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1.  Common genetic variants related to vitamin D status are not associated with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma risk in China 
Cancer epidemiology  2015;39(2):157-159.
Few studies have examined the association of common genetic variants related to vitamin D metabolism and signaling to esophageal squamous cell carcinoma(ESCC).
We evaluated the association between 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms(SNPs) in four genes related to vitamin D levels and ESCC risk using data from a genome-wide association study. Participants were recruited from the Shanxi Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Genetics Project and the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials, and included 1942 ESCC cases and 2111controls. We used logistic models to estimate odds ratios(ORs) and 95% confidence intervals(CIs) for the SNP associations, after controlling for age and gender.
None of the 12 evaluated SNPs in the four vitamin D-related genes were significantly associated with risk of ESCC. The strongest associations were for rs3794060(P=0.07) and rs12800438(P=0.08) in the DHCR7/NADSYN1gene. No association between vitamin D-related SNPs and risk of ESCC was observed in a genotype score analysis that included all 12 SNPs. ORs for quartiles 2, 3 and 4 of the genotype scores were 0.83 (95% CI: 0.68, 1.01), 1.02(0.85, 1.21), and 1.08 (0.89, 1.30), respectively, with no evidence for a significant monotonic trend(P=0.120).
Our results suggested that common genetic variants related to vitamin D levels are not associated with risk of ESCC in this Chinese population.
PMCID: PMC4382354  PMID: 25631780
vitamin D; genetic variants; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; China
2.  Beta-Diversity Metrics of the Upper Digestive Tract Microbiome are Associated with Body Mass Index 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2015;23(4):862-869.
Studies of the fecal microbiome have implicated the gut microbiota in obesity, but few studies examined the microbial diversity at other sites. We explored the association between obesity and the upper gastrointestinal (UGI) microbial diversity.
The UGI microbiome of 659 healthy Chinese adults with a measured body mass index (BMI) range of 15.0 to 35.7 was characterized using the 16S rRNA gene DNA microarray (HOMIM).
In multivariate-adjusted models, alpha diversity was not associated with BMI. However, beta diversity, assessed by principal coordinate vectors generated from an unweighted unifrac distance matrix of pairwise comparisons, was associated with BMI (third and fourth vectors, p=0.0132 and p=0.0280, respectively). Moreover, beta diversity, assessed by cluster membership (3 clusters), was also associated with BMI; individuals in the first cluster (median BMI 22.35, odds ratio (OR)=0.48, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.05–4.34) and second cluster (median BMI 22.55, OR=0.26, 95% CI=0.09–0.75) were significantly less likely to be obese (BMI ≥27.5) than those in the third cluster (median BMI 23.59).
A beta-diversity metric of the UGI microbiome is associated with a four-fold difference in obesity risk in this Asian population. Future studies should address whether the UGI microbiome plays a causal role in obesity.
PMCID: PMC4380747  PMID: 25755147
beta-diversity; body mass index; Chinese; microbiome; obesity; upper gastrointestinal tract
3.  Dietary components and risk of total, cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality in the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials cohort in China 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:22619.
Although previous studies have shown that dietary consumption of certain food groups is associated with a lower risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke mortality in western populations, limited prospective data are available from China. We prospectively examined the association between dietary intake of different food groups at baseline and risk of total, cancer, heart disease and stroke mortality outcomes in the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials(NIT) cohort. In 1984–1991, 2445 subjects aged 40–69 years from the Linxian NIT cohort completed a food frequency questionnaire. Deaths from esophageal and gastric cancer, heart disease and stroke were identified through up to 26 years of follow-up. We used Cox proportional hazard models to calculate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for associations between intake of groups of food items and these mortality endpoints. We concluded that higher intake of certain food groups was associated with lower risk of gastric cancer, heart disease and stroke mortality in a prospective cohort in rural China. Our findings provide additional evidence that increasing intake of grains, vegetables, beans, fruits and nuts may help reduce mortality from these diseases.
PMCID: PMC4778051  PMID: 26939909
4.  Trends in Radical Surgical Treatment Methods for Breast Malignancies in China: A Multicenter 10-Year Retrospective Study 
The Oncologist  2015;20(9):1036-1043.
The purpose of this study was to describe Chinese trends in radical surgical modalities and influential imaging and demographic factors for breast malignancies. Rates of mastectomy in the People’s Republic of China remain elevated due to diagnosis at higher stages; however, because of increased use of diagnostic imaging, improvement of biopsy methods, and patient education, rates of less invasive lumpectomy are increasing and rates of mastectomy have decreased in China.
Incidence rates of breast cancer continue to rise in the People’s Republic of China. The purpose of this study was to describe Chinese trends in radical surgical modalities and influential imaging and demographic factors for breast malignancies.
Materials and Methods.
This study was a hospital-based, multicenter, 10-year (1999–2008), retrospective study. Descriptive statistical tests were used to illustrate information regarding radical surgical trends for the treatment of breast malignancies. Chi-square tests were used to assess effect of demographic factors in addition to imaging and pathological data on the specific surgical method.
A total of 4,211 patients were enrolled in the survey. Among them, 3,335 patients with stage 0 to stage III disease undergoing mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery (BCS) were included in the final analysis. The rate of BCS increased from 1.53% in 1999 to 11.88% in 2008. The rate of mastectomy declined over this time period, from 98.47% in 1999 to 88.12% in 2008, with increasing use of diagnostic imaging methods and pathological biopsies. A significantly greater percentage of patients with office work, high education levels, unmarried status, younger age, and early pathological stages preferred BCS compared with mastectomy.
Rates of mastectomy in China remain elevated due to diagnosis at higher stages; however, because of increased use of diagnostic imaging, improvement of biopsy methods, and patient education, rates of less invasive lumpectomy are increasing and rates of mastectomy have decreased in China.
Implications for Practice:
In this study, 4,211 cases were collected from 1999 to 2008 through a multicenter retrospective study of varying geographic and socioeconomic areas to illustrate trends of surgeries in the People’s Republic of China. The correlations between demographic and tumor characteristics and among methods of surgical treatment were explored. This study shows that the rate of breast-conserving surgery (BCS) increased and the rate of mastectomy declined over this time period with increasing use of diagnostic imaging methods and pathological biopsies. Patients with office work, high education levels, unmarried status, younger age, and early pathological stages preferred BCS compared with mastectomy in China.
PMCID: PMC4571796  PMID: 26253559
Breast neoplasms; Surgical; Imaging; Diagnosis
5.  Breast Cancer Disparities: A Multicenter Comparison of Tumor Diagnosis, Characteristics, and Surgical Treatment in China and the U.S. 
