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2.  LncRNA Dum interacts with Dnmts to regulate Dppa2 expression during myogenic differentiation and muscle regeneration 
Cell Research  2015;25(3):335-350.
Emerging studies document the roles of long non-coding RNAs (LncRNAs) in regulating gene expression at chromatin level but relatively less is known how they regulate DNA methylation. Here we identify an lncRNA, Dum (developmental pluripotency-associated 2 (Dppa2) Upstream binding Muscle lncRNA) in skeletal myoblast cells. The expression of Dum is dynamically regulated during myogenesis in vitro and in vivo. It is also transcriptionally induced by MyoD binding upon myoblast differentiation. Functional analyses show that it promotes myoblast differentiation and damage-induced muscle regeneration. Mechanistically, Dum was found to silence its neighboring gene, Dppa2, in cis through recruiting Dnmt1, Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b. Furthermore, intrachromosomal looping between Dum locus and Dppa2 promoter is necessary for Dum/Dppa2 interaction. Collectively, we have identified a novel lncRNA that interacts with Dnmts to regulate myogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4349245  PMID: 25686699
LncRNA; Dum; myogenesis; Dppa2; DNA methylation
3.  Hypothalamic Non-AgRP, Non-POMC GABAergic Neurons Are Required for Postweaning Feeding and NPY Hyperphagia 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2015;35(29):10440-10450.
The hypothalamus is critical for feeding and body weight regulation. Prevailing studies focus on hypothalamic neurons that are defined by selectively expressing transcription factors or neuropeptides including those expressing proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and agouti-related peptides (AgRP). The Cre expression driven by the pancreas-duodenum homeobox 1 promoter is abundant in several hypothalamic nuclei but not in AgRP or POMC neurons. Using this line, we generated mice with disruption of GABA release from a major subset of non-POMC, non-AgRP GABAergic neurons in the hypothalamus. These mice exhibited a reduction in postweaning feeding and growth, and disrupted hyperphagic responses to NPY. Disruption of GABA release severely diminished GABAergic input to the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVH). Furthermore, disruption of GABA-A receptor function in the PVH also reduced postweaning feeding and blunted NPY-induced hyperphagia. Given the limited knowledge on postweaning feeding, our results are significant in identifying GABA release from a major subset of less appreciated hypothalamic neurons as a key mediator for postweaning feeding and NPY hyperphagia, and the PVH as one major downstream site that contributes significantly to the GABA action.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Prevalent studies on feeding in the hypothalamus focus on well characterized, selective groups neurons [e.g., proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons], and as a result, the role of the majority of other hypothalamic neurons is largely neglected. Here, we demonstrated an important role for GABAergic projections from non-POMC non-AgRP neurons to the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus in promoting postweaning (mainly nocturnal) feeding and mediating NPY-induced hyperphagia. Thus, these results signify an importance to study those yet to be defined hypothalamic neurons in the regulation of energy balance and reveal a neural basis for postweaning (nocturnal) feeding and NPY-mediated hyperphagia.
PMCID: PMC4510285  PMID: 26203139
AgRP; feeding; GABA; NPY; Pdx1-Cre; PVH
4.  CPUY201112, a novel synthetic small-molecule compound and inhibitor of heat shock protein Hsp90, induces p53-mediated apoptosis in MCF-7 cells 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:19004.
Heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is highly expressed in many tumor cells and is associated with the maintenance of malignant phenotypes. Targeting Hsp90 has had therapeutic success in both solid and hematological malignancies, which has inspired more studies to identify new Hsp90 inhibitors with improved clinical efficacy. Using a fragment-based approach and subsequent structural optimization guided by medicinal chemistry principles, we identified the novel compound CPUY201112 as a potent Hsp90 inhibitor. It binds to the ATP-binding pocket of Hsp90 with a kinetic dissociation (Kd) constant of 27 ± 2.3 nM. It also exhibits potent in vitro antiproliferative effects in a range of solid tumor cells. In MCF-7 cells with high Hsp90 expression, CPUY201112 induces the degradation of Hsp90 client proteins including HER-2, Akt, and c-RAF. We prove that treating MCF-7 cells with CPUY201112 results in cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through the wild-type (wt) p53 pathway. CPUY201112 also synergizes with Nutlin-3a to induce cancer cell apoptosis. CPUY201112 significantly inhibited the growth of MCF-7 xenografts in nude mice without apparent body weight loss. These results demonstrate that CPUY201112 is a novel Hsp90 inhibitor with potential use in treating wild-type p53 related cancers.
