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1.  Coevolution of Axon Guidance Molecule Slit and Its Receptor Robo 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e94970.
Coevolution is important for the maintenance of the interaction between a ligand and its receptor during evolution. The interaction between axon guidance molecule Slit and its receptor Robo is critical for the axon repulsion in neural tissues, which is evolutionarily conserved from planarians to humans. However, the mechanism of coevolution between Slit and Robo remains unclear. In this study, we found that coordinated amino acid changes took place at interacting sites of Slit and Robo by comparing the amino acids at these sites among different organisms. In addition, the high level correlation between evolutionary rate of Slit and Robo was identified in vertebrates. Furthermore, the sites under positive selection of slit and robo were detected in the same lineage such as mosquito and teleost. Overall, our results provide evidence for the coevolution between Slit and Robo.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094970
PMCID: PMC4011710  PMID: 24801615
2.  Epoxyeicosatrienoic Acids Attenuating Hypotonic-Induced Apoptosis of IMCD Cells via γ-ENaC Inhibition 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94400.
Inner medulla collecting duct (IMCD) cells are the key part for urinary concentration. Hypotonic stress may trigger apoptosis of IMCD cells and induce renal injury. Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) play an important role in anti-apoptosis, but their roles in hypotonic-induced apoptosis of IMCD cells are still unclear. Here we found increasing exogenous 11, 12-EET or endogenous EETs with Ad-CMV-CYP2C23-EGFP transfection decreased apoptosis of IMCD cells induced by hypotonic stress. Moreover, up-regulation of γ-ENaC induced by hypotonic stress was abolished by elevation of exogenous or endogenous EETs. Collectively, this study illustrated that EETs attenuated hypotonic-induced apoptosis of IMCD cells, and that regulation of γ-ENAC may be a possible mechanism contributing to the anti-apoptotic effect of EETs in response to hypotonic stress.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094400
PMCID: PMC3979856  PMID: 24713619
3.  α-Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone Protects Retinal Vascular Endothelial Cells from Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis in a Rat Model of Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93433.
Aims
Oxidative stress and apoptosis are among the earliest lesions of diabetic retinopathy. This study sought to examine the anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic effects of α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) in early diabetic retinas and to explore the underlying mechanisms in retinal vascular endothelial cells.
Methods
Sprague-Dawley rats were injected intravenously with streptozocin to induce diabetes. The diabetic rats were injected intravitreally with α-MSH or saline. At week 5 after diabetes, the retinas were analyzed for reactive oxygen species (ROS) and gene expression. One week later, the retinas were processed for terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling staining and transmission electron microscopy. Retinal vascular endothelial cells were stimulated by high glucose (HG) with or without α-MSH. The expression of Forkhead box O genes (Foxos) was examined through real-time PCR. The Foxo4 gene was overexpressed in endothelial cells by transient transfection prior to α-MSH or HG treatment, and oxidative stress and apoptosis were analyzed through CM-H2DCFDA and annexin-V assays, respectively.
Results
In diabetic retinas, the levels of H2O2 and ROS and the total anti-oxidant capacity were normalized, the apoptotic cell number was reduced, and the ultrastructural injuries were ameliorated by α-MSH. Treatment with α-MSH also corrected the aberrant changes in eNOS, iNOS, ICAM-1, and TNF-α expression levels in diabetic retinas. Furthermore, α-MSH inhibited Foxo4 up-regulation in diabetic retinas and in endothelial cells exposed to HG, whereas Foxo4 overexpression abrogated the anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic effects of α-MSH in HG-stimulated retinal vascular endothelial cells.
Conclusions
α-MSH normalized oxidative stress, reduced apoptosis and ultrastructural injuries, and corrected gene expression levels in early diabetic retinas. The protective effects of α-MSH in retinal vascular endothelial cells may be mediated through the inhibition of Foxo4 up-regulation induced by HG. This study suggests an α-MSH-mediated potential intervention approach to early diabetic retinopathy and a novel regulatory mechanism involving Foxo4.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093433
PMCID: PMC3973693  PMID: 24695675
4.  HIV-1 Nef Induces CCL5 production in astrocytes through p38-MAPK and PI3K/Akt pathway and utilizes NF-kB, CEBP and AP-1 transcription factors 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4450.
The prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remains high in patients infected with HIV-1. The production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by astrocytes/microglia exposed to viral proteins is thought to be one of the mechanisms leading to HIV-1- mediated neurotoxicity. In the present study we examined the effects of Nef on CCL5 induction in astrocytes. The results demonstrate that CCL5 is significantly induced in Nef-transfected SVGA astrocytes. To determine the mechanisms responsible for the increased CCL5 caused by Nef, we employed siRNA and chemical antagonists. Antagonists of NF-κB, PI3K, and p38 significantly reduced the expression levels of CCL5 induced by Nef transfection. Furthermore, specific siRNAs demonstrated that the Akt, p38MAPK, NF-κB, CEBP, and AP-1 pathways play a role in Nef-mediated CCL5 expression. The results demonstrated that the PI3K/Akt and p38 MAPK pathways, along with the transcription factors NF-κB, CEBP, and AP-1, are involved in Nef-induced CCL5 production in astrocytes.
doi:10.1038/srep04450
PMCID: PMC3963078  PMID: 24658403
5.  Modified Glomerular Filtration Rate-Estimating Equations Developed in Asiatic Population for Chinese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes 
Objectives. To evaluate eight modified equations developed in Asiatic populations in type 2 diabetic patients in China. Methods. A total of 209 Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes were recruited. Using the technetium—99m diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid—glomerular filtration rate (GFR) to act as the reference, comparisons of their efficiency to estimate GFR in the subjects were made between various equations. Results. Median of difference of the Chinese equation 1 was the lowest (median of difference, 0.51 mL/min/1.73 m2). Median percent of absolute difference of the Chinese equation 2 was less than those of the other equations (26.97 versus ranged from 32.54 to 37.61 mL/min/1.73 m2, [P < 0.001 for all]). Precision of the simplified reexpressed MDRD equation was the best (92.9 mL/min/1.73 m2). Accuracies of the Chinese equation 2 were greater (P < 0.05 for all). There was also an improvement in chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage misclassification of the Chinese equation 2 (55.0 versus ranged from 61.2 to 64.6%, [P < 0.001 for all]). However, the 30% accuracies of all the equations were less than 70%. Conclusions. Our study highlighted a limitation in the use of the above equations in the majority of Chinese diabetic subjects. A better equation is needed in order to give an accurate estimation of GFR in type 2 diabetic patients in China.
doi:10.1155/2014/521071
PMCID: PMC3966408  PMID: 24734043
6.  Independent Processing of Stimulus-Stimulus and Stimulus-Response Conflicts 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89249.
The dimensional overlap (DO) model proposes distinct mechanisms for stimulus-stimulus (S-S) and stimulus-response (S-R) conflict effects. Many studies have examined the independence of S-S and S-R conflict effects in the color-word Stroop and Simon tasks. However, confounds exist between the distinction of DO (i.e., S-S dimensional overlap compared with S-R dimensional overlap) and the distinction of stimulus attributes (e.g., color compared with spatial location; semantic compared with nonsemantic information), which may hinder interpretation of the independence of S-S and S-R conflicts. A spatial Stroop (word) task and a spatial Stroop (arrow) task were combined with a Simon task in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively to eliminate these confounds of stimulus attributes. The results showed that S-S and S-R conflicts affected performance additively. There was no significant correlation across participants. These findings lend further support to independent processing of S-S and S-R conflicts as it is outlined in the taxonomy of DO.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089249
PMCID: PMC3928426  PMID: 24558489
7.  Feasibility and Safety of Fiber Optic Micro-Imaging in Canine Peripheral Airways 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84829.
Purpose
To assess the feasibility and safety of imaging canine peripheral airways (<1 mm) with an experimental micro-imaging fiber optic bronchoscope.
Methods
Twenty healthy dogs were scoped with a micro-imaging fiber optic bronchoscope (0.8 mm outer diameter). Images at various levels of the bronchioles, mucosal color, and tracheal secretions were recorded. The apparatus was stopped once it was difficult to insert. CT imaging was performed simultaneously to monitor progression. The safety of the device was evaluated by monitoring heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), mean artery pressure (MAP), peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) and arterial blood gases (partial pressure of arterial carbon-dioxide, PaCO2, partial pressure of arterial oxygen, PaO2, and blood pH).
Results
(1) According to the CT scan, the micro-imaging fiber was able to access the peripheral airways (<1 mm) in canines. (2) There was no significant change in the values of HR, MAP, pH and PaCO2 during the procedure (P>0.05). Comparing pre-manipulation and post-manipulation values, SpO2 (F = 13.06, P<0.05) and PaO2 (F = 3.01, P = 0.01) were decreased, whereas RR (F = 3.85, P<0.05) was elevated during the manipulation. (3) Self-limited bleeding was observed in one dog; severe bleeding or other complications did not occur.
