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1.  Continuing Reassortment Leads to the Genetic Diversity of Influenza Virus H7N9 in Guangdong, China 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(15):8297-8306.
On 30 March 2013, a novel avian influenza A H7N9 virus causing severe human respiratory infections was identified in China. Preliminary sequence analyses have shown that the virus is a reassortant of H7N9 and H9N2 avian influenza viruses. In this study, we conducted enhanced surveillance for H7N9 virus in Guangdong, China, from April to August 2013. We isolated two H7N9 viral strains from environmental samples associated with poultry markets and one from a clinical patient. Sequence analyses showed that the Guangdong H7N9 virus isolated from April to May shared high sequence similarity with other strains from eastern China. The A/Guangdong/1/2013 (H7N9) virus isolated from the Guangdong patient on 10 August 2013 was divergent from previously sequenced H7N9 viruses and more closely related to local circulating H9N2 viruses in the NS and NP genes. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that four internal genes of the A/Guangdong/1/2013 (H7N9) virus—the NS, NP, PB1, and PB2 genes—were in clusters different from those for H7N9 viruses identified previously in other provinces of China. The discovery presented here suggests that continuing reassortment led to the emergence of the A/Guangdong/1/2013 (H7N9) virus as a novel H7N9 virus in Guangdong, China, and that viral adaptation to avian and human hosts must be assessed.
IMPORTANCE In this study, we isolated and characterized the avian influenza A H7N9 virus in Guangdong, China, from April to August 2013. We show that the viruses isolated from Guangdong environmental samples and chickens from April to May 2013 were highly similar to other H7N9 strains found in eastern China. The H7N9 virus isolated from the clinical patient in Guangdong in August 2013 was divergent from previously identified H7N9 viruses, with the NS and NP genes originating from recent H9N2 viruses circulating in the province. This study provides direct evidence that continuing reassortment occurred and led to the emergence of a novel H7N9 influenza virus in Guangdong, China. These results also shed light on how the H7N9 virus evolved, which is critically important for future monitoring and tracing of viral transmission.
PMCID: PMC4135935  PMID: 24829356
2.  Rosai-Dorfman Disease with Massive Cutaneous Nodule on the Shoulder and Back 
Annals of Dermatology  2015;27(1):71-75.
Rosai-Dorfman disease is a rare, idiopathic, benign, and self-limiting histiocytic proliferative disorder. A 26-year-old man presented with a single massive cutaneous nodule (reaching 30 cm in diameter) on the left shoulder and back for 15 months. The routine hematological and biochemical tests were normal. Magnetic resonance scanning showed the lesion involved the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and subjacent muscle group, accompanied by obvious lymph node enlargement in the left part of the neck, supraclavicular fossa, and axillary fossa. The histopathology of the left cervical lymph node revealed diffuse effacement of the normal nodal architecture, with patchy chronic inflammatory cell infiltrates comprising lymphocytes and sheets of histiocytes. Some histiocytes contained lymphocytes within their pale cytoplasm. Many multinucleated giant cells were found; however, caseating granulomas were not seen. The skin and muscle biopsy specimen obtained from the back revealed infiltrating lymphocytes and histiocytes diffusely distributed in the dermis, subcutaneous tissue, and crevices of the muscle fibers. The phenomenon of emperipolesis and the presence of multinucleated giant cells were also seen. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that the histiocytes were positive for S-100 protein and CD68 but negative for CD1a. Immunophenotyping of the infiltrating lymphocytes indicated positive reactions to CD3, CD45RO, CD5, CD7, CD4, CD8 (partly), CD79a, CD20 (partly), and Ki-67 (<1%). The final diagnosis was Rosai-Dorfman disease. Owing to the extensive and deep involvement of the subcutaneous tissue and muscles, the patient did not undergo surgery to excise the massive skin nodule. The lesion showed no obvious change at the 12-month follow-up.
PMCID: PMC4323606
Cutaneous; Nodule; Rosai-dorfman disease; Shoulder
3.  Oxygen Transport in a Three-Dimensional Microvascular Network Incorporated with Early Tumour Growth and Preexisting Vessel Cooption: Numerical Simulation Study 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:476964.
