcium score in patients with stable angina pectoris after percutaneous coronary intervention 
To evaluate the prognostic value of the coronary artery calcium (CAC) score in patients with stable angina pectoris (SAP) who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
A total of 334 consecutive patients with SAP who underwent first PCI following multi-slice computer tomography (MSCT) were enrolled from our institution between January 2007 and June 2012. The CAC score was calculated according to the standard Agatston calcium scoring algorithm. Complex PCI was defined as use of high pressure balloon, kissing balloon and/or rotablator. Procedure-related complications included dissection, occlusion, perforation, no/slow flow and emergency coronary artery bypass grafting. Main adverse cardiac events (MACE) were defined as a combined end point of death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, target lesion revascularization and rehospitalization for cardiac ischemic events.
Patients with a CAC score > 300 (n = 145) had significantly higher PCI complexity (13.1% vs. 5.8%, P = 0.017) and rate of procedure-related complications (17.2% vs. 7.4%, P = 0.005) than patients with a CAC score ≤ 300 (n = 189). After a median follow-up of 22.5 months (4–72 months), patients with a CAC score ≤ 300 differ greatly than those patients with CAC score > 300 in cumulative non-events survival rates (88.9 vs. 79.0%, Log rank 4.577, P = 0.032). After adjusted for other factors, the risk of MACE was significantly higher [hazard ratio (HR): 4.3, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 2.4–8.2, P = 0.038] in patients with a CAC score > 300 compared to patients with a lower CAC score.
The CAC score is an independent predictor for MACE in SAP patients who underwent PCI and indicates complexity of PCI and procedure-related complications.
PMCID: PMC4076450
Angina; Coronary angiography; Multi-slice computed tomography; Heart catheterization; Vascular calcification
8.  Thoracoscopic resection of a vagal schwannoma in the superior mediastinum: A case report 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(1):461-463.
Neurogenic tumors are the most common type of mediastinal tumor and constitute the majority of neoplasms of the posterior mediastinum. Schwannomas originating from the intrathoracic vagus nerve are extremely rare. The present study describes the case of a 58-year-old man with a large vagal schwannoma in the left superior mediastinum. A large tumor with a round shape was identified in the left superior mediastinum. The tumor originated from and encased the vagus nerve. Using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, the tumor was completely excised with amputation of the vagus nerve encased within in the tumor. One year post-surgery, the patient was free of recurrence with no symptoms other than hoarseness.
PMCID: PMC4063578  PMID: 24959296
thoracoscopic surgery; schwannoma; neurilemomas; vagus nerve; mediastinum
9.  Beneficial effects of muscone on cardiac remodeling in a mouse model of myocardial infarction 
Musk has been traditionally used in East Asia to alleviate the symptoms of angina pectoris. However, it remains unclear as to whether muscone, the main active ingredient of musk, has any beneficial effects on persistent myocardial ischemia in vivo. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether muscone can improve cardiac function and attenuate myocardial remodeling following myocardial infarction (MI) in mice. Mice were subjected to permanent ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery to induce MI, and then randomly treated with muscone (2 mg/kg/day) or the vehicle (normal saline) for 3 weeks. Sham-operated mice were used as controls and were also administered the vehicle (normal saline). Treatment with muscone significantly improved cardiac function and exercise tolerance, as evidenced by the decrease in the left ventricular end-systolic diameter, left ventricular end-diastolic diameter, as well as an increase in the left ventricular ejection fraction, left ventricular fractional shortening and time to exhaustion during swimming. Pathological and morphological assessments indicated that treatment with muscone alleviated myocardial fibrosis, collagen deposition and improved the heart weight/body weight ratio. Muscone inhibited the inflammatory response by reducing the expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β and nuclear factor (NF)-κB. Treatment with muscone also reduced myocardial apoptosis by enhancing Bcl-2 and suppressing Bax expression. Muscone also induced the phosphorylation of protein kinase B (Akt) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Our results demonstrate that muscone ameliorates cardiac remodeling and dysfunction induced by MI by exerting anti-fibrotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects in the ischemic myocardium.
