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1.  4-[(Z)-(2-Fur­yl)(2-naphthyl­amino)methyl­ene)]-3-methyl-1-phenyl-1H-pyrazol-5(4H)-one. Corrigendum 
Corrigendum to Acta Cryst. (2009), E65, o1824.
The title of the paper by Li, Li, Li, Zhang & Li [Acta Cryst. (2009), E65, o1824] is corrected.
PMCID: PMC2979883  PMID: 21579582
2.  4-[(Z)-(2-Fur­yl)(2-naphthyl­amino)methyl­ene)]-3-methyl-1-phenyl-1H-pyrazol-5(4H)-one 
The title compound, C25H19N3O2, crystallizes as discrete mol­ecules which are well ordered through one intra­molecular N—H⋯O hydrogen bond. Structural analysis indicates that the mol­ecules exist as the amine–one form.
PMCID: PMC2977223  PMID: 21583526
3.  Evaluation of vaccine seroresponse rates and adverse event rates through Bayesian and frequentist methods 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2015;11(6):1557-1563.
In the evaluation of vaccine seroresponse rates and adverse reaction rates, extreme test results often occur, with substantial adverse event rates of 0% and/or seroresponse rates of 100%, which has produced several data challenges. Few studies have used both the Bayesian and frequentist methods on the same sets of data that contain extreme test cases to evaluate vaccine safety and immunogenicity. In this study, Bayesian methods were introduced, and the comparison with frequentist methods was made based on practical cases from randomized controlled vaccine trials and a simulation experiment to examine the rationality of the Bayesian methods. The results demonstrated that the Bayesian non-informative method obtained lower limits (for extreme cases of 100%) and upper limits (for extreme cases of zero), which were similar to the limits that were identified with the frequentist method. The frequentist rate estimates and corresponding confidence intervals (CIs) for extreme cases of 0 or 100% always equaled and included 0 or 100%, respectively, whereas the Bayesian estimations varied depending on the sample size, with none equaling zero or 100%. The Bayesian method obtained more reasonable interval estimates of the rates with extreme data compared with the frequentist method, whereas the frequentist method objectively expressed the outcomes of clinical vaccine trials. The two types of statistical results are complementary, and it is proposed that the Bayesian and frequentist methods should be combined to more comprehensively evaluate clinical vaccine trials.
PMCID: PMC4514417  PMID: 25909683
adverse event rates; Bayesian method; extreme data; frequentist method; seroresponse rates; vaccine
4.  GRK2-Mediated Desensitization of AdipoR1 in Failing Heart 
Circulation  2015;131(16):1392-1404.
Phosphorylative desensitization of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) contributes significantly to post-myocardial infarction (MI) remodeling and heart failure (HF). Here, we determined whether adiponectin receptors 1 and 2 (AdipoR1/AdipoR2, the 7-transmembrane domain-containing receptors mediating adiponectin functions) are phosphorylatively modified and functionally impaired post-MI.
Methods and Results
Post-MI HF was induced by coronary artery occlusion. Receptor phosphorylation, kinase expression, and APN function were determined via in vivo, ex vivo, and in vitro models. AdipoR1/AdipoR2 are not phosphorylated in the normal heart. However, AdipoR1 was significantly phosphorylated post-MI, peaking at 7 days and remaining significantly phosphorylated thereafter. The extent of post-MI AdipoR1 phosphorylation positively correlated with the expression level of GPCR kinase 2 (GRK2), the predominant GRK isoform upregulated in the failing heart. Cardiac-specific GRK2 knockout virtually abolished post-MI AdipoR1 phosphorylation, whereas virus-mediated GRK2 overexpression significantly phosphorylated AdipoR1 and blocked APN metabolic-regulatory/anti-inflammatory signaling. Mass spectrometry identified Ser7, Thr24, and Thr53 (residues located in the n-terminal intracellular AdipoR1 region) as the GRK2 phosphorylation sites. Ex vivo experiments demonstrated AMPK activation and anti-TNFα effect of APN were significantly inhibited in cardiomyocytes isolated from non-ischemic area 7 days post-MI. In vivo experiments demonstrated that acute APN administration-induced cardiac GLUT4 translocation and eNOS phosphorylation was blunted 7 days post-MI. Continuous APN administration beginning 7 days post-MI failed to protect the heart from adverse remodeling and HF progression. Finally, cardiac-specific GRK2 knockdown restored APN cardioprotective effect.
AdipoR1 is phosphorylatively modified and desensitized by GRK2 in failing cardiomyocytes, contributing to post-MI remodeling and HF progression.
