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1.  A New Chiral Pyrrolyl α-Nitronyl Nitroxide Radical Attenuates β-Amyloid Deposition and Rescues Memory Deficits in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer Disease 
Neurotherapeutics  2012;10(2):340-353.
The generation of reactive oxygen species causes cellular oxidative damage, and has been implicated in the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). L-NNNBP, a new chiral pyrrolyl α-nitronyl nitroxide radical synthesized in our department, shows potential antioxidant effects. The purpose of this study was to investigate the protective effects of L-NNNBP on β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition and memory deficits in an AD model of APP/PS1 mice. In cultured cortical neurons, L-NNNBP acted as an antioxidant by quenching reactive oxygen species, inhibiting lipid peroxidation, nitrosative stress, and stimulating cellular antioxidant defenses. L-NNNBP inhibited cell apoptosis induced by Aβ exposure. In vivo treatment with L-NNNBP for 1 month induced a marked decrease in brain Aβ deposition and tau phosphorylation in the blinded study on APP/PS1 transgenic mice (1 mM in drinking water, initiated when the mice were 6 months old). The L-NNNBP-treated APP/PS1 mice showed decreased astrocyte activation and improved spatial learning and memory compared with the vehicle-treated APP/PS1 mice. These actions were more potent compared with that of curcumin, a natural product, and TEMPO, a nitroxide radical, which are used as free radical scavengers in clinics. These results proved that the newly synthesized L-NNNBP was an effective therapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of AD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-012-0168-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3625382  PMID: 23212232
Reactive oxygen species; Alzheimer disease; Nitroxide radical; L-NNNBP; β-amyloid
2.  Phase I Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Study of Cetuximab, Irinotecan and Sorafenib in Advanced Colorectal Cancer 
Investigational new drugs  2012;31(2):345-354.
This phase Ib study was designed to determine the maximum tolerated doses (MTD) and dose limiting toxicities (DLTs) of irinotecan and cetuximab with sorafenib. Secondary objectives included characterizing the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and evaluating preliminary antitumor activity in patients with advanced colorectal cancer (CRC).
Patients with metastatic, pretreated CRC were treated at five dose levels.
Eighteen patients were recruited with median age 56.5 years. In the first five patients treated, 2 irinotecan related DLTs were observed. With reduced dose intensity irinotecan, there were no further DLTs. The most common toxicities were diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, anorexia and rash. DLTs included neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. Two patients had partial responses (one with a KRAS mutation) and 8 had stable disease (8–36 weeks). The median progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 2.5 and 4.7 months respectively. Pharmacokinetic analyses suggest sorafenib and metabolite exposure correlate with OS and DLTs.
The recommended phase II dose (RP2D) is irinotecan 100mg/m2 i.v. days 1, 8; cetuximab 400mg/m2 i.v. days 1 and 250mg/m2 i.v. weekly; and sorafenib 400mg orally twice daily in advanced, pretreated CRC. The combination resulted in a modest response rate.
PMCID: PMC3674958  PMID: 22615057
sorafenib; cetuximab; irinotecan; pharmacokinetics; colorectal cancer
3.  Interactions of the Vaccinia Virus A19 Protein 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(19):10710-10720.
The A19 protein of vaccinia virus (VACV) is conserved among chordopoxviruses, expressed late in infection, packaged in the virus core, and required for a late step in morphogenesis. Multiple-sequence alignments of A19 homologs indicated conservation of a series of lysines and arginines, which could represent a nuclear localization or nucleic acid binding motif, and a pair of CXXC motifs that suggested a zinc finger or redox active sites. The importance of the CXXC motif was confirmed by cysteine-to-serine substitutions, which rendered the altered protein unable to trans-complement infectivity of a null mutant. Nevertheless, the cysteines were not required for function of the poxvirus-specific redox pathway. Epitope-tagged A19 proteins were detected in the nucleus and cytoplasm in both infected and uninfected cells, but this distribution was unaffected by alanine substitutions of the arginine residues, which only partially reduced the ability of the mutated protein to trans-complement infectivity. Viral proteins specifically associated with affinity-purified A19 were identified by mass spectrometry as components of the transcription complex, including RNA polymerase subunits, RAP94 (RNA polymerase-associated protein 94), early transcription factors, capping enzyme, and nucleoside triphosphate phosphohydrolase I, and two core proteins required for morphogenesis. Further studies suggested that the interaction of A19 with the RNA polymerase did not require RAP94 or other intermediate or late viral proteins but was reduced by mutation of cysteines in the putative zinc finger domain. Although A19 was not required for incorporation of the transcription complex in virus particles, the transcriptional activity of A19-deficient virus particles was severely reduced.
PMCID: PMC3807377  PMID: 23885084
4.  Symbiotic Adaptation Drives Genome Streamlining of the Cyanobacterial Sponge Symbiont “Candidatus Synechococcus spongiarum” 
mBio  2014;5(2):e00079-14.