The Oncologist  2015;20(9):1044-1050.
Incidence rates for breast cancer continue to rise in the People’s Republic of China. The purpose of this study was to analyze differences in characteristics of breast malignancies between China and the U.S. Chinese women were diagnosed at younger ages with higher stage and larger tumors and underwent more aggressive surgical treatment. Prospective trials should be conducted to address screening, surgical, and tumor discrepancies between China and the U.S.
Background and Objective.
Incidence of and mortality rates for breast cancer continue to rise in the People’s Republic of China. The purpose of this study was to analyze differences in characteristics of breast malignancies between China and the U.S.
Data from 384,262 breast cancer patients registered in the U.S. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program from 2000 to 2010 were compared with 4,211 Chinese breast cancer patients registered in a Chinese database from 1999 to 2008. Outcomes included age, race, histology, tumor and node staging, laterality, surgical treatment method, and reconstruction. The Pearson chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests were used to compare rates.
Infiltrating ductal carcinoma was the most common type of malignancy in the U.S. and China. The mean number of positive lymph nodes was higher in China (2.59 vs. 1.31, p < .001). Stage at diagnosis was higher in China (stage IIA vs. I, p < .001). Mean size of tumor at diagnosis was higher in China (32.63 vs. 21.57 mm). Mean age at diagnosis was lower in China (48.28 vs. 61.29 years, p < .001). Moreover, 2.0% of U.S. women underwent radical mastectomy compared with 12.5% in China, and 0.02% in China underwent reconstructive surgery.
Chinese women were diagnosed at younger ages with higher stage and larger tumors and underwent more aggressive surgical treatment. Prospective trials should be conducted to address screening, surgical, and tumor discrepancies between China and the U.S.
Implications for Practice:
Breast cancer patients in China are diagnosed at later stages than those in America, which might contribute to different clinical management and lower 5-year survival rate. This phenomenon suggests that an earlier detection and treatment program should be widely implemented in China. By comparing the characteristics of Chinese and Chinese-American patients, we found significant differences in tumor size, lymph nodes metastasis, and age at diagnosis. These consequences indicated that patients with similar genetic backgrounds may have different prognoses due to the influence of environment and social economic determinates.
PMCID: PMC4571797  PMID: 26240131
Breast cancer; China; Disparities
6.  Association between C-reactive protein, incident liver cancer and chronic liver disease mortality in the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials: a nested case-control study 
C-reactive protein is a marker of systemic inflammation that has been associated with the incidence and prognosis for a number of different cancers. Recent data suggests that C-reactive protein may be a prognostic factor for liver cancer and cirrhosis. However, few long-term studies are available.
We prospectively examined associations between serum C-reactive protein and subsequent risk of liver cancer incidence or chronic liver disease mortality in a nested case-control study performed in the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials cohort. Baseline serum C-reactive protein was measured for 220 incident liver cancer cases, 276 participants who died of chronic liver disease, and 1018 age-, sex-, and trial-matched controls. Unconditional logistical regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
Compared to the lowest quartile, subjects in the fourth quartile of serum C-reactive protein had a higher risk of liver cancer incidence (OR=1.63, 95% CI: 1.06–2.51), with a significant p-trend across quartiles (P=0.01). The association with liver cancer was only significant among men (Q4 vs Q1, OR=2.00, 1.10–3.62), but not among women (Q4 vs Q1, OR=1.15, 0.60–2.22). For chronic liver disease deaths, the corresponding risk estimate in men and women was 2.95(1.90–4.57), with a monotonic trend (P<0.001).
Higher serum C-reactive protein concentrations at baseline were associated with subsequent incidence of liver cancer and death from chronic liver disease.
Our findings suggest that levels of systemic inflammation may serve as a long-term marker of liver cancer and liver disease.
PMCID: PMC4323937  PMID: 25613115
C-reactive protein; Liver cancer; Chronic liver disease; Nested case-control study
7.  Drosophila DBT Autophosphorylation of Its C-Terminal Domain Antagonized by SPAG and Involved in UV-Induced Apoptosis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2015;35(14):2414-2424.
Drosophila DBT and vertebrate CKIε/δ phosphorylate the period protein (PER) to produce circadian rhythms. While the C termini of these orthologs are not conserved in amino acid sequence, they inhibit activity and become autophosphorylated in the fly and vertebrate kinases. Here, sites of C-terminal autophosphorylation were identified by mass spectrometry and analysis of DBT truncations. Mutation of 6 serines and threonines in the C terminus (DBTC/ala) prevented autophosphorylation-dependent DBT turnover and electrophoretic mobility shifts in S2 cells. Unlike the effect of autophosphorylation on CKIδ, DBT autophosphorylation in S2 cells did not reduce its in vitro activity. Moreover, overexpression of DBTC/ala did not affect circadian behavior differently from wild-type DBT (DBTWT), and neither exhibited daily electrophoretic mobility shifts, suggesting that DBT autophosphorylation is not required for clock function. While DBTWT protected S2 cells and larvae from UV-induced apoptosis and was phosphorylated and degraded by the proteasome, DBTC/ala did not protect and was not degraded. Finally, we show that the HSP-90 cochaperone spaghetti protein (SPAG) antagonizes DBT autophosphorylation in S2 cells. These results suggest that DBT autophosphorylation regulates cell death and suggest a potential mechanism by which the circadian clock might affect apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4475922  PMID: 25939385
