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1.  Aniline-containing guests recognized by α,α’,δ,δ’-tetramethyl-cucurbit[6]uril host 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:39057.
The host−guest complexation of symmetrical α,α’,δ,δ’-tetramethyl-cucurbit[6]uril (TMeQ[6]) and cucurbit[7]uril (Q[7]) with a series of aniline-containing guests has been investigated by various experimental techniques including NMR, ITC, and X-ray crystallography. Experimental results indicate that both TMeQ[6] and Q[7] hosts can encapsulate aniline-containing guests to form stable inclusion complexes. However, the oval cavity of TMeQ[6] is more complementary in size and shape to the aromatic ring of the guests than the spherical cavity of Q[7]. Shielding and deshielding effects of the aromatic ring on guests lead to the remarkable chemical shifts of the TMeQ[6] host protons. The rotational restriction of the guests in the oval cavity of TMeQ[6] results in the large negative values of entropy. The X-ray crystal structure of the 1:1 inclusion complex between TMeQ[6] and N,N′-diethyl-benzene-1,4-diamine unambiguously reveals that the aromatic ring of the guest resides in the oval cavity of TMeQ[6].
PMCID: PMC5153640  PMID: 27958375
2.  Protection of low rectal anastomosis with a new tube ileostomy using a biofragmentable anastomosis ring 
Medicine  2016;95(45):e5345.
A temporarily defunctioning stoma, while effective at reducing symptomatic anastomotic leakage after low anterior resection (LAR) of rectal cancer, and its subsequent closure, is associated with significant morbidity. Here, we devised a new tube ileostomy using a biofragmentable anastomosis ring (TIB) with no need for reversal.
This is a retrospective cohort study. From June 2011 to March 2015, TIBs were performed on 31 consecutive patients with mid- or low-rectal cancer who underwent elective laparoscopic LARs. From January 2008 to May 2011, 25 similarly diseased patients underwent elective laparoscopic LARs and conventional loop ileostomy (LI) and were included as controls. All of the anastomotic sites were within 6 cm of the anal verge. Demographic, clinical feature, and operative data were recorded.
The demographic features of both groups were similar. The TIB mean surgical duration was significantly lower than in the LI group (215 ± 28 vs 245 ± 54 min, P = 0.010). Because of readmission for stoma closure, the total hospital stay of the LI group was longer than that of the TIB group (38.1 ± 26.5 vs 19.1 ± 7.9 days, respectively, P = 0.002). Ileal content was completely diverted by TIB for 13.7 ± 2.1 (range, 10–19) days postoperatively. The drainage tube was removed on postoperative day 27.8 ± 6.9 (range, 20–44), and the mean continued duration of the discharge tract, before fistula healing, was 4.5 ± 1.9 (range, 2–10) days. Postoperative complications of the 2 modalities were not significant. In the TIB group, 1 rectovaginal fistula occurred 30 days postsurgery. In the LI group, 1 rectovaginal fistula occurred 3 months after stoma closure. Both complications were treated with transverse colostomy. No major TIB associated complications were observed in the present study.
TIB is a safe, feasible, effective, but time-limited diversion technique, which may reduce symptomatic anastomosis leakage after LAR for rectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC5106063  PMID: 27828857
anastomotic leakage; biofragmentable anastomosis ring; colorectal cancer; low anterior resection; rectal surgery complication
3.  Photoluminescent Metal–Organic Frameworks for Gas Sensing 
Advanced Science  2016;3(7):1500434.
Luminescence of porous coordination polymers (PCPs) or metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) is sensitive to the type and concentration of chemical species in the surrounding environment, because these materials combine the advantages of the highly regular porous structures and various luminescence mechanisms, as well as diversified host‐guest interactions. In the past few years, luminescent MOFs have attracted more and more attention for chemical sensing of gas‐phase analytes, including common gases and vapors of solids/liquids. While liquid‐phase and gas‐phase luminescence sensing by MOFs share similar mechanisms such as host‐guest electron and/or energy transfer, exiplex formation, and guest‐perturbing of excited‐state energy level and radiation pathways, via various types of host‐guest interactions, gas‐phase sensing has its unique advantages and challenges, such as easy utilization of encapsulated guest luminophores and difficulty for accurate measurement of the intensity change. This review summarizes recent progresses by using luminescent MOFs as reusable sensing materials for detection of gases and vapors of solids/liquids especially for O2, highlighting various strategies for improving the sensitivity, selectivity, stability, and accuracy, reducing the materials cost, and developing related devices.
PMCID: PMC5069648  PMID: 27818903
gas; luminescence; porous coordination polymer; sensor; vapor
4.  Mechanism of G9a inhibitor BIX-01294 acting on U251 glioma cells 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2016;14(5):4613-4621.