“Candidatus Synechococcus spongiarum” is a cyanobacterial symbiont widely distributed in sponges, but its functions at the genome level remain unknown. Here, we obtained the draft genome (1.66 Mbp, 90% estimated genome recovery) of “Ca. Synechococcus spongiarum” strain SH4 inhabiting the Red Sea sponge Carteriospongia foliascens. Phylogenomic analysis revealed a high dissimilarity between SH4 and free-living cyanobacterial strains. Essential functions, such as photosynthesis, the citric acid cycle, and DNA replication, were detected in SH4. Eukaryoticlike domains that play important roles in sponge-symbiont interactions were identified exclusively in the symbiont. However, SH4 could not biosynthesize methionine and polyamines and had lost partial genes encoding low-molecular-weight peptides of the photosynthesis complex, antioxidant enzymes, DNA repair enzymes, and proteins involved in resistance to environmental toxins and in biosynthesis of capsular and extracellular polysaccharides. These genetic modifications imply that “Ca. Synechococcus spongiarum” SH4 represents a low-light-adapted cyanobacterial symbiont and has undergone genome streamlining to adapt to the sponge’s mild intercellular environment.
Although the diversity of sponge-associated microbes has been widely studied, genome-level research on sponge symbionts and their symbiotic mechanisms is rare because they are unculturable. “Candidatus Synechococcus spongiarum” is a widely distributed uncultivated cyanobacterial sponge symbiont. The genome of this symbiont will help to characterize its evolutionary relationship and functional dissimilarity to closely related free-living cyanobacterial strains. Knowledge of its adaptive mechanism to the sponge host also depends on the genome-level research. The data presented here provided an alternative strategy to obtain the draft genome of “Ca. Synechococcus spongiarum” strain SH4 and provide insight into its evolutionary and functional features.
PMCID: PMC3977351  PMID: 24692632
5.  The Alternative Pathway of Complement Activation May Be Involved in the Renal Damage of Human Anti-Glomerular Basement Membrane Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91250.
Linear deposition of IgG and complement 3 (C3) along glomerular basement membrane (GBM) is generally revealed in the kidneys of human anti-GBM disease. Our recent studies demonstrated the pathogenic role of complement activation in renal damage of this disease. However, the pathways of complement activation were still paradoxical. In this study, renal biopsy tissues from 10 patients with anti-GBM disease were used to investigate the pathways of complement activation by detecting the deposition of various complement components, including C1q, factor B, factor P (properdin), mannose-binding lectin (MBL), C3d, C4d and C5b-9, using immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. We found that C1q, factor B, properdin, C3d, C4d and C5b-9 were detected in all the glomeruli of our patients, along GBM with a linear and/or granular staining pattern. Furthermore, C1q, factor B and properdin co-localized well with C5b-9. The properdin also co-localized well with C3d. However, the deposition of MBL was diffusive in mesangium, GBM, Bowman's capsule and within crescents and was not co-localized with C5b-9 but partially co-localized with C4d. The intensity of factor B deposition (3.3 vs. 1.2, P<0.001) and C5b-9 deposition (3.2 vs. 1.6, P<0.001) was significantly stronger in the glomeruli with crescent formation, compared with the glomeruli without crescents. The complement system is overall activated via both the alternative pathway and classical pathway in the kidneys of human anti-GBM disease. The alternative pathway might play an important role in complement activation induced renal damage.
PMCID: PMC3962356  PMID: 24658070
6.  Optimal Cut-Off Points for Two-Step Strategy in Screening of Undiagnosed Diabetes: A Population-Based Study in China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e87690.
To identify optimal cut-off points of fasting plasma glucose for two-step strategy in screening of undiagnosed diabetes in Chinese people, data were selected from two cross-sectional studies of Metabolic Syndrome in Zhejiang Province of China, Zhejiang Statistical Yearbook (2010), and published literatures. Two-step strategy was used among 17437 subjects sampled from population to screen undiagnosed diabetes. Effectiveness (proportion of cases identified), costs (including medical and non-medical costs), and efficiency (cost per case identified) of these different two-step screening strategies were evaluated. This study found the sensitivities of all the two-step screening strategies with further Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) at different Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) cut-off points from 5.0 to 7.0 (mmol/L) ranged from 0.66 to 0.91. For the FPG point of 5.0 mmol/L, 91 percent of undiagnosed cases were identified. The total cost of detecting one undiagnosed diabetes case ranged from 547.1 to 1294.5 CNY/case, and the strategy with FPG at cut-off point of 6.1 (mmol/L) resulted in the least cost. Considering both sensitivity and cost of screening diabetes, FPG cut-off point at 5.4 mmol/L was optimized for the two-step strategy. In conclusion, different optimal cut-off points of FPG for two-step strategy in screening of undiagnosed diabetes should be used for different screening purposes.
PMCID: PMC3946449  PMID: 24609110
7.  Optimal Eukaryotic 18S and Universal 16S/18S Ribosomal RNA Primers and Their Application in a Study of Symbiosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90053.
Eukaryotic 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene primers that feature a wide coverage are critical in detecting the composition of eukaryotic microscopic organisms in ecosystems. Here, we predicted 18S rRNA primers based on consecutive conserved sites and evaluated their coverage efficiency and scope of application to different eukaryotic groups. After evaluation, eight of them were considered as qualified 18S primers based on coverage rate. Next, we examined common conserved regions in prokaryotic 16S and eukaryotic 18S rRNA sequences to design 16S/18S universal primers. Three 16S/18S candidate primers, U515, U1390 and U1492, were then considered to be suitable for simultaneous amplification of the rRNA sequences in three domains. Eukaryotic 18S and prokaryotic 16S rRNA genes in a sponge were amplified simultaneously using universal primers U515 and U1390, and the subsequent sorting of pyrosequenced reads revealed some distinctive communities in different parts of the sample. The real difference in biodiversity between prokaryotic and eukaryotic symbionts could be discerned as the dissimilarity between OTUs was increased from 0.005 to 0.1. A network of the communities in external and internal parts of the sponge illustrated the co-variation of some unique microbes in certain parts of the sponge, suggesting that the universal primers are useful in simultaneous detection of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbial communities.