PMCID: PMC4705544  PMID: 26743233
5.  Intracellular Doppler Signatures of Platinum Sensitivity Captured by Biodynamic Profiling in Ovarian Xenografts 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:18821.
Three-dimensional (3D) tissue cultures are replacing conventional two-dimensional (2D) cultures for applications in cancer drug development. However, direct comparisons of in vitro 3D models relative to in vivo models derived from the same cell lines have not been reported because of the lack of sensitive optical probes that can extract high-content information from deep inside living tissue. Here we report the use of biodynamic imaging (BDI) to measure response to platinum in 3D living tissue. BDI combines low-coherence digital holography with intracellular Doppler spectroscopy to study tumor drug response. Human ovarian cancer cell lines were grown either in vitro as 3D multicellular monoculture spheroids or as xenografts in nude mice. Fragments of xenografts grown in vivo in nude mice from a platinum-sensitive human ovarian cell line showed rapid and dramatic signatures of induced cell death when exposed to platinum ex vivo, while the corresponding 3D multicellular spheroids grown in vitro showed negligible response. The differences in drug response between in vivo and in vitro growth have important implications for predicting chemotherapeutic response using tumor biopsies from patients or patient-derived xenografts.
PMCID: PMC4702146  PMID: 26732545
6.  A Bead-Based Microfluidic Approach to Integrated Single-Cell Gene Expression Analysis by Quantitative RT-PCR 
RSC advances  2014;5(7):4886-4893.
Gene expression analysis at the single-cell level is critical to understanding variations among cells in heterogeneous populations. Microfluidic reverse transcription quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is well suited to gene expression assays of single cells. We present a microfluidic approach that integrates all functional steps for RT-qPCR of a single cell, including isolation and lysis of the cell, as well as purification, reverse transcription and quantitative real-time PCR of messenger RNA in the cell lysate. In this approach, all reactions in the multi-step assay of a single lysed cell can be completed on microbeads, thereby simplifying the design, fabrication and operation of the microfluidic device, as well as facilitating the minimization of sample loss or contamination. In the microfluidic device, a single cell is isolated and lysed; mRNA in the cell lysate is then analyzed by RT-qPCR using primers immobilized on microbeads in a single microchamber whose temperature is controlled in closed loop via an integrated heater and temperature sensor. The utility of the approach was demonstrated by the analysis of the effects of the drug (methyl methanesulfonate, MMS) on the induction of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1a (CDKN1A) in single human cancer cells (MCF-7), demonstrating the potential of our approach for efficient, integrated single-cell RT-qPCR for gene expression analysis.
PMCID: PMC4394375  PMID: 25883782
Single cell analysis; Microfluidic; Microbead; RT-qPCR
7.  Reprogramming somatic cells to cells with neuronal characteristics by defined medium both in vitro and in vivo 
Cell Regeneration  2015;4:12.
Currently, direct conversion from somatic cells to neurons requires virus-mediated delivery of at least one transcriptional factor or a combination of several small-molecule compounds. Delivery of transcriptional factors may affect genome stability, while small-molecule compounds may require more evaluations when applied in vivo. Thus, a defined medium with only conventional growth factors or additives for cell culture is desirable for inducing neuronal trans-differentiation.
Here, we report that a defined medium (5C) consisting of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), N2 supplement, leukemia inhibitory factor, vitamin C (Vc), and β-mercaptoethanol (βMe) induces the direct conversion of somatic cells to cells with neuronal characteristics. Application of 5C medium converted mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) into TuJ+ neuronal-like cells, which were capable of survival after being transplanted into the mouse brain. The same 5C medium could convert primary rat astrocytes into neuronal-like cells with mature electrophysiology characteristics in vitro and facilitated the recovery of brain injury, possibly by inducing similar conversions, when infused into the mouse brain in vivo. Crucially, 5C medium could also induce neuronal characteristics in several human cell types.
In summary, this 5C medium not only provides a means to derive cells with neuronal characteristics without viral transfection in vitro but might also be useful to produce neurons in vivo for neurodegenerative disease treatment.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13619-015-0027-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4696146  PMID: 26719791
Neurons; Somatic cells; Astrocytes; Trans-differentiation; Defined medium
8.  Expression of CPEB4 in invasive ductal breast carcinoma and its prognostic significance 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:3499-3506.
Cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding proteins (CPEBs) are RNA-binding proteins that regulate translation by inducing cytoplasmic polyadenylation. CPEB4 has been reported in association with tumor growth, vascularization, and invasion in several cancers. To date, the expression of CPEB4 with clinical prognosis of breast cancer was never reported before. We aim to investigate the expression of CPEB4 and its prognostic significance in invasive ductal breast carcinoma.
Immunohistochemical staining of CPEB4 and estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and human epidermal growth factor receptor was performed in 107 invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) samples, and prognostic significance was evaluated.
High expression of CPEB4 was observed in 48.6% of IDC samples. Elevated CPEB4 expression was possibly related to increased histological grading (P=0.037) and N stage (P<0.001). Patients with high expression of CPEB4 showed shorter overall survival (P=0.001). High CPEB4 expression was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival (P=0.022, hazard ratio =4.344, 95% confidence interval =1.235–15.283).
High CPEB4 expression is associated with increased histological grading and N stage, and it can serve as an independent prognostic factor in IDC.
PMCID: PMC4664518  PMID: 26648741
cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein 4; invasive ductal carcinoma; immunohistochemistry; prognosis
9.  Lipoxin A4 Attenuates Cell Invasion by Inhibiting ROS/ERK/MMP Pathway in Pancreatic Cancer 
Lipoxin A4 (LXA4), an endogenous arachidonic acid metabolite, was previously considered an anti-inflammatory lipid mediator. But it also has the potential to inhibit cancer progression. To explore the therapeutic effect of LXA4 in pancreatic cancer, we used Panc-1 cells to investigate the mechanism by which LXA4 can attenuate pancreatic cancer cell invasion. Our data showed that LXA4 significantly inhibited both cell invasion and the expression of matrix metalloproteinase- (MMP-) 9 and MMP-2. Further experiments implied that LXA4 decreased the levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the activity of the extracellular signal regulated kinases (ERK) pathway to achieve similar outcome to ROS scavenger N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC). However, a decreased level of intracellular ROS was not observed in cells treated with the specific ERK pathway inhibitor FR180204. The blocking of either intracellular ROS or ERK pathway caused the downregulation of MMP-9 and MMP-2 expression. Furthermore, tests revealed that LXA4 inhibited MMP-9 and MMP-2 at the mRNA, protein, and functional levels. Finally, LXA4 dramatically limited the invasion of CoCl2-mimic hypoxic cells and abrogated intracellular ROS levels, ERK activity, and MMPs expression. These results suggest that LXA4 attenuates cell invasion in pancreatic cancer by suppressing the ROS/ERK/MMPs pathway, which may be beneficial for preventing the invasion of pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4663743  PMID: 26649143
10.  Etiology of Childhood Infectious Diarrhea in a Developed Region of China: Compared to Childhood Diarrhea in a Developing Region and Adult Diarrhea in a Developed Region 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0142136.
In China, great differences in economy, social characteristics and hygiene exist between developing and developed regions. A comparative study of infectious diarrhea between two regions was needed. Three groups of diarrheal patients were collected: children ≤5 year-olds from Beijing (developed region) and Henan Province (developing region), and adults over 18 year-olds from Beijing. A questionnaire was used to survey and feces samples were examined for 16 enteropathogens. We enrolled 1422 children and 1047 adults from developed region and 755 children from developing region. Virus positive rates were 32.98% for children and 23.67% for adults in developed region. The most prevalent pathogen for children was rotavirus whereas for adults was norovirus. Bacterial isolation rates were 13.92% for children from developed region, while 29.14% for children from the developing regions. For the greatest difference, Shigella accounted for 50.79% and was the dominant pathogen in the developing region, whereas in the developed region it was only 1.45%. There was no significant relationship between the local levels of development with diarrheogenic Escherichia coli (DEC) categories. But it was seen the notable differences between the population with different age: enteropathogenic E.coli (EPEC) and enteroaggregative E.coli (EAggEC) were the primary classes of DEC in children from both regions, whereas it was enterotoxigenic E.coli (ETEC) in adults. The symptoms of Shigella and Salmonella infection, such as bloody stools, white blood cells (WBC) and red blood cells (RBC) positivity and fever were similar in children, which may lead to the misidentification. Yersinia enterocolitica and shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC) infections were firstly reported in Beijing. There was a large difference in etiology of bacterial diarrhea between children in developing and developed regions of China.