PMCID: PMC4406820  PMID: 25696921
Adipokine; Heart Failure; Phosphorylation; Receptor
5.  Evaluation of the diagnostic potential of antibodies to beta2-glycoprotein 1 domain 1 in Chinese patients with antiphospholipid syndrome 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:23839.
In this study, we evaluated the clinical performance of anti-β2-glycoprotein 1 domain 1 antibodies (aβ2GP1-D1) in the diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). Sera from 229 subjects were tested, including 35 patients with primary APS, 51 patients with APS associated to other diseases, 30 patients with non-APS thrombosis, 32 patients with non-APS pregnancy-related morbidity, 42 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, and 39 healthy controls (HC). Serum IgG aβ2GP1-D1, IgG/IgM anti-cardiolipin (aCL) and IgG/IgM aβ2GP1 were measured by a chemiluminescence assay. The levels of IgG aβ2GP1-D1 were significantly increased in patients with APS, compared with disease controls and HCs (p < 0.001). Significant correlation was identified between IgG aβ2GP1-D1 and IgG aβ2GP1 (p < 0.0001), indicating IgG aβ2GP1-D1 were the predominant domain-specific antibodies in IgG aβ2GP1 family. Importantly, aβ2GP1-D1, but not aβ2GP1 non-D1, was significantly correlated with thrombotic events. Interestingly, no significant correlation between IgG aβ2GP1-D1 and obstetric complications was observed. Additionally, significantly higher levels of IgG aβ2GP1-D1 were found in patients with triple aPL positivity, compared with patients with double and single aPL positivity. Our findings suggest a potential role of IgG aβ2GP1-D1 in identifying APS patients with high risk of thrombosis, shedding insight on the introduction of IgG aβ2GP1-D1 in China.
PMCID: PMC4823723  PMID: 27053361
6.  Detecting gene-gene interactions using a permutation-based random forest method 
BioData Mining  2016;9:14.
Identifying gene-gene interactions is essential to understand disease susceptibility and to detect genetic architectures underlying complex diseases. Here, we aimed at developing a permutation-based methodology relying on a machine learning method, random forest (RF), to detect gene-gene interactions. Our approach called permuted random forest (pRF) which identified the top interacting single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) pairs by estimating how much the power of a random forest classification model is influenced by removing pairwise interactions.
We systematically tested our approach on a simulation study with datasets possessing various genetic constraints including heritability, number of SNPs, sample size, etc. Our methodology showed high success rates for detecting the interaction SNP pair. We also applied our approach to two bladder cancer datasets, which showed consistent results with well-studied methodologies, such as multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR) and statistical epistasis network (SEN). Furthermore, we built permuted random forest networks (PRFN), in which we used nodes to represent SNPs and edges to indicate interactions.
We successfully developed a scale-invariant methodology to detect pure gene-gene interactions based on permutation strategies and the machine learning method random forest. This methodology showed great potential to be used for detecting gene-gene interactions to study underlying genetic architectures in a scale-free way, which could be benefit to uncover the complex disease mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4822295  PMID: 27053949
Random forest; GWAS; Machine learning; Scale invariant
7.  A rare nonsynonymous variant in the lipid metabolic gene HELZ2 related to primary biliary cirrhosis in Chinese Han 
Several genome-wide association studies of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) in European and Japanese origins have shown significant association of dozens of genetic loci contributive to the susceptibility of PBC. Most of the loci were related to immune response pathway. In this study, we tested whether the lipid metabolic gene HELZ2 was associated with the pathogenesis of PBC.
In 586 PBC cases (358 in case 1 group and 201 in case 2 group) and 726 healthy controls of Chinese Han, six nonsynonymous SNPs were genotyped by MassArray iPLEX. The same control were used for the two groups of PBC cases. Allele frequencies were calculated by χ2 test based on 2 × 2 contingency tables. All data were analyzed using the PLINK tool set. The odds ratio (OR) and 95 % confidence interval (95 % CI) were calculated, and p values (corrected for multiple testing by Bonferroni adjustment) less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
The A allele of rs79267778 was significantly associated with PBC (ORcombined = 4.204 [1.670–10.582], pcombined = 1.87E−04). It changed the amino acid at position 1904 (NM_001037335) from Threonine (ACG) to Methionine (ATG). This site was highly conserved in mammals and predicted to be POSSIBLY DAMAGING with a score of 0.469 by PolyPhen-2. It’s further predicted that T1904 M could INCREASE the protein stability with a confidence at 25.18 % under the condition of pH 7.0 and 37 °C.
The result was the first time to show evidence of the lipid metabolic gene HELZ2 related to autoimmune disease, at least in PBC of Chinese Han.