The present study aimed to investigate the differential expression and clinical significance of histone methyltransferase G9a, histone H3K9me2 and histone H3K9me1 in human brain glioma and adjacent tissue samples. It also aimed to observe the effect and mechanism of BIX-01294, as an inhibitor of methyltransferase G9a, on the proliferation, apoptosis, methylation of H3K9 and H3K27, and the acetylation in U251 glioma cells in vitro. The differential expression of methyltransferase G9a, histone H3K9me2 and histone H3K9me1 in in human brain glioma and adjacent tissues were analyzed by immunohistochemistry, a growth curve of U251 cells following treatment with BIX-01294 was determined using the MTT assay. In addition, the apoptosis percentage of U251 cells was analyzed by TUNEL assay and the expression levels of apoptosis-associated proteins, including B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2), Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax), caspase-9 and caspase-3, and the acetylation of histones, including H3K27me1, H3K27me2 and H3 in U251 were analyzed by western blot following BIX-01294 treatment. The positive rate of G9a in glioma tissues was 86% (43/50), which was significantly different from 42% (21/50) in adjacent tissues (P<0.01). The positive rate of H3K9me2 in glioma tissues was 82% (41/50), which was significantly different from 38% (19/50) in adjacent tissues (χ2=18.38; P<0.01). The expression of G9a and H3K9me2 were associated with the World Health Organization (WHO) glioma grade. The positive rate of H3K9me1 in glioma tissues was 54% (27/50) and 44% (22/50) in adjacent tissues, though this result was not significantly different (χ2=1.21, P>0.05). BIX-01294 inhibited the proliferation of U251, downregulated expression of Bcl-2, and upregulated expression of Bax, caspase-3 and caspase-9, and induced apoptosis of U251. BIX-01294 downregulated H3K9me1, H3K9me2, H3K27me1 and H3K27me2, however, it did not affect the acetylation of H3K9me3 and H3. High expression of G9a and H3K9me2 in glioma tissue samples was associated with the WHO grade, which indicated that G9a and H3K9me2 may promote generation and development of glioma. BIX-01294 inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis of glioma cells, changes in methylation of H3K9 and H3K27 resulting in conformational changes of chromosome may be an underlying mechanism. BIX-01294 may be a potential novel therapeutic agent in the treatment of glioma.
PMCID: PMC5102021  PMID: 27748874
G9a; glioma; histone lysine demethylase; histone methylation; apoptosis; epigenetics
5.  Non-Obese Diabetes and Its Associated Factors in an Underdeveloped Area of South China, Guangxi 
Background: Little research has been conducted on the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in underdeveloped areas in China, especially stratified into obesity and non-obese diabetes. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of non-obese diabetes in an underdeveloped area in South China, Guangxi. Methods: Data derived from the Chinese Health and Nutrition Survey 2010–2012 involved a sample of 3874 adults from Guangxi. Questionnaires and oral glucose-tolerance tests were conducted, and fasting and 2-h glucose levels and serum lipids were measured. Logistic regression analysis was performed to assess associated factors for non-obese diabetes. Results: 68.2% and 62.2% of instances of newly detected diabetes were those of non-obese diabetes based on BMI (NODB) and based on WC (NODW), respectively. The male sex, an age older than 50 years, lower education, hypertension, and hypertriglyceridemia were significantly associated with a higher risk of both NODB and NODW, while some associated factors for NODB were found different from those associated with NODW, and an interaction effect was found to increase the risk of NODW. Conclusions: Our study indicated that non-obese diabetes was highly prevalent in an underdeveloped area of South China. Non-obese diabetes should be considered for increased public attention in these areas.
PMCID: PMC5086715  PMID: 27706056
diabetes; non-obese; prevalence; associated factors; underdeveloped area
6.  Quantitative Proteomics of Sleep-Deprived Mouse Brains Reveals Global Changes in Mitochondrial Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0163500.
Sleep is a ubiquitous, tightly regulated, and evolutionarily conserved behavior observed in almost all animals. Prolonged sleep deprivation can be fatal, indicating that sleep is a physiological necessity. However, little is known about its core function. To gain insight into this mystery, we used advanced quantitative proteomics technology to survey the global changes in brain protein abundance. Aiming to gain a comprehensive profile, our proteomics workflow included filter-aided sample preparation (FASP), which increased the coverage of membrane proteins; tandem mass tag (TMT) labeling, for relative quantitation; and high resolution, high mass accuracy, high throughput mass spectrometry (MS). In total, we obtained the relative abundance ratios of 9888 proteins encoded by 6070 genes. Interestingly, we observed significant enrichment for mitochondrial proteins among the differentially expressed proteins. This finding suggests that sleep deprivation strongly affects signaling pathways that govern either energy metabolism or responses to mitochondrial stress. Additionally, the differentially-expressed proteins are enriched in pathways implicated in age-dependent neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s, hinting at possible connections between sleep loss, mitochondrial stress, and neurodegeneration.