Conclusion
Although the new apparatus had little effect on SpO2, PaO2 and RR, it can probe into small peripheral airways (<1 mm), which may provide a new platform for the early diagnosis of bronchiolar diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084829
PMCID: PMC3886988  PMID: 24416294
8.  Pulmonary manifestations of Crohn’s disease 
Crohn’s disease (CD) is a systemic illness with a constellation of extraintestinal manifestations affecting various organs. Of these extraintestinal manifestations of CD, those involving the lung are relatively rare. However, there is a wide array of lung manifestations, ranging from subclinical alterations, airway diseases and lung parenchymal diseases to pleural diseases and drug-related diseases. The most frequent manifestation is bronchial inflammation and suppuration with or without bronchiectasis. Bronchoalveolar lavage findings show an increased percentage of neutrophils. Drug-related pulmonary abnormalities include disorders which are directly induced by sulfasalazine, mesalamine and methotrexate, and opportunistic lung infections due to immunosuppressive treatment. In most patients, the development of pulmonary disease parallels that of intestinal disease activity. Although infrequent, clinicians dealing with CD must be aware of these, sometimes life-threatening, conditions to avoid further impairment of health status and to alleviate patient symptoms by prompt recognition and treatment. The treatment of CD-related respiratory disorders depends on the specific pattern of involvement, and in most patients, steroids are required in the initial management.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i1.133
PMCID: PMC3886002  PMID: 24415866
Crohn’s disease; Inflammatory bowel disease; Lung; Extracolonic involvement
9.  Cognition–Emotion Integration in the Anterior Insular Cortex 
Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY)  2012;23(1):20-27.
Both cognitive and affective processes require mental resources. However, it remains unclear whether these 2 processes work in parallel or in an integrated fashion. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we investigated their interaction using an empathy-for-pain paradigm, with simultaneous manipulation of cognitive demand of the tasks and emotional valence of the stimuli. Eighteen healthy adult participants viewed photographs showing other people's hands and feet in painful or nonpainful situations while performing tasks of low (body part judgment) and high (laterality judgment) cognitive demand. Behavioral data showed increased reaction times and error rates for painful compared with nonpainful stimuli under laterality judgment relative to body part judgment, indicating an interaction between cognitive demand and stimulus valence. Imaging analyses showed activity in bilateral anterior insula (AI) and primary somatosensory cortex (SI), but not posterior insula, for main effects of cognitive demand and stimulus valence. Importantly, cognitive demand and stimulus valence showed a significant interaction in AI, SI, and regions of the frontoparietal network. These results suggest that cognitive and emotional processes at least partially share common brain networks and that AI might serve as a key node in a brain network subserving cognition–emotion integration.
doi:10.1093/cercor/bhr367
PMCID: PMC3513949  PMID: 22275476
cognition; emotion; empathy; fMRI; insula
10.  Urinary miR-29 Correlates with Albuminuria and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Type 2 Diabetes Patients 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82607.
Background
Cell-free microRNAs stably and abundantly exist in body fluids and emerging evidence suggests cell-free microRNAs as novel and non-invasive disease biomarker. Deregulation of miR-29 is involved in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy and insulin resistance thus may be implicated in diabetic vascular complication. Therefore, we investigated the possibility of urinary miR-29 as biomarker for diabetic nephropathy and atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Methods
83 patients with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in this study, miR-29a, miR-29b and miR-29c levels in urine supernatant was determined by TaqMan qRT-PCR, and a synthetic cel-miR-39 was added to the urine as a spike-in control before miRNAs extraction. Urinary albumin excretion rate and urine albumin/creatinine ratio, funduscopy and carotid ultrasound were used for evaluation of diabetic vascular complication. The laboratory parameters indicating blood glucose level, renal function and serum lipids were also collected.
Results
Patients with albuminuria (n = 42, age 60.62±12.00yrs) showed significantly higher comorbidity of diabetic retinopathy (p = 0.015) and higher levels of urinary miR-29a (p = 0.035) compared with those with normoalbuminuria (n = 41, age 58.54±14.40yrs). There was no significant difference in urinary miR-29b (p = 0.148) or miR-29c level (p = 0.321) between groups. Urinary albumin excretion rate significantly correlated with urinary miR-29a level (r = 0.286, p = 0.016), while urinary miR-29b significantly correlated with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) (r = 0.286, p = 0.046).
Conclusion
Urinary miR-29a correlated with albuminuria while urinary miR-29b correlated with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in patients with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, they may have the potential to serve as alternative biomarker for diabetic nephropathy and atherosclerosis in type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082607
PMCID: PMC3857259  PMID: 24349318
11.  Amelioration of carbon tetrachloride-induced cirrhosis and portal hypertension in rat using adenoviral gene transfer of Akt 
AIM: To investigate whether a virus constitutively expressing active Akt is useful to prevent cirrhosis induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4).