PMCID: PMC3940700  PMID: 24594623
8.  Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles mediated 131I-hVEGF siRNA inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma tumor growth in nude mice 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:114.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary liver tumor and is the most difficult human malignancy to treat. In this study, we sought to develop an integrative approach in which real-time tumor monitoring, gene therapy, and internal radiotherapy can be performed simultaneously. This was achieved through targeting HCC with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs) carrying small interfering RNA with radiolabled iodine 131 (131I) against the human vascular endothelial growth factor (hVEGF).
hVEGF siRNA was labeled with 131I by the Bolton-Hunter method and conjugated to SilenceMag, a type of SPIOs. 131I-hVEGF siRNA/SilenceMag was then subcutaneously injected into nude mice with HCC tumors exposed to an external magnetic field (EMF). The biodistribution and cytotoxicity of 131I-hVEGF siRNA/SilenceMag was assessed by SPECT (Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) studies and blood kinetics analysis. The body weight and tumor size of nude mice bearing HCC were measured daily for the 4-week duration of the experiment.
131I-hVEGF siRNA/SilenceMag was successfully labeled; with a satisfactory radiochemical purity (>80%) and biological activity in vitro. External application of an EMF successfully attracted and retained more 131I-hVEGF siRNA/SilenceMag in HCC tumors as shown by SPECT, MRI and biodistribution studies. The tumors treated with 131I-hVEGF siRNA/SilenceMag grew nearly 50% slower in the presence of EMF than those without EMF and the control. Immunohistochemical assay confirmed that the tumor targeted by 131I-hVEGF siRNA/SilenceMag guided by an EMF had a lower VEGF protein level compared to that without EMF exposure and the control.
EMF-guided 131I-hVEGF siRNA/SilenceMag exhibited an antitumor effect. The synergic therapy of 131I-hVEGF siRNA/SilenceMag might be a promising future treatment option against HCC with the dual functional properties of tumor therapy and imaging.
PMCID: PMC3938316  PMID: 24555445
VEGF; Small interfering RNA; 131I; Hepatocellular carcinoma; SPIOs
9.  Repurposing Itraconazole as a Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer: A Noncomparative Randomized Phase II Trial in Men With Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer 
The Oncologist  2013;18(2):163-173.
A noncomparative, randomized, phase II study evaluating the antitumor efficacy of two doses of oral itraconazole was conducted in men with metastatic prostate cancer.
The antifungal drug itraconazole inhibits angiogenesis and Hedgehog signaling and delays tumor growth in murine prostate cancer xenograft models. We conducted a noncomparative, randomized, phase II study evaluating the antitumor efficacy of two doses of oral itraconazole in men with metastatic prostate cancer.
Patients and Methods.
We randomly assigned 46 men with chemotherapy-naïve metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) to receive low-dose (200 mg/day) or high-dose (600 mg/day) itraconazole until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary endpoint was the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) progression-free survival (PPFS) rate at 24 weeks; a 45% success rate in either arm was prespecified as constituting clinical significance. Secondary endpoints included the progression-free survival (PFS) rate and PSA response rate (Prostate Cancer Working Group criteria). Exploratory outcomes included circulating tumor cell (CTC) enumeration, serum androgen measurements, as well as pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analyses.
The high-dose arm enrolled to completion (n = 29), but the low-dose arm closed early (n = 17) because of a prespecified futility rule. The PPFS rates at 24 weeks were 11.8% in the low-dose arm and 48.0% in the high-dose arm. The median PFS times were 11.9 weeks and 35.9 weeks, respectively. PSA response rates were 0% and 14.3%, respectively. In addition, itraconazole had favorable effects on CTC counts, and it suppressed Hedgehog signaling in skin biopsy samples. Itraconazole did not reduce serum testosterone or dehydroepiandrostenedione sulfate levels. Common toxicities included fatigue, nausea, anorexia, rash, and a syndrome of hypokalemia, hypertension, and edema.
High-dose itraconazole (600 mg/day) has modest antitumor activity in men with metastatic CRPC that is not mediated by testosterone suppression.
PMCID: PMC3579600  PMID: 23340005
Itraconazole; Prostate cancer; Angiogenesis; Hedgehog pathway
10.  Locus-Specific DNA Methylation Reprogramming During Early Porcine Embryogenesis1 
Biology of Reproduction  2013;88(2):48.