PMCID: PMC5042483  PMID: 27684481
7.  Autophagy is involved in ethanol-induced cardia bifida during chick cardiogenesis 
Cell Cycle  2015;14(20):3306-3317.
Excess alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been acknowledged to increase the incidence of congenital disorders, especially the cardiovascular system. However, the mechanism involved in ethanol-induced cardiac malformation in prenatal fetus is still unknown. We demonstrated that ethanol exposure during gastrulation in the chick embryo increased the incidence of cardia bifida. Previously, we reported that autophagy was involved in heart tube formation. In this context, we demonstrated that ethanol exposure increased ATG7 and LC3 expression. mTOR was found to be inhibited by ethanol exposure. We activated autophagy using exogenous rapamycin (RAPA) and observed that it induced cardiac bifida and increased GATA5 expression. RAPA beads implantation experiments revealed that RAPA restricted ventricular myosin heavy chain (VMHC) expression. In vitro explant cultures of anterior primitive streak demonstrated that both ethanol and RAPA treatments could reduce cell differentiation and the spontaneous beating of cardiac precursor cells. In addition, the bead experiments showed that RAPA inhibited GATA5 expression during heart tube formation. Semiquantitative RT-PCR analysis indicated that BMP2 expression was increased while GATA4 expression was suppressed. In the embryos exposed to excess ethanol, BMP2, GATA4 and FGF8 expression was repressed. These genes are associated with cardiomyocyte differentiation, while heart tube fusion is associated with increased Wnt3a but reduced VEGF and Slit2 expression. Furthermore, the ethanol exposure also caused the production of excess ROS, which might damage the cardiac precursor cells of developing embryos. In sum, our results revealed that disrupting autophagy and excess ROS generation are responsible for inducing abnormal cardiogenesis in ethanol-treated chick embryos.
PMCID: PMC4825538  PMID: 26317250
autophagy; chick embryo; cardia bifida; ethanol; heart tube
8.  A Simple Scoring System Predicting the Survival Time of Patients with Bone Metastases after RT 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(7):e0159506.
This study aimed to develop a scoring system to predict the survival time of patients with bone metastases after radiation therapy (RT). The scoring system can guide physicians to a better selection of appropriate treatment regimens.
Materials and Methods
The medical records of 125 patients with bone metastases treated with RT between January 2007 and September 2010 were reviewed retrospectively. Fifteen potential prognostic factors were investigated: sex, age, Karnofsky performance score (KPS), type of primary tumor, resection of tumor before bone metastases, interval between primary tumor diagnosis and diagnosis of bone metastases, Carcinoembryonic Antigen(CEA), lung metastases before bone metastases, liver metastases before bone metastases, brain metastases before bone metastases, stage, T, N, M, and degree of cellular differentiation.
In an univariate analysis, 10 factors were significantly associated with survival time after bone metastasis: sex, KPS, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, interval between tumor diagnosis and diagnosis of bone metastases, CEA, lung metastases before bone metastases, T-staging, and differentiation. In a multivariate analysis, 7 factors were found to be significant: sex, KPS, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, interval between tumor diagnosis and diagnosis of bone metastases, T-staging, and differentiation. The median survival of all patients with bone metastases after RT was 14.1 months. There were significant differences in the median survival of patients with bone metastases after RT of 4.9 months, 10.5 months, and 29.7 months in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (P<0.001).
According to this scoring system, the survival time of patients after bone metastasis can be estimated.
PMCID: PMC4954653  PMID: 27438606
9.  Crosstalk between Vitamin D Metabolism, VDR Signalling, and Innate Immunity 
BioMed Research International  2016;2016:1375858.
The primary function of vitamin D is to regulate calcium homeostasis, which is essential for bone formation and resorption. Although diet is a source of vitamin D, most foods are naturally lacking vitamin D. Vitamin D is also manufactured in the skin through a photolysis process, leading to a process called the “sunshine vitamin.” The active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol), is biosynthesised in the kidney through the hydroxylation of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol by the CYP27B1 enzyme. It has been found that several immune cells express the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and CYP27B1; of the latter, synthesis is determined by several immune-specific signals. The realisation that vitamin D employs several molecular mechanisms to regulate innate immune responses is more recent. Furthermore, evidence collected from intervention studies indicates that vitamin D supplements may boost clinical responses to infections. This review considers the current knowledge of how immune signals regulate vitamin D metabolism and how innate immune system function is modulated by ligand-bound VDR.