We propose a dynamic mathematical model of tissue oxygen transport by a preexisting three-dimensional microvascular network which provides nutrients for an in situ cancer at the very early stage of primary microtumour growth. The expanding tumour consumes oxygen during its invasion to the surrounding tissues and cooption of host vessels. The preexisting vessel cooption, remodelling and collapse are modelled by the changes of haemodynamic conditions due to the growing tumour. A detailed computational model of oxygen transport in tumour tissue is developed by considering (a) the time-varying oxygen advection diffusion equation within the microvessel segments, (b) the oxygen flux across the vessel walls, and (c) the oxygen diffusion and consumption within the tumour and surrounding healthy tissue. The results show the oxygen concentration distribution at different time points of early tumour growth. In addition, the influence of preexisting vessel density on the oxygen transport has been discussed. The proposed model not only provides a quantitative approach for investigating the interactions between tumour growth and oxygen delivery, but also is extendable to model other molecules or chemotherapeutic drug transport in the future study.
PMCID: PMC4324812
4.  Cinnabar-Induced Subchronic Renal Injury Is Associated with Increased Apoptosis in Rats 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:278931.
The aim of this study was to explore the role of apoptosis in cinnabar-induced renal injury in rats. To test this role, rats were dosed orally with cinnabar (1 g/kg/day) for 8 weeks or 12 weeks, and the control rats were treated with 5% carboxymethylcellulose solution. Levels of urinary mercury (UHg), renal mercury (RHg), serum creatinine (SCr), and urine kidney injury molecule 1 (KIM-1) were assessed, and renal pathology was analyzed. Apoptotic cells were identified and the apoptotic index was calculated. A rat antibody array was used to analyze expression of cytokines associated with apoptosis. Results from these analyses showed that UHg, RHg, and urine KIM-1, but not SCr, levels were significantly increased in cinnabar-treated rats. Renal pathological changes in cinnabar-treated rats included vacuolization of tubular cells, formation of protein casts, infiltration of inflammatory cells, and increase in the number of apoptotic tubular cells. In comparison to the control group, expression of FasL, Fas, TNF-α, TRAIL, activin A, and adiponectin was upregulated in the cinnabar-treated group. Collectively, our results suggest that prolonged use of cinnabar results in kidney damage due to accumulation of mercury and that the underlying mechanism involves apoptosis of tubular cells via a death receptor-mediated pathway.
PMCID: PMC4300031  PMID: 25629042
5.  A splice donor mutation in NAA10 results in the dysregulation of the retinoic acid signaling pathway and causes Lenz microphthalmia syndrome 
Journal of medical genetics  2014;51(3):185-196.
Lenz microphthalmia syndrome (LMS) is a genetically heterogeneous X-linked disorder characterised by microphthalmia/anophthalmia, skeletal abnormalities, genitourinary malformations, and anomalies of the digits, ears, and teeth. Intellectual disability and seizure disorders are seen in about 60% of affected males. To date, no gene has been identified for LMS in the microphthalmia syndrome 1 locus (MCOPS1). In this study, we aim to find the disease-causing gene for this condition.
Methods and results
Using exome sequencing in a family with three affected brothers, we identified a mutation in the intron 7 splice donor site (c.471+2T→A) of the N-acetyltransferase NAA10 gene. NAA10 has been previously shown to be mutated in patients with Ogden syndrome, which is clinically distinct from LMS. Linkage studies for this family mapped the disease locus to Xq27-Xq28, which was consistent with the locus of NAA10. The mutation co-segregated with the phenotype and cDNA analysis showed aberrant transcripts. Patient fibroblasts lacked expression of full length NAA10 protein and displayed cell proliferation defects. Expression array studies showed significant dysregulation of genes associated with genetic forms of anophthalmia such as BMP4, STRA6, and downstream targets of BCOR and the canonical WNT pathway. In particular, STRA6 is a retinol binding protein receptor that mediates cellular uptake of retinol/vitamin A and plays a major role in regulating the retinoic acid signalling pathway. A retinol uptake assay showed that retinol uptake was decreased in patient cells.
