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2.  The Complete Mitochondrial Genomes of Three Bristletails (Insecta: Archaeognatha): The Paraphyly of Machilidae and Insights into Archaeognathan Phylogeny 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0117669.
The order Archaeognatha was an ancient group of Hexapoda and was considered as the most primitive of living insects. Two extant families (Meinertellidae and Machilidae) consisted of approximately 500 species. This study determined 3 complete mitochondrial genomes and 2 nearly complete mitochondrial genome sequences of the bristletail. The size of the 5 mitochondrial genome sequences of bristletail were relatively modest, containing 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs), 2 ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes, 22 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes and one control region. The gene orders were identical to that of Drosophila yakuba and most bristletail species suggesting a conserved genome evolution within the Archaeognatha. In order to estimate archaeognathan evolutionary relationships, phylogenetic analyses were conducted using concatenated nucleotide sequences of 13 protein-coding genes, with four different computational algorithms (NJ, MP, ML and BI). Based on the results, the monophyly of the family Machilidae was challenged by both datasets (W12 and G12 datasets). The relationships among archaeognathan subfamilies seemed to be tangled and the subfamily Machilinae was also believed to be a paraphyletic group in our study.
PMCID: PMC4323385  PMID: 25635855
3.  Insights into the Distinguishing Stress-induced Cytotoxicity of Chiral Gold Nanoclusters and the Relationship with GSTP1 
Theranostics  2015;5(2):134-149.
Chiral gold nanoclusters (Au NCs) exhibit attracting properties owing to their unique physical and chemical properties. Herein we report for the first time chiral gold nanoclusters' cytotoxicity and potential molecular mechanism. The L-glutathione (i.e. L-GSH) and D-glutathione (i.e. D-GSH)-capped Au NCs were prepared and characterized by HRTEM, UV-vis, photoluminescence and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. Results showed that the CD spectra of L-glutathione (i.e. L-GSH) and D-glutathione (i.e. D-GSH)-capped Au NCs exhibited multiple bands which were identically mirror-imaged, demonstrating that the chirality of GSH-capped NCs had contributions from both the metal core and the ligand. The effects of AuNCs@L-GSH and AuNCs@D-GSH on cells were similar based on the cell physiology related cytotoxicity, although the effects became more prominent in AuNCs@D-GSH treated cells, including ROS generation, mitochondrial membrane depolarization, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Global gene expression and pathway analysis displayed that both AuNCs@L-GSH and AuNCs@D-GSH caused the up-regulation of genes involved in cellular rescue and stress response, while AuNCs@D-GSH individually induced up-regulation of transcripts involved in some metabolic- and biosynthetic-related response. MGC-803 cells were more sensitive to the oxidative stress damage induced by chiral Au NCs than GES-1 cells, which was associated with GSTP1 hypermethylation. In conclusion, chiral gold nanoclusters exhibit this chirality-associated regulation of cytotoxicity, different gene expression profiling and epigenetic changes should be responsible for observed phenomena. Our study highlights the importance of the interplays between chiral materials and biological system at sub-nano level.
PMCID: PMC4279000  PMID: 25553104
gold nanocluster; chirality; cytotoxicity; ROS; methylation; epigenetic analysis.
4.  Development of the science of mass casualty incident management: reflection on the medical response to the Wenchuan earthquake and Hangzhou bus fire*  
Objective: In this paper, we review the previous classic research paradigms of a mass casualty incident (MCI) systematically and reflect the medical response to the Wenchuan earthquake and Hangzhou bus fire, in order to outline and develop an improved research paradigm for MCI management. Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, China Wanfang, and China Biology Medicine (CBM) databases for relevant studies. The following key words and medical subject headings were used: ‘mass casualty incident’, ‘MCI’, ‘research method’, ‘Wenchuan’, ‘earthquake’, ‘research paradigm’, ‘science of surge’, ‘surge’, ‘surge capacity’, and ‘vulnerability’. Searches were performed without year or language restriction. After searching the four literature databases using the above listed key words and medical subject headings, related articles containing research paradigms of MCI, 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, July 5 bus fire, and science of surge and vulnerability were independently included by two authors. Results: The current progresses on MCI management include new golden hour, damage control philosophy, chain of survival, and three links theory. In addition, there are three evaluation methods (medical severity index (MSI), potential injury creating event (PICE) classification, and disaster severity scale (DSS)), which can dynamically assess the MCI situations and decisions for MCI responses and can be made based on the results of such evaluations. However, the three methods only offer a retrospective evaluation of MCI and thus fail to develop a real-time assessment of MCI responses. Therefore, they cannot be used as practical guidance for decision-making during MCI. Although the theory of surge science has made great improvements, we found that a very important factor has been ignored—vulnerability, based on reflecting on the MCI response to the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake and July 5 bus fire in Hangzhou. Conclusions: This new paradigm breaks through the limitation of traditional research paradigms and will contribute to the development of a methodology for disaster research.
