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1.  microRNA-34a promotes DNA damage and mitotic catastrophe 
Cell Cycle  2013;12(22):3500-3511.
Efficient and error-free DNA repair is critical for safeguarding genome integrity, yet it is also linked to radio- and chemoresistance of malignant tumors. miR-34a, a potent tumor suppressor, influences a large set of p53-regulated genes and contributes to p53-mediated apoptosis. However, the effects of miR-34a on the processes of DNA damage and repair are not entirely understood. We explored tet-inducible miR-34a-expressing human p53 wild-type and R273H p53 mutant GBM cell lines, and found that miR-34a influences the broad spectrum of 53BP1-mediated DNA damage response. It escalates both post-irradiation and endogenous DNA damage, abrogates radiation-induced G2/M arrest and drastically increases the number of irradiated cells undergoing mitotic catastrophe. Furthermore, miR-34a downregulates 53BP1 and inhibits its recruitment to the sites of DNA double-strand breaks. We conclude that whereas miR-34a counteracts DNA repair, it also contributes to the p53-independent elimination of distressed cells, thus preventing the rise of genomic instability in tumor cell populations. These properties of miR-34a can potentially be exploited for DNA damage-effecting therapies of malignancies.
PMCID: PMC3906336  PMID: 24091633
microRNA-34a; DNA damage; mitotic catastrophe; mitosis; 53BP1; brain tumors
2.  Alzheimer’s disease-linked presenilin mutation (PS1M146L) induces filamin expression and γ-secretase independent redistribution 
Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD  2010;22(1):10.3233/JAD-2010-100585.
Presenilin mutations are linked to the early onset familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD) and lead to a range of neuronal changes, indicating that presenilins interact with multiple cellular pathways to regulate neuronal functions. In this report, we demonstrate the effects of FAD-linked presenilin 1 mutation (PS1M146L) on the expression and distribution of filamin, an actin cross-linking protein that interacts with PS1 both physically and genetically. By using immunohistochemical method, we evaluated hippocampal dentate gyrus for alterations of proteins involved in synaptic plasticity. Among many proteins expressed in the hippocampus, calretinin, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD67), parvalbumin, and filamin displayed distinct changes in their expression and/or distribution patterns. Striking anti-filamin immunoreactivity was associated with the polymorphic cells of hilar region only in transgenic mice expressing PS1M146L. In over 20% of the PS1M146L mice, the hippocampus of the left hemisphere displayed more pronounced upregulation of filamin than that of the right hemisphere. Anti-filamin labeled the hilar neurons only after the PS1M146L mice reached after four months of age. Double labeling immunohistochemical analyses showed that anti-filamin labeled neurons partially overlapped with cholecystokinin (CCK), somatostatin, GAD67, parvalbumin, and calretinin immunoreactive neurons. In cultured HEK293 cells, PS1 overexpression resulted in filamin redistribution from near cell peripheries to cytoplasm. Treatment of CHO cells stably expressing PS1 with WPE-III-31C or DAPT, selective γ-secretase inhibitors, did not suppress the effects of PS1 overexpression on filamin. These studies support a γ-secretase-independent role of PS1 in modulation of filamin-mediated actin cytoskeleton.
PMCID: PMC3813954  PMID: 20847418
Presenilin mutation; actin; filamin; γ-secretase; dentate gyrus; hilar neurons
3.  Increased Frequency of Bone Marrow T Follicular Helper Cells in Patients with Immune-Related Pancytopenia 
Immune-related pancytopenia (IRP) is one kind of bone marrow failure diseases which is related to autoantibodies. Autoantibodies have been detected on the membrane of various bone marrow (BM) hemopoietic cells by BM mononuclear-cell-Coombs test or flow cytometric analysis. There are autoantibodies in the BM supernatant of IRP patients, which can target several antigens on hematopoietic cells membranes by western blot. T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are the true helper cells for Ab responses, which represent one of the most numerous and important subsets of effector T cells. Dysregulation of Tfh cell function or expression of Tfh cell-associated molecules could contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. Currently, there are no studies regarding the role of Tfh cells in IRP patients. The percentages of Tfh cells, Tfh-related molecules ICOS, CD40L, IL-21, and Bcl-6 in BM were investigated in 90 patients with IRP, and 25 healthy controls. We observed that there exist increased quantity and hyperfunction of Tfh cells in IRP, and the results were correlated with patient characteristics. It was indicated that dysregulated Tfh cells might be involved in the pathogenesis of IRP and that inhibition of Tfh cells effector molecules might provide opportunities for new therapeutic approaches to IRP and even other human autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC3771269  PMID: 24069044
4.  Improving Intensity-Based Lung CT Registration Accuracy Utilizing Vascular Information 
Accurate pulmonary image registration is a challenging problem when the lungs have a deformation with large distance. In this work, we present a nonrigid volumetric registration algorithm to track lung motion between a pair of intrasubject CT images acquired at different inflation levels and introduce a new vesselness similarity cost that improves intensity-only registration. Volumetric CT datasets from six human subjects were used in this study. The performance of four intensity-only registration algorithms was compared with and without adding the vesselness similarity cost function. Matching accuracy was evaluated using landmarks, vessel tree, and fissure planes. The Jacobian determinant of the transformation was used to reveal the deformation pattern of local parenchymal tissue. The average matching error for intensity-only registration methods was on the order of 1 mm at landmarks and 1.5 mm on fissure planes. After adding the vesselness preserving cost function, the landmark and fissure positioning errors decreased approximately by 25% and 30%, respectively. The vesselness cost function effectively helped improve the registration accuracy in regions near thoracic cage and near the diaphragm for all the intensity-only registration algorithms tested and also helped produce more consistent and more reliable patterns of regional tissue deformation.