We conclude that the NAA10 mutation is the cause of LMS in this family, likely through the dysregulation of the retinoic acid signalling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4278941  PMID: 24431331
6.  Interleukin-17 inhibits Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7554.
Interleukin 17(A) (IL-17) is a potent pro-inflammatory cytokine that acts as a central regulator of inflammatory response within the brain, but its physiological roles under non-inflammatory conditions remain elusive. Here we report that endogenous IL-17 ablates neurogenesis in the adult dentate gyrus (DG) of hippocampus. Genetic deletion of IL-17 increased the number of adult-born neurons in the DG. Further, we found that IL-17 deletion altered cytokine network, facilitated basal excitatory synaptic transmission, enhanced intrinsic neuronal excitability, and increased expression of proneuronal genes in neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs). Our findings suggest a profound role of IL-17 in the negative regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis under physiology conditions.
PMCID: PMC4271266  PMID: 25523081
7.  Efficacy and safety of Shenyankangfu tablets for primary glomerulonephritis: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15(1):479.
Chronic kidney disease is a common disease. Most chronic kidney diseases evolve from primary glomerulonephritis. Proteinuria is an independent risk factor for the progression of chronic kidney disease. The general consensus is that therapy administered to decrease proteinuria should include steroids and/or immunosuppressants, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers. However, the side effects of, and adverse reactions to, these agents reduce the benefits to patients. In addition, the cost of these drugs is relatively high. Therefore, identification of inexpensive and effective drugs to decrease proteinuria is urgently needed. Shenyankangfu tablets have been a widely applied Chinese patent medicine for many years to decrease proteinuria. However, there is a lack of research-derived data regarding the clinical use. Therefore, we designed the present randomized controlled clinical trial to compare the efficacy and safety of Shenyankangfu tablets versus losartan potassium for control of proteinuria in patients with primary glomerulonephritis.
This study will be a multicenter, prospective, double-blind, double-dummy, randomized controlled clinical trial. We will enroll 720 patients diagnosed with primary glomerulonephritis. The eligible patients will be randomly divided into the following groups at a 1:1:1:1:1 ratio: Shenyankangfu tablets group, losartan potassium 50 mg group, losartan potassium 100 mg group, Shenyankangfu tablets + losartan potassium 50 mg group, and Shenyankangfu tablets + losartan potassium 100 mg group. All groups will be followed up for 48 weeks; follow-up visits will be performed, at weeks 0, 4, 8, 12, 24, 36, and 48. The primary efficacy outcome will be the post-treatment change in the 24-hour proteinuria level, and the secondary efficacy outcomes will be the post-treatment changes in the serum creatinine level, estimated glomerular filtration rate, traditional Chinese medicine syndrome score, and serum albumin level.
The results of this trial will provide solid data for use in evidence-based medicine with respect to the efficacy and safety of Shenyankangfu tablets for control of proteinuria in patients with primary glomerulonephritis compared to those of losartan potassium. Moreover, we infer that therapy comprising Shenyankangfu tablets + losartan potassium can decrease proteinuria to a larger extent than Shenyankangfu tablets or losartan potassium can alone.
Trial registration
This trial was registered on 12 February 2014 at (ID number NCT02063100).
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-479) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4289030  PMID: 25480673
Glomerulonephritis; Proteinuria; Shenyankangfu tablets; Losartan; Efficacy; Safety; Randomized controlled trial; Double-blind
8.  Circulating cytokines and gastric cancer risk 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(12):10.1007/s10552-013-0284-z.
Chronic inflammation has been hypothesized to play a significant role in the etiology of cancer, including gastric cancer. In the present study we sought to examine pre-diagnostic systemic cytokine levels in plasma, which can be seen as markers of aggregate inflammation, and risk of distal gastric cancer in a case-control study nested within the prospective Shanghai Men’s Health Study.
Circulating levels of eight inflammation-related cytokines were measured in the plasma collected at baseline for 180 incident cases of distal gastric cancer and 358 matched controls. Helicobacter pylori sero-positivity was assessed using multiplex serology. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals.
Individuals with IL-8 levels above the lowest quartile were at two-fold increased odds of gastric cancer [OR 1.91 (95% CI 1.05-3.46), OR 2.10 (95% CI 1.19-3.74), and OR 2.30 (95% CI 1.26-4.19), for the second through fourth quartiles, respectively]. While there were suggestions of an increase in risk with increased level of many of the other cytokines measured (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α, and IFN-γ), no significant associations were found at the p<0.05 level. Infection with CagA-positive H. pylori did not modify these associations.