During early mammalian embryogenesis, there is a wave of DNA demethylation postfertilization and de novo methylation around implantation. The paternal genome undergoes active DNA demethylation, whereas the maternal genome is passively demethylated after fertilization in most mammals except for sheep and rabbits. However, the emerging genome-wide DNA methylation landscape has revealed a regulatory and locus-specific DNA methylation reprogramming pattern in mammalian preimplantation embryos. Here we optimized a bisulfite sequencing protocol to draw base-resolution DNA methylation profiles of several selected genes in gametes, early embryos, and somatic tissue. We observed locus-specific DNA methylation reprogramming in early porcine embryos. First, some pluripotency genes (POU5F1 and NANOG) followed a typical wave of DNA demethylation and remethylation, whereas CpG-rich regions of SOX2 and CDX2 loci were hypomethylated throughout development. Second, a differentially methylated region of an imprint control region in the IGF2/H19 locus exhibited differential DNA methylation which was maintained in porcine early embryos. Third, a centromeric repeat element retained a moderate DNA methylation level in gametes, early embryos, and somatic tissue. The diverse DNA methylation reprogramming during early embryogenesis is thought to be possibly associated with the multiple functions of DNA methylation in transcriptional regulation, genome stability and genomic imprinting. The latest technology such as oxidative bisulfite sequencing to identify 5-hydroxymethylcytosine will further clarify the DNA methylation reprogramming during porcine embryonic development.
DNA methylation reprogramming in early porcine embryos is locus-specific and associated with multiple functions of DNA methylation in transcriptional regulation, genomic imprinting, and genome stability.
PMCID: PMC3589235  PMID: 23303676
CDX2; DNA methylation; NANOG; porcine preimplantation embryos; POU5F1; reprogramming; SOX2
11.  Role of Telomere Dysfunction in Cardiac Failure in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 
Nature cell biology  2013;15(8):895-904.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), the most common inherited muscular dystrophy of childhood, leads to death due to cardiorespiratory failure. Paradoxically, mdx mice with the same genetic deficiency of dystrophin, exhibit minimal cardiac dysfunction, impeding the development of therapies. We postulated that the difference between mdx and DMD might result from differences in telomere lengths in mice and humans. We show here that, like DMD patients, mice that lack dystrophin and have shortened telomeres (mdx/mTRKO) develop severe functional cardiac deficits including ventricular dilation, contractile and conductance dysfunction, and accelerated mortality. These cardiac defects are accompanied by telomere erosion, mitochondrial fragmentation, and increased oxidative stress. Treatment with anti-oxidants significantly retards the onset of cardiac dysfunction and death of mdx/mTRKO mice. In corroboration, of four DMD patients analyzed, all had 45% shorter telomeres in their cardiomyocytes relative to age- and sex-matched controls. We propose that the demands of contraction in the absence of dystrophin coupled with increased oxidative stress conspire to accelerate telomere erosion culminating in cardiac failure and death. These findings provide strong support for a link between telomere length and dystrophin deficiency in the etiology of dilated cardiomyopathy in DMD and suggest preventive interventions.
PMCID: PMC3774175  PMID: 23831727
12.  Whole-Body Imaging of High-Dose Ionizing Irradiation-Induced Tissue Injuries Using 99mTc-Duramycin 
High-dose ionizing irradiation can cause extensive injuries in susceptible tissues. A noninvasive imaging technique that detects a surrogate marker of apoptosis may help characterize the dynamics of radiation-induced tissue damage. The goal of this study was to prove the concept of imaging the temporal and spatial distribution of damage in susceptible tissues after high-dose radiation exposure, using 99mTc-duramycin as a phosphatidylethanolamine-binding radiopharmaceutical.
Rats were subjected to 15 Gy of total-body irradiation with x-rays. Planar whole-body 99mTc-duramycin scanning (n = 4 per time point) was conducted at 24, 48, and 72 h using a clinical γ-camera. On the basis of findings from planar imaging, preclinical SPECT data were acquired on control rats and on irradiated rats at 6 and 24 h after irradiation (n = 4 per time point). Imaging data were validated by γ-counting and histology, using harvested tissues in parallel groups of animals (n = 4).
Prominent focal uptake was detected in the thymus as early as 6 h after irradiation, followed by a gradual decline in 99mTc-duramycin binding accompanied by extensive thymic atrophy. Early (6–24 h) radioactivity uptake in the gastrointestinal region was detected. Significant signal was seen in major bones in a slightly delayed fashion, at 24 h, which persisted for at least 2 d. This finding was paralleled by an elevation in signal intensity in the kidneys, spleen, and liver. The imaging results were consistent with ex vivo γ-counting results and histology. Relatively high levels of apoptosis were detected from histology in the thymus, guts, and bones, with the thymus undergoing substantial atrophy.
As a proof of principle, this study demonstrated a noninvasive imaging technique that allows characterization of the temporal and spatial dynamics of injuries in susceptible tissues during the acute phase after high-dose ionizing irradiation. Such an imaging capability will potentially be useful for global, whole-body, assessment of tissue damage after radiation exposure. These data, in turn, will contribute to our general knowledge of tissue susceptibility to ionizing irradiation, as well as the onset and progression of tissue injuries.
PMCID: PMC3894925  PMID: 23804327
99mTc-Duramycin; phosphatidylethanolamine; apoptosis; radiation injuries
13.  Protostane and Fusidane Triterpenes: A Mini-Review 
Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)  2013;18(4):4054-4080.