PMCID: PMC3515912  PMID: 23251141
5.  Tracking Regional Tissue Volume and Function Change in Lung Using Image Registration 
We have previously demonstrated the 24-hour redistribution and reabsorption of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid delivered to the lung during a bronchoscopic procedure in normal volunteers. In this work we utilize image-matching procedures to correlate fluid redistribution and reabsorption to changes in regional lung function. Lung CT datasets from six human subjects were used in this study. Each subject was scanned at four time points before and after BAL procedure. Image registration was performed to align images at different time points and different inflation levels. The resulting dense displacement fields were utilized to track tissue volume changes and reveal deformation patterns of local parenchymal tissue quantitatively. The registration accuracy was assessed by measuring landmark matching errors, which were on the order of 1 mm. The results show that quantitative-assessed fluid volume agreed well with bronchoscopist-reported unretrieved BAL volume in the whole lungs (squared linear correlation coefficient was 0.81). The average difference of lung tissue volume at baseline and after 24 hours was around 2%, which indicates that BAL fluid in the lungs was almost absorbed after 24 hours. Regional lung-function changes correlated with the presence of BAL fluid, and regional function returned to baseline as the fluid was reabsorbed.
PMCID: PMC3483832  PMID: 23118740
6.  Three dimensional characterization of regional lung deformation 
Journal of biomechanics  2011;44(13):2489-2495.
The deformation of the lung during inspiration and expiration involves regional variations in volume change and orientational preferences. Studies have reported techniques for measuring the displacement field in the lung based on imaging or image registration. However, means of interpreting all the information in the displacement field in a physiologically relevant manner is lacking. We propose three indices of lung deformation that are determinable from the displacement field: the Jacobian – a measure of volume change, the anisotropic deformation index – a measure of the magnitude of directional preference in volume change, and a slab-rod index – a measure of the nature of directional preference in volume change. To demonstrate the utility of these indices, they were determined for six human subjects using deformable image registration on static CT images, registered from FRC to TLC. Volume change was elevated in the inferior-dorsal region as should be expected for breathing in the supine position. The anisotropic deformation index was elevated in the inferior region owing to proximity to the diaphragm and in the lobar fissures owing to sliding. Vessel regions in the lung had a significantly rod-like deformation compared to the whole lung. Compared to upper lobes, lower lobes exhibited significantly greater volume change (19.4% and 21.3% greater in the right and left lungs on average; p<0.005) and anisotropy in deformation (26.3% and 21.8% greater in the right and left lungs on average; p<0.05) with remarkable consistency across subjects. The developed deformation indices lend themselves to exhaustive and physiologically intuitive interpretations of the displacement fields in the lung determined through image-registration techniques or finite element simulations.
PMCID: PMC3443473  PMID: 21802086
Lung; Deformation; Strain; Anisotropy; Registration
7.  PRAME Gene Expression in Acute Leukemia and Its Clinical Significance 
Cancer Biology & Medicine  2012;9(1):73-76.
To investigate the expression of the preferentially expressed antigen of melanoma (PRAME) gene in acute leukemia and its clinical significance.
The level of expressed PRAME mRNA in bone marrow mononuclear cells from 34 patients with acute leukemia (AL) and in 12 bone marrow samples from healthy volunteers was measured via RT-PCR. Correlation analyses between PRAME gene expression and the clinical characteristics (gender, age, white blood count, immunophenotype of leukemia, percentage of blast cells, and karyotype) of the patients were performed.
