In the mammalian brain, the α7 nicotinic and NMDA receptor antagonist kynurenic acid is synthesized by irreversible enzymatic transamination of the tryptophan metabolite l-kynure-nine. d-kynurenine, too, serves as a bioprecursor of kynurenic acid in several organs including the brain, but the conversion is reportedly catalyzed through oxidative deamination by d-aminoacid oxidase. Using brain and liver tissue homogenates from rats and humans, and conventional incubation conditions for kynurenine aminotransferases, we show here that kynurenic acid production from d-kynurenine, like the more efficient kynurenic acid synthesis from l-kynurenine, is blocked by the aminotransferase inhibitor amino-oxyacetic acid. In vivo, focal application of 100 µM d-kynurenine by reverse microdialysis led to a steady rise in extracellular kynurenic acid in the rat striatum, causing a 4-fold elevation after 2 h. Attesting to functional significance, this increase was accompanied by a 36% reduction in extracellular dopamine. Both of these effects were duplicated by perfusion of 2 µM l-kynurenine. Co-infusion of amino-oxyacetic acid (2 mM) significantly attenuated the in vivo effects of d-kynurenine and essentially eliminated the effects of l-kynurenine. Thus, enzymatic transamination accounts in part for kynurenic acid synthesis from d-kynurenine in the brain. These results are discussed with regard to implications for brain physiology and pathology.
α7 nicotinic receptor; aminotransferases; dopamine; microdialysis; NMDA receptor; schizophrenia
The cognitive deficits seen in schizophrenia patients are likely related to abnormal glutamatergic and cholinergic neurotransmission in the prefrontal cortex. We hypothesized that these impairments may be secondary to increased levels of the astrocyte-derived metabolite kynurenic acid (KYNA), which inhibits α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7AChR) and may thereby reduce glutamate release. Using in vivo microdialysis in unanesthetized rats, we show here that nanomolar concentrations of KYNA, infused directly or produced in situ from its bioprecursor kynurenine, significantly decrease extracellular glutamate levels in the prefrontal cortex. This effect was prevented by the systemic administration of galantamine (3 mg/kg) but not by donepezil (2 mg/kg), indicating that KYNA blocks the allosteric potentiating site of the α7AChR, which recognizes galantamine but not donepezil as an agonist. In separate rats, reduction of prefrontal KYNA formation by (S)-4-ethylsulfonyl benzoylalanine, a specific inhibitor of KYNA synthesis, caused a significant elevation in extracellular glutamate levels. Jointly, our results demonstrate that fluctuations in endogenous KYNA formation bidirectionally influence cortical glutamate concentrations. These findings suggest that selective attenuation of cerebral KYNA production, by increasing glutamatergic tone, might improve cognitive function in individuals with schizophrenia.
Cognition; Donepezil; Galantamine; Kynurenine; Microdialysis; Prefrontal cortex
In mammals, circadian rhythms are controlled by the neurons located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus. Each neuron in the SCN contains an autonomous molecular clock. The fundamental question is how the individual cellular oscillators, expressing a wide range of periods, interact and assemble to achieve phase synchronization. Most of the studies carried out so far emphasize the crucial role of the periodicity imposed by the light-dark cycle in neuronal synchronization. However, in natural conditions, the interaction between the SCN neurons is non-negligible and coupling between cells in the SCN is achieved partly by neurotransmitters. In this paper, we use a model of nonidentical, globally coupled cellular clocks considered as Goodwin oscillators. We mainly study the synchronization induced by coupling from an analytical way. Our results show that the role of the coupling is to enhance the synchronization to the external forcing. The conclusion of this paper can help us better understand the mechanism of circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythm; Clock; Synchronization; Self-sustained oscillator
Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) is widespread within the animal kingdom. Rensch’s rule describes a relationship between SSD and body size: SSD increases with body size when males are the larger sex, and decreases with body size when females are the larger sex. Rensch’s rule is well supported for taxa that exhibit male-biased SSD but patterns of allometry among taxa with female-biased size dimorphism are mixed, there is evidence both for and against the rule. Furthermore, most studies have investigated Rensch’s rule across a variety of taxa; but among-population studies supporting Rensch’s rule are lacking, especially in taxa that display only slight SSD. Here, we tested whether patterns of intraspecific variation in SSD in greater horseshoe bats conform to Rensch’s rule, and evaluated the contribution of latitude to Rensch’s rule. Our results showed SSD was consistently female-biased in greater horseshoe bats, although female body size was only slightly larger than male body size. The slope of major axis regression of log10 (male) on log10 (female) was significantly different from 1. Forearm length for both sexes of greater horseshoe bats was significantly negatively correlated with latitude, and males displayed a slightly but nonsignificant steeper latitudinal cline in body size than females. We suggest that variation in patterns of SSD among greater horseshoe bat populations is consistent with Rensch’s rule indicating that males were the more variable sex. Males did not have a steeper body size–latitude relationship than females suggesting that sex-specific latitudinal variation in body size may not be an important contributing factor to Rensch’s rule. Future research on greater horseshoe bats might best focus on more comprehensive mechanisms driving the pattern of female-biased SSD variation.