8.  Imputation and subset-based association analysis across different cancer types identifies multiple independent risk loci in the TERT-CLPTM1L region on chromosome 5p15.33 
Wang, Zhaoming | Zhu, Bin | Zhang, Mingfeng | Parikh, Hemang | Jia, Jinping | Chung, Charles C. | Sampson, Joshua N. | Hoskins, Jason W. | Hutchinson, Amy | Burdette, Laurie | Ibrahim, Abdisamad | Hautman, Christopher | Raj, Preethi S. | Abnet, Christian C. | Adjei, Andrew A. | Ahlbom, Anders | Albanes, Demetrius | Allen, Naomi E. | Ambrosone, Christine B. | Aldrich, Melinda | Amiano, Pilar | Amos, Christopher | Andersson, Ulrika | Andriole, Gerald | Andrulis, Irene L. | Arici, Cecilia | Arslan, Alan A. | Austin, Melissa A. | Baris, Dalsu | Barkauskas, Donald A. | Bassig, Bryan A. | Beane Freeman, Laura E. | Berg, Christine D. | Berndt, Sonja I. | Bertazzi, Pier Alberto | Biritwum, Richard B. | Black, Amanda | Blot, William | Boeing, Heiner | Boffetta, Paolo | Bolton, Kelly | Boutron-Ruault, Marie-Christine | Bracci, Paige M. | Brennan, Paul | Brinton, Louise A. | Brotzman, Michelle | Bueno-de-Mesquita, H. Bas | Buring, Julie E. | Butler, Mary Ann | Cai, Qiuyin | Cancel-Tassin, Geraldine | Canzian, Federico | Cao, Guangwen | Caporaso, Neil E. | Carrato, Alfredo | Carreon, Tania | Carta, Angela | Chang, Gee-Chen | Chang, I-Shou | Chang-Claude, Jenny | Che, Xu | Chen, Chien-Jen | Chen, Chih-Yi | Chen, Chung-Hsing | Chen, Constance | Chen, Kuan-Yu | Chen, Yuh-Min | Chokkalingam, Anand P. | Chu, Lisa W. | Clavel-Chapelon, Francoise | Colditz, Graham A. | Colt, Joanne S. | Conti, David | Cook, Michael B. | Cortessis, Victoria K. | Crawford, E. David | Cussenot, Olivier | Davis, Faith G. | De Vivo, Immaculata | Deng, Xiang | Ding, Ti | Dinney, Colin P. | Di Stefano, Anna Luisa | Diver, W. Ryan | Duell, Eric J. | Elena, Joanne W. | Fan, Jin-Hu | Feigelson, Heather Spencer | Feychting, Maria | Figueroa, Jonine D. | Flanagan, Adrienne M. | Fraumeni, Joseph F. | Freedman, Neal D. | Fridley, Brooke L. | Fuchs, Charles S. | Gago-Dominguez, Manuela | Gallinger, Steven | Gao, Yu-Tang | Gapstur, Susan M. | Garcia-Closas, Montserrat | Garcia-Closas, Reina | Gastier-Foster, Julie M. | Gaziano, J. Michael | Gerhard, Daniela S. | Giffen, Carol A. | Giles, Graham G. | Gillanders, Elizabeth M. | Giovannucci, Edward L. | Goggins, Michael | Gokgoz, Nalan | Goldstein, Alisa M. | Gonzalez, Carlos | Gorlick, Richard | Greene, Mark H. | Gross, Myron | Grossman, H. Barton | Grubb, Robert | Gu, Jian | Guan, Peng | Haiman, Christopher A. | Hallmans, Goran | Hankinson, Susan E. | Harris, Curtis C. | Hartge, Patricia | Hattinger, Claudia | Hayes, Richard B. | He, Qincheng | Helman, Lee | Henderson, Brian E. | Henriksson, Roger | Hoffman-Bolton, Judith | Hohensee, Chancellor | Holly, Elizabeth A. | Hong, Yun-Chul | Hoover, Robert N. | Hosgood, H. Dean | Hsiao, Chin-Fu | Hsing, Ann W. | Hsiung, Chao Agnes | Hu, Nan | Hu, Wei | Hu, Zhibin | Huang, Ming-Shyan | Hunter, David J. | Inskip, Peter D. | Ito, Hidemi | Jacobs, Eric J. | Jacobs, Kevin B. | Jenab, Mazda | Ji, Bu-Tian | Johansen, Christoffer | Johansson, Mattias | Johnson, Alison | Kaaks, Rudolf | Kamat, Ashish M. | Kamineni, Aruna | Karagas, Margaret | Khanna, Chand | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Kim, Christopher | Kim, In-Sam | Kim, Jin Hee | Kim, Yeul Hong | Kim, Young-Chul | Kim, Young Tae | Kang, Chang Hyun | Jung, Yoo Jin | Kitahara, Cari M. | Klein, Alison P. | Klein, Robert | Kogevinas, Manolis | Koh, Woon-Puay | Kohno, Takashi | Kolonel, Laurence N. | Kooperberg, Charles | Kratz, Christian P. | Krogh, Vittorio | Kunitoh, Hideo | Kurtz, Robert C. | Kurucu, Nilgun | Lan, Qing | Lathrop, Mark | Lau, Ching C. | Lecanda, Fernando | Lee, Kyoung-Mu | Lee, Maxwell P. | Le Marchand, Loic | Lerner, Seth P. | Li, Donghui | Liao, Linda M. | Lim, Wei-Yen | Lin, Dongxin | Lin, Jie | Lindstrom, Sara | Linet, Martha S. | Lissowska, Jolanta | Liu, Jianjun | Ljungberg, Börje | Lloreta, Josep | Lu, Daru | Ma, Jing | Malats, Nuria | Mannisto, Satu | Marina, Neyssa | Mastrangelo, Giuseppe | Matsuo, Keitaro | McGlynn, Katherine A. | McKean-Cowdin, Roberta | McNeill, Lorna H. | McWilliams, Robert R. | Melin, Beatrice S. | Meltzer, Paul S. | Mensah, James E. | Miao, Xiaoping | Michaud, Dominique S. | Mondul, Alison M. | Moore, Lee E. | Muir, Kenneth | Niwa, Shelley | Olson, Sara H. | Orr, Nick | Panico, Salvatore | Park, Jae Yong | Patel, Alpa V. | Patino-Garcia, Ana | Pavanello, Sofia | Peeters, Petra H. M. | Peplonska, Beata | Peters, Ulrike | Petersen, Gloria M. | Picci, Piero | Pike, Malcolm C. | Porru, Stefano | Prescott, Jennifer | Pu, Xia | Purdue, Mark P. | Qiao, You-Lin | Rajaraman, Preetha | Riboli, Elio | Risch, Harvey A. | Rodabough, Rebecca J. | Rothman, Nathaniel | Ruder, Avima M. | Ryu, Jeong-Seon | Sanson, Marc | Schned, Alan | Schumacher, Fredrick R. | Schwartz, Ann G. | Schwartz, Kendra L. | Schwenn, Molly | Scotlandi, Katia | Seow, Adeline | Serra, Consol | Serra, Massimo | Sesso, Howard D. | Severi, Gianluca | Shen, Hongbing | Shen, Min | Shete, Sanjay | Shiraishi, Kouya | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Siddiq, Afshan | Sierrasesumaga, Luis | Sierri, Sabina | Loon Sihoe, Alan Dart | Silverman, Debra T. | Simon, Matthias | Southey, Melissa C. | Spector, Logan | Spitz, Margaret | Stampfer, Meir | Stattin, Par | Stern, Mariana C. | Stevens, Victoria L. | Stolzenberg-Solomon, Rachael Z. | Stram, Daniel O. | Strom, Sara S. | Su, Wu-Chou | Sund, Malin | Sung, Sook Whan | Swerdlow, Anthony | Tan, Wen | Tanaka, Hideo | Tang, Wei | Tang, Ze-Zhang | Tardon, Adonina | Tay, Evelyn | Taylor, Philip R. | Tettey, Yao | Thomas, David M. | Tirabosco, Roberto | Tjonneland, Anne | Tobias, Geoffrey S. | Toro, Jorge R. | Travis, Ruth C. | Trichopoulos, Dimitrios | Troisi, Rebecca | Truelove, Ann | Tsai, Ying-Huang | Tucker, Margaret A. | Tumino, Rosario | Van Den Berg, David | Van Den Eeden, Stephen K. | Vermeulen, Roel | Vineis, Paolo | Visvanathan, Kala | Vogel, Ulla | Wang, Chaoyu | Wang, Chengfeng | Wang, Junwen | Wang, Sophia S. | Weiderpass, Elisabete | Weinstein, Stephanie J. | Wentzensen, Nicolas | Wheeler, William | White, Emily | Wiencke, John K. | Wolk, Alicja | Wolpin, Brian M. | Wong, Maria Pik | Wrensch, Margaret | Wu, Chen | Wu, Tangchun | Wu, Xifeng | Wu, Yi-Long | Wunder, Jay S. | Xiang, Yong-Bing | Xu, Jun | Yang, Hannah P. | Yang, Pan-Chyr | Yatabe, Yasushi | Ye, Yuanqing | Yeboah, Edward D. | Yin, Zhihua | Ying, Chen | Yu, Chong-Jen | Yu, Kai | Yuan, Jian-Min | Zanetti, Krista A. | Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, Anne | Zheng, Wei | Zhou, Baosen | Mirabello, Lisa | Savage, Sharon A. | Kraft, Peter | Chanock, Stephen J. | Yeager, Meredith | Landi, Maria Terese | Shi, Jianxin | Chatterjee, Nilanjan | Amundadottir, Laufey T.
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(24):6616-6633.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have mapped risk alleles for at least 10 distinct cancers to a small region of 63 000 bp on chromosome 5p15.33. This region harbors the TERT and CLPTM1L genes; the former encodes the catalytic subunit of telomerase reverse transcriptase and the latter may play a role in apoptosis. To investigate further the genetic architecture of common susceptibility alleles in this region, we conducted an agnostic subset-based meta-analysis (association analysis based on subsets) across six distinct cancers in 34 248 cases and 45 036 controls. Based on sequential conditional analysis, we identified as many as six independent risk loci marked by common single-nucleotide polymorphisms: five in the TERT gene (Region 1: rs7726159, P = 2.10 × 10−39; Region 3: rs2853677, P = 3.30 × 10−36 and PConditional = 2.36 × 10−8; Region 4: rs2736098, P = 3.87 × 10−12 and PConditional = 5.19 × 10−6, Region 5: rs13172201, P = 0.041 and PConditional = 2.04 × 10−6; and Region 6: rs10069690, P = 7.49 × 10−15 and PConditional = 5.35 × 10−7) and one in the neighboring CLPTM1L gene (Region 2: rs451360; P = 1.90 × 10−18 and PConditional = 7.06 × 10−16). Between three and five cancers mapped to each independent locus with both risk-enhancing and protective effects. Allele-specific effects on DNA methylation were seen for a subset of risk loci, indicating that methylation and subsequent effects on gene expression may contribute to the biology of risk variants on 5p15.33. Our results provide strong support for extensive pleiotropy across this region of 5p15.33, to an extent not previously observed in other cancer susceptibility loci.
PMCID: PMC4240198  PMID: 25027329
9.  Identification of Candidate Genes for Seed Glucosinolate Content Using Association Mapping in Brassica napus L. 
Genes  2015;6(4):1215-1229.
Rapeseed contains glucosinolates, a toxic group of sulfur-containing glucosides, which play critical roles in defense against herbivores and microbes. However, the presence of glucosinolates in rapeseed reduces the value of the meal as feed for livestock. We performed association mapping of seed glucosinolate (GS) content using the 60K Brassica Infinium single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array in 520 oilseed rape accessions. A total of 11 peak SNPs significantly associated with GS content were detected in growing seasons of 2013 and 2014 and were located on B. napus chromosomes A08, A09, C03, and C09, respectively. Two associated regions of GS content covered by these markers were further verified, and three B. napus homologous genes involved in the biosynthesis and accumulation of GS were identified. These genes were multigene family members and were distributed on different chromosomes. Moreover, two genes (BnGRT2 and BnMYB28) associated with GS content were validated by the qRT-PCR analysis of their expression profiles. The further identification and functionalization of these genes will provide useful insight into the mechanism underlying GS biosynthesis and allocation in B. napus, and the associated SNPs markers could be helpful for molecular maker-assisted breeding for low seed GS in B. napus.
PMCID: PMC4690036  PMID: 26593950
Brassica napus L.; seed glucosinolate (GS) content; association mapping; single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
10.  Insula–amygdala functional connectivity is correlated with habituation to repeated negative images 
Behavioral habituation during repeated exposure to aversive stimuli is an adaptive process. However, the way in which changes in self-reported emotional experience are related to the neural mechanisms supporting habituation remains unclear. We probed these mechanisms by repeatedly presenting negative images to healthy adult participants and recording behavioral and neural responses using functional magnetic resonance imaging. We were particularly interested in investigating patterns of activity in insula, given its significant role in affective integration, and in amygdala, given its association with appraisal of aversive stimuli and its frequent coactivation with insula. We found significant habituation behaviorally along with decreases in amygdala, occipital cortex and ventral prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity with repeated presentation, whereas bilateral posterior insula, dorsolateral PFC and precuneus showed increased activation. Posterior insula activation during image presentation was correlated with greater negative affect ratings for novel presentations of negative images. Further, repeated negative image presentation was associated with increased functional connectivity between left posterior insula and amygdala, and increasing insula–amygdala functional connectivity was correlated with increasing behavioral habituation. These results suggest that habituation is subserved in part by insula–amygdala connectivity and involves a change in the activity of bottom-up affective networks.