PMCID: PMC4925964  PMID: 27403416
10.  Paeonol and danshensu combination attenuates apoptosis in myocardial infarcted rats by inhibiting oxidative stress: Roles of Nrf2/HO-1 and PI3K/Akt pathway 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:23693.
Paeonol and danshensu is the representative active ingredient of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs Cortex Moutan and Radix Salviae Milthiorrhizae, respectively. Paeonol and danshensu combination (PDSS) has putative cardioprotective effects in treating ischemic heart disease (IHD). However, the evidence for the protective effect is scarce and the pharmacological mechanisms of the combination remain unclear. The present study was designed to investigate the protective effect of PDSS on isoproterenol (ISO)-induced myocardial infarction in rats and to elucidate the potential mechanism. Assays of creatine kinase-MB, cardiac troponin I and T and histopathological analysis revealed PDSS significantly prevented myocardial injury induced by ISO. The ISO-induced profound elevation of oxidative stress was also suppressed by PDSS. TUNEL and caspase-3 activity assay showed that PDSS significantly inhibited apoptosis in myocardia. In exploring the underlying mechanisms of PDSS, we found PDSS enhanced the nuclear translocation of Nrf2 in myocardial injured rats. Furthermore, PDSS increased phosphorylated PI3K and Akt, which may in turn activate antioxidative and antiapoptotic signaling events in rat. These present findings demonstrated that PDSS exerts significant cardioprotective effects against ISO-induced myocardial infarction in rats. The protective effect is, at least partly, via activation of Nrf2/HO-1 signaling and involvement of the PI3K/Akt cell survival signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4810373  PMID: 27021411
11.  Altered function of monocytes/macrophages in patients with autoimmune hepatitis 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2016;13(5):3874-3880.
The pathogenesis of autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) involves the intervention of the innate and adaptive immune responses. In the current study, the alterations in monocytes/Kupffer cells (KCs) were investigated in patients with AIH. A total of 21 patients with AIH at different stages of the disease, and 7 controls with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease were selected. The abundance of VAV1 and p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1) in the liver and KCs was analyzed. In addition, the expression levels of HLA-DR and CD80 in the peripheral blood monocytes (PBMs) were measured, and phagocytosis of PBMs was assessed. KCs of AIH patients exhibited higher expression levels of VAV1 and PAK1. This upregulated expression was associated with disease progression. A reduced expression of HLA-DR and CD80, and reduced capacity of E. coli phagocytosis in PBMs was observed for patients with AIH. This downregulated expression was associated with disease progression. The results of the current study indicated that defective function of KCs and PBMs may be involved in the pathogenesis of AIH.
PMCID: PMC4838131  PMID: 26986756
autoimmune hepatitis; Kupffer cells; peripheral blood monocytes; VAV1
12.  Photoluminescent Metal–Organic Frameworks for Gas Sensing 
Advanced Science  2016;3(7):1500434.
Luminescence of porous coordination polymers (PCPs) or metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) is sensitive to the type and concentration of chemical species in the surrounding environment, because these materials combine the advantages of the highly regular porous structures and various luminescence mechanisms, as well as diversified host‐guest interactions. In the past few years, luminescent MOFs have attracted more and more attention for chemical sensing of gas‐phase analytes, including common gases and vapors of solids/liquids. While liquid‐phase and gas‐phase luminescence sensing by MOFs share similar mechanisms such as host‐guest electron and/or energy transfer, exiplex formation, and guest‐perturbing of excited‐state energy level and radiation pathways, via various types of host‐guest interactions, gas‐phase sensing has its unique advantages and challenges, such as easy utilization of encapsulated guest luminophores and difficulty for accurate measurement of the intensity change. This review summarizes recent progresses by using luminescent MOFs as reusable sensing materials for detection of gases and vapors of solids/liquids especially for O2, highlighting various strategies for improving the sensitivity, selectivity, stability, and accuracy, reducing the materials cost, and developing related devices.
PMCID: PMC5069648  PMID: 27818903
gas; luminescence; porous coordination polymer; sensor; vapor
13.  Wild-type p53 reactivation by small-molecule Minnelide™ in human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma 
Oral oncology  2014;50(12):1149-1156.
The incidence of high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) continues to increase, particularly oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) cases. The inactivation of the p53 tumor suppressor gene promotes a chain of molecular events, including cell cycle progression and apoptosis resistance. Reactivation of wild-type p53 function is an intriguing therapeutic strategy. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a novel compound derived from diterpene triepoxide (Minnelide™) can reactivate wild-type p53 function in HPV-positive HNSCC.