PMCID: PMC4631449  PMID: 26528820
11.  A feasible method to improve adherence of Hawley retainer in adolescent orthodontic patients: a randomized controlled trial 
Retention is an important component of orthodontic treatment; however, poor compliance with retainer use is often encountered, especially in adolescents. The purpose of this study was to prove the hypothesis that verbal instructions combined with images showing the severe consequences of poor compliance can increase retainer use.
This study was a randomized controlled trial. The sample was recruited from Wenzhou, People’s Republic of China, between February 2013 and May 2014, and 326 participants were randomized into three groups. Patients and parents in Group A (n=106) were given routine retainer wear instructions only; in Group B (n=111), images illustrating the severe consequences of poor compliance with Hawley retainer use were shown to patients, combined with routine instructions; and in Group C (n=109), images illustrating the severe consequences of poor compliance with Hawley retainer use were shown to patients and parents, combined with routine instructions. Three months after debonding, questionnaires were used to investigate daily wear time and the reasons for poor compliance. Differences in means between the groups were tested by one-way analysis of variance.
The mean daily wear time in Group C (15.09±4.13 hours) was significantly greater than in Group A (12.37±4.58 hours, P<0.01) or Group B (13.50±4.22 hours, P<0.05); the mean daily wear time in Group B was greater than in Group A, but was not significant (P=0.67). Reasons for nonusage were forgetting to wear the retainer (51%) and finding the retainer bothersome to frequently insert and remove (42%).
Verbal instructions combined with images showing the severe consequences of poor compliance can increase retainer use. Parents play an important role in compliance with retainer use in adolescent patients.
PMCID: PMC4630201  PMID: 26604705
orthodontics; Hawley retainers; adherence
12.  A regulatory loop containing miR-26a, GSK3β and C/EBPα regulates the osteogenesis of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:15280.
Elucidating the molecular mechanisms responsible for osteogenesis of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hADSCs) will provide deeper insights into the regulatory mechanisms of this process and help develop more efficient methods for cell-based therapies. In this study, we analysed the role of miR-26a in the regulation of hADSC osteogenesis. The endogenous expression of miR-26a increased during the osteogenic differentiation. The overexpression of miR-26a promoted hADSC osteogenesis, whereas osteogenesis was repressed by miR-26a knockdown. Additionally, miR-26a directly targeted the 3′UTR of the GSK3β, suppressing the expression of GSK3β protein. Similar to the effect of overexpressing miR-26a, the knockdown of GSK3β promoted osteogenic differentiation, whereas GSK3β overexpression inhibited this process, suggesting that GSK3β acted as a negative regulator of hADSC osteogenesis. Furthermore, GSK3β influences Wnt signalling pathway by regulating β-catenin, and subsequently altered the expression of its downstream target C/EBPα. In turn, C/EBPα transcriptionally regulated the expression of miR-26a by physically binding to the CTDSPL promoter region. Taken together, our data identified a novel feedback regulatory circuitry composed of miR-26a, GSK3β and C/EBPα, the function of which might contribute to the regulation of hADSC osteogenesis. Our findings provided new insights into the function of miR-26a and the mechanisms underlying osteogenesis of hADSCs.
PMCID: PMC4606799  PMID: 26469406
13.  Enhanced antitumor effect of combining chemotherapy with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes in mice with EBV-related non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2015;3(6):1233-1238.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) represents a major problem in hematological clinical studies due to its drug tolerance and refractoriness. EBV infection is a key factor driving the process of tumor growth. Immune therapy is an important biotherapeutic method of treating cancer, which is attracting increasing attention. We hypothesized that combining conventional chemotherapy with immune therapy in the treatment of EBV-related NHL may achieve better outcomes. First, we successfully cloned large numbers of EBV-specific T cells by immune stimulation ex vivo. Subsequently, the combined therapy was applied in a murine model of human EBV-related NHL. As expected, combined therapy inhibited tumor growth more effectively compared with monotherapy. In addition, we continuously tested the tumor-associated immune microenvironment and observed that the numbers of tumor-infiltrating cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and macrophages were elevated following combined therapy. These effects suggest that EBV-specific CTLs may indirectly promote an innate immune reaction in lymphoma by activating tumor-infiltrating macrophage proliferation. Our findings may provide a guide for the prospective treatment of EBV-related NHL.