PMCID: PMC4265562  PMID: 25471837
Mass casualty incident; Surge; Vulnerability; Earthquake; Fire incident
5.  Successful treatment of Kimura’s disease with leflunomide and methylprednisolone: a case report 
Kimura’s disease (KD) is an uncommon, chronic inflammatory disease characterized by tumor-like lesions in the soft tissue and lymph nodes and increased peripheral blood eosinophil counts and serum immunoglobulin E (IgE). Prednisone is widely used to treat the disease. Here, we reported a 59-year-old KD patient failed to response to prednisone. Leflunomide combined with methylprednisolone (Medrol) were carried out to treat KD and encouraging outcome was obtained during the medication and 1 year follow up period.
PMCID: PMC4161571  PMID: 25232411
Kimura’s disease; eosinophilia; leflunomide; effect
6.  Antidiabetic and Antioxidative Effect of Jiang Tang Xiao Ke Granule in High-Fat Diet and Low-Dose Streptozotocin Induced Diabetic Rats 
Diabetes mellitus (DM), a kind of metabolic disease, is increasing over the last four decades in the world. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of Jiang Tang Xiao Ke (JTXK) granule, a naturally occurring ingredient from Chinese herbal medicines, on serum glucose, lipids, and oxidative stress in DM rats induced by high-fat diet and streptozotocin. JTXK granule 9 g/kg (based on crude herb equivalent) and pioglitazone 1.5 mg/kg (as a positive control for comparison) were orally administrated to DM rats for 4 weeks. Results showed that administration of JTXK granule reduced serum glucose, total cholesterol, triglyceride, and low density lipoprotein levels (by 12%, 33%, 57%, and 44%, resp.) but increased high-density lipoprotein level by 69%, compared with the drug-untreated DM rats. Serum malondialdehyde and nitric oxide levels were lowered (by 34% and 52%, resp.) associated with the elevation in serum superoxide dismutase levels (by 60%) after JTXK granule treatment. In addition, JTXK granule suppressed serum alanine aminotransferase activity (up to 50%) and alleviated pathological changes of pancreas and liver tissues in DM rats. The beneficial changes of pioglitazone on biomarkers were also found in DM rats. These findings suggested that JTXK granule may be an alternative medicine for the management of DM.
PMCID: PMC4095829  PMID: 25089145
7.  NQO1 overexpression is associated with poor prognosis in squamous cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:414.
NQO1 (NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase-1), located on chromosome 16q22, functions primarily to protect normal cells from oxidant stress and electrophilic attack. Recent studies have revealed that NQO1 is expressed at a high level in most human solid tumors including those of the colon, breast, pancreas, ovaries and thyroid, and it has also been detected following the induction of cell cycle progression and proliferation of melanoma cells. In this study, we aimed to investigate the clinicopathological significance of upregulated NQO1 protein expression in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of the uterine cervix.
The localization of the NQO1 protein was determined in the SiHa cervical squamous cancer cell line using immunofluorescence (IF) staining, and immunohistochemical (IHC) staining performed on paraffin-embedded cervical SCC specimens from 177 patients. For comparison, 94 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and 25 normal cervical epithelia samples were also included. QRT-PCR was performed on RNA from fresh tissues to detect NQO1 mRNA expression levels, and HPV infection status was genotyped using oligonucleotide microarray. Disease-free survival (DFS) and 5-year overall survival (OS) rates for all cervical SCC patients were calculated using the Kaplan–Meier method, and univariate and multivariate analysis was performed using the Cox proportional hazards regression model.