PMCID: PMC4819269  PMID: 27047549
Primary biliary cirrhosis; HELZ2; Replication study; Lipid metabollism
8.  Decreased liver triglyceride content in adult rats exposed to protein restriction during gestation and lactation: role of hepatic triglyceride utilization 
We have previously demonstrated that protein restriction throughout gestation and lactation reduced liver triglyceride content in adult rat offspring. The mechanism(s) mediating the decrease in liver triglyceride content are not understood. The objective of the current study was to use a new group of pregnant animals and their offspring and determine the contribution of increased triglyceride utilization via the hepatic fatty acid oxidation and triglyceride secretory pathways to the reduction in liver triglyceride content. Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats received either a control or a low protein diet throughout pregnancy and lactation. Pups were weaned onto laboratory chow on day 28 and sacrificed on day 65. Liver triglyceride content was reduced in male, but not female, low protein offspring both in the fed and fasted states. The reduction was accompanied by a trend towards higher liver carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1a activity suggesting increased fatty acid transport into the mitochondrial matrix. However, medium chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase activity within the mitochondrial matrix, expression of nuclear peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-α, and plasma levels of β-hydroxybutyrate were similar between low protein and control offspring indicating a lack of change in fatty acid oxidation. Hepatic triglyceride secretion, assessed by blocking peripheral triglyceride utilization and measuring serum triglyceride accumulation rate, and the activity of microsomal transfer protein were similar between low protein and control offspring. Since enhanced triglyceride utilization is not a significant contributor, the decrease in liver triglyceride content in male low protein offspring is likely due to alterations in liver fatty acid transport or triglyceride biosynthesis.
PMCID: PMC4401994  PMID: 25641378
Diet protein restricted; Programming; Liver triglyceride content; Liver glycogen content; Fatty acid oxidation; Hepatic triglyceride secretion
9.  Long-term outcome of patients with spinal myxopapillary ependymoma: treatment results from the MD Anderson Cancer Center and institutions from the Rare Cancer Network 
Neuro-Oncology  2014;17(4):588-595.
Spinal myxopapillary ependymomas (MPEs) are slowly growing ependymal gliomas with preferential manifestation in young adults. The aim of this study was to assess the outcome of patients with MPE treated with surgery, radiotherapy (RT), and/or chemotherapy.
The medical records of 183 MPE patients (male: 59%) treated at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and 11 institutions from the Rare Cancer Network were retrospectively reviewed. Mean patient' age at diagnosis was 35.5 ± 15.8 years. Ninety-seven (53.0%) patients underwent surgery without RT, and 86 (47.0%) were treated with surgery and/or RT. Median RT dose was 50.4 Gy. Median follow-up was 83.9 months.
Fifteen (8.2%) patients died, 7 of unrelated cause. The estimated 10-year overall survival was 92.4% (95% CI: 87.7–97.1). Treatment failure was observed in 58 (31.7%) patients. Local failure, distant spinal relapse, and brain failure were observed in 49 (26.8%), 17 (9.3%), and 11 (6.0%) patients, respectively. The estimated 10-year progression-free survival was 61.2% (95% CI: 52.8–69.6). Age (<36 vs ≥36 y), treatment modality (surgery alone vs surgery and RT), and extent of surgery were prognostic factors for local control and progression-free survival on univariate and multivariate analysis.
In this series, treatment failure of MPE occurred in approximately one third of patients. The observed recurrence pattern of primary spinal MPE was mainly local, but a substantial number of patients failed nonlocally. Younger patients and those not treated initially with adjuvant RT or not undergoing gross total resection were significantly more likely to present with tumor recurrence/progression.
PMCID: PMC4483075  PMID: 25301811
myxopapillary ependymoma; radiotherapy; spinal failures; spinal tumors
10.  Shiga toxins induce autophagic cell death in intestinal epithelial cells via the endoplasmic reticulum stress pathway 
Autophagy  2015;11(2):344-354.