Materials and Methods
For all of our in vitro experiments, we used 2 HPV-positive HNSCC cell lines, University of Michigan squamous cell carcinoma (UM-SCC) 47 and 93-VU-147, and 2 HPV-positive human cervical cancer cell lines, SiHa and CaSki. Cells were treated with different concentrations of triptolide and analyzed for p53 activation. Mice bearing UM-SCC 47 subcutaneous xenografts and HPV-positive patient-derived tumor xenografts were treated with Minnelide and evaluated for tumor growth and p53 activation.
In HPV-positive HNSCC, Minnelide reactivated p53 by suppressing E6 oncoprotein. Activation of apoptosis followed, both in vitro and in vivo. In 2 preclinical HNSCC animal models (a subcutaneous xenograft model and a patient-derived tumor xenograft model), Minnelide reactivated p53 function and significantly decreased tumor progression and tumor volume.
Triptolide and Minnelide caused cell death in vitro and in vivo in HPV-positive HNSCC by reactivating wild-type p53 and thus inducing apoptosis. In addition, in 2 HPV-positive HNSCC animal models, Minnelide decreased tumor progression and induced apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4678773  PMID: 25311433
Minnelide; HPV; oropharyngeal cancer; preclinical animal model; p53 reactivation
14.  Identification of mountain-cultivated ginseng and cultivated ginseng using UPLC/oa-TOF MSE with a multivariate statistical sample-profiling strategy 
Journal of Ginseng Research  2015;40(4):344-350.
Mountain-cultivated ginseng (MCG) and cultivated ginseng (CG) both belong to Panax ginseng and have similar ingredients. However, their pharmacological activities are different due to their significantly different growth environments.
An ultra-performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS)-based approach was developed to distinguish MCG and CG. Multivariate statistical methods, such as principal component analysis and supervised orthogonal partial-least-squares discrimination analysis were used to select the influential components.
Under optimized UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS conditions, 40 ginsenosides in both MCG and CG were unambiguously identified and tentatively assigned. The results showed that the characteristic components of CG and MCG included ginsenoside Ra3/isomer, gypenoside XVII, quinquenoside R1, ginsenoside Ra7, notoginsenoside Fe, ginsenoside Ra2, ginsenoside Rs6/Rs7, malonyl ginsenoside Rc, malonyl ginsenoside Rb1, malonyl ginsenoside Rb2, palmitoleic acid, and ethyl linoleate. The malony ginsenosides are abundant in CG, but higher levels of the minor ginsenosides were detected in MCG.
This is the first time that the differences between CG and MCG have been observed systematically at the chemical level. Our results suggested that using the identified characteristic components as chemical markers to identify different ginseng products is effective and viable.
PMCID: PMC5052403  PMID: 27746686
cultivated ginseng; identification; mountain-cultivated ginseng; OPLS-DA; UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS
15.  Coordination templated [2+2+2] cyclotrimerization in a porous coordination framework 
Nature Communications  2015;6:8348.
Controlling chemical reactions by the supramolecular confinement effects of nanopores has attracted great attention. Here we show that open metal sites in porous coordination frameworks can constitute more powerful and strict templates for precision syntheses. A Fe(III) dicarboxylate framework functionalized with triangularly arranged metal sites is used to accomplish [2+2+2] cyclotrimerization reactions for organonitrile, alkyne and alkene monomers bearing a geometrically suitable pyridyl group. In situ single-crystal X-ray diffraction facilitates the direct observation of such a coordination templated reaction, before cylcotrimerization, the monomer coordinates at the Fe(III) centre by its pyridyl donor, which forces three unsaturated groups to gather around a position very similar with that of the desired covalent cyclic trimer. After the reaction, the trimers serve as tripodal ligands to perfectly fix the Fe(III) ions and the whole crystal to generate an exceptionally rigid and porous material with large surface area coupled with guest-proof zero thermal expansion.
Nanospace defined by unsaturated metal coordination sites opens up the possibility of controlling and templating chemical reactivity. Here, the authors show that a Fe(III) dicarboxylate framework with triangularly arranged metal sites can direct the [2+2+2] cyclisation of nitriles, alkynes and alkenes.