PMCID: PMC4221205  PMID: 24170933
habituation; emotion; functional connectivity; insula; amygdala
11.  Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma in high-risk Chinese populations: Possible role for vascular epithelial growth factor A 
Mechanisms involved in wound healing play some role in carcinogenesis in multiple organs, likely by creating a chronic inflammatory milieu. This study sought to assess the role of genetic markers in selected inflammation-related genes involved in wound healing (interleukin (IL)-1a, IL-1b, IL-1 Receptor type I (IL-1Ra), IL-1 Receptor type II (IL-1Rb), tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, tumour necrosis factor receptor superfamily member (TNFRSF)1A, nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-kB)1, NF-kB2, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, hypoxia induced factor (HIF)-1α, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)A and P-53) in risk to oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).
We genotyped 125 tag single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)s in 410 cases and 377 age and sex matched disease-free individuals from Nutritional Intervention Trial (NIT) cohort, and 546 cases and 556 controls individually matched for age, sex and neighbourhood from Shanxi case–control study, both conducted in high-risk areas of north-central China (1985–2007). Cox proportional-hazard models and conditional logistic regression models were used for SNPs analyses for NIT and Shanxi, respectively. Fisher's inverse test statistics were used to obtain gene-level significance.
Multiple SNPs were significantly associated with OSCC in both studies, however, none retained their significance after a conservative Bonferroni adjustment. Empiric p-values for tag SNPs in VEGFA in NIT were highly concentrated in the lower tail of the distribution, suggesting this gene may be influencing risk. Permutation tests confirmed the significance of this pattern. At the gene level, VEGFA yielded an empiric significance (P = 0.027) in NIT. We also observed some evidence for interaction between environmental factors and some VEGFA tag SNPs.
Our finding adds further evidence for a potential role for markers in the VEGFA gene in the development and progression of early precancerous lesions of oesophagus.
PMCID: PMC4363989  PMID: 25172294
Oesophageal squamous; cell carcinoma; Inflammation; Wound-healing; Genetic marker; Genetics; Inflammation-related events; Vascular endothelial growth factor A; VEGFA
12.  Evaluation of the Boson Chemiluminescence Immunoassay as a First-Line Screening Test in the ECDC Algorithm for Syphilis Serodiagnosis in a Population with a High Prevalence of Syphilis 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2015;53(4):1371-1374.
We developed a new Boson chemiluminescence immunoassay (CIA) and evaluated its application with cross-sectional analyses. Our results indicated that the Boson CIA demonstrated strong discriminatory power in diagnosing syphilis and that it can be used as a first-line screening test for syphilis serodiagnosis using the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control algorithm or as a confirmatory test when combined with a patient's clinical history.
PMCID: PMC4365203  PMID: 25631792
13.  Guanfacine Modulates the Emotional Biasing of Amygdala-Prefrontal Connectivity for Cognitive Control 
Functional interactions between amygdala and prefrontal cortex provide a cortical entry point for emotional cues to bias cognitive control. Stimulation of α2 adrenoceptors enhances the prefrontal control functions and blocks the amygdala-dependent encoding of emotional cues. However, the impact of this stimulation on amygdala-prefrontal interactions and the emotional biasing of cognitive control have not been established. We tested the effect of the α2 adrenoceptor agonist guanfacine on psychophysiological interactions of amygdala with prefrontal cortex for the emotional biasing of response execution and inhibition. Fifteen healthy adults were scanned twice with event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing an emotional go/no-go task following administration of oral guanfacine (1 mg) and placebo in a double-blind, counterbalanced design. Happy, sad, and neutral faces served as trial cues. Guanfacine moderated the effect of face emotion on the task-related functional connectivity of left and right amygdala with left inferior frontal gyrus compared to placebo, by selectively reversing the functional co-activation of the two regions for response execution cued by sad faces. This shift from positively to negatively correlated activation for guanfacine was associated with selective improvements in the relatively low accuracy of responses to sad faces seen for placebo. These results demonstrate the importance of functional interactions between amygdala and inferior frontal gyrus to both bottom-up biasing of cognitive control and top-down control of emotional processing, as well as for the α2 adrenoceptor-mediated modulation of these processes. These mechanisms offer a possibile method to address the emotional reactivity that is common to several psychiatric disorders.
PMCID: PMC4146697  PMID: 25059532
prefrontal cortex; amygdala; guanfacine; emotion; go/no-go; fMRI
14.  Interocular suppression prevents interference in a flanker task 
Frontiers in Psychology  2015;6:1110.
Executive control of attention refers to processes that detect and resolve conflict among competing thoughts and actions. Despite the high-level nature of this faculty, the role of awareness in executive control of attention is not well understood. In this study, we used interocular suppression to mask the flankers in an arrow flanker task, in which the flankers and the target arrow were presented simultaneously in order to elicit executive control of attention. Participants were unable to detect the flanker arrows or to reliably identify their direction when masked. There was a typical conflict effect (prolonged reaction time and increased error rate under flanker-target incongruent condition compared to congruent condition) when the flanker arrows were unmasked, while the conflict effect was absent when the flanker arrows were masked with interocular suppression. These results suggest that blocking awareness of competing stimuli with interocular suppression prevents the involvement of executive control of attention.
PMCID: PMC4531229  PMID: 26321969
executive control of attention; continuous flash suppression; conflict effect; consciousness awareness; flanker task
15.  Updated meta-analysis of pancreatic stent placement in preventing post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography pancreatitis 
AIM: To investigate the efficacy and safety profile of pancreatic duct (PD) stent placement for prevention of post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) pancreatitis (PEP).
METHODS: We performed a search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library to identify randomized controlled clinical trials of prophylactic PD stent placement after ERCP. RevMan 5 software provided by Cochrane was used for the heterogeneity and efficacy analyses, and a meta-analysis was performed for the data that showed homogeneity. Categorical data are presented as relative risks and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and measurement data are presented as weighted mean differences and 95%CIs.
RESULTS: The incidence rates of severe pancreatitis, operation failure, complications and patient pain severity were analyzed. Data on pancreatitis incidence were reported in 14 of 15 trials. There was no significant heterogeneity between the trials (I2 = 0%, P = 0.93). In the stent group, 49 of the 1233 patients suffered from PEP, compared to 133 of the 1277 patients in the no-stent group. The results of this meta-analysis indicate that it may be possible to prevent PEP by placing a PD stent.
CONCLUSION: PD stent placement can reduce postoperative hyperamylasemia and might be an effective and safe option to prevent PEP if the operation indications are well controlled.