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) incidence has increased in the US and also has one of the fastest growing death rates of any cancer. The purpose of the current study was to discover novel genome-wide aberrant DNA methylation patterns in HCC tumors that are predominantly HCV-related. Infinium HumanMethylation 450K BeadChip arrays were used to examine genome-wide DNA methylation profiles in 66 pairs of HCC tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissues. After Bonferroni adjustment, a total of 130,512 CpG sites significantly differed in methylation level in tumor compared with non-tumor tissues, with 28,017 CpG sites hypermethylated and 102,495 hypomethylated in tumor tissues. Absolute tumor/non-tumor methylation differences ≥ 20% were found in 24.9% of the hypermethylated and 43.1% of the hypomethylated CpG sites; almost 10,000 CpG sites have ≥ 30% DNA methylation differences. Most (60.1%) significantly hypermethylated CpG sites are located in CpG islands, with 21.6% in CpG shores and 3.6% in shelves. In contrast, only a small proportion (8.2%) of significantly hypomethylated CpG sites are situated in islands, while most are found in open sea (60.2%), shore (17.3%) or shelf (14.3%) regions. A total of 2,568 significant CpG sites (2,441 hypermethylated and 127 hypomethylated) covering 589 genes are located within 684 differentially methylated regions defined as regions with at least two significant CpG sites displaying > 20% methylation differences in the same direction within 250-bp. The top 500 significant CpG sites can significantly distinguish HCC tumor from adjacent tissues with one misclassification. Within adjacent non-tumor tissues, we also identified 75 CpG sites significantly associated with gender, 228 with HCV infection, 17,207 with cirrhosis, and 56 with both HCV infection and cirrhosis after multiple comparisons adjustment. Aberrant DNA methylation profiles across the genome were identified in tumor tissues from US HCC cases that are predominantly related to HCV infection. These results demonstrate the significance of aberrant DNA methylation in HCC tumorigenesis.
genome-wide; DNA methylation; alterations; hepatocellular carcinoma; 450K BeadChips
Recently, mass spectrometric related techniques have been widely applied for the identification and quantification of neurochemicals and their metabolites in biofluids. This article presents an overview of mass spectrometric techniques applied in the detection of neurological substances and their metabolites from biological samples. In addition, the advances of chromatographic methods (LC, GC and CE) coupled with mass spectrometric techniques for analysis of neurochemicals in pharmaceutical and biological samples are also discussed.
Neurochemicals; LC-MS; GC-MS; CE-MS; MALDI-MS.
The inducible coactivator PGC-1α plays master regulator in mitochondrial biogenesis and thermogenesis in brown adipose tissues (BATs). BAT is a natural antiobesity organ which dissipates chemical energy in the form of heat through specialized mitochondrial protein UCP-1. Eletroacupuncture (EA) has been widely used as an alternative treatment for obesity and its related disorders such as type 2 diabetes. The molecular mechanism of electroacupuncture on treatment of obesity is still unclear. We hypothesized that electroacupuncture induced PGC-1α expression to increase the energy expenditure in BAT. Rats were randomly divided into control group and electroacupuncture treatment group. We investigated the effects of electroacupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) acupoint on the expressions of PGC-1α and its associated genes in the BAT of rats using real-time PCR and western blotting. We found that electroacupuncture effectively induces the expression of PGC-1α and UCP-1 by 4-fold and 5-fold in the BAT of rats, respectively. Our results indicated that the molecular mechanism of electroacupuncture for the treatment of obesity may be, or at least partially, through induction of both PGC-1α and UCP-1 expressions to increase energy expenditure in BAT.
To examine the prevalence of refractive errors and prevalence and causes of vision loss among preschool and school children in East China.
Using a random cluster sampling in a cross-sectional school-based study design, children with an age of 4–18 years were selected from kindergartens, primary schools, and junior and senior high schools in the rural Guanxian County and the city of Weihai. All children underwent a complete ocular examination including measurement of uncorrected (UCVA) and best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and auto-refractometry under cycloplegia. Myopia was defined as refractive error of ≤−0.5 diopters (D), high myopia as ≤−6.0D, and amblyopia as BCVA ≤20/32 without any obvious reason for vision reduction and with strabismus or refractive errors as potential reasons.