PMCID: PMC4072338  PMID: 24807380
muscone; myocardial infarction; myocardial remodeling; mouse model
10.  Inhibitory receptor immunoglobulin-like transcript 4 was highly expressed in primary ductal and lobular breast cancer and significantly correlated with IL-10 
Diagnostic Pathology  2014;9:85.
Immunoglobulin-like transcript 4 (ILT4) is an inhibitory molecule involved in immune response and has recently been identified to be strongly inducible by IL-10. The aim of the present study was to examine the associations of ILT4 expression with clinicopathological characteristics and IL-10 expression in primary ductal and lobular breast cancer.
We studied the expression of ILT4 in 4 cancer cell lines, 117 primary tumor tissues and 97 metastatic lymph nodes from patients with primary ductal and lobular breast cancer by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, western blot or immunohistochemistry analysis. Additionally, IL-10 expression was also investigated using immunohistochemistry in primary tumor tissues. Then the relationship between ILT4 expression and clinicopathological characteristics/IL-10 expression was evaluated.
ILT4 was highly expressed in all 4 human breast cancer cell lines on both mRNA and protein levels. In primary tumor tissues, ILT4 or IL-10 was expressed in the cell membrane, cytoplasm, or both; the positive rate of ILT4 and IL-10 expression was 60.7% (71/117) and 80.34% (94/117), respectively. ILT4 level was significantly correlated with IL-10 (r =0.577; p < 0.01). Furthermore, the expression of ILT4 or IL-10 was associated with less number of Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TILs) (p = 0.004 and 0.018, respectively) and more lymph node metastasis (p = 0.046 and 0.035, respectively).
Our data demonstrated the association of ILT4 and IL-10 expression in human breast cancer, suggesting their important roles in immune dysfunction and lymph node metastases.
Virtual Slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC4045966  PMID: 24762057
Immunoglobulin-like transcript 4; Interleukin-10; Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes; Immunohistochemistry; Breast cancer
11.  Does Ethnicity Affect Where People with Cancer Die? A Population-Based 10 Year Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95052.
Ageing is a growing issue for people from UK black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. The health experiences of these groups are recognised as a ‘tracer’ to measure success in end of life patient-preferred outcomes that includes place of death (PoD).
To examine patterns in PoD among BAME groups who died of cancer.
Material and Methods
Mortality data for 93,375 cancer deaths of those aged ≥65 years in London from 2001–2010 were obtained from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). Decedent's country of birth was used as a proxy for ethnicity. Linear regression examined trends in place of death across the eight ethnic groups and Poisson regression examined the association between country of birth and place of death.
76% decedents were born in the UK, followed by Ireland (5.9%), Europe(5.4%) and Caribbean(4.3%). Most deaths(52.5%) occurred in hospital, followed by home(18.7%). During the study period, deaths in hospital declined with an increase in home deaths; trend for time analysis for those born in UK(0.50%/yr[0.36–0.64%]p<0.001), Europe (1.00%/yr[0.64–1.30%]p<0.001), Asia(1.09%/yr[0.94–1.20%]p<0.001) and Caribbean(1.03%/yr[0.72–1.30%]p<0.001). However, time consistent gaps across the geographical groups remained. Following adjustment hospital deaths were more likely for those born in Asia(Proportion ratio(PR)1.12[95%CI1.08–1.15]p<0.001) and Africa(PR 1.11[95%CI1.07–1.16]p<0.001). Hospice deaths were less likely for those born in Asia(PR 0.73 [0.68–0.80] p<0.001), Africa (PR 0.83[95%CI0.74–0.93]p<0.001), and ‘other’ geographical regions (PR0.90[95% 0.82–0.98]p<0.001). Home deaths were less likely for those born in the Caribbean(PR0.91[95%CI 0.85–0.98]p<0.001).