PMCID: PMC4481455  PMID: 26140006
Pancreatic stent placement; Pancreatitis; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography pancreatitis
16.  Distinctive effects of fear and sadness induction on anger and aggressive behavior 
A recent study has reported that the successful implementation of cognitive regulation of emotion depends on higher-level cognitive functions, such as top-down control, which may be impaired in stressful situations. This calls for “cognition free” self-regulatory strategies that do not require top-down control. In contrast to the cognitive regulation of emotion that emphasizes the role of cognition, traditional Chinese philosophy and medicine views the relationship among different types of emotions as promoting or counteracting each other without the involvement of cognition, which provides an insightful perspective for developing “cognition free” regulatory strategies. In this study, we examined two hypotheses regarding the modulation of anger and aggressive behavior: sadness counteracts anger and aggressive behavior, whereas fear promotes anger and aggressive behavior. Participants were first provoked by reading extremely negative feedback on their viewpoints (Study 1) and by watching anger-inducing movie clips (Study 2). Then, these angry participants were assigned to three equivalent groups and viewed sad, fear-inducing, or neutral materials to evoke the corresponding emotions. The results showed that participants displayed a lower level of aggressive behavior when sadness was later induced and a higher level of anger when fear was later induced. These results provide evidence that supports the hypothesis of mutual promotion and counteraction relationships among these types of emotions and imply a “cognition free” approach to regulating anger and aggressive behavior.
PMCID: PMC4467173  PMID: 26124725
anger; sadness; fear; aggressive behavior; emotion regulation; mood induction
17.  Drosophila Spaghetti and Doubletime Link the Circadian Clock and Light to Caspases, Apoptosis and Tauopathy 
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(5):e1005171.
While circadian dysfunction and neurodegeneration are correlated, the mechanism for this is not understood. It is not known if age-dependent circadian dysfunction leads to neurodegeneration or vice-versa, and the proteins that mediate the effect remain unidentified. Here, we show that the knock-down of a regulator (spag) of the circadian kinase Dbt in circadian cells lowers Dbt levels abnormally, lengthens circadian rhythms and causes expression of activated initiator caspase (Dronc) in the optic lobes during the middle of the day or after light pulses at night. Likewise, reduced Dbt activity lengthens circadian period and causes expression of activated Dronc, and a loss-of-function mutation in Clk also leads to expression of activated Dronc in a light-dependent manner. Genetic epistasis experiments place Dbt downstream of Spag in the pathway, and Spag-dependent reductions of Dbt are shown to require the proteasome. Importantly, activated Dronc expression due to reduced Spag or Dbt activity occurs in cells that do not express the spag RNAi or dominant negative Dbt and requires PDF neuropeptide signaling from the same neurons that support behavioral rhythms. Furthermore, reduction of Dbt or Spag activity leads to Dronc-dependent Drosophila Tau cleavage and enhanced neurodegeneration produced by human Tau in a fly eye model for tauopathy. Aging flies with lowered Dbt or Spag function show markers of cell death as well as behavioral deficits and shortened lifespans, and even old wild type flies exhibit Dbt modification and activated caspase at particular times of day. These results suggest that Dbt suppresses expression of activated Dronc to prevent Tau cleavage, and that the circadian clock defects confer sensitivity to expression of activated Dronc in response to prolonged light. They establish a link between the circadian clock factors, light, cell death pathways and Tau toxicity, potentially via dysregulation of circadian neuronal remodeling in the optic lobes.
Author Summary
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in the aging population. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that attacks the brain neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and behavioral changes. One pathological hallmark is aggregation of the microtubule-associated protein Tau. A growing body of evidence highlights the importance of caspase-dependent Tau truncation in initiation and potentiation of Tau aggregation. Here we use the fruit fly Drosophila to examine the links between circadian rhythms, aging, apoptosis and Alzheimer’s Disease. We identified a regulator (spag) of the circadian kinase Dbt that functions to stabilize Dbt during the middle of the day. In addition, the caspase Dronc is regulated by Dbt and Spag and, when activated by reduction of either, targets Tau for cleavage, leading to behavioral deficits and shortened lifespans. The expression of activated caspase occurs in several parts of the brain in a manner requiring signaling from a neuropeptide produced by circadian cells. Wild type flies with no genetic modifications eventually exhibit modified Dbt and expression of activated caspase at specific times of day, further demonstrating the links between the circadian clock, light and apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4423883  PMID: 25951229
18.  Decreased BMP2 signal in GIT1 knockout mice slows bone healing 
Endochondral ossification, an important stage of fracture healing, is regulated by a variety of signaling pathways. Transforming growth factor b (TGFb) superfamily plays important roles and comprises TGFbs, bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), and growth differentiation factors. TGFbs primarily regulate cartilage formation and endochondral ossification. BMP2 shows diverse efficacy, from the formation of skeleton and extraskeletal organs to the osteogenesis and remodeling of bone. G-protein-coupled receptor kinase 2-interacting protein-1 (GIT1), a shuttle protein in osteoblasts, facilitates fracture healing by promoting bone formation and increasing the secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor. Our study examined whether GIT1 regulates fracture healing through the BMP2 signaling pathway and/or through the TGFb signaling pathway. GIT1 knockout (KO) mice exhibited delayed fracture healing, chondrocyte accumulation in the fracture area, and reduced staining intensity of phosphorylated Smad1/5/8 (pSmad1/5/8) and Runx2. Endochondral mineralization diminished while the staining intensity of phosphorylated Smad2/3 (pSmad2/3) showed no significant change. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells extracted from GIT1 KO mice showed a decline of pSmad1/5/8 levels and of pSmad1/5/8 translocated into the cell nucleus after BMP2 stimulus. We detected no significant change in the pSmad2/3 level after TGFb1 stimulus. Data obtained from reporter gene analysis of C3H10T1/2 cells cultured in vitro confirmed these findings. GIT1-siRNA inhibited transcription in the cell nucleus via pSmad1/5/8 after BMP2 stimulus but had no significant effect on transcription via pSmad2/3 after TGFb1 stimulus. Our results indicate that GIT1 regulates Smad1/5/8 phosphorylation and mediates BMP2 regulation of Runx2 expression, thus affecting endochondral ossification at the fracture site.
PMCID: PMC4418226  PMID: 25138700
GIT1; TGFb; BMP2; Fracture healing
19.  Association between upper digestive tract microbiota and cancer predisposing states in the esophagus and stomach 
The human upper digestive tract microbial community (microbiota) is not well characterized and few studies have explored how it relates to human health. We examined the relationship between upper digestive tract microbiota and two cancer predisposing states, serum pepsinogen I/pepsinogen II ratio (PGI/II) (predictor of gastric cancer risk), and esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD) (the precursor lesion of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC)) in a cross-sectional design.