METHODS: Using cre-loxp technique, we created an Ad-myr-HA-Akt virus, in which Akt is labeled by a HA tag and its expression is driven by myr promoter. Further, through measuring enzyme levels and histological structure, we determined the efficacy of this Ad-myr-HA-Akt virus in inhibiting the development of cirrhosis induced by CCl4 in rats. Lastly, using western blotting, we examined the expression levels and/or phosphorylation status of Akt, apoptotic mediators, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and markers for hepatic stellate cells activation to understand the underlying mechanisms of protective role of this virus.
RESULTS: The Ad-myr-HA-Akt virus was confirmed using polymerase chain reaction amplification of inserted Akt gene and sequencing for full length of inserted fragment, which was consistent with the sequence reported in the GenBank. The concentrations of Ad-myr-HA-Akt and adenoviral enhanced green fluorescent protein (Ad-EGFP) virus used in the current study were 5.5 × 1011 vp/mL. The portal vein diameter, peak velocity of blood flow, portal blood flow and congestion index were significantly increased in untreated, saline and Ad-EGFP cirrhosis groups when compared to normal control after the virus was introduced to animal through tail veil injection. In contrast, these parameters in the Akt cirrhosis group were comparable to normal control group. Compared to the normal control, the liver function (Alanine aminotransferase, Aspartate aminotransferase and Albumin) was significantly impaired in the untreated, saline and Ad-EGFP cirrhosis groups. The Akt cirrhosis group showed significant improvement of liver function when compared to the untreated, saline and Ad-EGFP cirrhosis groups. The Hyp level and portal vein pressure in Akt cirrhosis groups were also significantly lower than other cirrhosis groups. The results of HE and Van Gieson staining indicated that Akt group has better preservation of histological structure and less fibrosis than other cirrhosis groups. The percentage of apoptotic cell was greatly less in Akt cirrhosis group than in other cirrhosis groups. Akt group showed positive HA tag and an increased level of phosphorylated Akt as well as decreased levels of Fas. In contrast, Caspase-3 and Caspase-9 levels in Akt group were significantly lower than other cirrhosis groups. Noticeable decrease of DR5 and α-SMA and increase of phosphorylated eNOS were observed in the Akt group when compared to other cirrhosis groups. The NO level in liver was significantly higher in Akt group than other cirrhosis groups, which was consistent with the level of phosphorylated eNOS in these groups.
CONCLUSION: This study suggest that Ad-myr-HA-Akt virus is a useful tool to prevent CCl4-induced cirrhosis in rat model and Akt pathway may be a therapeutic target for human cirrhosis.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i43.7778
PMCID: PMC3837279  PMID: 24431897
Adenovirus; Akt; Gene transfer; Apoptosis; Cirrhosis; Carbon tetrachloride; Rat
12.  The ambulatory arterial stiffness index and target-organ damage in Chinese patients with chronic kidney disease 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:257.
Background
The ambulatory arterial stiffness index (AASI) can be used to predict cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in hypertensive patients. However, data on AASI in Chinese patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is not available.
Methods
This cross-sectional study enrolled 583 CKD patients. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to evaluate the relationship between AASI and renal function and parameters of cardiovascular injury.
Results
Patients with a higher AASI had a higher systolic blood pressure, a lower estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a higher serum cystatin C, a higher left ventricular mass index (LVMI) and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT). Univariate analyses showed that AASI was positively correlated with serum cystatin C (r=0.296, P < 0.001), serum creatinine (r=0.182, P < 0.001), and LVMI (r = 0.205, P < 0.001) and negatively correlated with the eGFR (r = –0.200, P < 0.001). Multivariate analyses revealed that serum cystatin C, eGFR, serum creatinine and LVMI were independently correlated with AASI.
Conclusions
These data suggest that AASI was closely correlated with renal function and parameters of cardiovascular injury in Chinese CKD patients. Good quality, long-term, large longitudinal trials to validate the role of AASI in clinical practice for Chinese CKD patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-257
PMCID: PMC3840650  PMID: 24245955
Ambulatory arterial stiffness index; Chronic kidney disease; Renal function; Left ventricular mass index
13.  Simvastatin Alleviates Hyperpermeability of Glomerular Endothelial Cells in Early-Stage Diabetic Nephropathy by Inhibition of RhoA/ROCK1 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80009.
Background
Endothelial dysfunction is an early sign of diabetic cardiovascular disease and may contribute to progressive diabetic nephropathy (DN). There is increasing evidence that dysfunction of the endothelial tight junction is a crucial step in the development of endothelial hyperpermeability, but it is unknown whether this occurs in glomerular endothelial cells (GEnCs) during the progression of DN. We examined tight junction dysfunction of GEnCs during early-stage DN and the potential underlying mechanisms. We also examined the effect of simvastatin (3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase inhibitor) on dysfunction of the tight junctions of cultured GEnCs and in db/db mice with early-stage DN.
