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1.  Elevated Serum and Synovial Fluid Levels of Interleukin-34 in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Possible Association with Disease Progression via Interleukin-17 Production 
To measure the levels of interleukin-34 (IL-34) in serum and synovial fluid (SF) of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to evaluate the effect of recombination human (rh) IL-34 on IL-17 production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in RA patients, the serum and SF levels of IL-34, and the production of IL-17 by rhIL-34-treated PBMC of RA patients were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We also tested the change of IL-34 level after tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α blockade therapy in 30 RA patients. In contrast to almost no detectable IL-34 in osteoarthritis (OA) and healthy serum, IL-34 could be detected in 93 out of the 125 RA cases (74.4%). Sera IL-34 levels were significantly higher in RA patients compared with the controls and correlated with disease activity. IL-34 levels were higher in SF samples than in sera in 11 RA patients. The level of serum IL-34 decreased after anti-TNF treatment. In the presence of rhIL-34, stimulation of PBMC from RA patients resulted in increased production of IL-17. These findings suggest that IL-34 may play a role in the pathogenesis of RA.
PMCID: PMC3708624  PMID: 23421370
2.  Does the Dirac Cone Exist in Silicene on Metal Substrates? 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5476.
Absence of the Dirac cone due to a strong band hybridization is revealed to be a common feature for epitaxial silicene on metal substrates according to our first-principles calculations for silicene on Ir, Cu, Mg, Au, Pt, Al, and Ag substrates. The destroyed Dirac cone of silicene, however, can be effectively restored with linear or parabolic dispersion by intercalating alkali metal atoms between silicene and the metal substrates, offering an opportunity to study the intriguing properties of silicene without further transfer of silicene from the metal substrates.
PMCID: PMC4073124  PMID: 24969493
3.  Prevalence of Nonpolio Enteroviruses in the Sewage of Guangzhou City, China, from 2009 to 2012 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(24):7679-7683.
The human-pathogenic viruses in urban sewage have been extensively monitored to obtain information on circulating viruses in human communities. Enteroviruses (EVs) excreted by patients who present with diverse clinical syndromes can remain infectious in the environment for several weeks, and limited data on circulating environmental EVs are available. A 4-year (2009 to 2012) surveillance study was conducted to detect nonpolio enteroviruses (NPEVs) in the urban sewage of Guangzhou city, China. After the viruses in the sewage samples were concentrated and isolated, molecular identification was used to detect and type the NPEVs. During the 4-year study, 17 different NPEV serotypes were identified in the sewage of Guangzhou city. The most common serotypes were echovirus 11 (ECHO11), ECHO6, ECHO7, and ECHO12 and coxsackie group B viruses 5 (CVB5) and CVB3. The predominant serotypes were influenced by spatial and temporal factors and differed each year. CVB5 was commonly detected in 2009 and 2010 but was rarely isolated in 2011 and 2012. In contrast, CVB3 was not observed in 2009 and 2010 but was increasingly detected in 2011 and 2012. Our study provides an overview of the serotype distribution and circulation patterns of NPEVs in the sewage of Guangzhou, China. In the absence of a systematic EV disease surveillance system, the detection and characterization of sewage-borne NPEVs will help us better understand the changes in EV disease trends and the epidemic background of circulating EVs, which could help interpret the EV trends and warn of future outbreaks in this area.
PMCID: PMC3837794  PMID: 24096418
4.  C2ORF40 suppresses breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion through modulating expression of M phase cell cycle genes 
Epigenetics  2013;8(6):571-583.
Recently, it has been suggested that C2ORF40 is a candidate tumor suppressor gene in breast cancer. However, the mechanism for reduced expression of C2ORF40 and its functional role in breast cancers remain unclear. Here we show that C2ORF40 is frequently silenced in human primary breast cancers and cell lines through promoter hypermethylation. C2ORF40 mRNA level is significantly associated with patient disease-free survival and distant cancer metastasis. Overexpression of C2ORF40 inhibits breast cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion. By contrast, silencing C2ORF40 expression promotes these biological phenotypes. Bioinformatics and FACS analysis reveal C2ORF40 functions at G2/M phase by downregulation of mitotic genes expression, including UBE2C. Our results suggest that C2ORF40 acts as a tumor suppressor gene in breast cancer pathogenesis and progression and is a candidate prognostic marker for this disease.