Out of 6364 eligible children, 6026 (94.7%) children participated. Prevalence of myopia (overall: 36.9±0.6%;95% confidence interval (CI):36.0,38.0) increased (P<0.001) from 1.7±1.2% (95%CI:0.0,4.0) in the 4-years olds to 84.6±3.2% (95%CI:78.0,91.0) in 17-years olds. Myopia was associated with older age (OR:1.56;95%CI:1.52,1.60;P<0.001), female gender (OR:1.22;95%CI:1.08,1.39;P = 0.002) and urban region (OR:2.88;95%CI:2.53,3.29;P<0.001). Prevalence of high myopia (2.0±0.2%) increased from 0.7±0.3% (95%CI:0.1,1.3) in 10-years olds to 13.9±3.0 (95%CI:7.8,19.9) in 17-years olds. It was associated with older age (OR:1.50;95%CI:1.41,1.60;P<0.001) and urban region (OR:3.11;95%CI:2.08,4.66);P<0.001). Astigmatism (≥0.75D) (36.3±0.6%;95%CI:35.0,38.0) was associated with older age (P<0.001;OR:1.06;95%CI:1.04,1.09), more myopic refractive error (P<0.001;OR:0.94;95%CI:0.91,0.97) and urban region (P<0.001;OR:1.47;95%CI:1.31,1.64). BCVA was ≤20/40 in the better eye in 19 (0.32%) children. UCVA ≤20/40 in at least one eye was found in 2046 (34.05%) children, with undercorrected refractive error as cause in 1975 (32.9%) children. Amblyopia (BCVA ≤20/32) was detected in 44 (0.7%) children (11 children with bilateral amblyopia).
In coastal East China, about 14% of the 17-years olds were highly myopic, and 80% were myopic. Prevalence of myopia increased with older age, female gender and urban region. About 0.7% of pre-school children and school children were amblyopic.
To address issues in interoperability between different fundus image systems, we proposed a web eye-picture archiving and communication system (PACS) framework in conformance with digital imaging and communication in medicine (DICOM) and health level 7 (HL7) protocol to realize fundus images and reports sharing and communication through internet.
Firstly, a telemedicine-based eye care work flow was established based on integrating the healthcare enterprise (IHE) Eye Care technical framework. Then, a browser/server architecture eye-PACS system was established in conformance with the web access to DICOM persistent object (WADO) protocol, which contains three tiers.
In any client system installed with web browser, clinicians could log in the eye-PACS to observe fundus images and reports. Multipurpose internet mail extensions (MIME) type of a structured report is saved as pdf/html with reference link to relevant fundus image using the WADO syntax could provide enough information for clinicians. Some functions provided by open-source Oviyam could be used to query, zoom, move, measure, view DICOM fundus images.
Such web eye-PACS in compliance to WADO protocol could be used to store and communicate fundus images and reports, therefore is of great significance for teleophthalmology.
picture archiving and communication system; teleophthalmology; integrating the healthcare enterprise; web access to DICOM persistent object
Citation counts for peer-reviewed articles and the impact factor of journals have long been indicators of article importance or quality. In the Web 2.0 era, growing numbers of scholars are using scholarly social network tools to communicate scientific ideas with colleagues, thereby making traditional indicators less sufficient, immediate, and comprehensive. In these new situations, the altmetric indicators offer alternative measures that reflect the multidimensional nature of scholarly impact in an immediate, open, and individualized way. In this direction of research, some studies have demonstrated the correlation between altmetrics and traditional metrics with different samples. However, up to now, there has been relatively little research done on the dimension and interaction structure of altmetrics.
Our goal was to reveal the number of dimensions that altmetric indicators should be divided into and the structure in which altmetric indicators interact with each other.
Because an article-level metrics dataset is collected from scholarly social media and open access platforms, it is one of the most robust samples available to study altmetric indicators. Therefore, we downloaded a large dataset containing activity data in 20 types of metrics present in 33,128 academic articles from the application programming interface website. First, we analyzed the correlation among altmetric indicators using Spearman rank correlation. Second, we visualized the multiple correlation coefficient matrixes with graduated colors. Third, inputting the correlation matrix, we drew an MDS diagram to demonstrate the dimension for altmetric indicators. For correlation structure, we used a social network map to represent the social relationships and the strength of relations.
We found that the distribution of altmetric indicators is significantly non-normal and positively skewed. The distribution of downloads and page views follows the Pareto law. Moreover, we found that the Spearman coefficients from 91.58% of the pairs of variables indicate statistical significance at the .01 level. The non-metric MDS map divided the 20 altmetric indicators into three clusters: traditional metrics, active altmetrics, and inactive altmetrics. The social network diagram showed two subgroups that are tied to each other but not to other groups, thus indicating an intersection between altmetrics and traditional metric indicators.