Methods
We assessed the expression of occludin and ZO-1, two major components of the tight junction complex, in cultured rat GEnCs treated with high glucose and in 12 week-old db/db mice with early-stage DN. We also investigated activation of RhoA/ROCK1 signaling, GEnC permeability, and renal function of the mice.
Results
High glucose suppresses occludin expression and disrupts occludin/ZO-1 translocation in GEnCs. These changes were associated with increased permeability to albumin and activation of RhoA/ROCK1 signaling. Occludin and ZO-1 dysregulation also occurred in the glomeruli of mice with early-stage DN, and these abnormalities were accompanied by albuminuria and activation of RhoA/ROCK1 in isolated glomeruli. Simvastatin prevented high glucose or hyperglycemia-induced dysregulation of occludin and ZO-1 by inhibition of RhoA/ROCK1 signaling in cultured GEnCs and in db/db mice with early-stage DN.
Conclusion
Our results indicate that activation of RhoA/ROCK1 by high glucose disrupts the expression and translocation of occludin/ZO-1 and that simvastatin alleviates occludin/ZO-1 dysregulation and albuminuria by suppressing RhoA/ROCK1 signaling during early-stage DN. These results suggest a potential therapeutic strategy for preventing the onset of albuminuria in early-stage DN.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080009
PMCID: PMC3828237  PMID: 24244596
14.  A New Equation to Estimate Glomerular Filtration Rate in Chinese Elderly Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79675.
Background
We sought to develop a new equation to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in Chinese elderly population.
Methods
A total of 668 Chinese elderly participants, including the development cohort (n = 433), the validation cohort (n = 235) were enrolled. The new equation using the generalized additive model, and age, gender, serum creatinine as predictor variables was developed and the performances was compared with the CKD-EPI equation.
Results
In the validation data set, both bias and precision were improved with the new equation, as compared with the CKD-EPI equation (median difference, −1.5 ml/min/1.73 m2 vs. 7.4 ml/min/1.73 m2 for the new equation and the CKD-EPI equation, [P<0.001]; interquartile range [IQR] for the difference, 16.2 ml/min/1.73 m2 vs. 19.0 ml/min/1.73 m2 [P<0.001]), as were accuracies (15% accuracy, 40.4% vs. 30.6% [P = 0.02]; 30% accuracy, 71.1% vs. 47.2%, [P<0.001]; 50% accuracy, 90.2% vs. 75.7%, [P<0.001]), allowing improvement in GFR categorization (GFR category misclassification rate, 37.4% vs. 53.2% [P = <0.001]).
Conclusions
A new equation was developed in Chinese elderly population. In the validation data set, the new equation performed better than the original CKD-EPI equation. The new equation needs further external validations. Calibration of the GFR referent standard to a more accurate one should be an useful way to improve the performance of GFR estimating equations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079675
PMCID: PMC3823564  PMID: 24244543
15.  Too little, too late or too much, too early? Differential hemodynamics of response inhibition in high and low sensation seekers 
Brain research  2012;1481:1-12.
High sensation seeking is associated with strong approach behaviors and weak avoidance responses. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to further characterize the neurobiological underpinnings of this behavioral profile using a Go/No-go task. Analysis of brain activation associated with response inhibition (No-go) versus response initiation and execution (Go) revealed the commonly reported right lateral prefrontal, insula, cingulate, and supplementary motor area network. However, right lateral activation was associated with greater No-go than Go responses only in low sensation seekers. High sensation seekers showed no differential activation in these regions but a more pronounced Go compared to No-go response in several other regions that are involved in salience detection (insula), motor initiation (anterior cingulate) and attention (inferior parietal cortex). Temporal analysis of the hemodynamic response for Go and No-go conditions revealed that the stronger response to Go than No-go trials in high sensation seekers occurred in in the earliest time window in the right middle frontal gyrus, right mid-cingulate and right precuneus. In contrast, the greater No-go than Go response in low sensation seekers occurred in the later time window in these same regions. These findings indicate that high sensation seekers more strongly attend to or process Go trials and show delayed or minimal inhibitory responses on No-go trials in regions that low sensation seekers use for response inhibition. Failure to engage such regions for response inhibition may underlie some of the risky and impulsive behaviors observed in high sensation seekers.
doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2012.08.004
PMCID: PMC3637656  PMID: 22902769
Functional magnetic resonance imaging; cognitive control; personality
16.  Is the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration creatinine–cystatin C equation useful for glomerular filtration rate estimation in the elderly? 
Background
We aimed to evaluate the performance of the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) creatinine–cystatin C equation in a cohort of elderly Chinese participants.