PMCID: PMC4665265  PMID: 26807226
Epstein-Barr virus; cytotoxic T cell; lymphoma; chemotherapy; immunotherapy
14.  GABAergic Projections from Lateral Hypothalamus to Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus Promote Feeding 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2015;35(8):3312-3318.
Lesions of the lateral hypothalamus (LH) cause hypophagia. However, activation of glutamatergic neurons in LH inhibits feeding. These results suggest a potential importance for other LH neurons in stimulating feeding. Our current study in mice showed that disruption of GABA release from adult LH GABAergic neurons reduced feeding. LH GABAergic neurons project extensively to the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVH), and optogenetic stimulation of GABAergic LH → PVH fibers induced monosynaptic IPSCs in PVH neurons, and potently increased feeding, which depended on GABA release. In addition, disruption of GABA-A receptors in the PVH reduced feeding. Thus, we have identified a new feeding pathway in which GABAergic projections from the LH to the PVH promote feeding.
PMCID: PMC4339348  PMID: 25716832
feeding; GABA; LH; optogenetics; PVH
15.  Strategies for Improved 3D Small-Tip Fast Recovery (STFR) Imaging 
Small-tip fast recovery (STFR) imaging is a recently proposed steady-state sequence that has similar image contrast as balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) but has the potential to simultaneously remove banding artifacts and transient fluctuation. STFR relies on a “tip-up” radiofrequency (RF) pulse tailored to the accumulated phase during the free precession (data acquisition) interval, designed to bring spins back to the longitudinal axis, thereby preserving transverse magnetization as longitudinal magnetization for the next TR. We recently proposed an RF-spoiled STFR sequence suitable for thin slab imaging, however in many applications, e.g., functional MRI or isotropic-resolution structural imaging, 3D steady-state imaging is desirable. Unfortunately, 3D STFR imaging is challenging due to the need for 3D tailored RF pulses. Here we propose new strategies for improved 3D STFR imaging, based on (i) unspoiled imaging, and (ii) joint design of non-slice-selective tip-down/tip-up RF pulses.
Theory and Methods
We derive an analytic signal model for the proposed unspoiled STFR sequence, and propose two strategies for designing the 3D tailored tip-down/tip-up RF pulses. We validate the analytic results using phantom and in-vivo imaging experiments.
Our analytic model and imaging experiments demonstrate that the proposed unspoiled STFR sequence is less sensitive to tip-up excitation error compared to the corresponding spoiled sequence, and may therefore be an attractive candidate for 3D imaging. The proposed “joint” RF pulse design method, in which we formulate the tip-down/tip-up RF pulse design task as a magnitude least squares problem, produces modest improvement over a simpler “separate” design approach. Using the proposed unspoiled sequence and joint RF pulse design, we demonstrate proof-of-principle 3D STFR brain images with bSSFP-like signal properties but with reduced banding.
Using the proposed unspoiled sequence and joint RF pulse design, STFR brain images in a 3D region of interest (ROI) with bSSFP-like signal properties but with reduced banding can be obtained.
PMCID: PMC4428120  PMID: 24127132
steady-state MRI; pulse design; bSSFP; banding artifact; small-tip fast recovery; STFR
16.  The Adaptive Change of HLA-DRB1 Allele Frequencies Caused by Natural Selection in a Mongolian Population That Migrated to the South of China 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0134334.
Pathogen-driven balancing selection determines the richness of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles. Changes in the pathogen spectrum may cause corresponding changes in HLA loci. Approximately 700 years ago, a Mongolian population moved from the north of China to the Yunnan region in the south of China. The pathogen spectrum in the south of China differs from that in the north. In this study, changes in the HLA genes in the Yunnan Mongolian population, as well as the underlying mechanism, were investigated. A sequence-based typing method (SBT) was used to genotype HLA-DRB1 in 470 individuals from two Mongolian populations and another five ethnic groups. Meanwhile, 10 autosomal short tandem repeats (STRs) were genotyped to assess the influence of genetic background on HLA-DRB1 frequencies. The frequencies of certain alleles changed significantly in the Mongolian population that migrated to Yunnan. For example, DRB1*12:02:01 increased from 6.1% to 35.4%. STR analysis excluded the possibility of a recent bottleneck and indicated that 50% of the genetic consistency between northern and southern Mongolians; Tajima's D value for HLA-DRB1 exon2 and dN/dS analysis showed that the HLA-DRB1 genes in both Mongolian populations were under balancing selection. However, the sites under natural selection changed. We proposed that the dramatically change of HLA frequencies in southern Mongolian was caused by a combination of inter-population gene flow and natural selection. Certain diseases specific to the south of China, such as malaria, may be the driving force behind the enhanced DRB1*12:02:01 frequency.