Location of death varies by country of birth. BAME groups are more likely to die in a hospital and less likely to die at home or in a hospice. Further investigation is needed to determine whether these differences result from patient-centred preferences, or other environment or service-related factors. This knowledge will enable strategies to be developed to improve access to relevant palliative care and related services, where necessary.
PMCID: PMC3994011  PMID: 24751724
12.  Differential Expression of Long Noncoding RNA in Primary and Recurrent Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:404567.
Background. Recent studies suggested that non-protein-coding genes are implicated in the tumorigenic process of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). In the present study, we aimed to identify the differentially expressed long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) using data available in the public domain. Methods. Microarray data set GSE12452 was reannotated with ncFANs. Real-time quantitative PCR was used to quantify and validate the identified lncRNAs in NPC. Results. In primary NPC, upregulation of lnc-C22orf32-1, lnc-AL355149.1-1, and lnc-ZNF674-1 was observed. High levels of lnc-C22orf32-1 and lnc-AL355149.1-1 were significantly associated with the male patients. In addition, increased expression of lnc-C22orf32-1 and lnc-ZNF674-1 was associated with advanced tumor stages. Recurrent NPC displayed a distinctive lncRNA expression pattern. lnc-BCL2L11-3 was significantly increased in the recurrent NPC tissues. In addition, significant reduction of lnc-AL355149.1-1 and lnc-ZNF674-1 was observed in the recurrent NPC tissues. Conclusions. Our results demonstrated that it is feasible to identify the differentially expressed lncRNA in the microarray dataset by functional reannotation. The association of lncRNA with gender and tumor size implicated that lncRNA possibly plays a part in the pathogenesis of primary NPC. Further, the distinctive lncRNA identified in the recurrent NPC may reveal a distinctive development mechanism underlying tumor recurrence.
PMCID: PMC4009106  PMID: 24822202
13.  Multi-slice computed tomography assessment of bronchial compression with absent pulmonary valve 
Pediatric Radiology  2014;44:803-809.
Absent pulmonary valve is a rare cardiovascular anomaly that can result in profound tracheobronchial compression.
To demonstrate the advantage of multi-slice CT in diagnosing tracheobronchial compression, its severity as related to the adjacent dilated pulmonary arteries, and associated lung and cardiac lesions.
Materials and methods
We included children with absent pulmonary valve who were reviewed by multi-slice CT during a 17-year period. The number and locations of stenoses and lung lesions were noted and the severity of stenosis was categorized. The diameter of the pulmonary artery was measured and associated cardiac defects were demonstrated.
Thirty-one children (14 girls and 17 boys) were included. Of these, 29 had ventricular septal defect and 2 had an intact ventricular septum. Twenty-nine children (94%) had tracheobronchial compression, judged to be mild in nine children (31%), moderate in 10 (34%) and severe in 10 (34%). The different locations of the stenosis (carina, main bronchi, lobar and segmental bronchi) were observed. And the number and location of lung lesions demonstrated that the right middle and left upper and lower lobes were often affected. The diameter of the pulmonary artery in these children was well above normal published values, and Spearman rank correlation analysis showed a correlation between the size of the pulmonary artery and the severity of the tracheobronchial stenosis. Nineteen children (61%) underwent surgery and 4 of these children had a multi-slice CT post-operative follow-up study.
Absent pulmonary valve can cause significant morbidity and mortality in children. Multi-slice CT can accurately depict areas of tracheobronchial compression, associated lung lesions and cardiac defects, helping to direct the surgeon.
PMCID: PMC4061480  PMID: 24706163
Absent pulmonary valve; Tracheobronchial compression; Multi-slice computed tomography; Bronchoscopy; Children; Congenital heart disease
14.  A human single-domain antibody elicits potent anti-tumor activity by targeting an epitope in mesothelin close to the cancer cell surface 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2013;12(4):416-426.