The PRAME gene was expressed in 38.2% of all 34 patients, in 40.7% of the patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML, n=27), and in 28.6% of the patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL, n=7), but was not expressed in the healthy volunteers. The difference in the expression levels between AML and ALL patients was statistically significant. The rate of gene expression was 80% in M3, 33.3% in M2, and 28.6% in M5. Gene expression was also found to be correlated with CD15 and CD33 expression and abnormal karyotype, but not with age, gender, white blood count or percentage of blast cells.
The PRAME gene is highly expressed in acute leukemia and could be a useful marker to monitor minimal residual disease. This gene is also a candidate target for the immunotherapy of acute leukemia.
PMCID: PMC3643640  PMID: 23691459
preferentially expressed antigen of melanoma; gene; acute leukemia; minimal residual disease; immunotherapy
8.  Therapeutic effects of combined oxaliplatin and S-1 in older patients with advanced gastric cardiac adenocarcinoma 
AIM:To evaluate the effects and safety of combination chemotherapy with oxaliplatin (L-OHP) and S-1 (SOX regimen) in older patients with advanced gastric cardiac adenocarcinoma (GCA).
METHODS: Seventy patients with advanced GCA were classified according to age into an older group (≥ 75 years) and a control group (< 75 years). The SOX regimen was administered to the two groups as follows: S-1 (40 mg/m2 po bid) on days 1 to 14 followed by a 7-d off period, plus L-OHP (65 mg/m2 iv) for 2 h on days 1 and 8 of a 21-d cycle. This regimen was repeated for four to six cycles. Response and swallow statuses were evaluated after two cycles (6 wk). Effects and toxicity were evaluated four weeks after chemotherapy was completed.
RESULTS: The response rate was 65.6% (21/32) in the older group and 68.4% (26/38) in the control group (χ2 = 0.062 and P = 0.804). Improvement in swallowing was 78.1% (25/32) in the older group and 76.3% (29/38) in the control group (χ2 = 0.032 and P = 0.857). Efficacy was 68.8% (22/32) in the older group and 65.8% (25/38) in the control group (χ2 = 0.069 and P = 0.793). Toxicities were reversible and similar in both groups (P > 0.05).
CONCLUSION: The SOX regimen is an effective, safe and well-tolerated regimen for older patients with advanced GCA.
PMCID: PMC3243890  PMID: 22215948
Gastric cardiac adenocarcinoma; Oxaliplatin; S-1; Treatment effect
9.  Urine 1,6-Hexamethylene Diamine (HDA) Levels Among Workers Exposed to 1,6-Hexamethylene Diisocyanate (HDI) 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2010;54(6):678-691.
Urinary 1,6-hexamethylene diamine (HDA) may serve as a biomarker for systemic exposure to 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) in occupationally exposed populations. However, the quantitative relationships between dermal and inhalation exposure to HDI and urine HDA levels have not been established. We measured acid-hydrolyzed urine HDA levels along with dermal and breathing-zone levels of HDI in 48 automotive spray painters. These measurements were conducted over the course of an entire workday for up to three separate workdays that were spaced approximately 1 month apart. One urine sample was collected before the start of work with HDI-containing paints and subsequent samples were collected during the workday. HDA levels varied throughout the day and ranged from nondetectable to 65.9 μg l−1 with a geometric mean and geometric standard deviation of 0.10 μg l−1 ± 6.68. Dermal exposure and inhalation exposure levels, adjusted for the type of respirator worn, were both significant predictors of urine HDA levels in the linear mixed models. Creatinine was a significant covariate when used as an independent variable along with dermal and respirator-adjusted inhalation exposure. Consequently, exposure assessment models must account for the water content of a urine sample. These findings indicate that HDA exhibits a biphasic elimination pattern, with a half-life of 2.9 h for the fast elimination phase. Our results also indicate that urine HDA level is significantly associated with systemic HDI exposure through both the skin and the lungs. We conclude that urinary HDA may be used as a biomarker of exposure to HDI, but biological monitoring should be tailored to reliably capture the intermittent exposure pattern typical in this industry.
PMCID: PMC2918490  PMID: 20530123
biomarkers; creatinine; dermal exposure; 1,6-hexamethylene diamine; 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate; inhalation exposure; urine analysis
10.  Hypospadias and halogenated organic pollutant levels in maternal mid-pregnancy serum samples 
Chemosphere  2010;80(6):641-646.