PMCID: PMC4521750  PMID: 26230582
17.  Combination of inflammation-related cytokines promotes long-term muscle stem cell expansion 
Cell Research  2015;25(6):655-673.
Muscle stem cells (MuSCs, satellite cells) are the major contributor to muscle regeneration. Like most adult stem cells, long-term expansion of MuSCs in vitro is difficult. The in vivo muscle regeneration abilities of MuSCs are quickly lost after culturing in vitro, which prevents the potential applications of MuSCs in cell-based therapies. Here, we establish a system to serially expand MuSCs in vitro for over 20 passages by mimicking the endogenous microenvironment. We identified that the combination of four pro-inflammatory cytokines, IL-1α, IL-13, TNF-α, and IFN-γ, secreted by T cells was able to stimulate MuSC proliferation in vivo upon injury and promote serial expansion of MuSCs in vitro. The expanded MuSCs can replenish the endogenous stem cell pool and are capable of repairing multiple rounds of muscle injuries in vivo after a single transplantation. The establishment of the in vitro system provides us a powerful method to expand functional MuSCs to repair muscle injuries.
PMCID: PMC4456625  PMID: 25976405
muscle stem cells; T cells; muscle regeneration; inflammation; long-term expansion; stemness maintenance
18.  α-Mangostin inhibits hypoxia-driven ROS-induced PSC activation and pancreatic cancer cell invasion 
Cancer letters  2014;347(1):129-138.
Recent advances indicating a key role of microenvironment for tumor progression, we investigated the role of PSCs and hypoxia in pancreatic cancer aggressiveness, and examined the potential protective effect of α-mangostin on hypoxia-driven pancreatic cancer progression. Our data indicate that hypoxic PSCs exploit their oxidative stress due to hypoxia to secrete soluble factors favouring pancreatic cancer invasion. α-mangostin suppresses hypoxia-induced PSC activation and pancreatic cancer cell invasion through the inhibition of HIF-1α stabilization and GLI1 expression. Increased generation of hypoxic ROS is responsible for HIF-1α stabilization and GLI1 upregulation. Therefore, α-mangostin may be beneficial in preventing hypoxia-induced pancreatic cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC4005872  PMID: 24513179
α-mangostin; PSC; hypoxia; ROS; pancreatic cancer
19.  Do Glioma Patients Derive Any Therapeutic Benefit From Taking a Higher Cumulative Dose of Temozolomide Regimens? 
Medicine  2015;94(20):e827.
Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text
Temozolomide (TMZ) is an oral alkylating agent with established effects on the central nervous system of glioblastoma (GBM) patients. Clinical trials have demonstrated a significant impact on overall survival (OS) with TMZ. Ever since, several TMZ regimens have been designed to improve treatment efficacy by increasing the cumulative dose per cycle. We report a meta-analysis to systematically evaluate different treatment schedules of TMZ in GBM patients.
All searches that were conducted in the Cochrane library, Science Direct, and PubMed Databases, and 3 randomized controlled trials (1141 patients) were included. OS and progression-free survival (PFS) were the primary outcomes to be pooled.
Unexpectedly, this analysis did not reveal any OS or PFS advantage for the high cumulative dose (HCD) regimen compared with the normal cumulative dose regimen (1141 total patients; hazard ratio [HR] 1.07, 95% CI 0.94–1.22, P = 0.31). Then after analyzing the characteristics of the results from each trial, we found that the regimen with a higher peak concentration during a short-term period (daily doses ≥150 mg/m2/d within ≤7 days/cycle) always had a more superior clinical benefit. So we generated a new pooled HR of 1.10 with a 95% CI of 0.96–1.25 (P = 0.17), which prefers the high peak concentration schedule even without a significant difference. The adverse outcome also indicates a significant increased risk of leukopenia (risk ratio 1.59, 95% CI 1.03–2.46, P = 0.04) among the HCD group.
Our study suggests that increasing the cumulative dose per cycle is not an ideal way to improve the efficacy of TMZ, and it will lead to increased risk for leukopenia. Future trials should be designed to examine schedules of higher peak concentration rather than the cumulative dose per cycle.