The Human Oral Microbe Identification Microarray was used to test for the presence of 272 bacterial species in 333 upper digestive tract samples from a Chinese cancer screening cohort. Serum PGI and PGII were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. ESD was determined by chromoendoscopy with biopsy.
Lower microbial richness (number of bacterial genera per sample) was significantly associated with lower PGI/II ratio (P=0.034) and the presence of ESD (P=0.018). We conducted principal component (PC) analysis on a β-diversity matrix (pairwise difference in microbiota), and observed significant correlations between PC1, PC3 and PGI/II (P=0.004, 0.009 respectively), and between PC1 and ESD (P=0.003).
lower microbial richness in upper digestive tract was independently associated with both cancer predisposing states in the esophagus and stomach (presence of ESD and lower PGI/II).
PMCID: PMC4011942  PMID: 24700175
microbiota; gastric cancer; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; esophageal squamous dysplasia; serum pepsinogen I/pepsinogen II ratio
20.  Increased expression of microRNA-196a predicts poor prognosis in human ovarian carcinoma 
Objective: Overexpression of MicroRNA-196a (miR-196a) has recently been reported in different types of human cancers. However, the prognostic value of miR-196a in ovarian carcinoma remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the expression of miR-196a in ovarian carcinoma and its relationship with tumor progression and clinical prognosis. Methods: The expression level of miR-196a was examined by quantitative Real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) in surgically removed ovarian cancer tissues and ovarian cancer cell lines. The correlation between miR-196a expression and clinical features and prognosis were statistically analyzed. Results: The results showed that the miR-196a expression was significantly upregulated in tumor tissues and ovarian cancer cell lines compared with that in normal ovarian surface tissues and normal ovarian epithelial cells. Moreover, miR-196a expression was positively correlated with FIGO stage (P <0.001), tumor size (P =0.020), and lymph nodes metastasis (P =0.019). Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated that high levels of miR-196a expression was associated with poorer overall survival (P <0.001) and recurrent-free survival (P =0.003), especially in patients with advanced disease (P =0.002). Multivariate analysis suggested that miR-196a expression was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival of patients with ovarian carcinoma. Conclusions: In conclusion, miR-196a may play an important role in the progression of ovarian carcinoma, and could be used as an independent prognostic biomarker for patients with ovarian carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4466990  PMID: 26097603
miR-196a; ovarian cancer; overall survival; recurrence-free survival
21.  Joint analysis of three genome-wide association studies of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in Chinese populations 
Wu, Chen | Wang, Zhaoming | Song, Xin | Feng, Xiao-Shan | Abnet, Christian C. | He, Jie | Hu, Nan | Zuo, Xian-Bo | Tan, Wen | Zhan, Qimin | Hu, Zhibin | He, Zhonghu | Jia, Weihua | Zhou, Yifeng | Yu, Kai | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Yuan, Jian-Min | Zheng, Wei | Zhao, Xue-Ke | Gao, She-Gan | Yuan, Zhi-Qing | Zhou, Fu-You | Fan, Zong-Min | Cui, Ji-Li | Lin, Hong-Li | Han, Xue-Na | Li, Bei | Chen, Xi | Dawsey, Sanford M. | Liao, Linda | Lee, Maxwell P. | Ding, Ti | Qiao, You-Lin | Liu, Zhihua | Liu, Yu | Yu, Dianke | Chang, Jiang | Wei, Lixuan | Gao, Yu-Tang | Koh, Woon-Puay | Xiang, Yong-Bing | Tang, Ze-Zhong | Fan, Jin-Hu | Han, Jing-Jing | Zhou, Sheng-Li | Zhang, Peng | Zhang, Dong-Yun | Yuan, Yuan | Huang, Ying | Liu, Chunling | Zhai, Kan | Qiao, Yan | Jin, Guangfu | Guo, Chuanhai | Fu, Jianhua | Miao, Xiaoping | Lu, Changdong | Yang, Haijun | Wang, Chaoyu | Wheeler, William A. | Gail, Mitchell | Yeager, Meredith | Yuenger, Jeff | Guo, Er-Tao | Li, Ai-Li | Zhang, Wei | Li, Xue-Min | Sun, Liang-Dan | Ma, Bao-Gen | Li, Yan | Tang, Sa | Peng, Xiu-Qing | Liu, Jing | Hutchinson, Amy | Jacobs, Kevin | Giffen, Carol | Burdette, Laurie | Fraumeni, Joseph F. | Shen, Hongbing | Ke, Yang | Zeng, Yixin | Wu, Tangchun | Kraft, Peter | Chung, Charles C. | Tucker, Margaret A. | Hou, Zhi-Chao | Liu, Ya-Li | Hu, Yan-Long | Liu, Yu | Wang, Li | Yuan, Guo | Chen, Li-Sha | Liu, Xiao | Ma, Teng | Meng, Hui | Sun, Li | Li, Xin-Min | Li, Xiu-Min | Ku, Jian-Wei | Zhou, Ying-Fa | Yang, Liu-Qin | Wang, Zhou | Li, Yin | Qige, Qirenwang | Yang, Wen-Jun | Lei, Guang-Yan | Chen, Long-Qi | Li, En-Min | Yuan, Ling | Yue, Wen-Bin | Wang, Ran | Wang, Lu-Wen | Fan, Xue-Ping | Zhu, Fang-Heng | Zhao, Wei-Xing | Mao, Yi-Min | Zhang, Mei | Xing, Guo-Lan | Li, Ji-Lin | Han, Min | Ren, Jing-Li | Liu, Bin | Ren, Shu-Wei | Kong, Qing-Peng | Li, Feng | Sheyhidin, Ilyar | Wei, Wu | Zhang, Yan-Rui | Feng, Chang-Wei | Wang, Jin | Yang, Yu-Hua | Hao, Hong-Zhang | Bao, Qi-De | Liu, Bao-Chi | Wu, Ai-Qun | Xie, Dong | Yang, Wan-Cai | Wang, Liang | Zhao, Xiao-Hang | Chen, Shu-Qing | Hong, Jun-Yan | Zhang, Xue-Jun | Freedman, Neal D | Goldstein, Alisa M. | Lin, Dongxin | Taylor, Philip R. | Wang, Li-Dong | Chanock, Stephen J.