Shiga toxins (Stxs) are a family of cytotoxic proteins that lead to the development of bloody diarrhea, hemolytic-uremic syndrome, and central nervous system complications caused by bacteria such as S. dysenteriae, E. coli O157:H7 and E. coli O104:H4. Increasing evidence indicates that macroautophagy (autophagy) is a key factor in the cell death induced by Stxs. However, the associated mechanisms are not yet clear. This study showed that Stx2 induces autophagic cell death in Caco-2 cells, a cultured line model of human enterocytes. Inhibition of autophagy using pharmacological inhibitors, such as 3-methyladenine and bafilomycin A1, or silencing of the autophagy genes ATG12 or BECN1 decreased the Stx2-induced death in Caco-2 cells. Furthermore, there were numerous instances of dilated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in the Stx2-treated Caco-2 cells, and repression of ER stress due to the depletion of viable candidates of DDIT3 and NUPR1. These processes led to Stx2-induced autophagy and cell death. Finally, the data showed that the pseudokinase TRIB3-mediated DDIT3 expression and AKT1 dephosphorylation upon ER stress were triggered by Stx2. Thus, the data indicate that Stx2 causes autophagic cell death via the ER stress pathway in intestinal epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC4502731  PMID: 25831014
autophagic cell death; autophagy; E. coli O157:H7; ER stress; Shiga toxins; 3-MA, 3-methyladenine; Δ, knockout; AO, acridine orange; ATF4, activating transcription factor 4; ATG, autophagy-related; Baf A1, bafilomycin A1; BECN1, Beclin 1, autophagy-related; CASP3, caspase 3, apoptosis-related cysteine peptidase; DDIT3, DNA-damage-inducible transcript 3; EHEC O157, Escherichia coli O157:H7; FACS, fluorescence activated cell sorting; MAP1LC3B, microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; MDC, monodansylcadaverine; NUPR1, nuclear protein, transcriptional regulator, 1; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; PARP1, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1; PI, propidium iodide; Stxs, Shiga toxins; Thap, thapsigargin; TEM, transmission electron microscopy; TRIB3, tribbles pseudokinase 3; WT, wild type; Z-VAD, Z-VAD-FMK
11.  Safety and immunogenocity of a novel combined Haemophilus influenzae type b–Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A and C-tetanus-toxoid conjugate vaccine in healthy Chinese children aged 6 months to 5 years old 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2015;11(5):1120-1128.
A novel combined Haemophilus influenzae type b-Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A and C-tetanus-toxoid conjugate vaccine (Hib-MenAC vaccine) has been developed to protect children against diseases caused by Hib, MenA, and MenC. This study investigated the safety and immunogenicity of the Hib-MenAC vaccine administered in 2-dose series to children aged 6–23 months and in a single dose to children aged 2–5 y. A randomized, positive-controlled, non-inferiority clinical trial was conducted for 1200 healthy participants in each age group. Within each age group, participants were randomly allocated to the Hib-MenAC group or the control group at a ratio of 1:1. Adverse reactions were recorded within 28 d after each dose. Blood samples were obtained to assess immunogenicity on day 0 and at 28 d after a complete vaccination course. For the investigational vaccine, the incidence of total adverse reactions in vaccinees aged 6–23 months was 46.8% and that in vaccinees aged 2–5 y was 29.8%. Most adverse reactions were mild or moderate. One non-fatal serious adverse event occurred in the Hib-MenAC group, but was unrelated to vaccination. The seroconversion rate to the 3 components reached 94.0%, and the proportion of vaccinees with rSBA titers ≥ 1:8 and PRP ≥ 0.15 g/mL reached 97.0% in both age groups. The safety and immunogenicity of the Hib-MenAC vaccine were non-inferior when compared to the licensed vaccines. It was concluded that the novel vaccine would be expected to protect children against all of the targeted diseases.
PMCID: PMC4514299  PMID: 25833163
children; china; conjugate vaccine; Haemophilus influenzae type b; Neisseria meningitidis
12.  Biodiversity management of organic farming enhances agricultural sustainability 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:23816.
Organic farming (OF) has been believed to be capable of curtailing some hazardous effects associated with chemical farming (CF). However, debates also exist on whether OF can feed a world with increasing human population. We hypothesized that some improvements on OF may produce adequate crops and reduce environmental pollutions from CF. This paper makes comparative analysis of crop yield, soil organic matter and economic benefits within the practice on Biodiversity Management of Organic Farming (BMOF) at Hongyi Organic Farm (HOF) over eight years and between BMOF and CF. Linking crop production with livestock to maximal uses of by-products from each production and avoid xenobiotic chemicals, we have achieved beneficial improvement in soil properties, effective pest and weed control, and increased crop yields. After eight years experiment, we have obtained a gradual but stable increase in crop yields with a 9.6-fold increase of net income. The net income of HOF was 258,827 dollars and 24,423 dollars in 2014 and 2007 respectively. Thus, BMOF can not only feed more population, but also increase adaptive capacity of agriculture ecosystems and gain much higher economic benefits.
PMCID: PMC4817119  PMID: 27032369
13.  Auphen and dibutyryl cAMP suppress growth of hepatocellular carcinoma by regulating expression of aquaporins 3 and 9 in vivo 
World Journal of Gastroenterology  2016;22(12):3341-3354.