Environmental contaminants that disrupt endocrine function may contribute to hypospadias etiology.
To compare levels of selected halogenated organic pollutants in women delivering infants with and without hypospadias.
This study examined levels of nine polybrominated flame retardants (PBDEs), 30 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and nine persistent pesticides in mid-pregnancy serum samples from 20 women who delivered infants with hypospadias and 28 women who delivered unaffected infants, in California. Analytes were measured using isotope dilution high-resolution mass spectrometry. Values below individual limits of detection (LOD) for each analyte were imputed based on a truncated multivariate normal distribution. Levels of 17 analytes for which at least 50% of cases and controls had values above the LOD were compared using t-tests and by generating odds ratios from logistic regression analyses.
Means were greater for cases than controls for 11 of the 17 reported analytes (4 of 5 PBDEs, 7 of 9 PCBs, and 0 of 3 other persistent pesticides), but none of the differences were statistically significant. Eleven of the 17 odds ratios exceeded one (the same analytes that had greater means), but none of the confidence intervals excluded one. After adjustment for sample processing time and foreign-born Hispanic race-ethnicity, only four of the odds ratios exceeded one.
Levels of the PBDEs and PCBs were not statistically significantly different, but the sample size was small. The current study adds to a relatively limited knowledge base regarding the potential association of specific contaminants with hypospadias or other birth defects.
PMCID: PMC2944405  PMID: 20494400
hypospadias; PCB; PBDE; DDE; pesticide; pregnancy
11.  A cubic B-spline-based hybrid registration of lung CT images for a dynamic airway geometric model with large deformation 
Physics in medicine and biology  2010;56(1):203-218.
The goal of this study is to develop a matching algorithm that can handle large geometric changes in x-ray computed tomography (CT)-derived lung geometry occurring during deep breath maneuvers. These geometric relationships are further utilized to build a dynamic lung airway model for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies of pulmonary air flow. The proposed algorithm is based on a cubic B-spline-based hybrid registration framework that incorporates anatomic landmark information with intensity patterns. A sequence of invertible B-splines is composed in a multiresolution framework to ensure local invertibility of the large deformation transformation and a physiologically meaningful similarity measure is adopted to compensate for changes in voxel intensity due to inflation. Registrations are performed using the proposed approach to match six pairs of 3D CT human lung datasets. Results show that the proposed approach has the ability to match the intensity pattern and the anatomical landmarks, and ensure local invertibility for large deformation transformations. Statistical results also show that the proposed hybrid approach yields significantly improved results as compared with approaches using either landmarks or intensity alone.
PMCID: PMC3115562  PMID: 21149947
12.  Quantification and Statistical Modeling—Part I: Breathing-Zone Concentrations of Monomeric and Polymeric 1,6-Hexamethylene Diisocyanate 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2009;53(7):677-689.
We conducted a repeated exposure-assessment survey for task-based breathing-zone concentrations (BZCs) of monomeric and polymeric 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) during spray painting on 47 automotive spray painters from North Carolina and Washington State. We report here the use of linear mixed modeling to identify the primary determinants of the measured BZCs. Both one-stage (N = 98 paint tasks) and two-stage (N = 198 paint tasks) filter sampling was used to measure concentrations of HDI, uretidone, biuret, and isocyanurate. The geometric mean (GM) level of isocyanurate (1410 μg m−3) was higher than all other analytes (i.e. GM < 7.85 μg m−3). The mixed models were unique to each analyte and included factors such as analyte-specific paint concentration, airflow in the paint booth, and sampler type. The effect of sampler type was corroborated by side-by-side one- and two-stage personal air sampling (N = 16 paint tasks). According to paired t-tests, significantly higher concentrations of HDI (P = 0.0363) and isocyanurate (P = 0.0035) were measured using one-stage samplers. Marginal R2 statistics were calculated for each model; significant fixed effects were able to describe 25, 52, 54, and 20% of the variability in BZCs of HDI, uretidone, biuret, and isocyanurate, respectively. Mixed models developed in this study characterize the processes governing individual polyisocyanate BZCs. In addition, the mixed models identify ways to reduce polyisocyanate BZCs and, hence, protect painters from potential adverse health effects.
PMCID: PMC2758668  PMID: 19622637
air sampling; exposure determinants; hexamethylene diisocyanate; isocyanate; statistical modeling
13.  Quantification and Statistical Modeling—Part II: Dermal Concentrations of Monomeric and Polymeric 1,6-Hexamethylene Diisocyanate 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2009;53(7):691-702.