PMCID: PMC3857337  PMID: 23770814
C2ORF40; DNA methylation; breast cancer; proliferation; metastasis; mitosis
5.  PARP-1 Val762Ala Polymorphism and Risk of Cancer: A Meta-Analysis Based on 39 Case-Control Studies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98022.
Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is a nuclear chromatin-associated enzyme involved in several important cellular processes, particularly in the DNA repair system. PARP-1 rs1136410: C>T is among the most studied polymorphisms and likely involved in human carcinogenesis. However, results from previous studies are inconclusive. Thus, a meta-analysis was conducted to derive a more precise estimation of the effects of this enzyme.
Methodology and Principal Findings
A comprehensive search was conducted in the PubMed and EMBASE databases until December 9, 2013. A total of 39 studies with 16,783 cancer cases and 23,063 control subjects were included in the meta-analysis on the basis of the inclusion and exclusion criteria. No significant association between the PARP-1 Val762Ala polymorphism and cancer risk was found when all of the studies were pooled into the analysis (VA + AA vs. VV: OR = 1.03, 95% CI = 0.95–1.11). The subgroup analysis of cancer types revealed that the –762Ala allele was associated with increased risk of gastric, cervical, and lung cancers and a decreased risk of glioma. In addition, a significantly increased risk of cancer associated with the polymorphism was observed in Asian descendents (VA + AA vs. VV: OR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.09–1.25; AA vs. VV: OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.08–1.51; VA vs. VV: OR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.04–1.20; AA vs. VA + VV: OR = 1.09, 95% CI = 1.03–1.39). These results also indicated that a joint effect between PARP-1 Val762Ala and XRCC1 Arg399Gln could be involved in the risk of cancer development (OR = 3.53, 95% CI = 1.30–9.59).
The present meta-analysis provides evidence that the PARP-1 Val762Ala may be involved in cancer development at least in some ethnic groups (Asian) or some specific cancer types (gastric, cervical, and lung cancers, and glioma).
PMCID: PMC4031170  PMID: 24853559
6.  Rapid onset lung squamous cell carcinoma with prominent peritoneal carcinomatosis and an eosinophilic leukemoid reaction, with coexistence of the BRAF V600E and oncogenic KRAS G12A mutations: A case report 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(2):589-593.
Peritoneal carcinomatosis from lung cancer is rare, particularly from lung squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC). Concurrent somatic BRAF and KRAS mutations within the same tumor specimen have not been reported. The present study describes the case of a treatment-naïve LSCC patient with coexisting BRAF V600E and oncogenic KRAS G12A mutations in the primary lung lesion and the peritoneal metastases. The patient presented with prominent peritoneal carcinomatosis and an eosinophilic leukemoid reaction, but no respiratory symptoms. The patient succumbed 8 days after the onset of the condition due to rapid aggravation of the peritoneal carcinomatosis. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study concerning the coexistence of BRAF and KRAS mutations in LSCC. Intensive activation of ERK was also observed in the primary lung lesion and the peritoneal metastases. Although the exact pathogenesis was unclear, the observations indicated that in the present study, the BRAF V600E and KRAS G12A mutations may have cooperate in inducing the malignant phenotype of LSCC. This case also highlighted the potential aggressive course and unusual pattern of spread of this specific dual-mutated tumor.
PMCID: PMC4081353
lung squamous cell; BRAF V600E mutation; KRAS G12A; coexistence
7.  Estimation of acute oral toxicity in rat using local lazy learning 
Acute toxicity means the ability of a substance to cause adverse effects within a short period following dosing or exposure, which is usually the first step in the toxicological investigations of unknown substances. The median lethal dose, LD50, is frequently used as a general indicator of a substance’s acute toxicity, and there is a high demand on developing non-animal-based prediction of LD50. Unfortunately, it is difficult to accurately predict compound LD50 using a single QSAR model, because the acute toxicity may involve complex mechanisms and multiple biochemical processes.