PMCID: PMC4602866  PMID: 25997057
20.  Biotransformation of steroidal saponins in sisal (Agave sisalana Perrine) to tigogenin by a newly isolated strain from a karst area of Guilin, China 
A rod-shaped bacterium was isolated from the soil in a karst area of Guilin, China and its biotransformation of steroidal saponins in sisal (Agave sisalana Perrine) to tigogenin was presented for the first time. A total of 22 strains for the degradation of steroidal saponins in sisal were isolated from 48 soil samples, and the isolated rod-shaped, bacterial strain ZG-21 was used for the production of tigogenin due to its highest degradation efficiency of steroidal saponins in sisal. The parameters affecting biotransformation by strain ZG-21 were optimized. Under the optimized conditions of temperature (30 °C), pH (6), time (5 days) and substrate concentration (5 mg/mL), a maximum tigogenin yield of 26.7 mg/g was achieved. Compared with the conventional method of acid hydrolysis, the biotransformation method provided a clean and eco-friendly alternative for the production of tigogenin.
PMCID: PMC4434041  PMID: 26019589
sisal; tigogenin; biotransformation; steroidal saponins; acid hydrolysis
21.  Pancreas-sparing duodenectomy with regional lymph node dissection for early-stage ampullary carcinoma: A case control study using propensity scoring methods 
AIM: To investigate the outcomes of pancreas-sparing duodenectomy (PSD) with regional lymph node dissection vs pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD).
METHODS: Between August 2001 and June 2014, 228 patients with early-stage ampullary carcinoma (Amp Ca) underwent surgical treatment (PD, n = 159; PSD with regional lymph node dissection, n = 69). The patients were divided into two groups: the PD group and the PSD group. Propensity scoring methods were used to select patients with similar disease statuses. A total of 138 matched cases, with 69 patients in each group, were included in the final analysis.
RESULTS: The median operative time was shorter among the patients in the PSD group (435 min) compared with those in the PD group (481 min, P = 0.048). The median blood loss in the PSD group was significantly less than that in the PD group. The median length of hospital stay was shorter for patients in the PSD group vs the PD group. The incidence of pancreatic fistula was higher among patients in the PD group vs the PSD group. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival and disease-free survival rates for patients in the PSD group were 83%, 70%, 44% and 73%, 61%, 39%, respectively, and these values were not different than compared with those in the PD group (P = 0.625).
CONCLUSION: PSD with regional lymph node dissection presents an acceptable morbidity in addition to its advantages over PD. PSD may be a safe and feasible alternative to PD in the treatment of early-stage Amp Ca.
PMCID: PMC4427670  PMID: 25987771
Ampullary carcinoma; Early stage; Surgical treatments; Prognosis; Propensity scoring methods
22.  Systems Mapping for Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Heterogeneity 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126937.
Cells with the same genotype growing under the same conditions can show different phenotypes, which is known as “population heterogeneity”. The heterogeneity of hematopoietic progenitor cells has an effect on their differentiation potential and lineage choices. However, the genetic mechanisms governing population heterogeneity remain unclear. Here, we present a statistical model for mapping the quantitative trait locus (QTL) that affects hematopoietic cell heterogeneity. This strategy, termed systems mapping, integrates a system of differential equations into the framework for systems mapping, allowing hypotheses regarding the interplay between genetic actions and cell heterogeneity to be tested. A simulation approach based on cell heterogeneity dynamics has been designed to test the statistical properties of the model. This model not only considers the traditional QTLs, but also indicates the methylated QTLs that can illustrate non-genetic individual differences. It has significant implications for probing the molecular, genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of hematopoietic progenitor cell heterogeneity.
PMCID: PMC4430299  PMID: 25970338
23.  Fluoxetine Epigenetically Alters the CaMKIIα Promoter in Nucleus Accumbens to Regulate ΔFosB Binding and Antidepressant Effects 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2013;39(5):1178-1186.