We conducted a quantitative dermal and inhalation exposure assessment of monomeric and polymeric 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanates (HDI) in 47 automotive spray painters from North Carolina and Washington State. We report here the use of linear mixed modeling (LMM) to identify the primary determinants of dermal exposure. Dermal concentrations of HDI, uretidone, biuret, and isocyanurate were significantly higher in 15 painters who did not wear coveralls or gloves (N = 51 paint tasks) than in 32 painters who did wear coveralls and gloves (N = 192 paint tasks) during spray painting. Regardless of whether protective clothing was worn, isocyanurate was the predominant species measured in the skin [geometric mean (GM) = 33.8 ng mm−3], with a 95% detection rate. Other polyisocyanates (GM ≤ 0.17 ng mm−3) were detected in skin during <23% of the paint tasks. According to marginal R2 statistics, mixed models generated in this study described no <36% of the variability in dermal concentrations of the different polyisocyanates measured in painters who did not wear protective clothing. These models also described 55% of the variability in dermal concentrations of isocyanurate measured in all painters (N = 288 paint tasks). The product of analyte-specific breathing-zone concentration (BZC) and paint time was the most significant variable in all the models. Through LMM, a better understanding of the exposure pathways governing individual polyisocyanate exposures may be achieved. In particular, we were able to establish a link between BZC and dermal concentration, which may be useful for exposure reconstruction and quantitatively characterizing the protective effect of coveralls and gloves. This information can be used to reduce dermal exposures and better protect automotive spray painters from potential adverse health effects.
PMCID: PMC2758669  PMID: 19635734
dermal exposure; exposure determinants; hexamethylene diisocyanate; isocyanate; statistical modeling
14.  Evaluation of Lobar Biomechanics during Respiration using Image Registration 
The human lungs are divided into five independent compartments called lobes. The lobar fissures separate the lung lobes. It is hypothesized that the lobar surfaces slide against each other during respiration. We propose a method to evaluate the sliding motion of the lobar surfaces during respiration using lobe-by-lobe mass-preserving non-rigid image registration. We measure lobar sliding by evaluating the relative displacement on both sides of the fissure. The results show a superior-inferior gradient in the magnitude of lobar sliding. We compare whole-lung-based registration accuracy to lobe-by-lobe registration accuracy using vessel bifurcation landmarks.
PMCID: PMC2913717  PMID: 20426054
15.  Double-balloon enteroscopy for obscure gastrointestinal bleeding: A single center experience in China 
AIM: To evaluate the diagnostic value of double-balloon enteroscopy (DBE) for obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB).
METHODS: The data about 75 OGIB patients who underwent DBE in January 2007-June 2009 in our hospital were retrospectively analyzed.
RESULTS: DBE was successfully performed in all 75 patients without complication. Of the 75 patients, 44 (58.7%) had positive DBE findings, 22 had negative DBE findings but had potential bleeding at surgery and capsule endoscopy, etc. These 66 patients were finally diagnosed as OGIB which was most commonly caused by small bowel tumor (28.0%), angiodysplasia (18.7%) and Crohn’s disease (10.7%). Lesions occurred more frequently in proximal small bowel than in distal small bowel (49.3% vs 33.3%, P = 0.047).
CONCLUSION: DBE is a safe, effective and accurate procedure for the diagnosis of OGIB.
PMCID: PMC2848375  PMID: 20355245
Double-balloon enteroscopy; Capsule endoscopy; Obscure gastrointestinal bleeding; Diagnosis
16.  Registration-based estimates of local lung tissue expansion compared to xenon-CT measures of specific ventilation 
Medical image analysis  2008;12(6):752-763.
The main function of the respiratory system is gas exchange. Since many disease or injury conditions can cause biomechanical or material property changes that can alter lung function, there is a great interest in measuring regional lung ventilation and regional specific volume change. We describe a registration-based technique for estimating local lung expansion from multiple respiratory-gated CT images of the thorax. The degree of regional lung expansion is measured using the Jacobian (a function of local partial derivatives) of the registration displacement field, which we show is directly related to specific volume change. We compare the ventral-dorsal patterns of lung expansion estimated across five pressure changes to a xenon CT based measure of specific ventilation in five anesthetized sheep studied in the supine orientation. Using 3D image registration to match images acquired at 10 cm H2O and 15 H2O airway pressures gave the best match between the average Jacobian and the xenon CT specific ventilation (linear regression, average r2 = 0.73).
PMCID: PMC2692217  PMID: 18501665
Pulmonary; functional imaging; image registration; ventilation

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