PMCID: PMC4595715  PMID: 26384254
16.  Metabolomics insights into chronic kidney disease and modulatory effect of rhubarb against tubulointerstitial fibrosis 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:14472.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major public health problem worldwide. Rhubarb has been shown to have nephroprotective and anti-fibrotic activities in patients with CKD. However, bioactive fractions and biochemical mechanism of anti-fibrotic properties of rhubarb remain unclear. Here we applied ultra-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry together with univariate and multivariate statistical analyses to investigate the urinary metabolite profile in rats with adenine-induced CKD treated with the petroleum ether (PE)-, ethyl acetate (EA)- and n-butanol (BU)- extracts of rhubarb. Significant differences in renal function, kidney histopathology as well as metabolic profiles were observed between CKD and control rats. Changes in these parameters reflected characteristic phenotypes of CKD rats. We further identified a series of differential urinary metabolites for CKD rats, suggesting metabolic dysfunction in pathway of amino acid, purine, taurine, and choline metabolisms. Treatment with EA, BU and PE extracts of rhubarb improved renal function and histopathological abnormalities including interstitial fibrosis and inflammation, and either fully or partially reversed the abnormalities of the urinary metabolites. Among them, the nephroprotective effect of EA extract was stronger than BU and PE extracts. This work provides important mechanistic insights into the CKD and nephroprotective effects of different rhubarb extract against tubulo-interstitial fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4585987  PMID: 26412413
17.  Multi-channel fiber photometry for population neuronal activity recording 
Biomedical Optics Express  2015;6(10):3919-3931.
Fiber photometry has become increasingly popular among neuroscientists as a convenient tool for the recording of genetically defined neuronal population in behaving animals. Here, we report the development of the multi-channel fiber photometry system to simultaneously monitor neural activities in several brain areas of an animal or in different animals. In this system, a galvano-mirror modulates and cyclically couples the excitation light to individual multimode optical fiber bundles. A single photodetector collects excited light and the configuration of fiber bundle assembly and the scanner determines the total channel number. We demonstrated that the system exhibited negligible crosstalk between channels and optical signals could be sampled simultaneously with a sample rate of at least 100 Hz for each channel, which is sufficient for recording calcium signals. Using this system, we successfully recorded GCaMP6 fluorescent signals from the bilateral barrel cortices of a head-restrained mouse in a dual-channel mode, and the orbitofrontal cortices of multiple freely moving mice in a triple-channel mode. The multi-channel fiber photometry system would be a valuable tool for simultaneous recordings of population activities in different brain areas of a given animal and different interacting individuals.
PMCID: PMC4605051  PMID: 26504642
(170.0170) Medical optics and biotechnology; (180.2520) Fluorescence microscopy; (170.2150) Endoscopic imaging; (170.2655) Functional monitoring and imaging
18.  Metabolomics analysis reveals the association between lipid abnormalities and oxidative stress, inflammation, fibrosis, and Nrf2 dysfunction in aristolochic acid-induced nephropathy 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12936.
Alternative medicines are commonly used for the disease prevention and treatment worldwide. Aristolochic acid (AAI) nephropathy (AAN) is a common and rapidly progressive interstitial nephropathy caused by ingestion of Aristolochia herbal medications. Available data on pathophysiology and molecular mechanisms of AAN are limited and were explored here. SD rats were randomized to AAN and control groups. AAN group was treated with AAI by oral gavage for 12 weeks and observed for additional 12 weeks. Kidneys were processed for histological evaluation, Western blotting, and metabolomics analyses using UPLC-QTOF/HDMS. The concentrations of two phosphatidylcholines, two diglycerides and two acyl-carnitines were significantly altered in AAI treated rats at week 4 when renal function and histology were unchanged. Data obtained on weeks 8 to 24 revealed progressive tubulointerstitial fibrosis, inflammation, renal dysfunction, activation of NF-κB, TGF-β, and oxidative pathways, impaired Nrf2 system, and profound changes in lipid metabolites including numerous PC, lysoPC, PE, lysoPE, ceramides and triglycerides. In conclusion, exposure to AAI results in dynamic changes in kidney tissue fatty acid, phospholipid, and glycerolipid metabolisms prior to and after the onset of detectable changes in renal function or histology. These findings point to participation of altered tissue lipid metabolism in the pathogenesis of AAN.
PMCID: PMC4528220  PMID: 26251179
19.  Structural, energetic, and dynamic insights into the abnormal xylene separation behavior of hierarchical porous crystal 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11537.
Separation of highly similar molecules and understanding the underlying mechanism are of paramount theoretical and practical importance, but visualization of the host-guest structure, energy, or dynamism is very difficult and many details have been overlooked. Here, we report a new porous coordination polymer featuring hierarchical porosity and delicate flexibility, in which the three structural isomers of xylene (also similar disubstituted benzene derivatives) can be efficiently separated with an elution sequence inversed with those for conventional mechanisms. More importantly, the separation mechanism is comprehensively and quantitatively visualized by single-crystal X-ray crystallography coupled with multiple computational simulation methods, in which the small apertures not only fit best the smallest para-isomer like molecular sieves, but also show seemingly trivial yet crucial structural alterations to distinguish the meta- and ortho-isomers via a gating mechanism, while the large channels allow fast guest diffusion and enable the structural/energetic effects to be accumulated in the macroscopic level.