In this study, we reported the use of local lazy learning (LLL) methods, which could capture subtle local structure-toxicity relationships around each query compound, to develop LD50 prediction models: (a) local lazy regression (LLR): a linear regression model built using k neighbors; (b) SA: the arithmetical mean of the activities of k nearest neighbors; (c) SR: the weighted mean of the activities of k nearest neighbors; (d) GP: the projection point of the compound on the line defined by its two nearest neighbors. We defined the applicability domain (AD) to decide to what an extent and under what circumstances the prediction is reliable. In the end, we developed a consensus model based on the predicted values of individual LLL models, yielding correlation coefficients R2 of 0.712 on a test set containing 2,896 compounds.
Encouraged by the promising results, we expect that our consensus LLL model of LD50 would become a useful tool for predicting acute toxicity. All models developed in this study are available via
PMCID: PMC4047767  PMID: 24959207
Acute toxicity; Local lazy learning; Applicability domain; Consensus model
8.  Transcriptome differences between two sister desert poplar species under salt stress 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):337.
Populus euphratica Oliv and P. pruinosa Schrenk (Salicaceae) both grow in dry desert areas with high summer temperatures. However, P. euphratica is distributed in dry deserts with deep underground water whereas P. pruinosa occurs in deserts in which there is underground water close to the surface. We therefore hypothesized that these two sister species may have evolved divergent regulatory and metabolic pathways during their interaction with different salt habitats and other stresses. To test this hypothesis, we compared transcriptomes from callus exposed to 24 h of salt stress and control callus samples from both species and identified differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and alternative splicing (AS) events that had occurred under salt stress.
A total of 36,144 transcripts were identified and 1430 genes were found to be differentially expressed in at least one species in response to salt stress. Of these DEGs, 884 and 860 were identified in P. euphratica and P. pruinosa, respectively, while 314 DEGs were common to both species. On the basis of parametric analysis of gene set enrichment, GO enrichment in P. euphratica was found to be significantly different from that in P. pruinosa. Numerous genes involved in hormone biosynthesis, transporters and transcription factors showed clear differences between the two species in response to salt stress. We also identified 26,560 AS events which were mapped to 8380 poplar genomic loci from four libraries. GO enrichments for genes undergoing AS events in P. euphratica differed significantly from those in P. pruinosa.
A number of salt-responsive genes in both P. euphratica and P. pruinosa were identified and candidate genes with potential roles in the salinity adaptation were proposed. Transcriptome comparisons of two sister desert poplar species under salt stress suggest that these two species may have developed different genetic pathways in order to adapt to different desert salt habitats. The DEGs that were found to be common to both species under salt stress may be especially important for future genetic improvement of cultivated poplars or other crops through transgenic approaches in order to increase tolerance of saline soil conditions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-337) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4035067  PMID: 24886148
P. euphratica; P. pruinosa; Salt tolerance; Salinity stress; Transcriptome; Differentially expressed genes; Alternative splicing
9.  Rapamycin inhibits FBXW7 loss-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cell-like characteristics in colorectal cancer cells 
Increased cell migration and invasion lead to cancer metastasis and are crucial to cancer prognosis. In this study, we explore whether FBXW7 plays any role in metastatic process. We show that depletion of FBXW7 induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in human colon cancer cells along with the increase in cell migration and invasion. Moreover, FBXW7 deficiency promotes the generation of colon cancer stem-like cells in tumor-sphere culture. mTOR inhibition by rapamycin suppresses FBXW7 loss-driven EMT, invasion and stemness. Our results define the FBXW7/mTOR axis as a novel EMT pathway that mediates cancer invasion.
PMCID: PMC3646979  PMID: 23558291
10.  The Effects of Early-Life Predator Stress on Anxiety- and Depression-Like Behaviors of Adult Rats 
Neural Plasticity  2014;2014:163908.