Protostane triterpenes belong to a group of tetracyclic triterpene that exhibit unique structural characteristics. Their natural distribution is primarily limited to the genus Alisma of the Alismataceae family, but they have also been occasionally found in other plant genera such as Lobelia, Garcinia, and Leucas. To date, there are 59 known structures of protostane. Many of them have been reported to possess biological properties such as improving lipotropism, hepato-protection, anti-viral activity against hepatitis B and HIV-I virus, anti-cancer activity, as well as reversal of multidrug resistance in cancer cells. On the other hand, fusidanes are fungal products characterized by the 29-nor protostane structures. They possess antibiotic properties against staphylococci, including the methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Fusidic acid is a representative member which has found clinical applications. This review covers plant sources of the protostanes, their structure elucidation, characteristic structural and spectral properties, as well as biological activities. The fungal sources, structural features, structure-activity relationship and biological activities of fusidanes are also covered in this review. Additionally, the biogenesis of these two types of triterpene is discussed and a refined pathway is proposed.
PMCID: PMC3901436  PMID: 23563857
Alisma; alisol; fusidane; protostane; triterpene
14.  Spin memristive magnetic tunnel junctions with CoO-ZnO nano composite barrier 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3835.
The spin memristive devices combining memristance and tunneling magnetoresistance have promising applications in multibit nonvolatile data storage and artificial neuronal computing. However, it is a great challenge for simultaneous realization of large memristance and magnetoresistance in one nanoscale junction, because it is very hard to find a proper spacer layer which not only serves as good insulating layer for tunneling magnetoresistance but also easily switches between high and low resistance states under electrical field. Here we firstly propose to use nanon composite barrier layers of CoO-ZnO to fabricate the spin memristive Co/CoO-ZnO/Co magnetic tunnel junctions. The bipolar resistance switching ratio is high up to 90, and the TMR ratio of the high resistance state gets to 8% at room temperature, which leads to three resistance states. The bipolar resistance switching is explained by the metal-insulator transition of CoO1−v layer due to the migration of oxygen ions between CoO1−v and ZnO1−v.
PMCID: PMC3899592  PMID: 24452305
15.  ERCP for patients who have undergone Billroth II gastroenterostomy and Braun anastomosis 
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is efficacious in patients who have undergone Billroth II gastroenterostomies, but the success rate decreases in patients who also have experienced Braun anastomoses. There are currently no reports describing the preferred enterography route for cannulation in these patients. We first review the patient’s previous surgery records, which most often indicate that the efferent loop is at the greater curvature of the stomach. We recommend extending the duodenoscope along the greater curvature of the stomach and then advancing it through the “lower entrance” at the site of the gastrojejunal anastomosis, along the efferent loop, and through the “middle entrance” at the site of the Braun anastomosis to reach the papilla of Vater. Ten patients who had each undergone Billroth II gastroenterostomy and Braun anastomosis between January 2009 and December 2011 were included in our study. The overall success rate of enterography was 90% for the patients who had undergone Billroth II gastroenterostomy and Braun anastomosis, and the therapeutic success rate was 80%. We believe that this enterography route for ERCP is optimal for a patient who has had Billroth II gastroenterostomy and Braun anastomosis and helps to increase the success rate of the procedure.
PMCID: PMC3923039  PMID: 24574733
Optimal enterography route; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Billroth II; Gastroenterostomy; Braun anastomosis
16.  Imaging of rat cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury using 99mTc-labeled duramycin 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2012;40(1):80-88.
Prompt identification of necrosis and apoptosis in the infarct core and penumbra region is critical in acute stroke for delineating the underlying ischemic/reperfusion molecular pathologic events and defining therapeutic alternatives. The objective of this study was to investigate the capability of 99mTc-labeled duramycin in detecting ischemia-reperfusion injury in rat brain after middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion.
Ischemic cerebral injury was induced in ten rats by vascular insertion of a nylon suture in the left MCA for 3 hr followed by 21–24 hr reperfusion. After i.v. injection of 99mTc-duramycin (1.0–3.5 mCi), dynamic cerebral images were acquired for 1 hr in six rats using a small-animal SPECT imager. Four other rats were imaged at 2 hr post-injection. Ex vivo images were obtained by autoradiography after sacrifice. Histologic analyses were performed to assess cerebral infarction and apoptosis.
SPECT images showed that 99mTc-duramycin uptake in the left cerebral hemisphere was significantly higher than that in the right at 1 and 2 hr post-injection. The level of radioactive uptake in the ischemic brain varied based on ischemic severity. The average ratio of left cerebral hot-spot uptake to right hemisphere radioactivity, as determined by computerized ROI analysis, was 4.92±0.79. Fractional washout at 1 hr was 38.2±4.5% of peak activity for left cerebral hot-spot areas and 80.9±2.0% for remote control areas (P<0.001). Based on triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining and autoradiograph image data, the hotspot uptake may be associated primarily with the ischemic penumbra, in which high apoptotic activity was observed by cleaved caspase-3 immunocytochemical staining.
99mTc-duramycin SPECT imaging may be useful for detecting and quantifying ongoing apoptotic neuronal cell loss induced by ischemia-reperfusion injury.
PMCID: PMC3632380  PMID: 23123139
99mTc; Duramycin; SPECT; cerebral ischemia; stroke
17.  Subcutaneous implants for long-acting drug therapy in laboratory animals may generate unintended drug reservoirs 
Long-acting therapy in laboratory animals offers advantages over the current practice of 2-3 daily drug injections. Yet little is known about the disintegration of biodegradable drug implants in rodents.