PMCID: PMC4481377  PMID: 26113287
20.  Abnormal intestinal permeability and microbiota in patients with autoimmune hepatitis 
Background: Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic, progressive, and immunologically mediated inflammatory liver disorder. The etiology of AIH still remains unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the changes in intestinal permeability, bacterial translocation, and intestinal microbiome in patients with AIH and to evaluate the correlations of those changes with the stages of the disease. Methods: 24 patients with autoimmune hepatitis and 8 healthy volunteers were recruited for this study. We assessed (1) the integrity of tight junctions within the gut by immunohistochemical analysis of zona occludens-1 and occludin expression in duodenal biopsy specimens; (2) changes in the enteric microbiome by 16S rDNA quantitative PCR; and (3) the presence of bacterial translocation by the level of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) using ELISA. Results: Increased intestinal permeability, derangement of the microbiome and bacterial translocation occurred in AIH, which correlated with the severity of the disease. Conclusions: Autoimmune hepatitis is associated with leaky gut and intestinal microbiome dysbiosis. The impaired intestinal barrier may play an important role in the pathogenesis of AIH.
PMCID: PMC4503083  PMID: 26191211
Autoimmune hepatitis; bacterial; intestinal permeability; microbiota; translocation
21.  Whole-Brain Mapping of Inputs to Projection Neurons and Cholinergic Interneurons in the Dorsal Striatum 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123381.
The dorsal striatum integrates inputs from multiple brain areas to coordinate voluntary movements, associative plasticity, and reinforcement learning. Its projection neurons consist of the GABAergic medium spiny neurons (MSNs) that express dopamine receptor type 1 (D1) or dopamine receptor type 2 (D2). Cholinergic interneurons account for a small portion of striatal neuron populations, but they play important roles in striatal functions by synapsing onto the MSNs and other local interneurons. By combining the modified rabies virus with specific Cre- mouse lines, a recent study mapped the monosynaptic input patterns to MSNs. Because only a small number of extrastriatal neurons were labeled in the prior study, it is important to reexamine the input patterns of MSNs with higher labeling efficiency. Additionally, the whole-brain innervation pattern of cholinergic interneurons remains unknown. Using the rabies virus-based transsynaptic tracing method in this study, we comprehensively charted the brain areas that provide direct inputs to D1-MSNs, D2-MSNs, and cholinergic interneurons in the dorsal striatum. We found that both types of projection neurons and the cholinergic interneurons receive extensive inputs from discrete brain areas in the cortex, thalamus, amygdala, and other subcortical areas, several of which were not reported in the previous study. The MSNs and cholinergic interneurons share largely common inputs from areas outside the striatum. However, innervations within the dorsal striatum represent a significantly larger proportion of total inputs for cholinergic interneurons than for the MSNs. The comprehensive maps of direct inputs to striatal MSNs and cholinergic interneurons shall assist future functional dissection of the striatal circuits.
PMCID: PMC4382118  PMID: 25830919
22.  Role of ursolic acid chalcone, a synthetic analogue of ursolic acid, in inhibiting the properties of CD133+ sphere-forming cells in liver stem cells 
The expression of CD133 decreases with differentiation of tumor cell, indicating that CD133 is a specific marker for isolation and identification of CSCs. In the present study the effect of Ursolic acid chalcone (UAC) on CD133+ hepatocellular carcinoma cell (HCC CSCs) differentiation, their self-renewal, tumorigenic capacity and sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs was studied. The results demonstrated that UAC inhibits the expression of CD133+ in a dose and time-dependent manner in PLC/PRF/5 and Huh7 HCC cells. The inhibition was significant at 50 μM and on day 8. The percentage of CD133+ cells decreased from an initial 59.3% in PLC/PRF/5 to 37.1% and 78.2% in Huh7 to 59.2% on treatment with UAC. There was inhibition of Oct4, Tert, Bmi1, β-catenin, ABCG2, and tumor sphere-related gene Ep300. In addition it also decreased number of CK19-positive cells and increased number of CK8/18-positive cells. UAC treatment caused a decrease in self-renewal capability and increase in sensitivity to doxorubicin and vincristine drugs in CD133+ HCC CSCs. Therefore, UAC can be a potent therapeutic agent to target differentiation of CSC in HCC.