AIM: To investigate whether the regulation of aquaporin 3 (AQP3) and AQP9 induced by Auphen and dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP) inhibits hepatic tumorigenesis.
METHODS: Expression of AQP3 and AQP9 was detected by Western blot, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and RT-PCR in HCC samples and paired non-cancerous liver tissue samples from 30 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. A xenograft tumor model was used in vivo. Nine nude mice were divided into control, Auphen-treated, and dbcAMP-treated groups (n = 3 for each group). AQP3 and AQP9 protein expression after induction of xenograft tumors was detected by IHC and mRNA by RT-PCR analysis. The terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling assay and histological evaluation were used to detect apoptosis of tumor cells, and the concentration of serum α-fetoprotein (AFP) was measured using RT-PCR and an ELISA kit.
RESULTS: The volumes and weights of tumors decreased significantly in the Auphen- and dbcAMP-treated mice compared with the control mice (P < 0.01). The levels of AQP3 were significantly lower in the Auphen treatment group, and levels of AQP9 were significantly higher in thedbcAMP treatment mice than in the control mice (P < 0.01). The reduction of AQP3 by Auphen and increase of AQP9 by dbcAMP in nude mice suppressed tumor growth of HCC, which resulted in reduced AFP levels in serum and tissues, and apoptosis of tumor cells in the Auphen- and dbcAMP-treated mice, when compared with control mice (P < 0.01). Compared with para-carcinoma tissues, AQP3 expression increased in tumor tissues whereas the expression of AQP9 decreased. By correlating clinicopathological and expression levels, we demonstrated that the expression of AQP3 and AQP9 was correlated with clinical progression of HCC and disease outcomes.
CONCLUSION: AQP3 increases in HCC while AQP9 decreases. Regulation of AQP3 and AQP9 expression by Auphen and dbcAMP inhibits the development and growth of HCC.
PMCID: PMC4806192  PMID: 27022216
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Nude mice; Auphen; Dibutyryl cAMP; Aquaporin 3; Xenograft tumor model; Aquaporin 9
14.  MicroRNA Mediation of Endothelial Inflammatory Response to Smooth Muscle Cells and its Inhibition by Atheroprotective Shear Stress 
Circulation research  2015;116(7):1157-1169.
In atherosclerotic lesions, synthetic smooth muscle cells (sSMCs) induce aberrant microRNA (miR) profiles in endothelial cells (ECs) under flow stagnation. Increase in shear stress induces favorable miR modulation to mitigate sSMC-induced inflammation.
To address the role of miRs in sSMC-induced EC inflammation and its inhibition by shear stress.
Methods and Results
Co-culturing ECs with sSMCs under static condition causes initial increases of four anti-inflammatory miRs (146a/708/451/98) in ECs followed by decreases below basal levels at 7 days; the increases for miR-146a/708 peaked at 24 h and those for miR-451/98 lasted for only 6-12 h. Shear stress (12 dynes/cm2) to co-cultured ECs for 24 h augments these four miR expressions. In vivo, these four miRs are highly expressed in neointimal ECs in injured arteries under physiological levels of flow, but not expressed under flow stagnation. MiR-146a, -708, -451, and -98 target interleukin (IL)-1 receptor-associated kinase, inhibitor of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) kinase subunit-γ, IL-6 receptor, and conserved helix-loop-helix ubiquitous kinase, respectively, to inhibit NF-κB signaling, which exerts negative feedback control on the biogenesis of these miRs. NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf-2) is critical for shear-induction of miR-146a in co-cultured ECs. Silencing either Nrf-2 or miR-146a led to increased neointima formation of injured rat carotid artery under physiological levels of flow. Overexpressing miR-146a inhibits neointima formation of rat or mouse carotid artery induced by injury or flow cessation.
Nrf-2-mediated miR-146a expression is augmented by atheroprotective shear stress in ECs adjacent to sSMCs to inhibit neointima formation of injured arteries.