Compare bioavailability of buprenorphine with the biodegradation of lipid-encapsulated subcutaneous drug pellets.
Pharmacokinetic and histopathology studies were conducted in BALB/c female mice implanted with cholesterol-buprenorphine drug pellets.
Drug levels are below the level of detection (0.5 ng/mL plasma) within 4-5 days of implant. However, necroscopy revealed that interstitial tissues begin to seal implants within a week. Visual inspection of the implant site revealed no evidence of inflammation or edema associated with the cholesterol-drug residue. Chemical analyses demonstrated that the residues contained 10-13% of the initial opiate dose for at least two weeks post implant.
The results demonstrate that biodegradable scaffolds can become sequestered in the subcutaneous space.
Drug implants can retain significant and unintended reservoirs of drugs.
PMCID: PMC3895292  PMID: 24459402
Analgesia; buprenorphine; disintegration; mouse; sustained delivery
18.  Optimal Duration of Fluorouracil-Based Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Patients with Resectable Gastric Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83196.
Although several clinical trials have suggested that postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy can improve survival of patients with gastric cancer, the optimal treatment duration has not been studied. This retrospective analysis evaluated the outcomes of patients with gastric cancer treated with six cycles of fluorouracil-based treatment compared with a cohort treated with four or eight cycles.
We retrospectively identified 237 patients with stage IB–IIIC gastric cancer who received four, six, or eight cycles of fluorouracil-based adjuvant chemotherapy administered every 3 weeks after radical gastrectomy. The endpoint was overall survival (OS). Factors associated with prognosis were also analyzed.
The estimated 3-year OS rates for the four-, six-, and eight-cycle cohorts were 54.4%, 76.1%, and 68.9%, respectively; and the estimated 5-year OS rates were 41.2%, 74.0%, and 65.8%, respectively. Patients who received six cycles were more likely to have a better OS than those who received four cycles (P = 0.002). Eight cycles failed to show an additional survival benefit (P = 0.454). In the multivariate analysis, the number of chemotherapy cycles was associated with OS independent of clinical covariates (P<0.05). Subgroup analysis suggested that among patients in all age groups examined, male patients, and subgroups of fluorouracil plus oxaliplatin combined chemotherapy, stage III, poor differentiation, and gastrectomy with D2 lymphadenectomy, six cycles of adjuvant chemotherapy were associated with a statistically significant benefit of OS compared with four cycles (P<0.05).
Six cycles of adjuvant chemotherapy might lead to a favorable outcome for patients with gastric cancer, and two further cycles could not provide an additional clinical benefit.
PMCID: PMC3873471  PMID: 24386161
19.  Lantibiotics as probes for phosphatidylethanolamine 
Amino acids  2009;41(5):10.1007/s00726-009-0386-9.
Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) is a major component in the mammalian plasma membrane. It is present mainly in the inner leaflet of the membrane bilayer in a viable, typical mammalian cell. However, accumulating evidence indicates that a number of biological events involve PE externalization. For instance, PE is concentrated at the surface of cleavage furrow between mitotic daughter cells and is correlated with the dynamics of contractile ring. In apoptotic cells, PE is exposed to the cell surface, thus providing a molecular marker for detection. In addition, PE is a cofactor in the anticoagulant mechanism, and a distinct distribution profile of PE has been documented at the blood–endothelium interface. These recent discoveries were made possible using PE-specific probes derived from duramycin and cinnamycin, which are members of type B lantibiotics. This review provides an account on the features of these PE-specific lantibiotics in the context of molecular probes for the characterization of PE on a cellular and tissue level. According to the existing data, PE is likely a versatile chemical species that plays a role in the regulation of defined biological and physiological activities. The utilities of lantibiotic-based molecular probes will help accelerate the characterization of PE as an abundant, yet elusive membrane component.
PMCID: PMC3866894  PMID: 21573677
Duramycin; Cinnamycin; Phosphatidylethanolamine; Anticoagulant; Apoptosis; Cytokinesis; Imaging probe
20.  Phosphatidylethanolamine at the Luminal Endothelial Surface—Implications for Hemostasis and Thrombotic Autoimmunity 
Accumulating evidence suggests that phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) is physically present at the luminal endothelial surface, where it tentatively functions as a critical anticoagulant. The goal of the current investigation was 3-fold: to characterize the distribution profile of PE at the luminal endothelial surface; to examine the immunoreactivity to the vascular endothelium by anti-PE (aPE) sera from patients presenting with thrombosis; and to discuss the potential mechanism of PE upregulation by endothelial cells.
The rat aortic arch was selected as major conduit vessel under significant hemodynamic burden. The presence of PE and the antigenic profile of aPE sera at the luminal endothelial surface were examined using duramycin as a PE-binding probe and immunohistochemistry. Phosphatidylethanolamine upregulation at endothelial cell surface was investigated using cultured monolayer subject to laminar shear stress or thrombin treatment.
High levels of PE were detected at the luminal endothelial surface of aortic flow dividers, the ascending aorta, and the outer curvature of the aortic arch. The antigenic profiles of aPE sera, which are highly associated with elevated thrombotic risks in patients, are consistent with PE distribution along the endothelial surface. Finally, PE is upregulated at the surface of cultured endothelial cells in response to luminal shear stress but not thrombin.