Altmetrics complement, and most correlate significantly with, traditional measures. Therefore, in future evaluations of the social impact of articles, we should consider not only traditional metrics but also active altmetrics. There may also be a transfer phenomenon for the social impact of academic articles. The impact transfer path has transfer, or intermediate, stations that transport and accelerate article social impact from active altmetrics to traditional metrics and vice versa. This discovery will be helpful to explain the impact transfer mechanism of articles in the Web 2.0 era. Hence, altmetrics are in fact superior to traditional filters for assessing scholarly impact in multiple dimensions and in terms of social structure.
altmetrics; article-level metrics; scholarly social network tools; indicator; dimension; structure
This retrospective study evaluated trends and association between resistance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from patients with hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and hospital antimicrobial usage from 2003 through 2011 in a tertiary care hospital in northeast China. HAI was defined as occurrence of infection after hospital admission, without evidence that infection was present or incubating (≦48 h) on admission. In vitro susceptibilities were determined by disk diffusion test and susceptibility profiles were determined using zone diameter interpretive criteria, as recommended by Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Data on usage of various antimicrobial agents, expressed as defined daily dose (DDD) per 1,000 patients-days developed by WHO Anatomical Therapeutical Chemical (ATC)/DDD index 2011, were collected from hospital pharmacy computer database. Most of 747 strains of P. aeruginosa were collected from respiratory samples (201 isolates, 26.9%), blood (179, 24.0%), secretions and pus (145, 19.4%) over the years. Time series analysis demonstrated a significant increase in resistance rates of P. aeruginosa to ticarcillin/clavulanic acid, piperacillin/tazobactam, cefoperazone/sulbactam, piperacillin, imipenem, meropenem, ceftazidime, cefepime, ciprofloxacin, and levofloxacin except aminoglycosides over time in the hospital (P<0.001). The rates of carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa (CRPA) isolated from patients with HAIs were 14.3%, 17.1%, 21.1%, 24.6%, 37.0%, 48.8%, 56.4%, 51.2%, and 54.1% over time. A significant increase in usage of anti-pseudomonal carbapenems (P<0.001) was seen. ARIMA models demonstrated that anti-pseudomonal carbapenems usage was strongly correlated with the prevalence of imipenem and meropenem-resistant P. aeruginosa (P<0.001). Increasing of quarterly CRPA was strongly correlated at one time lag with quarterly use of anti-pseudomonal carbapenems (P<0.001). Our data demonstrated positive correlation between anti-pseudomonal antimicrobial usage and P. aeruginosa resistance to several classes of antibiotics, but not all antimicrobial agents in the hospital.
Oral ibuprofen has demonstrated good effects on symptomatic patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) but with many contraindications and potential side-effects. In the past two years, oral paracetamol administration to several preterm infants with PDA has been reported. Here, a randomized, non-blinded, parallel-controlled and non-inferiority trial was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety profiles of oral paracetamol to those of standard ibuprofen for PDA closure in premature infants.
One hundred and sixty infants (gestational age ≤34 weeks) with echocardiographically confirmed PDA were randomly assigned to receive either oral paracetamol (n = 80) or ibuprofen (n = 80). After the initial treatment course in both groups, the need for a second course was determined by echocardiographic evaluation. The main outcome was rate of ductal closure, and secondary outcomes were adverse effects and complications.
The ductus was closed in 65 (81.2%) infants of the paracetamol group compared with 63 (78.8%) of the ibuprofen group. The 95% confidence interval of the difference between these groups was [−0.080,0.128], demonstrating that the effectiveness of paracetamol treatment was not inferior to that of ibuprofen. In fact, the incidence of hyperbilirubinemia or gastrointestinal bleeding in the paracetamol group was significantly lower than that of the ibuprofen group. No significant differences in other clinical side effects or complications were noted.
This comparison of drug efficacy and safety profiles in premature infants with PDA revealed that oral paracetamol was comparable to ibuprofen in terms of the rate of ductal closure and even showed a decreased risk of hyperbilirubinemia or gastrointestinal bleeding. Therefore, paracetamol may be accepted as a first-line drug treatment for PDA in preterm infants.