PMCID: PMC4380766  PMID: 25623956
Atherosclerosis; endothelial cell; microRNA; shear stress; smooth muscle cell
15.  Using circulating tumor cells to inform on prostate cancer biology and clinical utility 
Substantial advances in the molecular biology of prostate cancer have led to the approval of multiple new systemic agents to treat men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). These treatments encompass androgen receptor directed therapies, immunotherapies, bone targeting radiopharmaceuticals and cytotoxic chemotherapies. There is, however, great heterogeneity in the degree of patient benefit with these agents, thus fueling the need to develop predictive biomarkers that are able to rationally guide therapy. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have the potential to provide an assessment of tumor-specific biomarkers through a non-invasive, repeatable “liquid biopsy” of a patient’s cancer at a given point in time. CTCs have been extensively studied in men with mCRPC, where CTC enumeration using the Cellsearch® method has been validated and FDA approved to be used in conjunction with other clinical parameters as a prognostic biomarker in metastatic prostate cancer. In addition to enumeration, more sophisticated molecular profiling of CTCs is now feasible and may provide more clinical utility as it may reflect tumor evolution within an individual particularly under the pressure of systemic therapies. Here, we review technologies used to detect and characterize CTCs, and the potential biological and clinical utility of CTC molecular profiling in men with metastatic prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4808585  PMID: 26079252
Androgen receptor; biomarker; castration resistant prostate cancer; EpCAM; liquid biopsy; microfluidic; PSA
16.  Epidemiology, Risk Factors, and In-Hospital Mortality of Venous Thromboembolism in Liver Cirrhosis: A Single-Center Retrospective Observational Study 
Risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), may be increased in liver cirrhosis. We conducted a single-center study to explore the epidemiology, risk factors, and in-hospital mortality of VTE in Chinese patients with liver cirrhosis.
All patients with liver cirrhosis who were consecutively admitted to our hospital between January 2011 and December 2013 were retrospectively included.
Of 2006 patients with liver cirrhosis included, 9 patients were diagnosed with or developed VTE during hospitalization, including 5 patients with a previous history of DVT, 1 patient with either a previous history of DVT or new onset of PE, and 3 patients with new onset of VTE (PE, n=1; DVT, n=2). Risk factors for VTE included a significantly higher proportion of hypertension and significantly higher red blood cells, hemoglobin, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, prothrombin time (PT), international normalized ratio (INR), D-dimer, and Child-Pugh scores. The in-hospital mortality was significantly higher in patients with VTE than those without VTE (33.3% [3/9] versus 3.4% [67/1997], P<0.001).
VTE was observed in 0.4% of patients with liver cirrhosis during hospitalization and it significantly increased the in-hospital mortality. Elevated PT/INR aggravated the risk of VTE.
PMCID: PMC4809389  PMID: 27009380
Liver Cirrhosis; Prevalence; Venous Thrombosis
17.  DUP1 peptide modified micelle efficiently targeted delivery paclitaxel and enhance mitochondrial apoptosis on PSMA-negative prostate cancer cells 
SpringerPlus  2016;5:362.
Prostate tumor cell targeted peptide fragment conjugated to the nano drug delivery system is a promising strategy for prostate cancer therapy. In this work, an amphiphilic copolymer Chol–PEG–DUP1 (PEG–cholesterol conjugated with DUP1 peptide) has been synthesized and characterized by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum (1H NMR). The paclitaxel (PTX) was encapsulated into the Chol–PEG–DUP1 micelles to obtain aqueous formulation with small particle size (within 200 nm) and high drug encapsulating efficiency. The DUP1 modified PTX micelle significantly enhanced the cytotoxicity of paclitaxel to PSMA negative prostate tumor cells (PC-3 cell) as demonstrated by MTT (IC50 = 15.8 μg/mL compared to 68.7 μg/mL of free PTX). Flow cytometry analysis and fluorescence images revealed the DUP1 peptide fragments on the surface of micelles increased drug uptake (2.08-fold) by PC-3 cells. Flow cytometry and immunoblotting analysis showed the DUP1 modified PTX micelle enhanced the mitochondrial apoptosis-inducing capacity of PTX to PC-3 cells. In conclusion, Chol–PEG–DUP1 modified micelle was a reasonable, facile, and economic drug delivery system to target the PSMA-negative prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4803710  PMID: 27066372
Drug delivery; Amphiphilic polymer; Paclitaxel; PSMA-negative; Micelle
18.  Exciton localization in solution-processed organolead trihalide perovskites 
Nature Communications  2016;7:10896.
Organolead trihalide perovskites have attracted great attention due to the stunning advances in both photovoltaic and light-emitting devices. However, the photophysical properties, especially the recombination dynamics of photogenerated carriers, of this class of materials are controversial. Here we report that under an excitation level close to the working regime of solar cells, the recombination of photogenerated carriers in solution-processed methylammonium–lead–halide films is dominated by excitons weakly localized in band tail states. This scenario is evidenced by experiments of spectral-dependent luminescence decay, excitation density-dependent luminescence and frequency-dependent terahertz photoconductivity. The exciton localization effect is found to be general for several solution-processed hybrid perovskite films prepared by different methods. Our results provide insights into the charge transport and recombination mechanism in perovskite films and help to unravel their potential for high-performance optoelectronic devices.
