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1.  A prospective study of polymorphisms of DNA repair genes XRCC1, XPD23 and APE/ref‐1 and risk of stroke in Linxian, China 
Stroke is the leading cause of death in Linxian, China. Although there is evidence of DNA damage in experimental stroke, no data exist on DNA repair and stroke in human populations.
To assess the risk of stroke conferred by polymorphisms in the DNA repair genes, XRCC1, XPD23 and APE/ref‐1 in a cohort of individuals originally assembled as subjects in two cancer prevention trials in Linxian, China.
The subjects for this prospective study were sampled from a cohort of 4005 eligible subjects who were alive and cancer free in 1991 and had blood samples available for DNA extraction. Using real‐time Taqman analyses, all incident cases of stroke (n = 118) that developed from May 1996, and an age‐ and a sex‐stratified random sample (n = 454) drawn from all eligible subjects were genotyped. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs.
No association was observed between polymorphisms in APE/ref‐1 codon 148 and XRCC1*6 codon 194, and stroke. Polymorphisms in XRCC1*10 codon 399 were associated with a significantly reduced risk of stroke (RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.96, p = 0.033), whereas XPD23 codon 312 was associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke (RR 2.18, 95% CI 1.14 to 4.17, p = 0.010).
Polymorphisms in DNA repair genes may be important in the aetiology of stroke. These data should stimulate research on DNA damage and repair in stroke.
PMCID: PMC2653006  PMID: 17630376
2.  Pten regulates homeostasis and inflammation-induced migration of myelocytes in zebrafish 
Loss of the tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is frequently observed in hematopoietic malignancies. Although PTEN has been implicated in maintaining the quiescence of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), its role in hematopoiesis during ontogeny remains largely unexplored.
The expression of hematopoietic marker genes was analyzed via whole mount in situ hybridization assay in ptena and ptenb double mutant zebrafish. The embryonic myelopoiesis was characterized by living imaging and whole mount in situ immunofluorescence with confocal microscopy, as well as cell-specific chemical staining for neutrophils and macrophages. Analyses of the involved signaling pathway were carried out by inhibitor treatment and mRNA injection.
Pten-deficient zebrafish embryos exhibited a strikingly increased number of myeloid cells, which were further characterized as being immune deficient. In accordance with this finding, the inhibition of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) or the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) corrected the expansive myelopoiesis in the pten-deficient embryos. Further mechanistic studies revealed that the expression of cebpa, a critical transcription factor in myeloid precursor cells, was downregulated in the pten-deficient myeloid cells, whereas the injection of cebpa mRNA markedly ameliorated the dysmyelopoiesis induced by the loss of pten.
Our data provide in vivo evidence that definitive myelopoiesis in zebrafish is critically regulated by pten via the elevation of cebpa expression.
PMCID: PMC4015859  PMID: 24598081
pten; cebpa; Myeloid cells; Definitive myelopoiesis; Zebrafish
3.  Activated N-Ras signaling regulates arterial-venous specification in zebrafish 
The aberrant activation of Ras signaling is associated with human diseases including hematological malignancies and vascular disorders. So far the pathological roles of activated Ras signaling in hematopoiesis and vasculogenesis are largely unknown.
A conditional Cre/loxP transgenic strategy was used to mediate the specific expression of a constitutively active form of human N-Ras in zebrafish endothelial and hematopoietic cells driven by the zebrafish lmo2 promoter. The expression of hematopoietic and endothelial marker genes was analyzed both via whole mount in situ hybridization (WISH) assay and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). The embryonic vascular morphogenesis was characterized both by living imaging and immunofluorescence on the sections with a confocal microscopy, and the number of endothelial cells in the embryos was quantified by flow cytometry. The functional analyses of the blood circulation were carried out by fluorescence microangiography assay and morpholino injection.
In the activated N-Ras transgenic embryos, the primitive hematopoiesis appeared normal, however, the definitive hematopoiesis of these embryos was completely absent. Further analysis of endothelial cell markers confirmed that transcription of arterial marker ephrinB2 was significantly decreased and expression of venous marker flt4 excessively increased, indicating the activated N-Ras signaling promotes the venous development at the expense of arteriogenesis during zebrafish embryogenesis. The activated N-Ras-expressing embryos showed atrophic axial arteries and expansive axial veins, leading to no definitive hematopoietic stem cell formation, the blood circulation failure and subsequently embryonic lethality.