PMCID: PMC4396281  PMID: 25973027
Self-renewal; therapeutic agent; hepatocellular carcinoma; cell differentiation
23.  Whole-brain mapping of the direct inputs and axonal projections of POMC and AgRP neurons 
Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus and nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) of the brainstem play important roles in suppressing food intake and maintaining energy homeostasis. Previous tract-tracing studies have revealed the axonal connection patterns of these two brain areas, but the intermingling of POMC neurons with other neuron types has made it challenging to precisely identify the inputs and outputs of POMC neurons. In this study, we used the modified rabies virus to map the brain areas that provide direct inputs to the POMC neurons in the ARC and NTS as well as the inputs to the ARC AgRP neurons for comparison. ARC POMC neurons receive inputs from dozens of discrete structures throughout the forebrain and brainstem. The brain areas containing the presynaptic partners of ARC POMC neurons largely overlap with those of ARC AgRP neurons, although POMC neurons receive relatively broader, denser inputs. Furthermore, POMC neurons in the NTS receive direct inputs predominantly from the brainstem and show very different innervation patterns for POMC neurons in the ARC. By selectively expressing fluorescent markers in the ARC and NTS POMC neurons, we found that almost all of their major presynaptic partners are innervated by POMC neurons in the two areas, suggesting that there are strong reciprocal projections among the major POMC neural pathways. By comprehensively chartering the whole-brain connections of the central melanocortin system in a cell-type-specific manner, this study lays the foundation for dissecting the roles and underlying circuit mechanisms of specific neural pathways in regulating energy homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC4375998  PMID: 25870542
arcuate nucleus; POMC neurons; nucleus tractus solitarius; transsynaptic tracing; rabies virus; adeno-associated virus
24.  Aphrodisiac Use Associated with HIV Infection in Elderly Male Clients of Low-Cost Commercial Sex Venues in Guangxi, China: A Matched Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109452.
Rising HIV infection rates have been observed among elderly people in Guangxi, China. Inexpensive aphrodisiacs are available for purchase in suburban and rural areas. This study aims to investigate the association between aphrodisiac use and increased HIV risk for middle-aged and elderly men in Guangxi.
A matched case-control study of aphrodisiac use-associated HIV infection was performed among male subjects over 50 years old who were clients of low-cost commercial sex venues in Guangxi. The cases were defined as clients who were HIV-positive and two controls were selected for each case. The cases and the controls were matched on the visited sex venue, age (±3 years), number of years of purchasing sex (±3 years), and educational attainment. Subjects were interviewed and tested for HIV. Paired t-test or McNemar Chi-squared test were used to compare the characteristics between the cases and controls. A stepwise conditional logistic regression was used to identify risk factors associated with HIV infection.
This study enrolled 103 cases and 206 controls. Aphrodisiac use (P = 0.02, odds ratio (OR) = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.08–3.04), never using condom during commercial sex encounter (P = 0.03, odds ratio (OR) = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.08–3.07), and lacking a stable partner (P = 0.03, odds ratio (OR) = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.05–2.98) were found to be risk factors for HIV infection among the study groups. For subjects reporting aphrodisiac use, the frequency of purchasing sex was positively correlated with the frequency of aphrodisiac use (r = 0.3; p = 0.02).
Aphrodisiac use was significantly associated with increased HIV infection risk in men over 50 years old who purchased commercial sex in the suburban and rural areas of Guangxi. Further research and interventions should address the links between aphrodisiac use, commercial sex work, condom use, and increased HIV transmission.
PMCID: PMC4186863  PMID: 25286369
25.  S-1-Based versus Capecitabine-Based Preoperative Chemoradiotherapy in the Treatment of Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer: A Matched-Pair Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106162.
The aim of this paper was to compare the efficacy and safety of S-1-based and capecitabine-based preoperative chemoradiotherapy regimens in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer through a retrospective matched-pair analysis.
Materials and methods
Between Jan 2010 and Mar 2014, 24 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who received preoperative radiotherapy concurrently with S-1 were individually matched with 24 contemporary patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who received preoperative radiotherapy concurrently with capecitabine according to clinical stage (as determined by pelvic magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography) and age (within five years). All these patients performed mesorectal excision 4–8 weeks after the completion of chemoradiotherapy.
The tumor volume reduction rates were 55.9±15.1% in the S-1 group and 53.8±16.0% in the capecitabine group (p = 0.619). The overall downstaging, including both T downstaging and N downstaging, occurred in 83.3% of the S-1 group and 70.8% of the capecitabine group (p = 0.508). The significant tumor regression, including regression grade I and II, occurred in 33.3% of S-1 patients and 25.0% of capecitabine patients (p = 0.754). In the two groups, Grade 4 adverse events were not observed and Grade 3 consisted of only two cases of diarrhea, and no patient suffered hematologic adverse event of Grade 2 or higher. However, the incidence of diarrhea (62.5% vs 33.3%, p = 0.014) and hand-foot syndrome (29.2% vs 0%, p = 0.016) were higher in capecitabine group. Other adverse events did not differ significantly between two groups.
The two preoperative chemoradiotherapy regimens were effective and safe for patients of locally advanced rectal cancer, but regimen with S-1 exhibited a lower incidence of adverse events.
PMCID: PMC4152119  PMID: 25181318

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