Mature microRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs involved in posttranslational gene silencing. Previous studies found that downregulation of miRNAs is a common feature observed in solid tumors, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We employed a genome-wide approach to test the hypothesis that DNA methylation alterations in miRNA host genes may cause deregulated miRNA expression in HCC. We analyzed tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissues from 62 Taiwanese HCC cases using Infinium HumanMethylation27 DNA Analysis BeadChips that include 254 CpG sites covering 110 miRNAs from 64 host genes. Expression levels of three identified miRNAs (miR-10a, miR-10b and miR-196b) were measured in a subset of 37 HCC tumor and non-tumor tissues. After Bonferroni adjustment, a total of 54 CpG sites from 27 host genes significantly differed in DNA methylation levels between tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissues with 53 sites significantly hypermethylated in tumor tissues. Among the 54 significant CpG sites, 15 sites had more than 2-fold tumor/non-tumor changes, 17 sites had differences > 10%, and 10 sites had both features [including 8 significantly hypermethylated CpG sites in the host genes of miR-10a, miR-10b and miR-196b (HOXB4, HOXD4 and HOXA9, respectively)]. Significant downregulation of miR-10a was observed in tumor compared with non-tumor tissues (0.50 vs. 1.73, p = 0.031). The concordance for HOXB4 methylation alteration and dysregulation of miR-10a was 73.5%. No significant change was observed for miR-10b expression. Unexpectedly, miR-196b was significantly upregulated in tumor compared with non-tumor tissues (p = 0.0001). These data suggest that aberrant DNA methylation may lead to dysregulation of miR-10a in HCC tumor tissues.
HCC; genome-wide; host gene; microRNA; DNA methylation
Serine-rich repeat glycoproteins (SRRPs) are important bacterial adhesins conserved in streptococci and staphylococci. Fap1, a SRRP identified in Streptococcus parasanguinis, is the major constituent of bacterial fimbriae and is required for adhesion and biofilm formation. An 11-gene cluster is required for Fap1 glycosylation and secretion; however, the exact mechanism of Fap1 biogenesis remains a mystery. Two glycosylation-associated proteins within this cluster—Gap1 and Gap3—function together in Fap1 biogenesis. Here we report the role of the third glycosylation-associated protein, Gap2. A gap2 mutant exhibited the same phenotype as the gap1 and gap3 mutants in terms of Fap1 biogenesis, fimbrial assembly, and bacterial adhesion, suggesting that the three proteins interact. Indeed, all three proteins interacted with each other independently and together to form a stable protein complex. Mechanistically, Gap2 protected Gap3 from degradation by ClpP protease, and Gap2 required the presence of Gap1 for expression at the wild-type level. Gap2 augmented the function of Gap1 in stabilizing Gap3; this function was conserved in Gap homologs from Streptococcus agalactiae. Our studies demonstrate that the three Gap proteins work in concert in Fap1 biogenesis and reveal a new function of Gap2. This insight will help us elucidate the molecular mechanism of SRRP biogenesis in this bacterium and in pathogenic species.
The structural evolution of low-molecular-weight poly(ethylene oxide)-block-polystyrene (PEO-b-PS) diblock copolymer thin film with various initial film thicknesses on silicon substrate under thermal annealing was investigated by atomic force microscopy, optical microscopy, and contact angle measurement. At film thickness below half of the interlamellar spacing of the diblock copolymer (6.2 nm), the entire silicon is covered by a polymer brush with PEO blocks anchored on the Si substrate due to the substrate-induced effect. When the film is thicker than 6.2 nm, a dense polymer brush which is equal to half of an interlamellar layer was formed on the silicon, while the excess material dewet this layer to form droplets. The droplet surface was rich with PS block and the PEO block crystallized inside the bigger droplet to form spherulite.
Global decreases in DNA methylation, particularly in repetitive elements, have been associated with genomic instability and human cancer. Emerging, though limited, data suggest that in white blood cell (WBC) DNA levels of methylation, overall or in repetitive elements, may be associated with cancer risk. We measured methylation levels of three repetitive elements [Satellite 2 (Sat2)], long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1) and Alu) by MethyLight, and LINE-1 by pyrosequencing in a total of 282 breast cancer cases and 347 unaffected sisters from the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry (BCFR) using DNA from both granulocytes and total WBC. We found that methylation levels in all markers were correlated between sisters (Spearman correlation coefficients ranged from 0.17 to 0.55). Sat2 methylation was statistically significantly associated with increased breast cancer risk [odds ratio (OR) = 2.09, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.09–4.03; for each unit decrease in the natural log of the methylation level, OR = 2.12, 95% CI = 0.88–5.11 for the lowest quartile compared with the highest quartile]. These associations were only observed in total WBC but not granulocyte DNA. There was no association between breast cancer and LINE-1 and Alu methylation. If replicated in larger prospective studies, these findings support that selected markers of epigenetic changes measured in WBC, such as Sat2, may be potential biomarkers of breast cancer risk.