Childhood emotional trauma contributes significantly to certain psychopathologies, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. In experimental animals, however, whether or not early-life stress results in behavioral abnormalities in adult animals still remains controversial. Here, we investigated both short-term and long-term changes of anxiety- and depression-like behaviors of Wistar rats after being exposed to chronic feral cat stress in juvenile ages. The 2-week predator stress decreased spontaneous activities immediately following stress but did not increase depression- or anxiety-like behaviors 4 weeks after the stimulation in adulthood. Instead, juvenile predator stress had some protective effects, though not very obvious, in adulthood. We also exposed genetic depression model rats, Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats, to the same predator stress. In WKY rats, the same early-life predator stress did not enhance anxiety- or depression-like behaviors in both the short-term and long-term. However, the stressed WKY rats showed slightly reduced depression-like behaviors in adulthood. These results indicate that in both normal Wistar rats and WKY rats, early-life predator stress led to protective, rather than negative, effects in adulthood.
PMCID: PMC4009288  PMID: 24839560
11.  Somatostatin regulates tight junction proteins expression in colitis mice 
Tight junction plays a critical role in intestinal defence. The alteration and perturbation of tight junction proteins could induce intestine barrier damage, and lead to the malabsorption of electrolytes and water. Previous studies had showed that colonic infection and inflammation could lead to the alteration of tight junction function, and somatostatin could protect intestinal epithelia. Thus, this study could explore that whether somatostatin could regulate tight junction in colitis mice. Colitis mice with diarrhea were induced by Citrobacter rodentium (CR) and Dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). In CR infected model, cladudin-1 and claudin-3 expression significantly decreased compared with the control mice (P < 0.05); after octreotide treatment, claudin-1 and claudin-3 expression significantly increased compared with untreated CR infected mice (P < 0.05). In DSS colitis model, occludin and claudin-3 expression significantly decreased compared with the control mice (P < 0.05); and octreotide treatment could only significantly upregulate claudin-3 expression compared with untreated DSS colitis mice (P < 0.05). To testify our results in vivo, we repeated the models in caco-2 cells by exposed with enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (E. Coli) and Tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α). The results in vitro were consistent with in vivo study. The results suggested that somatostatin play a role in intestinal barrier protection by modulating tight junction proteins expression.
PMCID: PMC4069911  PMID: 24966923
Tight junction; claudins; occludin; somatostatin; infectious colitis; IBD
12.  An Agomir of miR-144-3p Accelerates Plaque Formation through Impairing Reverse Cholesterol Transport and Promoting Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Production 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94997.
ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) mediates the efflux of cholesterol and phospholipids to lipid-poor apolipoproteins, which then form nascent HDL, a key step in the mechanism of reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). While a series of microRNAs (miRNAs) have been identified as potent post-transcriptional regulators of lipid metabolism, their effects on ABCA1 function and associated mechanisms remain unclear.
Methods and Results
ABCA1 was identified as a potential target of miR-144-3p, based on the results of bioinformatic analysis and the luciferase reporter assay, and downregulated after transfection of cells with miR-144-3p mimics, as observed with real-time PCR and western blot. Moreover, miR-144-3p mimics (agomir) enhanced the expression of inflammatory factors, including IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α, in vivo and in vitro, inhibited cholesterol efflux in THP-1 macrophage-derived foam cells, decreased HDL-C circulation and impaired RCT in vivo, resulting in accelerated pathological progression of atherosclerosis in apoE−/− mice. Clinical studies additionally revealed a positive correlation of circulating miR-144-3p with serum CK, CK-MB, LDH and AST in subjects with AMI.
Our findings clearly indicate that miR-144-3p is essential for the regulation of cholesterol homeostasis and inflammatory reactions, supporting its utility as a potential therapeutic target of atherosclerosis and a promising diagnostic biomarker of AMI.
PMCID: PMC3986368  PMID: 24733347
13.  Manuka-type honeys can eradicate biofilms produced by Staphylococcus aureus strains with different biofilm-forming abilities 
PeerJ  2014;2:e326.