Materials and methods
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was measured in 431 elderly Chinese participants by the technetium-99m diethylene-triamine-penta-acetic acid (99mTc-DTPA) renal dynamic imaging method, and was calibrated equally to the dual plasma sample 99mTc-DTPA-GFR. Performance of the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation was compared with the Cockcroft–Gault equation, the re-expressed 4-variable Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation, and the CKD-EPI creatinine equation.
Results
Although the bias of the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation was greater than with the other equations (median difference, 5.7 mL/minute/1.73 m2 versus a range from 0.4–2.5 mL/minute/1.73 m2; P<0.001 for all), the precision was improved with the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation (interquartile range for the difference, 19.5 mL/minute/1.73 m2 versus a range from 23.0–23.6 mL/minute/1.73 m2; P<0.001 for all comparisons), leading to slight improvement in accuracy (median absolute difference, 10.5 mL/minute/1.73 m2 versus 12.2 and 11.4 mL/minute/1.73 m2 for the Cockcroft–Gault equation and the re-expressed 4-variable MDRD equation, P=0.04 for both; 11.6 mL/minute/1.73 m2 for the CKD-EPI creatinine equation, P=0.11), as the optimal scores of performance (6.0 versus a range from 1.0–2.0 for the other equations). Higher GFR category and diabetes were independent factors that negatively correlated with the accuracy of the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation (β=−0.184 and −0.113, P<0.001 and P=0.02, respectively).
Conclusion
Compared with the creatinine-based equations, the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation is more suitable for the elderly Chinese population. However, the cost-effectiveness of the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation for clinical use should be considered.
doi:10.2147/CIA.S52774
PMCID: PMC3797613  PMID: 24143084
elderly; equation; glomerular filtration rate; serum creatinine; cystatin C
17.  Advanced glycation end-products reduce podocyte adhesion by activating the renin-angiotensin system and increasing integrin-linked kinase 
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) on podocyte adhesion and the underlying mechanisms. Immortalized mouse podocytes were exposed to various conditions and podocyte adhesion was evaluated using a hexosaminidase assay. The expression levels of integrin-linked kinase (ILK) were measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and western blotting. Treatment with AGEs resulted in a significant, concentration-dependent reduction in podocyte adhesion (P<0.05) and an incremental rise in ILK expression up to a maximum of 100%. Pretreatment with losartan significantly prevented the upregulation of ILK and attenuated the loss of podocyte adhesion observed in podocytes exposed to AGEs (P<0.05). However, the adhesion of losartan-treated podocytes remained lower than that of the podocytes exposed to bovine serum albumin. The results indicate that AGEs reduce podocyte adhesion via the upregulation of ILK expression, which occurs partly through activation of the renin-angiotensin system in podocytes.
doi:10.3892/etm.2013.1312
PMCID: PMC3829755  PMID: 24255680
advanced glycation end-products; podocyte; adhesion; integrin-linked kinase
18.  Anterior insular cortex is necessary for empathetic pain perception 
Brain  2012;135(9):2726-2735.
Empathy refers to the ability to perceive and share another person’s affective state. Much neuroimaging evidence suggests that observing others’ suffering and pain elicits activations of the anterior insular and the anterior cingulate cortices associated with subjective empathetic responses in the observer. However, these observations do not provide causal evidence for the respective roles of anterior insular and anterior cingulate cortices in empathetic pain. Therefore, whether these regions are ‘necessary’ for empathetic pain remains unknown. Herein, we examined the perception of others’ pain in patients with anterior insular cortex or anterior cingulate cortex lesions whose locations matched with the anterior insular cortex or anterior cingulate cortex clusters identified by a meta-analysis on neuroimaging studies of empathetic pain perception. Patients with focal anterior insular cortex lesions displayed decreased discrimination accuracy and prolonged reaction time when processing others’ pain explicitly and lacked a typical interference effect of empathetic pain on the performance of a pain-irrelevant task. In contrast, these deficits were not observed in patients with anterior cingulate cortex lesions. These findings reveal that only discrete anterior insular cortex lesions, but not anterior cingulate cortex lesions, result in deficits in explicit and implicit pain perception, supporting a critical role of anterior insular cortex in empathetic pain processing. Our findings have implications for a wide range of neuropsychiatric illnesses characterized by prominent deficits in higher-level social functioning.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws199
PMCID: PMC3437027  PMID: 22961548
anterior cingulate cortex; anterior insular cortex; empathy; meta-analysis; necessity
19.  Estimation of glomerular filtration rate by a radial basis function neural network in patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:181.