Levels of kynurenic acid (KYNA), an endogenous product of tryptophan degradation, are elevated in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid of individuals with schizophrenia (SZ). This increase has been implicated in the cognitive dysfunctions seen in the disease since KYNA is an antagonist of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and the NMDA receptor, both of which are critically involved in cognitive processes and in a defining neurodevelopmental period in the pathophysiology of SZ. We tested the hypothesis that early developmental increases in brain KYNA synthesis might cause biochemical and functional impairments in adulthood. To this end, we stimulated KYNA formation by adding the KYNA precursor kynurenine (100 mg/day) to the chow fed to rat dams from gestational day 15 to postnatal day 21 (PD 21). This treatment raised brain KYNA levels in the offspring by 341% on PD 2 and 210% on PD 21. Rats were then fed normal chow until adulthood (PD 56-PD 80). In the adult animals, basal levels of extracellular KYNA, measured in the hippocampus by in vivo microdialysis, were elevated (+12%), whereas extracellular glutamate levels were significantly reduced (−13%). In separate adult animals, early kynurenine treatment was shown to impair performance in two behavioral tasks linked to hippocampal function, the passive avoidance test and the Morris water maze test. Collectively, these studies introduce a novel, naturalistic rat model of SZ and also suggest that increases in brain KYNA during a vulnerable period in brain development may play a significant role in the pathophysiology of the disease.
Rats; Cognition; Hippocampus; Kynurenic acid; Schizophrenia
Burnout has been a major concern in the field of occupational health. However, there is a paucity of research exploring the factors related to burnout among Chinese doctors. Investigation of these factors is important to improve the health of doctors and the quality of healthcare services in China.
The study population consisted of 1,618 registered hospital doctors from Liaoning province of China. Burnout was measured using the Chinese version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey. Occupational stress was measured using the Chinese versions of the Job Content Questionnaire and the Effort-Reward Imbalance Questionnaire. Data were collected on the respondents’ demographic characteristics and work situations. Of the doctors solicited for enrollment, 1,202 returned the completed questionnaire (555 men, 647 women), giving a response rate of 74.3%. A general linear regression model was applied to analyze the factors associated with burnout.
The burnout mean scores were 11.46 (7.51) for emotional exhaustion, 6.93 (5.15) for cynicism, and 24.07 (9.50) for professional efficacy. In descending order of standardized estimates, variables that predicted a high level of emotional exhaustion included: high extrinsic effort, dissatisfaction with doctor-patient relationship, high overcommitment, working >40 h per week, low reward, and high psychological job demands. Variables that predicted a high level of cynicism included: high extrinsic effort, low reward, dissatisfaction with doctor-patient relationship, high overcommitment, low decision authority, low supervisor support, and low skill discretion. Variables that predicted a low perceived professional efficacy included: high psychological job demands, low coworker support, high extrinsic effort, low decision authority, low reward, and dissatisfaction with doctor-patient relationship.
These findings suggest that occupational stress is strongly related to burnout among hospital doctors in China. Strategies that aim to improve work situations and decrease occupational stress are necessary to reduce burnout, including health education, health promotion, and occupational training programs.
Burnout; Doctors; Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey; Occupational stress
The HIV-1 accessory factor Vif is necessary for efficient viral infection in non-permissive cells. Vif antagonizes the antiviral activity of human cytidine deaminase APOBEC3 proteins that confer the non-permissive phenotype by tethering them (APOBEC3DE/3F/3G) to the Vif-CBF-β-ElonginB-ElonginC-Cullin5-Rbx (Vif-CBF-β-EloB-EloC-Cul5-Rbx) E3 complex to induce their proteasomal degradation. EloB and EloC were initially reported as positive regulatory subunits of the Elongin (SIII) complex. Thereafter, EloB and EloC were found to be components of Cul-E3 complexes, contributing to proteasomal degradation of specific substrates. CBF-β is a newly identified key regulator of Vif function, and more information is needed to further clarify its regulatory mechanism. Here, we comprehensively investigated the functions of EloB (together with EloC) in the Vif-CBF-β-Cul5 E3 ligase complex.
The results revealed that: (1) EloB (and EloC) positively affected the recruitment of CBF-β to Vif. Both knockdown of endogenous EloB and over-expression of its mutant with a 34-residue deletion in the COOH-terminal tail (EloBΔC34/EBΔC34) impaired the Vif-CBF-β interaction. (2) Introduction of both the Vif SLQ → AAA mutant (VifΔSLQ, which dramatically impairs Vif-EloB-EloC binding) and the Vif PPL → AAA mutant (VifΔPPL, which is thought to reduce Vif-EloB binding) could reduce CBF-β binding. (3) EloB-EloC but not CBF-β could greatly enhance the folding of full-length Vif in Escherichia coli. (4) The over-expression of EloB or the N-terminal ubiquitin-like (UbL) domain of EloB could significantly improve the stability of Vif/VifΔSLQ/VifΔPPL through the region between residues 9 and 14.