Chronic wounds are a major global health problem. Their management is difficult and costly, and the development of antibiotic resistance by both planktonic and biofilm-associated bacteria necessitates the use of alternative wound treatments. Honey is now being revisited as an alternative treatment due to its broad-spectrum antibacterial activity and the inability of bacteria to develop resistance to it. Many previous antibacterial studies have used honeys that are not well characterized, even in terms of quantifying the levels of the major antibacterial components present, making it difficult to build an evidence base for the efficacy of honey as an antibiofilm agent in chronic wound treatment. Here we show that a range of well-characterized New Zealand manuka-type honeys, in which two principle antibacterial components, methylglyoxal and hydrogen peroxide, were quantified, can eradicate biofilms of a range of Staphylococcus aureus strains that differ widely in their biofilm-forming abilities. Using crystal violet and viability assays, along with confocal laser scanning imaging, we demonstrate that in all S. aureus strains, including methicillin-resistant strains, the manuka-type honeys showed significantly higher anti-biofilm activity than clover honey and an isotonic sugar solution. We observed higher anti-biofilm activity as the proportion of manuka-derived honey, and thus methylglyoxal, in a honey blend increased. However, methylglyoxal on its own, or with sugar, was not able to effectively eradicate S. aureus biofilms. We also demonstrate that honey was able to penetrate through the biofilm matrix and kill the embedded cells in some cases. As has been reported for antibiotics, sub-inhibitory concentrations of honey improved biofilm formation by some S. aureus strains, however, biofilm cell suspensions recovered after honey treatment did not develop resistance towards manuka-type honeys. New Zealand manuka-type honeys, at the concentrations they can be applied in wound dressings are highly active in both preventing S. aureus biofilm formation and in their eradication, and do not result in bacteria becoming resistant. Methylglyoxal requires other components in manuka-type honeys for this anti-biofilm activity. Our findings support the use of well-defined manuka-type honeys as a topical anti-biofilm treatment for the effective management of wound healing.
PMCID: PMC3970805  PMID: 24711974
Staphylococcus aureus; Biofilm; Honey; Antibacterial; Wounds; Methylglyoxal
14.  Tetrandrine protects mouse retinal ganglion cells from ischemic injury 
This study aimed to determine the protective effects of tetrandrine (Tet) on murine ischemia-injured retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). For this, we used serum deprivation cell model, glutamate and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced RGC-5 cell death models, and staurosporine-differentiated neuron-like RGC-5 in vitro. We also investigated cell survival of purified primary-cultured RGCs treated with Tet. An in vivo retinal ischemia/reperfusion model was used to examine RGC survival after Tet administration 1 day before ischemia. We found that Tet affected RGC-5 survival in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Compared to dimethyl sulfoxide treatment, Tet increased the numbers of RGC-5 cells by 30% at 72 hours. After 48 hours, Tet protected staurosporine-induced RGC-5 cells from serum deprivation-induced cell death and significantly increased the relative number of cells cultured with 1 mM H2O2 (P<0.01). Several concentrations of Tet significantly prevented 25-mM-glutamate-induced cell death in a dose-dependent manner. Tet also increased primary RGC survival after 72 and 96 hours. Tet administration (10 μM, 2 μL) 1 day before retinal ischemia showed RGC layer loss (greater survival), which was less than those in groups with phosphate-buffered saline intravitreal injection plus ischemia in the central (P=0.005, n=6), middle (P=0.018, n=6), and peripheral (P=0.017, n=6) parts of the retina. Thus, Tet conferred protective effects on serum deprivation models of staurosporine-differentiated neuron-like RGC-5 cells and primary cultured murine RGCs. Furthermore, Tet showed greater in vivo protective effects on RGCs 1 day after ischemia. Tet and ciliary neurotrophic factor maintained the mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm) of primary cultured RGCs and inhibited the expression of activated caspase-3 and bcl-2 in ischemia/reperfusion-insult retinas.
PMCID: PMC3968085  PMID: 24711693
RGC-5; serum deprivation; glaucoma; mitochondrial membrane potential; apoptosis
15.  Modeling A Lethal Prostate Cancer Variant with Small Cell Carcinoma Features 
Small-cell prostate carcinoma (SCPC) morphology predicts for a distinct clinical behavior, resistance to androgen ablation, and frequent but short responses to chemotherapy. We sought to develop model systems that reflect human SCPC and can improve our understanding of its biology.
Experimental Design
We developed a set of CRPC xenografts and examined their fidelity to their human tumors of origin. We compared the expression and genomic profiles of SCPC and large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) xenografts to those of typical prostate adenocarcinoma xenografts. Results were validated immunohistochemically in a panel of 60 human tumors.