The NQO1 protein showed a mainly cytoplasmic staining pattern in cervical cancer cells, and only three cases of cervical SCC showed a nuclear staining pattern. The strongly positive rate of NQO1 protein expression was significantly higher in cervical SCCs and CINs than in normal cervical epithelia. High-level NQO1 expression was closely associated with poor differentiation, late-stage, lymph node metastasis and high-risk for HPV infection. Additionally, high-level NQO1 expression was associated with lower DFS and 5-year OS rates, particularly for patients with early-stage cervical SCCs. Furthermore, Cox analysis revealed that NQO1 expression emerged as a significant independent hazard factor for DFS rate in patients with cervical SCC.
NQO1 overexpression might be an independent biomarker for prognostic evaluation of cervical SCCs.
PMCID: PMC4058702  PMID: 24912939
Squamous cell carcinoma; Cervix uteri; NQO1; Human papillomavirus; Prognosis; Survival analysis
8.  A 41-gene signature derived from breast cancer stem cells as a predictor of survival 
The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of a 41-gene signature derived from breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) to estimate the risk of metastasis and survival in breast cancer patients.
The centroid expression of the 41-gene signature derived from BCSCs was applied as the threshold to classify patients into two separate groups—patients with high expression (high-EL) of the prognostic signature and patients with low expression (low-EL). The predictive ability of the 41-gene signature was evaluated by Cox regression model and was compared against other popular tests, such as Oncotype and MammaPrint.
Our results showed that the 41-gene prognostic signature was significantly associated with age (P = .0351) and ER status (P = .0095). The analysis indicated that patients in the high-EL group had a worse prognosis than those in the low-EL group in terms of both overall survival (OS: HR, 2.05, P = .009) and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS: HR, 2.24, P = .002). Additionally, the 41-gene signature was an independent risk factor and separates patients based on estrogen receptor status. While comparable to Oncotype, the analysis demonstrated that the 41-gene signature had a better prognostic value in predicting DMFS and OS than AOL, NPI, St. Gallen, Veridex, and MammaPrint.
This study confirms the utility of the 41-gene signature and adds to the growing evidence that gene expression signatures of BCSCs have clinical potential to predict patient outcome and aid in treatment choice.
PMCID: PMC4229870  PMID: 24906694
Prognostic signature; Breast cancer; Stem cell
9.  Correlation between serum IGF-1 and blood lead level in short stature children and adolescent with growth hormone deficiency 
This study aimed to investigate correlation between serum insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and blood lead level in short stature children with growth hormone deficiency (GHD), and IGF-1 signal molecules were investigated in lead exposed rats. Our findings may provide evidence for clarifying pathogenesis of lead induced short stature in children. Methods: 880 short stature children were recruited from clinics and divided into GHD group and idiopathic short stature (ISS) group according to the GH peak in growth hormone stimulation test. The height, body weight, serum IGF-1 level and blood lead level were determined. A rat model of lead poisoning was used to establish and western blot assay was employed to detect the phosphorylation of signaling molecules (MAPK and PI3K/Akt) related to IGF-1 signaling pathway. Results: In GHD group, the height, body weight and serum IGF-1 level were significantly lower, but the blood lead level was significantly higher than those in ISS group (P<0.05). Western blot assay confirmed that the protein expression of phosphorylated ERK1/2, JNK, p38, Akt473 and Akt308 increased significantly (P<0.01) in lead exposure rats. Conclusion: Our study suggesting that reduction in IGF-1 in children with GHD is associated with blood lead level. Lead exposure may induce expression of phosphorylated MAPK and Akt signaling molecules. The activation of these molecules may influence binding of IGF-1 and tyrosine kinase receptor IGFIR to regulate cell growth via the MAPK and Akt signaling pathways, which then interfere with growth-promoting effect of IGF-1 in short children.
PMCID: PMC4057833  PMID: 24955154
Growth hormone deficiency; insulin-like growth factor I; lead exposure animal model; short stature; signaling pathway
10.  Early-Life Exposure to Bisphenol A Induces Liver Injury in Rats Involvement of Mitochondria-Mediated Apoptosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e90443.
Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a monomer widely used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics, has been reported to be associated with abnormalities of liver function and hepatic damage. However, the molecular mechanism under the pathogenesis of hepatic injury is unclear. In this study, the effect of perinatal exposure to BPA at the reference dose of 50 µg/kg/day on the apoptotic index in the liver of rat offspring was investigated. Increased levels of ALT and enhanced cell apoptosis were observed in the liver of rat offspring at 15 and 21 weeks, and significantly increased activity of caspase-3 and caspase-9 and elevated levels of cytochrome c were also confirmed. In addition, significant change in the expression levels of Bcl-2 and Bax were found in BPA-treated offspring at 21 weeks. For in vitro experiments, liver mitochondria were isolated from neonatal rats and were treated with BPA. BPA treatment led to a significant increase in mitochondrial permeability transition. Moreover, the supernatant from BPA-treated mitochondria significantly increased apoptotic changes in nuclei isolated from liver tissue. In conclusion, the study demonstrates that BPA induces mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in hepatic cells, which may contribute to long-term hepatotoxicity induced by early-life exposure to BPA.
PMCID: PMC3938763  PMID: 24587367
11.  Estimating Latent Variable Interactions With Non-Normal Observed Data: A Comparison of Four Approaches 
Multivariate behavioral research  2013;47(6):840-876.
A Monte Carlo simulation was conducted to investigate the robustness of four latent variable interaction modeling approaches (Constrained Product Indicator [CPI], Generalized Appended Product Indicator [GAPI], Unconstrained Product Indicator [UPI], and Latent Moderated Structural Equations [LMS]) under high degrees of non-normality of the observed exogenous variables. Results showed that the CPI and LMS approaches yielded biased estimates of the interaction effect when the exogenous variables were highly non-normal. When the violation of non-normality was not severe (normal; symmetric with excess kurtosis < 1), the LMS approach yielded the most efficient estimates of the latent interaction effect with the highest statistical power. In highly non-normal conditions, the GAPI and UPI approaches with ML estimation yielded unbiased latent interaction effect estimates, with acceptable actual Type-I error rates for both the Wald and likelihood ratio tests of interaction effect at N ≥ 500. An empirical example illustrated the use of the four approaches in testing a latent variable interaction between academic self-efficacy and positive family role models in the prediction of academic performance.
PMCID: PMC3583564  PMID: 23457417
12.  TLR4 induces tumor growth and inhibits paclitaxel activity in MyD88-positive human ovarian carcinoma in vitro 
Oncology Letters  2013;7(3):871-877.
In ovarian cancer patients, chemotherapy resistance is the principal factor restricting long-term treatment. Paclitaxel (Pac) has been previously reported to be a ligand to Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). It was determined that TLR4 signaling is divided into the following two pathways: Myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88)-dependent and MyD88-independent. The present study investigated the effect of TLR4 ligation by Pac in MyD88-positive (MyD88+) and MyD88-negative (MyD88−) human ovarian cancer cell lines. An RNA interference expression vector was specifically constructed to target TLR4 mRNA, which was stably transfected into the human ovarian cancer cell lines (SKOV3, OVCAR3, A2780 and 3AO). Cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8, were detected. Cell proliferation and apoptosis were assessed in the cells transfected with scramble control and TLR4 shRNA to explore the possible functions of TLR4 in ovarian cancer cell growth. It was found that lipopolysaccharide and Pac significantly increase the secretion of IL-6 and IL-8 in the SKOV3 cell line. Similarly, Pac resulted in a significant upregulation of IL-6 and IL-8 in OVCAR3 cells, but not in A2780 and 3AO cells. These results suggested that in MyD88+ ovarian cancer cell lines, TLR4 depletion shows increased sensitivity to Pac treatment in inhibiting cell proliferation compared with in cells without TLR4 knockdown. On the contrary, such changes were not found in MyD88− cells (A2780 and 3AO). TLR4 negatively regulates Pac chemotherapy, particularly in terms of cell proliferation, and TLR4 may be a novel treatment target in Pac-resistant ovarian cancer.
PMCID: PMC3919821  PMID: 24527095
ovarian cancer; TLR4; MyD88; paclitaxel; chemotherapy
13.  Expression of dedifferentiation markers and multilineage markers in U251 glioblastoma cells with silenced EGFR and FGFR genes 
Oncology Letters  2013;7(1):131-136.