Monoclonal antibodies against mesothelin are being evaluated for the treatment of mesothelioma and multiple forms of cancers, and show great promise for clinical development for solid cancers. Antibodies against mesothelin have been shown to act via immunotoxin-based inhibition of tumor growth and induction of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). However, complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC), considered an important additional mechanism of therapeutic antibodies against tumors, is inactive for such antibodies. Here, we used phage display antibody engineering technology and synthetic peptide screening to identify SD1, a human single-domain antibody to mesothelin. SD1 recognizes a conformational epitope at the C-terminal end (residues 539–588) of mesothelin close to the cell surface. To investigate SD1 as a potential therapeutic agent, we generated a recombinant human Fc (SD1-hFc) fusion protein. Interestingly, the SD1-hFc protein exhibits strong CDC activity, in addition to ADCC, against mesothelin-expressing tumor cells. Furthermore, it causes growth inhibition of human tumor xenografts in nude mice as a single agent. SD1 is the first human single-domain antibody targeting mesothelin-expressing tumors, shows potential as a cancer therapeutic candidate, and may improve current antibody therapy targeting mesothelin-expressing tumors.
PMCID: PMC3624043  PMID: 23371858
antibody dependent cell mediated cytotoxicity; complement-dependent cytotoxicity; mesothelin/MSLN; MORAb-009/amatuximab; phage display
15.  Graph Theoretical Analysis of Sedation's Effect on Whole Brain Functional System in School-Aged Children 
Brain Connectivity  2013;3(2):177-189.
The neurophysiological mechanism underlying sedation, especially in school-aged children, remains largely unknown. The recently emerged resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) technique, capable of delineating brain's functional interaction pattern among distributed brain areas, proves to be a unique and powerful tool to study sedation-induced brain reorganization. Based on a relatively large school-aged children population (n=28, 10.3±2.6 years, range 7–15 years) and leveraging rsfMRI and graph theoretical analysis, this study aims to delineate sedation-induced changes in brain's information transferring property from a whole brain system perspective. Our results show a global deterioration in brain's efficiency properties (p=0.0085 and 0.0018, for global and local efficiency, respectively) with a locally graded distribution featuring significant disruptions of key consciousness-related regions. Moreover, our results also indicate a redistribution of brain's information-processing hubs characterized by a right and posterior shift as consistent with the reduced level of consciousness during sedation. Overall, our findings inform a sedation-induced functional reorganization pattern in school-aged children that greatly improve our understanding of sedation's effect in children and may potentially serve as reference for future sedation-related experimental studies and clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3634152  PMID: 23294031
children; functional connectivity; graph theory; resting state; sedation; whole brain system
16.  Reversal of English trend towards hospital death in dementia: a population-based study of place of death and associated individual and regional factors, 2001–2010 
BMC Neurology  2014;14:59.
England has one of the highest rates of hospital death in dementia in Europe. How this has changed over time is unknown. This study aimed to analyse temporal trends in place of death in dementia over a recent ten year period.
Population-based study linking Office for National Statistics mortality data with regional variables, in England 2001–2010. Participants were adults aged over 60 with a death certificate mention of dementia. Multivariable Poisson regression was used to determine the proportion ratio (PR) for death in care home (1) and home/hospice (1) compared to hospital (0). Explanatory variables included individual factors (age, gender, marital status, underlying cause of death), and regional variables derived at area level (deprivation, care home bed provision, urbanisation).
388,899 deaths were included. Most people died in care homes (55.3%) or hospitals (39.6%). A pattern of increasing hospital deaths reversed in 2006, with a subsequent decrease in hospital deaths (−0.93% per year, 95% CI −1.08 to −0.79 p < 0.001), and an increase in care home deaths (0.60% per year, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.75 p < 0.001). Care home death was more likely with older age (PR 1.11, 1.10 to 1.13), and in areas with greater care home bed provision (PR 1.82, 1.79 to 1.85) and affluence (PR 1.29, 1.26 to 1.31). Few patients died at home (4.8%) or hospice (0.3%). Home/hospice death was more likely in affluent areas (PR 1.23, 1.18 to 1.29), for women (PR 1.61, 1.56 to 1.65), and for those with cancer as underlying cause of death (PR 1.84, 1.77 to 1.91), and less likely in the unmarried (PRs 0.51 to 0.66).