Background
Accurate and precise estimates of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) are essential for clinical assessments, and many methods of estimation are available. We developed a radial basis function (RBF) network and assessed the performance of this method in the estimation of the GFRs of 207 patients with type-2 diabetes and CKD.
Methods
Standard GFR (sGFR) was determined by 99mTc-DTPA renal dynamic imaging and GFR was also estimated by the 6-variable MDRD equation and the 4-variable MDRD equation.
Results
Bland-Altman analysis indicated that estimates from the RBF network were more precise than those from the other two methods for some groups of patients. However, the median difference of RBF network estimates from sGFR was greater than those from the other two estimates, indicating greater bias. For patients with stage I/II CKD, the median absolute difference of the RBF network estimate from sGFR was significantly lower, and the P50 of the RBF network estimate (n = 56, 87.5%) was significantly higher than that of the MDRD-4 estimate (n = 49, 76.6%) (p < 0.0167), indicating that the RBF network estimate provided greater accuracy for these patients.
Conclusions
In patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus, estimation of GFR by our RBF network provided better precision and accuracy for some groups of patients than the estimation by the traditional MDRD equations. However, the RBF network estimates of GFR tended to have greater bias and higher than those indicated by sGFR determined by 99mTc-DTPA renal dynamic imaging.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-181
PMCID: PMC3766235  PMID: 23988079
Type 2 diabetes; Chronic kidney disease; Glomerular filtration rate; Artificial neural network
20.  Estimating glomerular filtration rates in elderly Chinese patients with chronic kidney disease: performance of six modified formulae developed in Asian populations 
Objectives
The aim of the present study was to evaluate modified glomerular filtration rate (GFR) prediction formulae in an elderly Chinese population with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Methods
A total of 378 elderly Chinese patients with CKD were enrolled. The GFR was estimated with six modified GFR prediction formulae. The performances of the estimated GFRs were compared with those of the standard GFRs measured by technetium-99m diethyl-enetraminepentaacetic acid.
Results
Biases were similar for Chinese formula 1, the Asian formula, and Chinese formula 2 (median difference, 2.22 mL/min/1.73 m2 and 2.59 mL/min/1.73 m2 for Chinese formula 1 and the Asian formula, respectively, versus (vs) 3.69 mL/min/1.73 m2 for Chinese formula 2 [P = 0.298 and P = 0.913, respectively]). Precision was improved with the Japanese formula (interquartile range of the difference, 3.14 mL/min/1.73 m2 of the Japanese formula versus 15.53–23.06 mL/min/1.73 m2 of the other formulae). The accuracy of Chinese formula 2 was the highest (30% accuracy, 59.3% vs range 37.8–54.0% [P < 0.05 for all comparisons]). However, none of the modified formulae surpassed the acceptable tolerance (>70%), and the GFR category misclassification rates for all the formulae exceeded 50%.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that all six modified formulae developed in Asian populations may show great bias in elderly Chinese patients with CKD. Also, our study suggests the need for uniform measures for the assessment of CKD in the elderly to guarantee better sensitivity and specificity.
doi:10.2147/CIA.S47009
PMCID: PMC3720580  PMID: 23901265
formula; CKD; Asian; GFR
21.  Sensation Seeking Predicts Brain Responses in the Old-New Task: Converging Multimodal Neuroimaging Evidence 
Novel images and message content enhance visual attention and memory for high sensation seekers, but the neural mechanisms associated with this effect are unclear. To investigate the individual differences in brain responses to new and old (studied) visual stimuli, we utilized Event-related Potentials (ERP) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) measures to examine brain reactivity among high and low sensation seekers during a classic old-new memory recognition task. Twenty low and 20 high sensation seekers completed separate, but parallel, ERP and fMRI sessions. For each session, participants initially studied drawings of common images, and then performed an old-new recognition task during scanning. High sensation seekers showed greater ERP responses to new objects at the frontal N2 ERP component, compared to low sensation seekers. The ERP Novelty-N2 responses were correlated with fMRI responses in the orbitofrontal gyrus. Sensation seeking status also modulated the FN400 ERP component indexing familiarity and conceptual learning, along with fMRI responses in the caudate nucleus, which correlated with FN400 activity. No group differences were found in the late ERP positive components indexing classic old-new amplitude effects. Our combined ERP & fMRI results suggest that sensation-seeking personality affects the early brain responses to visual processing, but not the later stage of memory recognition.
doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2012.03.003
PMCID: PMC3367102  PMID: 22484516
novelty seeking personality; old-new effect; recognition memory; evoked potentials; brain imaging; ERP; fMRI
22.  Attentional Modulation of Emotional Conflict Processing with Flanker Tasks 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e60548.