Epithelial growth factor (EGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and their receptors, epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) and bFGF receptor (bFGFR), are frequently overexpressed in high-grade gliomas. In the present study, the EGF and bFGF levels in U251 glioblastoma cell culture supernatants were determined by ELISA, and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-labeled recombinant lentiviral expression vectors with small interfering RNA targeting the EGFR and bFGFR genes were constructed. The mRNA expression levels of EGFR, bFGFR, cluster of differentiation (CD)133, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), tubulin-β3 (TUBB3) and myelin basic protein (MBP) were determined using quantitative polymerase chain reactions in U251 cells prior to and following silencing of the EGFR and/or bFGFR genes. Prior to silencing, the U251 cells secreted EGF and bFGF, and expressed EGFR, bFGFR, CD133, GFAP, TUBB3 and MBP mRNA. Subsequent to silencing the EGFR and/or bFGFR gene, CD133 mRNA expression decreased and GFAP and TUBB3 mRNA expression increased. Silencing the EGFR and FGFR genes acted synergistically to downregulate CD133 expression. The downregulation of CD133 mRNA expression and the upregulation of GFAP and TUBB3 mRNA expression were not significantly different when blocking the EGFR and FGFR pathways. These results indicate that autocrine or paracrine EGF and/or FGF mechanisms exist in U251 cells. Knocking down the EGFR and/or FGFR genes downregulates CD133 mRNA expression and facilitates glial and neuronal differentiation in U251 cells.
PMCID: PMC3861577  PMID: 24348834
small interfering RNA; epidermal growth factor; bFGF; U251 glioblastoma cell; CD133; GFAP; TUBB4; MBP
14.  Retrospective analysis of chronomodulated chemotherapy versus conventional chemotherapy with paclitaxel, carboplatin, and 5-fluorouracil in patients with recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:1507-1514.
Chronomodulated chemotherapy has emerged as a new therapy as a result of recent studies focusing on the biological clock. It has been demonstrated that combination chronomodulated chemotherapy of platinum-based drugs and 5-fluorouracil (5-Fu) can significantly improve efficacy and reduce the incidence of adverse events in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, as compared with conventional chemotherapy. However, the results may be different in different tumors. Recurrent and metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is very difficult to treat, with an extremely unfavorable prognosis. So far, no report is available on chronomodulated chemotherapy for HNSCC.
Retrospective analyses were made on 49 patients with local recurrent and/or metastatic HNSCC who underwent palliative treatments with paclitaxel, carboplatin, and 5-Fu. The patients were divided into a chronomodulated chemotherapy group (28 patients) and a conventional chemotherapy group (21 patients) according to their administration times. The two groups were compared for tumor objective response rate, overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and the incidence of adverse events.
The tumor objective response rate and patients’ OS were significantly higher and longer in the chronomodulated chemotherapy group than in the conventional chemotherapy group (71.43% versus 42.86%, respectively, P<0.05; and median OS 15.3 months versus 10.6 months, respectively, P<0.05). However, PFS was similar statistically (median PFS 11.6 months versus 7.2 months, P>0.05). The global incidence of adverse events in the chronomodulated chemotherapy group was significantly lower than that in the conventional chemotherapy group (46.43% versus 76.19%, P<0.05), with significantly lower incidence of grade 3–4 adverse events (7.14% versus 33.33%, P<0.05).
Chronomodulated chemotherapy with paclitaxel, carboplatin, and 5-Fu may be a new and effective therapy for patients with recurrent and/or metastatic HNSCC as compared with conventional chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3810446  PMID: 24187501
chronotherapy; chronomodulated chemotherapy; head and neck cancer; palliative chemotherapy; paclitaxel; 5-fluorouracil; carboplatin
15.  Transcript Assembly and Quantification by RNA-Seq Reveals Differentially Expressed Genes between Soft-Endocarp and Hard-Endocarp Hawthorns 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72910.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is an important pome with a long history as a fruit, an ornamental, and a source of medicine. Fruits of hawthorn are marked by hard stony endocarps, but a hawthorn germplasm with soft and thin endocarp was found in Liaoning province of China. To elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying the soft endocarp of hawthorn, we conducted a de novo assembly of the fruit transcriptome of Crataegus pinnatifida and compared gene expression profiles between the soft-endocarp and the hard-endocarp hawthorn varieties. De novo assembly yielded 52,673 putative unigenes, 20.4% of which are longer than 1,000 bp. Among the high-quality unique sequences, 35,979 (68.3%) had at least one significant match to an existing gene model. A total of 1,218 genes, represented 2.31% total putative unigenes, were differentially expressed between the soft-endocarp hawthorn and the hard-endocarp hawthorn. Among these differentially expressed genes, a number of lignin biosynthetic pathway genes were down-regulated while almost all the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway genes were strongly up-regulated, concomitant with the formation of soft endocarp. In addition, we have identified some MYB and NAC transcription factors that could potentially control lignin and flavonoid biosynthesis. The altered expression levels of the genes encoding lignin biosynthetic enzymes, MYB and NAC transcription factors were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. This is the first transcriptome analysis of Crataegus genus. The high quality ESTs generated in this study will aid future gene cloning from hawthorn. Our study provides important insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying soft endocarp formation in hawthorn.