Two in five people with dementia die in hospital. However, the trend towards increasing hospital deaths has reversed, and care home bed provision is key to sustain this. Home and hospice deaths are rare. Initiatives which aim to support the end of life preferences for people with dementia should be investigated.
PMCID: PMC3987058  PMID: 24666928
Dementia; Location of death; Terminal care; Hospitals; Nursing homes
17.  Progranulin-Derived Atsttrin Directly Binds to TNFRSF25 (DR3) and Inhibits TNF-Like Ligand 1A (TL1A) Activity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92743.
Atsttrin, a progranulin (PGRN)-derived molecule composed of three TNFR-binding domains of PGRN, binds to TNF receptors (TNFR) and is therapeutic against inflammatory arthritis. Here we screened the associations of Atsttrin and other members in TNFR subfamily, which led to the discovery of TNFRSF25 (DR3) as an additional Atsttrin-interacting member in TNFR family. Similar to TNFR1 and TNFR2, DR3 also directly bound to Atsttrin. The first three cysteine-rich domains (CRD) in the extracellular portion of DR3 were required for this interaction. Atsttrin inhibited the interaction between DR3 and its TNF-Like Ligand 1A (TL1A). In addition, Atsttrin inhibited TL1A-stimulated target gene expressions and neutralized TL1A-enhanced osteoclastogenesis in vitro. Furthermore, Atsttrin ameliorated the pathology in dextran sulfate sodium induced colitis. Taken together, these findings not only provide the new insights into Atsttrin's therapeutic action in inflammatory arthritis, but may also present Atsttrin as a novel biological agent for treating various types of diseases associated with TL1A/DR3 pathway.
PMCID: PMC3961393  PMID: 24651300
18.  Impact of completeness of revascularization by coronary intervention on exercise capacity early after acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction 
The importance of achieving complete revascularization by percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI) on exercise capacity remains unclear.
To compare exercise capacity early after acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), in patients receiving PCI with stenting, between those completely revascularized (CR) and those incompletely revascularized (IR).
We retrospectively reviewed 326 patients [single-vessel disease (SVD) group, 118 patients; multivessel disease (MVD) with CR group, 112 patients; MVD with IR group, 96 patients] who underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing 7–30 days after STEMI to measure peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), oxygen uptake at anaerobic threshold (VO2AT), and peak oxygen pulse. Demographic data, presence of concomitant diseases, STEMI characteristics, and echocardiography and angiography findings were evaluated.
Most patients were male (89.0%) and mean age was 55.6 ± 11.2 years. Ischemic ST deviation occurred in 7.1%, with no significant difference between groups. VO2peak and VO2AT did not differ significantly between groups, despite a trend to be lower in the CR and IR groups compared with the SVD group. Peak oxygen pulse was significantly higher in the SVD group than in the IR group (p = 0.005). After adjustment for age, gender, body mass index, cardiovascular risk factors, MI characteristics and echocardiography parameters, CR was not an independent predictor of VO2peak (OR = −0.123, 95% confidence interval [CI] -2.986 to 0.232, p = 0.093), VO2AT (OR = 0.002, 95% CI 1.735 to 1.773, p = 0.983), or peak oxygen pulse (OR = −0.102, 95% CI −1.435 to 0.105, p = 0.090).
CR in patients with STEMI treated with PCI for multivessel disease might show no benefit on short-term exercise tolerance over IR.
PMCID: PMC3995092  PMID: 24641986
Myocardial infarction; Percutaneous coronary intervention; Angioplasty; Revascularization; Multivessel disease; Exercise capacity
19.  The RpoB H481Y Rifampicin Resistance Mutation and an Active Stringent Response Reduce Virulence and Increase Resistance to Innate Immune Responses in Staphylococcus aureus 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;207(6):929-939.