Emotion processing has been shown to acquire priority by biasing allocation of attentional resources. Aversive images or fearful expressions are processed quickly and automatically. Many existing findings suggested that processing of emotional information was pre-attentive, largely immune from attentional control. Other studies argued that attention gated the processing of emotion. To tackle this controversy, the current study examined whether and to what degrees attention modulated processing of emotion using a stimulus-response-compatibility (SRC) paradigm. We conducted two flanker experiments using color scale faces in neutral expressions or gray scale faces in emotional expressions. We found SRC effects for all three dimensions (color, gender, and emotion) and SRC effects were larger when the conflicts were task relevant than when they were task irrelevant, suggesting that conflict processing of emotion was modulated by attention, similar to those of color and face identity (gender). However, task modulation on color SRC effect was significantly greater than that on gender or emotion SRC effect, indicating that processing of salient information was modulated by attention to a lesser degree than processing of non-emotional stimuli. We proposed that emotion processing can be influenced by attentional control, but at the same time salience of emotional information may bias toward bottom-up processing, rendering less top-down modulation than that on non-emotional stimuli.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060548
PMCID: PMC3609783  PMID: 23544155
23.  Improved Glomerular Filtration Rate Estimation by an Artificial Neural Network 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58242.
Background
Accurate evaluation of glomerular filtration rates (GFRs) is of critical importance in clinical practice. A previous study showed that models based on artificial neural networks (ANNs) could achieve a better performance than traditional equations. However, large-sample cross-sectional surveys have not resolved questions about ANN performance.
Methods
A total of 1,180 patients that had chronic kidney disease (CKD) were enrolled in the development data set, the internal validation data set and the external validation data set. Additional 222 patients that were admitted to two independent institutions were externally validated. Several ANNs were constructed and finally a Back Propagation network optimized by a genetic algorithm (GABP network) was chosen as a superior model, which included six input variables; i.e., serum creatinine, serum urea nitrogen, age, height, weight and gender, and estimated GFR as the one output variable. Performance was then compared with the Cockcroft-Gault equation, the MDRD equations and the CKD-EPI equation.
Results
In the external validation data set, Bland-Altman analysis demonstrated that the precision of the six-variable GABP network was the highest among all of the estimation models; i.e., 46.7 ml/min/1.73 m2 vs. a range from 71.3 to 101.7 ml/min/1.73 m2, allowing improvement in accuracy (15% accuracy, 49.0%; 30% accuracy, 75.1%; 50% accuracy, 90.5% [P<0.001 for all]) and CKD stage classification (misclassification rate of CKD stage, 32.4% vs. a range from 47.3% to 53.3% [P<0.001 for all]). Furthermore, in the additional external validation data set, precision and accuracy were improved by the six-variable GABP network.
Conclusions
A new ANN model (the six-variable GABP network) for CKD patients was developed that could provide a simple, more accurate and reliable means for the estimation of GFR and stage of CKD than traditional equations. Further validations are needed to assess the ability of the ANN model in diverse populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058242
PMCID: PMC3596400  PMID: 23516450
24.  Parental substance abuse and function of the motivation and behavioral inhibition systems in drug-naïve youth 
Psychiatry Research  2012;201(2):128-135.
doi:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2011.08.004
PMCID: PMC3335432  PMID: 22386967
fMRI; motivation-reward; behavioral inhibition; risk for substance abuse; ADHD
25.  Reversed Dipper Blood-Pressure Pattern Is Closely Related to Severe Renal and Cardiovascular Damage in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55419.
Background
A non-dipper blood pressure (BP) pattern is very common in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients and affects the progression and development of cardiovascular disease. However, data on the reversed dipper BP pattern on target-organ damage in Chinese CKD patients are lacking.
Methods
A total of 540 CKD patients were enrolled. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), clinical BP, ultrasonographic assessment and other clinical data were collected. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to ascertain the relationship between ABPM results and clinical parameters.
Results
A total of 21.9% CKD patients had a reversed dipper BP pattern, 42% of patients had a non-dipper BP pattern and 36.1% of patients had a dipper BP pattern. Patients with reversed dipper BP pattern had the worst renal function and most severe cardiovascular damages among these CKD patients (p<0.05). The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and left ventricular mass index (LVMI) correlated significantly with the rate of decline of nocturnal BP. A reversed dipper BP pattern was an independent factor affecting kidney damage and left ventricular hypertrophy. Age, lower hemoglobin level, higher 24-h systolic BP from ABPM, and higher serum phosphate levels were independent associated with a reversed dipper BP pattern after multivariate logistic regression analyses.
Conclusion
The reversed dipper BP pattern is closely related to severe renal damage and cardiovascular injuries in CKD patients, and special attention should be given to these CKD patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055419
PMCID: PMC3564807  PMID: 23393577

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