PMCID: PMC3764154  PMID: 24039819
16.  DEK over expression as an independent biomarker for poor prognosis in colorectal cancer 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:366.
The DEK protein is related to chromatin reconstruction and gene transcription, and plays an important role in cell apoptosis. High expression levels of the human DEK gene have been correlated with numerous human malignancies. This study explores the roles of DEK in tumor progression and as a prognostic determinant of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer specimens from 109 patients with strict follow-up, and colorectal adenomas from 52 patients were selected for analysis of DEK protein by immunohistochemistry. The correlations between DEK over expression and the clinicopathological features of colorectal cancers were evaluated by Chi-square test and Fisher’s exact tests. The survival rates were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method, and the relationship between prognostic factors and patient survival was also analyzed by the Cox proportional hazard models.
DEK protein showed a nuclear immunohistochemical staining pattern in colorectal cancers. The strongly positive rate of DEK protein was 48.62% (53/109) in colorectal cancers, which was significantly higher than that in either adjacent normal colon mucosa (9.17%, 10/109) or colorectal adenomas (13.46%, 7/52). DEK over expression in colorectal cancers was positively correlated with tumor size, grade, lymph node metastasis, serosal invasion, late stage, and disease-free survival- and 5-year survival rates. Further analysis showed that patients with late stage colorectal cancer and high DEK expression had worse survival rates than those with low DEK expression. Moreover, multivariate analysis showed high DEK expression, serosal invasion, and late stage are significant independent risk factors for mortality in colorectal cancer.
DEK plays an important role in the progression of colorectal cancers and it is an independent poor prognostic factor of colorectal cancers.
PMCID: PMC3751154  PMID: 23902796
Colorectal cancer; DEK; Immunohistochemistry; Survival analysis
17.  Renal Protective Role of Xiexin Decoction with Multiple Active Ingredients Involves Inhibition of Inflammation through Downregulation of the Nuclear Factor-κB Pathway in Diabetic Rats 
In Chinese medicine, Xiexin decoction (XXD) has been used for the clinical treatment of diabetes for at least 1700 years. The present study was conducted to investigate the effective ingredients of XXD and their molecular mechanisms of antidiabetic nephropathy in rats. Rats with diabetes induced by high-fat diet and streptozotocin were treated with XXD extract for 12 weeks. XXD significantly improved the glucolipid metabolism disorder, attenuated albuminuria and renal pathological changes, reduced renal advanced glycation end-products, inhibited receptor for advanced glycation end-product and inflammation factors expression, suppressed renal nuclear factor-κB pathway activity, and downregulated renal transforming growth factor-β1. The concentrations of multiple components in plasma from XXD were determined by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analysis using partial least square regression revealed that 8 ingredients of XXD were responsible for renal protective effects via actions on multiple molecular targets. Our study suggests that the renal protective role of XXD with multiple effective ingredients involves inhibition of inflammation through downregulation of the nuclear factor-κB pathway, reducing renal advanced glycation end-products and receptor for advanced glycation end-product in diabetic rats.
PMCID: PMC3713598  PMID: 23935673
18.  Needle-free injection of 5-aminolevulinic acid in photodynamic therapy for the treatment of condylomata acuminata 
The external application of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) in photodynamic therapy (PDT) results in a shallow penetration depth in thick or extensive condylomata acuminata (CA) lesions, thus demonstrating a poor therapeutic effect for those patients. To compare the efficacy of needle-free injection with external application of ALA in PDT for the treatment of CA, 160 CA patients with thick or extensive warts received ALA-PDT by means of external application or needle-free injection of ALA, respectively. The complete response (CR) rate and recurrence rate in the two groups were analyzed. The CR rate after the first treatment in the needle-free injection group (68.8%) was significantly higher compared with that in the external application group (52.5%; P=0.035). The recurrence rates in the needle-free injection group and external application group were 4.1 and 15.4%, respectively (P=0.022). The needle-free injection of ALA increases the therapeutic effect of PDT for CA patients with thick or extensive lesions. It shortens the treatment time and reduces the recurrence rate, and has great potential in the treatment of CA.