Our results indicate that the Vif interaction with EloB-EloC may contribute to recruitment of CBF-β to Vif, demonstrating that the EloB C-teminus may play a role in improving Vif function and that the over-expression of EloB results in Vif stabilization.
CBF-β; Elongin BC complex; HIV-1; Protein binding; Ubiquitin-protein ligases; Vif
A lot of empirical studies have been conducted to evaluate the prevalence of depression and anxiety among Chinese adults with cancer. We aimed to conduct a meta-analysis in order to evaluate the prevalence and odds ratios of depression and anxiety in Chinese adults with cancer compared with those without.
The three most comprehensive computerized Chinese academic databases-CNKI, Wangfang and Vip databases-were systematically screened through September 2012. PubMed and Web of Science (SCIE) were also searched from their inception until September 2012 without language restrictions, and an internet search was also used. Case–control studies assessing the prevalence of depression and anxiety among Chinese adults with cancer were analyzed. Study selection and appraisal were conducted independently by three authors. The non-weighted prevalence, pooled random-effects estimates of odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were all calculated.
Seventeen eligible studies with a total of 3497 subjects were included. The prevalence of depression and anxiety were significantly higher in adults with cancer compared with those without (Depression: 54.90% vs. 17.50%, OR = 7.85, 95% CI = 5.56-11.07, P = 0.000; Anxiety: 49.69% vs. 18.37%, OR = 6.46, 95% CI = 4.36-9.55, P = 0.000), the same situation was also observed in subgroup of control groups, assessment methods and cancer types. Although no difference of depression was observed in studies utilizing clinical diagnosis compared with self-report, the OR of anxiety in adults with cancer compared with those without was higher in studies utilizing clinical diagnosis (OR = 8.42, 95% CI = 4.83-14.70) than self-reports (OR = 5.83, 95% CI = 3.64-9.34). The ORs of depression and anxiety in cancer patients compared with disease group (Depression: OR = 6.03, 95% CI = 4.23-8.61; Anxiety: OR = 4.40, 95% CI = 3.05-6.36) were lower than in those compared with normal group (Depression: OR = 13.58, 95% CI = 6.26-29.46; Anxiety: OR = 15.47, 95% CI = 10.00-23.95).
We identified high prevalence rates of depression and anxiety among Chinese adults with cancer. The findings support that the prevalence of depression and anxiety among adults with cancer should receive more attention in Chinese medical settings.
Lower global DNA methylation is associated with genomic instability and it is one of the epigenetic mechanisms relevant to carcinogenesis. Emerging evidence for several cancers suggests that lower overall levels of global DNA methylation in blood are associated with different cancer types, although less is known about breast cancer. We examined global DNA methylation levels using a sibling design in 273 sisters affected with breast cancer and 335 unaffected sisters from the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry. We measured global DNA methylation in total white blood cell (WBC) and granulocyte DNA by two different methods, the [3H]-methyl acceptance assay and the luminometric methylation assay (LUMA). Global methylation levels were only modestly correlated between sisters discordant for breast cancer (Spearman correlation coefficients ranged from -0.08 to 0.24 depending on assay and DNA source). Using conditional logistic regression models, women in the quartile with the lowest DNA methylation levels (as measured by the [3H]-methyl acceptance assay) had a 1.8-fold (95% CI = 1.0–3.3) higher relative association with breast cancer than women in the quartile with the highest DNA methylation levels. When we examined the association on a continuous scale, we also observed a positive association (odds ratio, OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.0–1.7, for a one unit change in the natural logarithm of the DPM/μg of DNA). We observed no association between measures by the LUMA assay and breast cancer risk. If replicated in prospective studies, this study suggests that global DNA methylation levels measured in WBC may be a potential biomarker of breast cancer risk even within families at higher risk of cancer.