Nature genetics  2014;46(9):1001-1006.
We conducted a joint (pooled) analysis of three genome-wide association studies (GWAS) 1-3 of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in ethnic Chinese (5,337 ESCC cases and 5,787 controls) with 9,654 ESCC cases and 10,058 controls for follow-up. In a logistic regression model adjusted for age, sex, study, and two eigenvectors, two new loci achieved genome-wide significance, marked by rs7447927 at 5q31.2 (per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 0.85, 95% CI 0.82-0.88; P=7.72x10−20) and rs1642764 at 17p13.1 (per-allele OR= 0.88, 95% CI 0.85-0.91; P=3.10x10−13). rs7447927 is a synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in TMEM173 and rs1642764 is an intronic SNP in ATP1B2, near TP53. Furthermore, a locus in the HLA class II region at 6p21.32 (rs35597309) achieved genome-wide significance in the two populations at highest risk for ESSC (OR=1.33, 95% CI 1.22-1.46; P=1.99x10−10). Our joint analysis identified new ESCC susceptibility loci overall as well as a new locus unique to the ESCC high risk Taihang Mountain region.
PMCID: PMC4212832  PMID: 25129146
22.  Supramodal executive control of attention 
The human attentional system can be subdivided into three functional networks of alerting, orienting, and executive control. Although these networks have been extensively studied in the visuospatial modality, whether the same mechanisms are deployed across different sensory modalities remains unclear. In this study we used the attention network test for the visuospatial modality, in addition to two auditory variants with spatial and frequency manipulations to examine cross-modal correlations between network functions. Results showed that among the visual and auditory tasks, the effects of executive control, but not effects of alerting and orienting, were significantly correlated. These findings suggest that while alerting and orienting functions rely more upon modality-specific processes, the executive control of attention coordinates complex behavior via supramodal mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4338659  PMID: 25759674
attentional networks; visual attention; auditory attention; alerting; orienting; executive control
23.  Genetic variants in Fas signaling pathway genes and risk of gastric cancer 
Populations in north central China are at high risk for gastric cancers (GC), and altered FAS-mediated cell signaling and/or apoptosis may contribute to this risk. We examined the association of 554 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 53 Fas signaling-related genes using a pathway-based approach in 1758 GC cases (1126 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas (GCA) and 632 gastric noncardia adenocarcinomas (GNCA)), and 2111 controls from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of GC in ethnic Chinese. SNP associations with risk of overall GC, GCA and GNCA were evaluated using unconditional logistic regressions controlling for age, sex and study. Gene- and pathway-based associations were tested using the adaptive rank-truncated product (ARTP) method. Statistical significance was evaluated empirically by permutation. Significant pathway-based associations were observed for Fas signaling with risk of overall GC (P = 5.5E-04) and GCA (P = 6.3E-03), but not GNCA (P = 8.1E-02). Among examined genes in the Fas signaling pathway, MAP2K4, FAF1, MAPK8, CASP10, CASP8, CFLAR, MAP2K1, CAP8AP2, PAK2 and IKBKB were associated with risk of GC (nominal P < 0.05), and FAF1 and MAPK8 were significantly associated with risk of both GCA and GNCA (nominal P < 0.05). Our examination of genetic variation in the Fas signaling pathway is consistent with an association of altered Fas signaling and/or apoptosis with risk of GC. As one of the first attempts to investigate a pathway-level association, our results suggest that these genes and the Fas signaling pathway warrant further evaluation in relation to GC risk in other populations.
PMCID: PMC3858487  PMID: 23921907
Gastric cancer; gastric cardia; gastric noncardia; Fas signaling; genetic variants; GWAS; single nucleotide polymorphisms; pathway genes
24.  Abnormal autonomic and associated brain activities during rest in autism spectrum disorder 
Brain  2014;137(1):153-171.
Autism spectrum disorders are associated with social and emotional deficits, the aetiology of which are not well understood. A growing consensus is that the autonomic nervous system serves a key role in emotional processes, by providing physiological signals essential to subjective states. We hypothesized that altered autonomic processing is related to the socio-emotional deficits in autism spectrum disorders. Here, we investigated the relationship between non-specific skin conductance response, an objective index of sympathetic neural activity, and brain fluctuations during rest in high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder relative to neurotypical controls. Compared with control participants, individuals with autism spectrum disorder showed less skin conductance responses overall. They also showed weaker correlations between skin conductance responses and frontal brain regions, including the anterior cingulate and anterior insular cortices. Additionally, skin conductance responses were found to have less contribution to default mode network connectivity in individuals with autism spectrum disorders relative to controls. These results suggest that autonomic processing is altered in autism spectrum disorders, which may be related to the abnormal socio-emotional behaviours that characterize this condition.
PMCID: PMC3891443  PMID: 24424916
autism; autonomic nervous system; emotion; skin conductance; resting state
25.  The Neural Correlates of Anomalous Habituation to Negative Emotional Pictures in Borderline and Avoidant Personality Disorder Patients 
Extreme emotional reactivity is a defining feature of borderline personality disorder, yet the neural-behavioral mechanisms underlying this affective instability are poorly understood. One possible contributor would be diminished ability to engage the mechanism of emotional habituation. We tested this hypothesis by examining behavioral and neural correlates of habituation in borderline patients, healthy controls, and a psychopathological control group of avoidant personality disorder patients.
During fMRI scan acquisition, borderline patients, healthy controls and avoidant personality disorder patients viewed novel and repeated pictures, providing valence ratings at each presentation. Statistical parametric maps of the contrasts of activation during repeat versus novel negative picture viewing were compared between groups. Psychophysiological interaction analysis was employed to examine functional connectivity differences between groups.
Unlike healthy controls, neither borderline nor avoidant personality disorder participants showed increased activity in dorsal anterior cingulate cortex when viewing repeat versus novel pictures. This failure to increase dorsal anterior cingulate activity was associated with greater affective instability in borderline participants. In addition, borderline and avoidant participants showed smaller insula-amygdala connectivity increases than healthy participants and did not show habituation in ratings of the emotional intensity of the images as did healthy participants. Borderline patients differed from avoidant patients in insula-ventral anterior cingulate connectivity during habituation.
Borderline patients fail to habituate to negative pictures as do healthy participants and differ from both healthy controls and avoidant patients in neural activity during habituation. A failure to effectively engage emotional habituation processes may contribute to affective instability in borderline patients.
PMCID: PMC3947284  PMID: 24275960
borderline personality disorder; avoidant personality disorder; affective instability; fMRI; functional connectivity

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