The current data describe the physical distribution of vascular PE at the blood–endothelium interface. The luminal PE presents a vulnerability to anti-PE autoimmunity and is consistent with the association between aPE and elevated risk for idiopathic thrombosis.
PMCID: PMC3866907  PMID: 19903695
phosphatidylethanolamine; endothelium; duramycin; aPE; thrombosis
21.  Understanding the in vivo uptake kinetics of a phosphatidylethanolamine-binding agent 99mTc-Duramycin 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2012;39(6):10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2012.02.004.
99mTc-Duramycin is a peptide-based molecular probe that binds specifically to phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). The goal was to characterize the kinetics of molecular interactions between 99mTc-Duramycin and the target tissue.
High level of accessible PE is induced in cardiac tissues by myocardial ischemia (30 min) and reperfusion (120 min) in Sprague Dawley rats. Target binding and biodistribution of 99mTc-duramycin was captured using SPECT/CT. To quantify the binding kinetics, the presence of radioactivity in ischemic versus normal cardiac tissues was measured by gamma counting at 3, 10, 20, 60 and 180 min after injection. A partially inactivated form of 99mTc-Duramycin was analyzed in the same fashion. A compartment model was developed to quantify the uptake kinetics of 99mTc-Duramycin in normal and ischemic myocardial tissue.
99mTc-duramycin binds avidly to the damaged tissue with a high target-to-background radio. Compartment modeling shows that accessibility of binding sites in myocardial tissue to 99mTc-Duramycin is not a limiting factor and the rate constant of target binding in the target tissue is at 2.2 ml/nmol/min/g. The number of available binding sites for 99mTc-Duramycin in ischemic myocardium was estimated at 0.14 nmol/g. Covalent modification of D15 resulted in a 9 fold reduction in binding affinity.
99mTc-Duramycin accumulates avidly in target tissues in a PE-dependent fashion. Model results reflect an efficient uptake mechanism, consistent with the low molecular weight of the radiopharmaceutical and the relatively high density of available binding sites. These data help better define the imaging utilities of 99mTc-Duramycin as a novel PE-binding agent.
PMCID: PMC3866915  PMID: 22534031
99mTc-Duramycin; phosphatidylethanolamine; imaging agent
22.  A single-step kit formulation for the 99mTc-labeling of HYNIC-Duramycin 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2012;39(7):10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2012.03.006.
99mTc-Duramycin is a unique radiopharmaceutical that binds specifically to phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). The current effort is to develop a single-step kit formulation for the 99mTc labeling of HYNIC-Duramycin.
A titration series of Tricine/TPPTS coligand systems were tested for an optimal formulation to produce 99mTc-Duramycin with high radiochemical purity and specific activity. The radiopharmaceutical prepared using the kit formulation was tested for PE binding specificity using polystyrene microbeads coated with different phospholipid species. Radiochemical performance of the kits was assessed after storage at –20 °C, room temperature and 37 °C. Biodistribution profile of kit-prepared 99mTc-Duramycin was characterized in healthy rats at 3, 10, 20, 60 and 180 min after intravenous injection. Binding studies were performed using the rat aortic arch and a rat model of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion, which represent scenarios of physiological and pathological PE externalization.
A Tricine/TPPTS ratio of 10:1 led to a consistent production of 99mTc-Duramycin with high radiochemical purity (N 90%), whereas a higher ratio at 40:1 produced radiopharmaceuticals with incomplete substitution of Tricine coligand. 99mTc-Duramycin prepared using the single-step kit formulation retained PE-binding specificity. The kits are stable over long-term storage. The biodistribution profile of kit-prepared 99mTc-Duramycin is consistent with HPLC purified radiopharmaceutical from prior studies. Binding studies on a tissue level indicate that the radiopharmaceutical is suitable for studying biological processes that involve PE distribution and redistribution in various physiological and pathological conditions.
A single-step kit formulation is developed for 99mTc-labeling of HYNIC-Duramycin. The radiopharmaceutical has high radiochemical purity and specific activity, retained PE binding activities, amiable to long-term storage, and is injection-ready for in vivo applications.
PMCID: PMC3866917  PMID: 22858374
99mTc-Duramycin; Phosphatidylethanolamine; Kit formulation
23.  Evaluation of Chemotherapy Response in VX2 Rabbit Lung Cancer with 18F-Labeled C2A Domain of Synaptotagmin I 
The C2A domain of synaptotagmin I can target apoptotic cells by binding to exposed anionic phospholipids. The goal of this study was to synthesize and develop 18F-labeled C2A-gluta-thione-S-transferase (GST) as a molecular imaging probe for the detection of apoptosis and to assess the response of paclitaxel chemotherapy in VX2 rabbit lung cancer.
18F-C2A-GST was prepared by labeling C2A-GST with N-succinimidyl 4-18F-fluorobenzoate (18F-SFB). 18F-C2A-GST was confirmed by high-performance liquid chromatography and sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The binding of 18F-C2A-GST toward apoptosis was validated in vitro using camptothecin-induced Jurkat cells. Biodistribution of 18F-C2A-GST was determined in mice by a dissection method and small-animal PET. Single-dose paclitaxel was used to induce apoptosis in rabbits bearing VX2 tumors (n = 6), and 2 VX2 rabbits without treatment served as control. 18F-C2A-GST PET was performed before and at 72 h after therapy, and 18F-FDG PET/CT was also performed before treatment. To confirm the presence of apoptosis, tumor tissue was analyzed and activated caspase-3 was measured.