The reported SCPC and LCNEC xenografts retain high fidelity to their human tumors of origin and are characterized by a marked upregulation of UBE2C and other mitotic genes in the absence of AR, retinoblastoma (RB1) and cyclin D1 (CCND1) expression. We confirmed these findings in a panel of CRPC patients' samples. In addition, array comparative genomic hybridization of the xenografts showed that the SCPC/LCNEC tumors display more copy number variations than the adenocarcinoma counterparts. Amplification of the UBE2C locus and microdeletions of RB1 were present in a subset, but none displayed AR nor CCND1 deletions. The AR, RB1, and CCND1 promoters showed no CpG methylation in the SCPC xenografts.
Modeling human prostate carcinoma with xenografts allows in-depth and detailed studies of its underlying biology. The detailed clinical annotation of the donor tumors enables associations of anticipated relevance to be made. Futures studies in the xenografts will address the functional significance of the findings.
PMCID: PMC3923417  PMID: 22156612
castration resistance prostate cancer; small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma; retinoblastoma; UBE2C; cyclin D1
16.  Gene expression profiling of CD4+ T cells in treatment-naive HIV, HCV mono- or co-infected Chinese 
Virology Journal  2014;11:27.
Because of the shared transmission routes, co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HIV) is very common. Accumulated clinical evidence showed that one could alter the infectious course of the other virus in HIV and HCV co-infected individuals. However, little is known on the molecular basis of HIV/HCV interactions and their modulations on hosts.
In this study, treatment-naive HIV, HCV mono-/co-infected individuals with CD4+ T cell counts >300/μl were recruited and their gene expression profiles were investigated by microarray assays. The differentially expressed genes were identified and validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). To further understand the biological meanings of the gene expression profiles in these three groups, GSEA analysis (version 2.0, Broad Institute was performed.
By gene set enrichment analysis, we revealed that gene sets of cell cycle progression, innate immune response and some transcription factors in CD4+ T cells were mainly affected by HIV; while genes associated with GPCR signaling were the major targets of HCV. Metabolic pathways were modulated by both HCV and HIV viruses.
This study for the first time offers gene profiling basis for HCV/HIV mono-/co- infections in human beings. HIV infection displayed the great impact on transcription profile of CD4+ T cells in HIV/HCV co-infected individuals. Genes related to cell cycle arrest were significantly mediated by HIV which may lead to dysfunction of CD4+ T cells and acceleration of HCV-related disease progression in the co-infections.
PMCID: PMC3943807  PMID: 24520951
HIV; HCV; Co-infection; Microarray; CD4+ T cells
17.  Prediction of Cancer Drugs by Chemical-Chemical Interactions 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87791.
Cancer, which is a leading cause of death worldwide, places a big burden on health-care system. In this study, an order-prediction model was built to predict a series of cancer drug indications based on chemical-chemical interactions. According to the confidence scores of their interactions, the order from the most likely cancer to the least one was obtained for each query drug. The 1st order prediction accuracy of the training dataset was 55.93%, evaluated by Jackknife test, while it was 55.56% and 59.09% on a validation test dataset and an independent test dataset, respectively. The proposed method outperformed a popular method based on molecular descriptors. Moreover, it was verified that some drugs were effective to the ‘wrong’ predicted indications, indicating that some ‘wrong’ drug indications were actually correct indications. Encouraged by the promising results, the method may become a useful tool to the prediction of drugs indications.
PMCID: PMC3912061  PMID: 24498372
18.  Whole Genomic Sequence and Replication Kinetics of a New Enterovirus C96 Isolated from Guangdong, China with a Different Cell Tropism 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86877.
Enterovirus 96 (EV-C96) is a newly described serotype within the enterovirus C (EV-C) species, and its biological and pathological characters are largely unknown. In this study, we sequenced the whole genome of a novel EV-C96 strain that was isolated in 2011 from a patient with acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) in Guangdong province, China and characterized the properties of its infection. Sequence analysis revealed the close relationship between the EV-C96 strains isolated from the Guangdong and Shandong provinces of China, and suggested that recombination events occurred both between these EV-C96 strains and with other EV-C viruses. Moreover, the virus replication kinetics showed EV-C96 Guangdong strain replicated at a high rate in RD cells and presented a different cell tropism to other strains isolated from Shandong recently. These findings gave further insight into the evolutionary processes and extensive biodiversity of EV-C96.