The occurrence of mutations in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) during persistent infection leads to antimicrobial resistance but may also impact host-pathogen interactions. Here, we investigate the host-pathogen consequences of 2 mutations arising in clinical MRSA during persistent infection: RpoB H481Y, which is linked to rifampicin resistance, and RelA F128Y, which is associated with an active stringent response. Allelic exchange experiments showed that both mutations cause global transcriptional changes, leading to upregulation of capsule production, with attenuated virulence in a murine bacteremia model and reduced susceptibility to both antimicrobial peptides and whole-blood killing. Disruption of capsule biosynthesis reversed these impacts on innate immune function. These data clearly link MRSA persistence and reduced virulence to the same mechanisms that alter antimicrobial susceptibility. Our study highlights the wider consequences of suboptimal antimicrobial use, where drug resistance and immune escape mechanisms coevolve, thus increasing the likelihood of treatment failure.
PMCID: PMC3633451  PMID: 23255563
Staphylococcus aureus; antibiotic resistance; virulence; persistence
20.  Recognition of self and altered self by T cells in autoimmunity and allergy 
Protein & cell  2013;4(1):8-16.
T cell recognition of foreign peptide antigen and tolerance to self peptides is key to the proper function of the immune system. Usually, in the thymus T cells that recognize self MHC + self peptides are deleted and those with the potential to recognize self MHC + foreign peptides are selected to mature. However there are exceptions to these rules. Autoimmunity and allergy are two of the most common immune diseases that can be related to recognition of self. Many genes work together to lead to autoimmunity. Of those, particular MHC alleles are the most strongly associated, reflecting the key importance of MHC presentation of self peptides in autoimmunity. T cells specific for combinations of self MHC and self peptides may escape thymus deletion, and thus be able to drive autoimmunity, for several reasons: the relevant self peptide may be presented at low abundance in the thymus but at high level in particular peripheral tissues; the relevant self peptide may bind to MHC in an unusual register, not present in the thymus but apparent elsewhere; finally the relevant self peptide may be post translationally modified in a tissue specific fashion. In some types of allergy, the peptide + MHC combination may also be fully derived from self. However the combination in question may be modified by the presence of other ligands, such as small drug molecules or metal ions. Thus these types of allergies may act like the post translationally modified peptides involved some types of autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC3951410  PMID: 23307779
altered self; neoantigen; antigen presenting; T cell recognition; autoimmunity; allergy; diabetes; dermatitis; drug hypersensitivity
21.  Contributions of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cells to the development of castration resistance of prostate cancer 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13:55.
An important clinical challenge in prostate cancer therapy is the inevitable transition from androgen-sensitive to castration-resistant and metastatic prostate cancer. Albeit the androgen receptor (AR) signaling axis has been targeted, the biological mechanism underlying the lethal event of androgen independence remains unclear. New emerging evidences indicate that epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer stem cells (CSCs) play crucial roles during the development of castration-resistance and metastasis of prostate cancer. Notably, EMT may be a dynamic process. Castration can induce EMT that may enhance the stemness of CSCs, which in turn results in castration-resistance and metastasis. Reverse of EMT may attenuate the stemness of CSCs and inhibit castration-resistance and metastasis. These prospective approaches suggest that therapies target EMT and CSCs may cast a new light on the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in the future. Here we review recent progress of EMT and CSCs in CRPC.
PMCID: PMC3975176  PMID: 24618337
Castration-resistant; Prostate cancer; Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; Cancer stem cells; Signaling pathways
22.  A New Mixed Element Method for a Class of Time-Fractional Partial Differential Equations 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:141467.
A kind of new mixed element method for time-fractional partial differential equations is studied. The Caputo-fractional derivative of time direction is approximated by two-step difference method and the spatial direction is discretized by a new mixed element method, whose gradient belongs to the simple (L2(Ω)2) space replacing the complex H(div; Ω) space. Some a priori error estimates in L2-norm for the scalar unknown u and in (L2)2-norm for its gradient σ. Moreover, we also discuss a priori error estimates in H1-norm for the scalar unknown u.