18F-C2A-GST was obtained with more than 95% radiochemical purity and was stable for 4 h after formulation. 18F-C2A-GST bound apoptotic cells specifically. Biodistribution in mice showed that 18F-C2A-GST mainly excreted from the kidneys and rapidly cleared from blood and nonspecific organs. High focal uptake of 18F-C2A-GST in the tumor area was determined after therapy, whereas no significant uptake before therapy was found in the tumor with 18F-FDG–avid foci. The maximum standardized uptake value after therapy was 0.47 ± 0.28, significantly higher than that in the control (0.009 ± 0.001; P < 0.001). The apoptotic index was 79.81% ± 8.73% in the therapy group, significantly higher than that in the control (5.03% ± 0.81%; P < 0.001). Activated caspase-3 after paclitaxel treatment increased to 69.55% ± 16.27% and was significantly higher than that in the control (12.26% ± 5.39%; P < 0.001).
18F-C2A-GST was easily synthesized by conjugation with 18F-SFB and manifested a favorable biodistribution. Our results demonstrated the feasibility of 18F-C2A-GST for the early detection of apoptosis after chemotherapy in a VX2 lung cancer model that could imitate the human lung cancer initiation, development, and progress.
PMCID: PMC3866918  PMID: 21421722
C2A domain; 18F-labeled C2A-GST; PET; apoptosis; synaptotagmin I
24.  Chiral Mutagenesis of Insulin. Foldability and Function Are Inversely Regulated by a Stereospecific Switch in the B Chain†,‡ 
Biochemistry  2005;44(13):10.1021/bi048025o.
How insulin binds to its receptor is unknown despite decades of investigation. Here, we employ chiral mutagenesis–comparison of corresponding d and l amino acid substitutions in the hormone–to define a structural switch between folding-competent and active conformations. Our strategy is motivated by the T → R transition, an allosteric feature of zinc-hexamer assembly in which an invariant glycine in the B chain changes conformations. In the classical T state, GlyB8 lies within a β-turn and exhibits a positive ϕ angle (like a d amino acid); in the alternative R state, GlyB8 is part of an α-helix and exhibits a negative ϕ angle (like an l amino acid). Respective B chain libraries containing mixtures of d or l substitutions at B8 exhibit a stereospecific perturbation of insulin chain combination: l amino acids impede native disulfide pairing, whereas diverse d substitutions are well-tolerated. Strikingly, d substitutions at B8 enhance both synthetic yield and thermodynamic stability but markedly impair biological activity. The NMR structure of such an inactive analogue (as an engineered T-like monomer) is essentially identical to that of native insulin. By contrast, l analogues exhibit impaired folding and stability. Although synthetic yields are very low, such analogues can be highly active. Despite the profound differences between the foldabilities of d and l analogues, crystallization trials suggest that on protein assembly substitutions of either class can be accommodated within classical T or R states. Comparison between such diastereomeric analogues thus implies that the T state represents an inactive but folding-competent conformation. We propose that within folding intermediates the sign of the B8 ϕ angle exerts kinetic control in a rugged landscape to distinguish between trajectories associated with productive disulfide pairing (positive T-like values) or off-pathway events (negative R-like values). We further propose that the crystallographic T → R transition in part recapitulates how the conformation of an insulin monomer changes on receptor binding. At the very least the ostensibly unrelated processes of disulfide pairing, allosteric assembly, and receptor binding appear to utilize the same residue as a structural switch; an “ambidextrous” glycine unhindered by the chiral restrictions of the Ramachandran plane. We speculate that this switch operates to protect insulin–and the β-cell–from protein misfolding.
PMCID: PMC3845378  PMID: 15794637
25.  Phosphatidylethanolamine is externalized at the surface of microparticles 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2012;1821(12):10.1016/j.bbalip.2012.08.017.
Microparticles (MPs) are membrane-bound vesicles shed normally or as a result of various (pathological) stimuli. MPs contain a wealth of bio-active macromolecules. The aminophospholipid phosphatidylserine (PS) is present on the surface of many MPs. As PS and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) are related, yet distinct aminophospholipids, the purpose of this study was to systematically and directly assess PE exposure on MPs. We examined MPs from various human cellular sources (human breast cancer, endothelial, red and white blood cells) by flow cytometry using a PE-specific probe, Duramycin, and two PS-specific probes, annexin V and lactadherin. PS and PE exposure percentage was comparable on vascular and blood cell-derived MPs (80-90% of MP-gated events). However, the percentage of malignant breast cancer MPs exposing PE (~90%) was significantly higher than PS (~50%). Thus, while PS and PE exposure can result from a general loss of membrane asymmetry, there may also be distinct mechanisms of PE and PS exposure on MPs that vary by cellular source.
PMCID: PMC3809829  PMID: 22960380
Microparticles; Microvesicles; Phosphatidylethanolamine; Duramycin; Membrane asymmetry

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