Chronic social defeat stress in mice produces a susceptible phenotype characterized by several behavioral abnormalities consistent with human depression that are reversed by chronic but not acute exposure to antidepressant medications. Recent work in addiction models demonstrates that the transcription factor ΔFosB and protein kinase calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) are co-regulated in nucleus accumbens (NAc), a brain reward region implicated in both addiction and depression models including social defeat. Previous work has also demonstrated that ΔFosB is induced in NAc after chronic social defeat stress or after chronic antidepressant treatment, wherein it mediates a pro-resilience or antidepressant-like phenotype. Here, using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we found that ΔFosB binds the CaMKIIα gene promoter in NAc and that this binding increases after mice are exposed to chronic social defeat stress. Paradoxically, chronic exposure to the antidepressant fluoxetine reduces binding of ΔFosB to the CaMKIIα promoter and reduces CaMKII expression in NAc, despite the fact that ΔFosB is induced under these conditions. These data suggest a novel epigenetic mechanism of antidepressant action, whereby fluoxetine induces some chromatin change at the CaMKIIα promoter, which blocks the ΔFosB binding. Indeed, chronic fluoxetine reduces acetylation and increases lysine-9 dimethylation of histone H3 at the CaMKIIα promoter in NAc, effects also seen in depressed humans exposed to antidepressants. Overexpression of CaMKII in NAc blocks fluoxetine's antidepressant effects in the chronic social defeat paradigm, whereas inhibition of CaMKII activity in NAc mimics fluoxetine exposure. These findings suggest that epigenetic suppression of CaMKIIα expression in NAc is behaviorally relevant and offer a novel pathway for possible therapeutic intervention in depression and related syndromes.
PMCID: PMC3957112  PMID: 24240473
biological psychiatry; depression; unipolar; bipolar; dopamine; epigenetics; serotonin; transcription; CaMKII; histone; accumbens; fluoxetine; ΔFosB; depression
24.  Cobalt-catalysed site-selective intra- and intermolecular dehydrogenative amination of unactivated sp3 carbons 
Nature Communications  2015;6:6462.
Cobalt-catalysed sp2 C–H bond functionalization has attracted considerable attention in recent years because of the low cost of cobalt complexes and interesting modes of action in the process. In comparison, much less efforts have been devoted to the sp3 carbons. Here we report the cobalt-catalysed site-selective dehydrogenative cyclization of aliphatic amides via a C–H bond functionalization process on unactivated sp3 carbons with the assistance of a bidentate directing group. This method provides a straightforward synthesis of monocyclic and spiro β- or γ-lactams with good to excellent stereoselectivity and functional group tolerance. In addition, a new procedure has been developed to selectively remove the directing group, which enables the synthesis of free β- or γ-lactam compounds. Furthermore, the first cobalt-catalysed intermolecular dehydrogenative amination of unactivated sp3 carbons is also realized.
Functionalizing unactivated carbon–hydrogen bonds is challenging, especially when using non-precious metals and dealing with sp3 hybridized carbons. Here, the authors report an intramolecular cobalt catalysed amination of C–H bonds of sp3 carbons, giving access to β- and γ-lactams.
PMCID: PMC4366490  PMID: 25753366
25.  Effects of DLX2 overexpression on the osteogenic differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells 
Distal-less genes (DLX) play important roles in regulating organism development. DLX2 is crucial for the differentiation and development of the primordium, which determines the subsequent development and phenotype of the maxillofacial skeletal patterns, and is the primary candidate gene that regulates the development of the first branchial arch. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of DLX2 overexpression on the osteogenic differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells in vitro. A DLX2-expression retrovirus vector was constructed by subcloning with a murine stem cell virus (MSCV) and verified by sequencing. MC3T3-E1 cells were transfected with pMSCV-DLX2 and stable clones were selected with puromycin. The mRNA and protein expression levels of DLX2 were determined using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and western blot analysis, respectively. In addition, the expression levels of the osteogenic biomarkers, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteocalcin (OCN), runt-related transcription factor (RUNX)2 and Msh homeobox (MSX)2, were assessed by quantitative PCR. ALP detection and Alizarin red staining were conducted to evaluate the effect of DLX2 overexpression on osteogenic differentiation. The data were analyzed by analysis of variance using the Student-Newman-Keuls method. Successful pMSCV-DLX2 construction, as verified by direct sequencing, enabled DLX2 overexpression in vitro. Enhanced ALP activity and Alizarin red staining were observed in the MC3T3-E1-DLX2 cells when compared with the control group. During osteogenic induction, DLX2 overexpression was demonstrated to upregulate ALP and MSX2 expression at the early stage and OCN expression at the late stage, while no statistically significant difference was observed in RUNX2 expression when compared with the control group. Therefore, DLX2 overexpression in vitro induced the osteogenic differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells via upregulating bone formation-associated genes, such as ALP and MSX2.
PMCID: PMC4473650  PMID: 26136955
distal-less gene 2; osteogenic differentiation; MC3T3-E1 cells

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