PMCID: PMC3967637  PMID: 24737957
23.  The Synchronization within and Interaction between the Default and Dorsal Attention Networks in Early Infancy 
Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY)  2012;23(3):594-603.
An anticorrelated interaction between the dorsal attention and the default-mode networks has been observed, although how these 2 networks establish such relationship remains elusive. Behavioral studies have reported the emergence of attention and default network–related functions and a preliminary competing relationship between them at early infancy. This study attempted to test the hypothesis—resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging will demonstrate not only improved network synchronization of the dorsal attention and the default networks, respectively, during the first 2 years of life but also an anticorrelated network interaction pattern between the 2 networks at 1 year which will be further enhanced at 2 years old. Our results demonstrate that both networks start from an isolated region in neonates but evolve to highly synchronized networks at 1 year old. Paralleling the individual network maturation process, the anticorrelated behaviors are absent at birth but become apparent at 1 year and are further enhanced during the second year of life. Our studies elucidate not only the individual maturation process of the dorsal attention and default networks but also offer evidence that the maturation of the individual networks may be needed prior exhibiting the adult-like interaction patterns between the 2 networks.
PMCID: PMC3563337  PMID: 22368080
anticorrelation; brain development; fMRI; functional connectivity; resting state
24.  In Vivo Suppression of MiR-24 Prevents the Transition toward Decompensated Hypertrophy in Aortic-constricted Mice 
Circulation research  2013;112(4):601-605.
During the transition from compensated hypertrophy to heart failure, the signaling between L-type Ca2+ channels (LCCs) in the cell membrane/T-tubules (TTs) and ryanodine receptors (RyRs) in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) becomes defective, partially due to the decreased expression of a TT-SR anchoring protein, junctophilin-2 (JP2). MiR-24, a JP2 suppressing microRNA, is up-regulated in hypertrophied and failing cardiomyocytes.
To test whether miR-24 suppression can protect the structural and functional integrity of LCC-RyR signaling in hypertrophied cardiomyocytes.
Methods and Results
In vivo silencing of miR-24 by a specific antagomir in an aorta-constricted mouse model effectively prevented the degradation of heart contraction but not ventricular hypertrophy. Electrophysiology and confocal imaging studies showed that antagomir treatment prevented the decreases in LCC-RyR signaling fidelity/efficiency and whole-cell Ca2+ transients. Further studies showed that antagomir treatment stabilized JP2 expression and protected the ultrastructure of TT-SR junctions from disruption.
MiR-24 suppression prevented the transition from compensated hypertrophy to decompensated hypertrophy, providing a potential strategy for early treatment against heart failure.
PMCID: PMC3622206  PMID: 23307820
Hypertrophy; remodeling heart failure; myocardial contraction; Ca2+ signaling; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
25.  Comparisons of Costs between Black Caribbean and White British Patients with Advanced Multiple Sclerosis in the UK 
Background. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is now more common among black and minority ethnic groups in the UK but little is known about the costs of care amongst different ethnic groups. Objective. This study examined and compared service use and costs for people severely affected with MS from Black Caribbean (BC) and White British (WB) backgrounds in the UK and identified predictors of cost for both groups. Method. Population-based cross-sectional study of 43 BC and 43 WB patients with MS (EDSS ≥ 6) and their informal caregivers recruited from an MS service in southeast London. Interviews collected data on health and social service use and informal care support. Costs were calculated using UK unit cost data. Using regression analyses we compared costs between the ethnic groups and identified possible predictors of cost. Results. The mean (SD) costs for the WB and BC groups were £25,778 (£39,387) and £23,186 (£30,433), respectively. Results identified no significant difference in total cost between the two ethnic groups. The EDSS score alone was a significant predictor of cost. Conclusion. Similar costs between ethnic groups indicate that with regard to this MS service and geographical area, access to care was not affected by ethnicity.
PMCID: PMC3932720  PMID: 24649365

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