PMCID: PMC3735532  PMID: 23935753
condylomata acuminata; 5-aminolevulinic acid; photodynamic therapy; needle-free injection
19.  Ab Initio Modeling and Experimental Assessment of Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2) Kinase-Pseudokinase Complex Structure 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(4):e1003022.
The Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2) plays essential roles in transmitting signals from multiple cytokine receptors, and constitutive activation of JAK2 results in hematopoietic disorders and oncogenesis. JAK2 kinase activity is negatively regulated by its pseudokinase domain (JH2), where the gain-of-function mutation V617F that causes myeloproliferative neoplasms resides. In the absence of a crystal structure of full-length JAK2, how JH2 inhibits the kinase domain (JH1), and how V617F hyperactivates JAK2 remain elusive. We modeled the JAK2 JH1–JH2 complex structure using a novel informatics-guided protein-protein docking strategy. A detailed JAK2 JH2-mediated auto-inhibition mechanism is proposed, where JH2 traps the activation loop of JH1 in an inactive conformation and blocks the movement of kinase αC helix through critical hydrophobic contacts and extensive electrostatic interactions. These stabilizing interactions are less favorable in JAK2-V617F. Notably, several predicted binding interfacial residues in JH2 were confirmed to hyperactivate JAK2 kinase activity in site-directed mutagenesis and BaF3/EpoR cell transformation studies. Although there may exist other JH2-mediated mechanisms to control JH1, our JH1–JH2 structural model represents a verifiable working hypothesis for further experimental studies to elucidate the role of JH2 in regulating JAK2 in both normal and pathological settings.
Author Summary
Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are essential to cellular signal transduction, and structural information about PPIs is crucial for understanding of how cellular machinery functions at the atomistic level. However, both experimental structural determination and computational prediction of PPI are challenging. In the cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase JAK2, a pseudokinase domain (JH2) negatively regulates kinase activity of its adjacent catalytic kinase domain (JH1). A gain-of-function mutation within JH2 is found in the majority of patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms, and is sufficient to cause similar diseases in murine models. Here we combined an informatics-guided protein-protein docking method with molecular dynamics simulation to construct and refine the JAK2 JH1–JH2 complex, and validated our model with mutational studies. Our modeled structure suggests that JH2 auto-inhibits JAK2 kinase activities by blocking the movements of the activation loop and the αC helix of JH1, but awaits further validation by a detailed structure of the full-length JAK2 protein.
PMCID: PMC3616975  PMID: 23592968
20.  The Inverse F-BAR Domain Protein srGAP2 Acts through srGAP3 to Modulate Neuronal Differentiation and Neurite Outgrowth of Mouse Neuroblastoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e57865.
The inverse F-BAR (IF-BAR) domain proteins srGAP1, srGAP2 and srGAP3 are implicated in neuronal development and may be linked to mental retardation, schizophrenia and seizure. A partially overlapping expression pattern and highly similar protein structures indicate a functional redundancy of srGAPs in neuronal development. Our previous study suggests that srGAP3 negatively regulates neuronal differentiation in a Rac1-dependent manner in mouse Neuro2a cells. Here we show that exogenously expressed srGAP1 and srGAP2 are sufficient to inhibit valporic acid (VPA)-induced neurite initiation and growth in the mouse Neuro2a cells. While ectopic- or over-expression of RhoGAP-defective mutants, srGAP1R542A and srGAP2R527A exert a visible inhibitory effect on neuronal differentiation. Unexpectedly, knockdown of endogenous srGAP2 fails to facilitate the neuronal differentiation induced by VPA, but promotes neurite outgrowth of differentiated cells. All three IF-BAR domains from srGAP1-3 can induce filopodia formation in Neuro2a, but the isolated IF-BAR domain from srGAP2, not from srGAP1 and srGAP3, can promote VPA-induced neurite initiation and neuronal differentiation. We identify biochemical and functional interactions of the three srGAPs family members. We propose that srGAP3-Rac1 signaling may be required for the effect of srGAP1 and srGAP2 on attenuating neuronal differentiation. Furthermore, inhibition of Slit-Robo interaction can phenocopy a loss-of-function of srGAP3, indicating that srGAP3 may be dedicated to the Slit-Robo pathway. Our results demonstrate the interplay between srGAP1, srGAP2 and srGAP3 regulates neuronal differentiation and neurite outgrowth. These findings may provide us new insights into the possible roles of srGAPs in neuronal development and a potential mechanism for neurodevelopmental diseases.