Our studies revealed for the first time that activated N-Ras signaling during the endothelial differentiation in vertebrates can disrupt the balance of arterial-venous specification, thus providing new insights into the pathogenesis of the congenital human vascular disease and tumorigenic angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3658992  PMID: 23663822
Vasculogenesis; Arteriogenesis; N-Ras
4.  RTL-P: a sensitive approach for detecting sites of 2′-O-methylation in RNA molecules 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(20):e157.
2′-O-methylation is present within various cellular RNAs and is essential to RNA biogenesis and functionality. Several methods have been developed for the identification and localization of 2′-O-methylated sites in RNAs; however, the detection of RNA modifications, especially in low-abundance RNAs and small non-coding RNAs with a 2′-O-methylation at the 3′-end, remains a difficult task. Here, we introduce a new method to detect 2′-O-methylated sites in diverse RNA species, referred to as RTL-P [Reverse Transcription at Low deoxy-ribonucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) concentrations followed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)] that demonstrates precise mapping and superior sensitivity compared with previous techniques. The main procedures of RTL-P include a site-specific primer extension by reverse transcriptase at a low dNTP concentration and a semi-quantitative PCR amplification step. No radiolabeled or fluorescent primers are required. By designing specific RT primers, we used RTL-P to detect both previously identified and novel 2′-O-methylated sites in human and yeast ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), as well as mouse piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). These results demonstrate the powerful application of RTL-P for the systematic analysis of fully or partially methylated residues in diverse RNA species, including low-abundance RNAs or small non-coding RNAs such as piRNAs and microRNAs (miRNAs).
PMCID: PMC3488209  PMID: 22833606
5.  Serum cytokine analysis in a positive chemoprevention trial: Selenium, Interleukin-2 and an association with squamous preneoplastic disease 
This study represents a multiplex cytokine analysis of serum from a 10-month randomized, controlled trial of 238 subjects that investigated the effects of selenomethionine and/or celecoxib in subjects with mild or moderate esophageal squamous dysplasia. The original chemoprevention study found that among those with mild dysplasia, selenomethionine treatment favorably altered dysplasia grade. The current analysis found that selenomethionine down-regulated IL-2 by 9% (p=0.04), while celecoxib down-regulated IL-7 by 11% (p=0.006) and up-regulated IL-13 by 17% (p=0.008). In addition, an increase in IL-7 tertile from baseline to t10 was significantly associated with an increase in dysplasia grade, both overall (OR=1.47, p=0.03) and among those with mild dysplasia at t0 (OR=2.53 p=0.001). An increase in IL-2 tertile from baseline to t10 was also non-significantly associated with worsening dysplasia for all participants (OR=1.32 p=0.098), and significantly associated with worsening dysplasia among those with mild dysplasia at baseline (OR=2.0 p=0.01). The association of increased IL-2 with worsening dysplasia remained significant in those on selenomethionine treatment who began the trial with mild dysplasia (OR=2.52 p=0.03). The current study shows that selenomethionine supplementation decreased serum IL-2 levels, while celecoxib treatment decreased IL-7 levels and increased IL-13 levels during a 10 month randomized chemoprevention trial. An increase in IL-2 or IL-7 was associated with increased severity of dysplasia over the course of the trial, especially in those who began the trial with mild dysplasia. The favorable effect of selenomethionine on esophageal dysplasia in the original trial may have been mediated in part by its effect on reducing levels of IL-2.
PMCID: PMC2900463  PMID: 20587703
chemoprevention; interleukin-2; preneoplasia; gastrointestinal tract; selenium
6.  No role for human papillomavirus in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in China 
Certain regions of China have high rates of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Previous studies of human papillomavirus (HPV), a proposed causal factor, have produced highly variable results. We attempted to evaluate HPV and ESCC more definitively using extreme care to prevent DNA contamination. We collected tissue and serum in China from 272 histopathologically-confirmed ESCC cases with rigorous attention to good molecular biology technique. We tested for HPV DNA in fresh-frozen tumor tissue using PCR with PGMY L1 consensus primers and HPV16 and 18 type-specific E6 and E7 primers, and in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor tissue using SPF10 L1 primers. In HPV-positive cases, we evaluated p16INK4a overexpression and HPV E6/E7 seropositivity as evidence of carcinogenic HPV activity. β-globin, and thus DNA, was adequate in 98.2% of the frozen tumor tissues (267/272). Of these, 99.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 97.9–100.0%) were negative for HPV DNA by PGMY, and 100% (95% CI = 98.6–100%) were negative by HPV16/18 E6/E7 PCR. In the corresponding formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor specimens, 99.3% (95% CI = 97.3–99.9%) were HPV negative by SPF10. By PGMY, 1 case tested weakly positive for HPV89, a noncancer causing HPV type. By SPF10, 2 cases tested weakly positive: 1 for HPV16 and 1 for HPV31. No HPV DNA-positive case had evidence of HPV oncogene activity as measured by p16INK4a overexpression or E6/E7 seropositivity. This study provides the most definitive evidence to date that HPV is not involved in ESCC carcinogenesis in China. HPV DNA contamination cannot be ruled out as an explanation for high HPV prevalence in ESCC tissue studies with less stringent tissue procurement and processing protocols.