PMCID: PMC3907579  PMID: 24497989
19.  Partial information transmission can be found in music attributes 
Neuroreport  2014;25(3):190-193.
Previous studies have proved that partial information transmission can be found between intensity and pitch. In our last study, it was demonstrated that the timbre attribute can be transmitted as partial information between timbre and intensity. We manipulated the two attributes of stimulus, namely, timbre (piano vs. violin) and pitch (high vs. low), to find out whether they also have partial information transmission. We used the two-choice ‘go/no-go’ paradigm, which included more ‘go’ trials of timbre. Our result showed that lateralized readiness potentials were elicited in ‘no-go’ trials, which meant that the timbre attribute had been transmitted to the response preparation stage before the intensity attribute was processed in the stimuli identification stage. This result supports the asynchronous discrete coding model in information processing. Therefore, we suggest that partial information transmission can be found in music attributes including timbre, intensity, and pitch.
PMCID: PMC3906251  PMID: 24323126
lateralized readiness potential; pitch; timbre
20.  Critical Amino Acids within the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Envelope Glycoprotein V4 N- and C-Terminals Contribute to Virus Entry 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86083.
The importance of the fourth variable (V4) region of the human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein (Env) in virus infection has not been well clarified, though the polymorphism of this region has been found to be associated with disease progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). In the present work, we focused on the correlation between HIV-1 gp120 V4 region polymorphism and the function of the region on virus entry, and the possible mechanisms for how the V4 region contributes to virus infectivity. Therefore, we analyzed the differences in V4 sequences along with coreceptor usage preference from CCR5 to CXCR4 and examined the importance of the amino acids within the V4 region for CCR5- and CXCR4-tropic virus entry. In addition, we determined the influence of the V4 amino acids on Env expression and gp160 processing intracellularly, as well as the amount of Env on the pseudovirus surface. The results indicated that V4 tended to have a shorter length, fewer potential N-linked glycosylation sites (PNGS), greater evolutionary distance, and a lower negative net charge when HIV-1 isolates switched from a coreceptor usage preference for CCR5 to CXCR4. The N- and C-terminals of the HIV-1 V4 region are highly conserved and critical to maintain virus entry ability, but only the mutation at position 417 in the context of ADA (a R5-tropic HIV-1 strain) resulted in the ability to utilize CXCR4. In addition, 390L, 391F, 414I, and 416L are critical to maintain gp160 processing and maturation. It is likely that the hydrophobic properties and the electrostatic surface potential of gp120, rather than the conformational structure, greatly contribute to this V4 functionality. The findings provide information to aid in the understanding of the functions of V4 in HIV-1 entry and offer a potential target to aid in the development of entry inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3897638  PMID: 24465884
21.  Ultrasonic Elastography Features of Phyllodes Tumors of the Breast: A Clinical Research 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85257.
The purpose of this study was to analyze the ultrasonic elastography features of phyllodes tumors of the breast comparing with fibroadenomas. A retrospective database was queried for the patients diagnosed as phyllodes tumors and fibroadenomas at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital from January 2008 to August 2012. Three hundred and fifty lesions from 323 consecutive patients were included in the study. All the cases were examined by conventional ultrasonography and ultrasound elastography. Ultrasound elastography was used to calculate strain ratio of the lesions with bilateral breast tissue at the same depth as reference. There were 36 phyllodes tumors (27 benign, 8 borderline, 1 malignant) and 314 fibroadenomas (158 the pericanalicular type, 103 the intracanalicular type, 53 other special types). The strain ratio for phyllodes tumors (3.19±2.33) was significantly higher than for fibroadenomas (1.69±0.88) (p<0.05). The Spearman.s correlation coefficient between strain ratio of ultrasound elastography and pathological groups was significant, with a value of 0.17 (p<0.05). Ultrasound elastography could provide additional information to differentiate phyllodes tumors from fibroadenoma in breast.
PMCID: PMC3893177  PMID: 24454830
22.  Seroprevalence of Human Enterovirus 71 and Coxsackievirus A16 in Guangdong, China, in Pre- and Post-2010 HFMD Epidemic Period 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80515.