PMCID: PMC3591447  PMID: 23505444
21.  γ-Tocotrienol Induces Paraptosis-Like Cell Death in Human Colon Carcinoma SW620 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57779.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most serious illnesses among diagnosed cancer. As a new type of anti-cancer composition from tocotrienol-rich fraction of palm oil, γ-tocotrienol is widely used in anti-cancer research. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of γ-tocotrienol on human colon cancer SW620 and HCT-8 cells. We showed that treatment with different concentrations of γ-tocotrienol resulted in a dose dependent inhibition of cell growth. Cell death induced by γ-tocotrienol was mediated by a paraptosis-like cell death in SW620 and HCT-8 cells. Real-time RT-PCR and western blot analyses showed that γ-tocotrienol inhibited the expression level of β-catenin, cyclin D1 and c-jun. These data suggest that a paraptosis-like cell death induced by γ-tocotrienol in SW620 cells is associated with the suppression of the Wnt signaling pathway, which offers a novel tool for treating apoptosis-resistance colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC3585143  PMID: 23469066
24.  Cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cell therapy for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma: efficacy and safety 
To evaluate the efficacy of cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cell therapy in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Materials and methods
Randomized phase II and III trials on CIK cell-based therapy were identified by electronic searches using a combination of "hepatocellular carcinoma" and "cytokine-induced killer cells".
The analysis showed significant survival benefit (one-year survival, p < 0.001; two-year survival, p < 0.001; median overall survival, p < 0.001) in favor of CIK-based therapy. Comparison of CIK group versus non-CIK group resulted in a significantly prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) (p < 0.01). A favored disease control rate (DCR) and overall response rate (ORR) were also observed in patients receiving CIK cell therapy (p < 0.01). Meanwhile, patients in the CIK group showed better quality of life (QoL), diminished HBV-DNA content and AFP level (p < 0.01). Comparing T-lymphocyte subsets in peripheral blood, the analysis showed the ratio of CD3+, CD4+, CD4+CD8+ and CD3+CD4+ T cells significantly increased in the CIK group, compared with the non-CIK group (p < 0.01).
CIK cell therapy demonstrated a significant superiority in prolonging the median overall survival, PFS, DCR, ORR and QoL of HCC patients. These results support further larger scale randomized controlled trials for HCC patients with or without the combination of other therapeutic methods.
PMCID: PMC3514101  PMID: 23210562
Cytokine-induced killer cells; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Clinical trial; Meta-analysis; Therapy
25.  Generation of disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with different karyotypes of Down syndrome 
Down syndrome (DS), a major cause of mental retardation, is caused by trisomy of some or all of human chromosome 21 and includes three basic karyotypes: trisomy 21, translocation, and mosaicism. The derivation of DS-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provides us novel DS models that can be used to determine the DS mechanism and to devise therapeutic approaches for DS patients.
In the present study, fibroblasts from patients with DS of various karyotypes were reprogrammed into iPSCs via the overexpression of four factors: OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, and c-MYC, by using lentiviral vectors. The abilities of the iPSC-DS in the self-renewal and pluripotency in vitro and in vivo were then examined.
The iPSC-DS showed characteristics similar to those of human embryonic stem cells, particularly the morphology, surface marker (SSEA4, TRA-1-60, and TRA-1-81) expression, pluripotent-specific transcription-factor expression levels, and methylation status of the OCT4 promoter. The pluripotency of iPSC-DS was also tested in vitro and in vivo. Embryoid bodies were formed and showed the expression of differentiated markers for three germ layers. Furthermore, iPSC-DS formed classic teratomas when injected into nonobese diabetic-severe combined immunodeficient (NOD-SCID) mice.
iPSCs were generated from patients with DS. The iPSCs derived from different types of DS may be used in DS modeling, patient-care optimization, drug discovery, and eventually, autologous cell-replacement therapies.
PMCID: PMC3392774  PMID: 22512921

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