PMCID: PMC3069961  PMID: 19918949
human papillomavirus; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
7.  The Gastric Cardia is not a Target for Human Papillomavirus-induced Carcinogenesis 
Thousands of people in central Asia die every year from gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA). GCA arises in the transformation zone between the esophagus and the stomach, similar to cervical and oropharyngeal carcinoma, which arise in areas with transformation zone characteristics. The analogous biology of the gastric cardia to the cervix and oropharynx, where human papillomavirus (HPV) is known to cause cancer, raises the possibility that GCA could be an HPV-associated cancer. Given the availability of an effective HPV vaccine and its potential to prevent HPV-associated cancer, we decided to evaluate the prevalence of HPV DNA in GCA.
We collected tumor tissue from 144 histopathologically-confirmed GCA patients at Yaocun Commune Hospital, Linxian, China, with rigorous attention to prevent DNA contamination. We tested for the presence of HPV DNA in fresh-frozen tumor specimens using PCR with sensitive L1, E6, and E7-based primers.
DNA was adequate, as indicated by β-globin positivity, in 108 cases. Of these, all (100%, 95% confidence interval: 97%–100%) were negative for HPV DNA
These results suggest that HPV does not contribute to gastric cardia carcinogenesis in north central China.
Since GCA does not appear to be an HPV-associated cancer, prophylactic HPV vaccination is unlikely to affect rates of GCA in China.
PMCID: PMC2852466  PMID: 20332262
8.  Total and Cancer Mortality After Supplementation With Vitamins and Minerals: Follow-up of the Linxian General Population Nutrition Intervention Trial 
The General Population Nutrition Intervention Trial was a randomized primary esophageal and gastric cancer prevention trial conducted from 1985 to 1991, in which 29 584 adult participants in Linxian, China, were given daily vitamin and mineral supplements. Treatment with “factor D,” a combination of 50 μg selenium, 30 mg vitamin E, and 15 mg beta-carotene, led to decreased mortality from all causes, cancer overall, and gastric cancer. Here, we present 10-year follow-up after the end of active intervention.
Participants were assessed by periodic data collection, monthly visits by village health workers, and quarterly review of the Linxian Cancer Registry. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the cumulative effects of four vitamin and mineral supplementation regimens were calculated using adjusted proportional hazards models.
Through May 31, 2001, 276 participants were lost to follow-up; 9727 died, including 3242 from cancer (1515 from esophageal cancer and 1199 from gastric cancer). Participants who received factor D had lower overall mortality (HR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.91 to 0.99; P = .009; reduction in cumulative mortality from 33.62% to 32.19%) and gastric cancer mortality (HR = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.79 to 1.00; P = .043; reduction in cumulative gastric cancer mortality from 4.28% to 3.84%) than subjects who did not receive factor D. Reductions were mostly attributable to benefits to subjects younger than 55 years. Esophageal cancer deaths between those who did and did not receive factor D were not different overall; however, decreased 17% among participants younger than 55 (HR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.71 to 0.98; P = .025) but increased 14% among those aged 55 years or older (HR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.00 to 1.30; P = .47). Vitamin A and zinc supplementation was associated with increased total and stroke mortality; vitamin C and molybdenum supplementation, with decreased stroke mortality.
The beneficial effects of selenium, vitamin E, and beta-carotene on mortality were still evident up to 10 years after the cessation of supplementation and were consistently greater in younger participants. Late effects of other supplementation regimens were also observed.
PMCID: PMC2664089  PMID: 19318634

Results 1-8 (8)