The recombination dynamics of photogenerated carriers in organolead trihalide perovskites are not well understood. Here, He et al. report that the recombination of photogenerated carriers in solution-processed methylammonium-lead-halide films is dominated by excitons weakly localized in band tail states.
PMCID: PMC4802114  PMID: 26996605
19.  Trimester- and Assay-Specific Thyroid Reference Intervals for Pregnant Women in China 
Objective. The guidelines of the American Thyroid Association (ATA) recommend an upper limit reference interval (RI) of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) of 2.5 mIU/L in the first trimester of pregnancy and 3.0 mIU/L in subsequent trimesters, but some reported ranges in China are significantly higher. Our study aimed to establish trimester- and assay-specific RIs for thyroid hormones in normal pregnant Chinese women. Methods. In this cross-sectional study, 2540 women with normal pregnancies (first trimester, n = 398; second trimester, n = 797; third trimester, n = 1345) and 237 healthy nonpregnant control subjects were recruited. Serum TSH, free thyroxin (FT4), thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb), and thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) levels were determined by automated chemiluminescence with an Immulite 2000 system (Siemens, Erlangen, Germany). After outliers were excluded, the 2.5–97.5th percentiles were used to define the RIs. Results. The RIs of thyroid function in the first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy and in nonpregnant controls were 0.07–3.96, 0.27–4.53, 0.48–5.40, and 0.69–5.78 mIU/L for TSH and 9.16–18.12, 8.67–16.21, 7.80–13.90, and 8.24–16.61 pmol/L for FT4, respectively. Conclusion. The trimester- and assay-specific RIs of thyroid function during pregnancy differed between trimesters, which suggests that it is advisable to detect and avoid misclassification of thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy for women in Henan, China.
PMCID: PMC4819108  PMID: 27087808
20.  IL-17 mediates inflammatory reactions via p38/c-Fos and JNK/c-Jun activation in an AP-1-dependent manner in human nucleus pulposus cells 
Low back pain and sciatica caused by intervertebral disc (IVD) disease are associated with inflammatory responses. The cytokine interleukin 17 (IL-17) is elevated in herniated and degenerated IVD tissues and acts as a regulator of disc inflammation. The objective of this study was to investigate the involvement of IL-17A in IVD inflammatory response and to explore the mechanisms underlying this response.
Cells were isolated from nucleus pulposus (NP) tissues collected from patients undergoing surgeries for IVD degeneration. The concentrations of COX2 and PGE2, as well as of select proteins involved in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/activating protein-1 (AP-1) pathway, were quantified in NP cells after exposure to IL-17 with or without pretreatment with MAPK or AP-1 inhibitors.
Our results showed that IL-17A increased COX2 expression and PGE2 production via the activation of MAPKs, including p38 kinase and Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Moreover, IL-17A-induced COX2 and PGE2 production was shown to rely on p38/c-Fos and JNK/c-Jun activation in an AP-1-dependent manner.
In summary, our results indicate that IL-17A enhances COX2 expression and PGE2 production via the p38/c-Fos and JNK/c-Jun signalling pathways in NP cells to mediate IVD inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4794827  PMID: 26988982
IL-17; COX2; PGE2; LBP; MAPK; AP-1
21.  Longitudinal association between toenail zinc levels and the incidence of diabetes among American young adults: The CARDIA Trace Element Study 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:23155.
Data on primary prevention of zinc status and diabetes risk are sparse and inconsistent. Of note, the previous studies measured either dietary zinc intake with questionnaire or zinc status in serum or hair. Toenail zinc levels are reliable biomarkers of a relatively long-term exposure. A total of 3,960 American young adults, aged 20–32 years, free of diabetes at baseline in 1987 when toenail clippings were collected, were examined for incident diabetes through 2010. Toenail zinc levels were measured with an inductively-coupled-plasma mass spectroscopy method. Incident diabetes cases were identified by fasting or non-fasting plasma glucose levels, oral glucose tolerance tests, hemoglobin A1C levels, and/or antidiabetic medications. During the 23-year follow-up, 418 incident diabetes occurred. After adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, study center, body mass index, education, smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity, family history of diabetes, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, and other dietary and non-dietary potential confounders, the hazard ratio of incident diabetes comparing the highest to the lowest quartile of toenail zinc levels was 1.21 (95% CI: 0.90–1.63; Ptrend = 0.20). Findings from this study do not support the hypothesis that zinc status is inversely and longitudinally associated with the incidence of diabetes in American young adults.
PMCID: PMC4793256  PMID: 26980156
22.  αvβ6 Integrin Is Required for TGFβ1-Mediated Matrix Metalloproteinase2 Expression 
The Biochemical journal  2015;466(3):525-536.