blood; breast cancer; epigenetics; global DNA methylation; global methylation; LUMA; luminometric methylation assay; methyl acceptance assay; white blood cell; [3H]-methyl acceptance assay
Global DNA hypomethylation is associated with genomic instability and human cancer and blood DNAs collected at the time of cancer diagnosis have been used to examine the relationship between global methylation and cancer risk. To test the hypothesis that global hypomethylation is associated with increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), we conducted a prospective case–control study nested within a community-based cohort with 16 years of follow-up. We measured methylation levels in Satellite 2 (Sat2) by MethyLight and LINE-1 by pyrosequencing using baseline white blood cell DNA from 305 HCC cases and 1254 matched controls. We found that Sat2 hypomethylation was associated with HCC risk [odds ratio (OR) per unit decrease in natural log Sat2 methylation = 1.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.06–2.95]. The association was significant among individuals diagnosed with HCC before age 62 (OR per unit decrease in natural log Sat2 methylation = 2.47, 95% CI = 1.06–5.73) but not after (OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 0.84–3.32). We did not observe an association of LINE-1 with HCC overall risk by age at diagnosis. Among carriers of hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg), with each 1U decrease in natural log Sat2 methylation level, the OR for HCC increased by 2.19 (95% CI = 1.00–4.89). LINE-1 hypomethylation was associated with about a 2-fold increased risk of HCC, with ORs (95% CI) of 2.39 (1.06–5.39), 2.09 (0.91–4.77) and 2.28 (0.95–5.51, P
trend = 0.14) for HBsAg carriers in the third, second and lowest quartile of LINE-1 methylation, respectively compared with carriers in the fourth. These results suggest that global hypomethylation may be a useful biomarker of HCC susceptibility.
The essential amino acid tryptophan is not only a precursor of serotonin but is also degraded to several other neuroactive compounds, including kynurenic acid, 3-hydroxykynurenine and quinolinic acid. The synthesis of these metabolites is regulated by an enzymatic cascade, known as the kynurenine pathway, that is tightly controlled by the immune system. Dysregulations of the pathway, causing hyper- or hypofunction of active metabolites, are associated with neurodegenerative and other neurological disorders, as well as psychiatric diseases such as depression and schizophrenia. With recently developed pharmacological agents, it is now possible to restore metabolic equilibrium and envisage novel therapeutic interventions.
In a previous study, we showed that the cephalochordate amphioxus Branchiostoma floridae has localized maternal transcripts of conserved germ cell markers Vasa and Nanos in its early embryos. These results provided strong evidence to support a preformation mechanism for primordial germ cell (PGC) development in B. floridae.
In this study, we further characterize the expression of B. floridae homologs of Piwi and Tudor, which play important roles in germline development in diverse metazoan animals. We show that maternal mRNA of one of the identified Piwi-like homologs, Bf-Piwil1, also colocalizes with Vasa in the vegetal germ plasm and has zygotic expression in both the putative PGCs and the tail bud, suggesting it may function in both germline and somatic stem cells. More interestingly, one Tudor family gene, Bf-Tdrd7, is only expressed maternally and colocalizes with Vasa in germ plasm, suggesting that it may function exclusively in germ cell specification. To evaluate the conservation of the preformation mechanism among amphioxus species, we further analyze Vasa, Nanos, Piwil1, and Tdrd7 expression in two Asian amphioxus species, B. belcheri and B. japonicum. Their maternal transcripts all localize in similar patterns to those seen in B. floridae. In addition, we labeled putative PGCs with Vasa antibody to trace their dynamic distribution in developing larvae.
We identify additional germ plasm components in amphioxus and demonstrate the molecular distinction between the putative germline stem cells and somatic stem cells. Moreover, our results suggest that preformation may be a conserved mechanism for PGC specification among Branchiostoma species. Our Vasa antibody staining results suggest that after the late neurula stage, amphioxus PGCs probably proliferate with the tail bud cells during posterior elongation and are deposited near the forming myomere boundaries. Subsequently, these PGCs would concentrate at the ventral tip of the myoseptal walls to form the gonad anlagen.
Cephalochordate; Nanos; Piwi; Primordial germ cell; Tudor; Vasa
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a severe type of chronic liver disease. The lack of appropriate animal models has resulted in a limited understanding regarding the etiology of AIH. Here, we demonstrated that mice deficient in Tyro3, Axl and Mer (TAM) receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) developed persistent inflammatory liver damage resembling AIH. Tyro3−/−Axl−/−Mer−/− triple mutant (TAM−/−) mice exhibited chronic hepatitis, manifested by progressive appearance of interface hepatitis, immune cell infiltrations and elevated inflammatory cytokine levels in the liver. Accordingly, increased levels of transaminases were observed. Moreover, characteristic autoantibodies and high levels of plasma immunoglobulin G for AIH were detected as TAM−/− mice aged. Finally, we provided evidence that the liver damage in TAM−/− mice mainly result from bone marrow-derived cells and could be rescued by transplantation of WT bone marrow cells. Results suggest that TAM RTKs play an important role in maintaining immune tolerance of the liver.