Human Enterovirus 71 and Coxsackie A16 have caused many outbreaks in the last decade in mainland China, resulting in thousands of fatal cases. Seroepidemiology which provides important information to document population immunity is rare in China.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A cross sectional study of Enterovirus 71 (EV71) and Coxsackie A16 (CA16) seroprevalence was carried out in Guangdong, China, pre- and post- the 2010 hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) epidemic period. The levels of EV71 and CA16 specific antibodies were evaluated by a microneutralization test and the geometric mean titer (GMT) was calculated and compared. Our results indicated frequent infection by EV71 and CA16 in Guangdong before the 2010 epidemic. Only EV71 neutralizing antibody but not CA16 seroprevalence was significantly increased after the 2010 HFMD epidemic. Children less than 3 years old especially those aged 2 years showed the lowest positive rates for EV71 and CA16 NA before epidemic and the most significantly increased EV71 seroprevalence after epidemic. CA16 GMT values declined after the 2010 epidemic.
These results indicate EV71 was the major pathogen of HFMD in Guangdong during the 2010 epidemic. The infection occurs largely in children less than 3 years, who should have first priority to receive an EV71 vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3850913  PMID: 24324604
23.  Interleukin-4 in rheumatoid arthritis patients with interstitial lung disease: a pilot study 
Background & objectives:
Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a progressive complication in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although the precise mechanisms of ILD are not fully understood, Th2 cytokines, especially interleukin (IL)-4 may play an important role in the processes of fibrosis. We, therefore, investigated the role of Th2 cytokines, including IL-4, IL-13 and IL-5 in RA patients with or without ILD.
Serum samples were obtained from 63 patients with RA. Among them, 29 RA patients had ILD while the remaining 34 patients were without ILD. The bronchoalveolar lavage fluids (BALF) from 11 RA patients with ILD and eight patients without ILD were also collected. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to analyze the levels of IL-4, IL-13 and IL-5 both in serum and in BALF.
The levels of IL-4 were increased in the serum and BALF of RA patients with ILD compared with RA patients without ILD. There were no differences in the levels of IL-13 and IL-5 among the different groups.
Interpretation & conclusion:
The present results indicate that IL-4 seems to play an important role in the development of ILD in patients with RA.
PMCID: PMC3978982  PMID: 24521636
Interstitial lung disease; rheumatoid arthritis; Th2 cytokines
25.  Polymorphisms in XPD Gene Could Predict Clinical Outcome of Platinum-Based Chemotherapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients: A Meta-Analysis of 24 Studies 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79864.
Xeroderma pigmentosum group D (XPD) is an essential gene involved in the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. Two commonly studied single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of XPD (Lys751Gln, A>C, rs13181; Asp312Asn, G>A, rs1799793) are implicated in the modulation of DNA repair capacity, thus related to the responses to platinum-based chemotherapy. Here we performed a meta-analysis to better evaluate the association between the two XPD SNPs and clinical outcome of platinum-based chemotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
A comprehensive search of PubMed database was conducted to identify relevant articles. Primary outcomes included objective response (i.e., complete response + partial response vs. stable disease + progressive disease), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). The pooled and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of ORs (odds ratios) and HRs (hazard ratios) were estimated using the fixed or random effect model.
Twenty-four studies were eligible according to the inclusion criteria. None of the XPD Lys751Gln/Asp312Asn polymorphisms was associated with objective response, PFS or OS in NSCLC patients treated with platinum drugs. However, in stratified analysis by ethnicity, the XPD Lys751Gln (A>C) polymorphism was not significantly associated with increased response in Caucasians (OR = 1.35, 95%CI = 1.0–1.83, P = 0.122 for heterogeneity) but was associated with decreased PFS in Asians (HR = 1.39, 95%CI = 1.07–1.81, P = 0.879 for heterogeneity). Furthermore, a statistically significant difference existed in the estimates of effect between the two ethnicities (P = 0.014 for TR; P<0.001 for PFS).
XPD Lys751Gln (A>C) may have inverse predictive and prognostic role in platinum-based treatment of NSCLC according to different ethnicities. Further studies are needed to validate our findings.
PMCID: PMC3829883  PMID: 24260311

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