TGFβ1 activity depends on a complex signaling cascade that controls expression of several genes. Among others, TGFβ1 regulates expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) through activation of Smads. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that the αvβ6 integrin interacts with TGFβ receptor II (TβRII) through the β6 cytoplasmic domain and promotes Smad3 activation in prostate cancer cells. Another related αv integrin, αvβ5, as well as the αvβ6/3 integrin, which contains a chimeric form of β6 with a β3 cytoplasmic domain, do not associate with TβRII and fail to show similar responses. We provide evidence that αvβ6 is required for upregulation of MMP2 by TGFβ1 through a Smad3-mediated transcriptional program in prostate cancer cells. The functional relevance of these results is underscored by the finding that αvβ6 modulates cell migration in a MMP2-dependent manner on an αvβ6 specific ligand, latency associated peptide (LAP)-TGFβ. Overall, these mechanistic studies establish that expression of a single integrin, αvβ6, is sufficient to promote activation of Smad3, regulation of MMP2 levels, and consequent catalytic activity, as well as cell migration. Our study describes a new TGFβ1/αvβ6/MMP2 signaling pathway that, given TGFβ1 pro-metastatic activity, may have profound implications for prostate cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC4363118  PMID: 25558779
Integrins; prostate cancer; SMAD3; TGFβ1 receptor; MMP2
23.  Large-scale production of functional human lysozyme from marker-free transgenic cloned cows 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:22947.
Human lysozyme is an important natural non-specific immune protein that is highly expressed in breast milk and participates in the immune response of infants against bacterial and viral infections. Considering the medicinal value and market demand for human lysozyme, an animal model for large-scale production of recombinant human lysozyme (rhLZ) is needed. In this study, we generated transgenic cloned cows with the marker-free vector pBAC-hLF-hLZ, which was shown to efficiently express rhLZ in cow milk. Seven transgenic cloned cows, identified by polymerase chain reaction, Southern blot, and western blot analyses, produced rhLZ in milk at concentrations of up to 3149.19 ± 24.80 mg/L. The purified rhLZ had a similar molecular weight and enzymatic activity as wild-type human lysozyme possessed the same C-terminal and N-terminal amino acid sequences. The preliminary results from the milk yield and milk compositions from a naturally lactating transgenic cloned cow 0906 were also tested. These results provide a solid foundation for the large-scale production of rhLZ in the future.
PMCID: PMC4785527  PMID: 26961596
25.  Impact of the care provided by gynecologic oncologists on outcomes of cervical cancer patients treated with radical hysterectomy 
OncoTargets and therapy  2016;9:1361-1370.
For many malignant diseases, specialized care has been reported to be associated with better outcomes. The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of gynecologic oncologists on treatment outcomes for cervical cancer patients treated by radical hysterectomy. Records of patients who received radical hysterectomy between January 2005 and June 2010 were reviewed. Perioperative morbidity, recurrence-free survival, and cancer-specific survival were assessed. Cox regression model was used to evaluate gynecologic oncologists as an independent predictor of survival. A total of 839 patients were included. Of these patients, 553 were treated by gynecologic oncologists, while 286 were treated by other subspecialties. With regard to operative outcomes, significant differences in favor of operation by gynecologic oncologists were found in number of patients receiving para-aortic node sampling and dissection (P=0.038), compliance with surgical guidelines (P=0.003), operative time (P<0.0001), estimated blood loss (P<0.0001), transfusion rate (P=0.046), number of removed nodes (P=0.033), and incidences of ureteric injury (P=0.027), cystotomy (P=0.038), and fistula formation (P=0.002). Patients who were operated on by gynecologic oncologists had longer recurrence-free survival (P=0.001; hazard ratio [HR] =0.64; 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.48, 0.84]) and cancer-specific survival (P=0.005; HR=0.64; 95% CI [0.47, 0.87]), and this association remained significant in patients with locally advanced disease. Care by gynecologic oncologists was an independent predictor for improved recurrence-free survival (P<0.0001; HR=0.57; 95% CI [0.42, 0.76]) and cancer-specific survival (P=0.001; HR=0.58; 95% CI [0.42, 0.81]), which was still significant among patients with locally advanced cancer. Given the results, we believe for cervical cancer patients receiving radical hysterectomy, operation by gynecologic oncologists results in significantly improved surgical and survival outcomes. The importance of the subspecialty of a gynecologist for cervical cancer patients should be addressed in clinical practice, especially for those in developing countries.
PMCID: PMC4792213  PMID: 27022291
gynecologic oncologist; cervical cancer; radical hysterectomy; prognosis; surgical outcome

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