In a population with high gastric cancer incidence and high H. pylori prevalence, increased circulating levels of IL-8 may indicate increased risk of gastric cancer. These findings add to our understanding of the disease, and further efforts to uncover biomarkers of disease risk.
PMCID: PMC3828746  PMID: 24052422
inflammation; cytokines; gastric cancer; epidemiology
9.  Circulating C-reactive protein and colorectal cancer risk: a report from the Shanghai Men’s Health Study 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(12):2799-2803.
Chronic inflammation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of prediagnostic circulating levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker of systemic inflammation, with subsequent development of colorectal cancer. Prediagnostic plasma CRP levels were examined among 288 colorectal cancer cases and 576 individually-matched controls nested within the Shanghai Men’s Health Study (2002–06), a population-based cohort study of 61 482 Chinese men. The association between CRP levels and colorectal cancer risk was investigated. Baseline plasma CRP levels were 53% higher among men who subsequently developed colorectal cancer than among those who remained free of the disease (1.15 versus 0.75 μg/ml; P < 0.001). Multivariate analyses showed a dose-dependent relationship between CRP and colorectal cancer risk (P trend = 0.003); men in the highest tertile (CRP > 1.19 μg/ml) had 1.88-fold (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.24–2.86) increased odds of developing colorectal cancer compared with men in the lowest tertile (CRP < 0.45 μg/ml). The association was only significant for colon cancer, when cancer site was considered, and was predominantly seen for cases diagnosed within 4 years of blood collection; adjusted odds ratios for the highest versus the lowest tertiles were 3.28 (95% CI: 1.28–8.37), 3.68 (95% CI: 1.62–8.38) and 1.05 (95% CI: 0.56–1.97), respectively, for cases diagnosed <2, 2–4 and >4 years after blood collection. The findings from our study suggest that circulating CRP level is positively associated with colorectal cancer risk in Chinese men, and this association, at least in part, is explained by inflammation-related cancerous or precancerous processes.
PMCID: PMC3845894  PMID: 23985781
10.  Circulation of Reassortant Influenza A(H7N9) Viruses in Poultry and Humans, Guangdong Province, China, 2013 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(12):2034-2040.
Influenza A(H7N9) virus emerged in eastern China in February 2013 and continues to circulate in this region, but its ecology is poorly understood. In April 2013, the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implemented environmental and human syndromic surveillance for the virus. Environmental samples from poultry markets in 21 city CDCs (n = 8,942) and respiratory samples from persons with influenza-like illness or pneumonia (n = 32,342) were tested; viruses isolated from 6 environmental samples and 16 patients were sequenced. Sequence analysis showed co-circulation of 4 influenza A(H7N9) virus strains that evolved by reassortment with avian influenza A(H9N2) viruses circulating in this region. In addition, an increase in human cases starting in late 2013 coincided with an increase in influenza A H7 virus isolates detected by environmental surveillance. Co-circulation of multiple avian influenza viruses that can infect humans highlights the need for increased surveillance of poultry and potential environmental sources.
PMCID: PMC4257815  PMID: 25418838
influenza; H7N9; H9N2; emergence; reassortment; human; poultry; influenza A; H3N2; viruses; respiratory infections; Guangdong Province; China
11.  Epidemiological and viral genome characteristics of the first human H7N9 influenza infection in Guangdong Province, China 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(12):1785-1793.
The first H7N9 human case in south of China was confirmed in Guangdong Province on August 2013, outside of the typical influenza season. For investigating the H7N9 virus source and transmission in the local community, we analyze the epidemiology and genome features of the virus isolated from the first human infection detected in Guangdong Province.
The data including medical records, exposure history and time line of events for the H7N9 patient and close contacts was collected. Variation and genetic signatures of H7N9 virus in Guangdong was analyzed using ClustalW algorithm and comparison with mutations associated with changes in biological characteristics of the virus.
The female patient had a history of poultry exposure, and she was transferred from a local primary hospital to an intensive care unit (ICU) upon deterioration. No additional cases were reported. Similar to previous infections with avian influenza A (H7N9) virus, the patient presented with both upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms. Respiratory failure progressed quickly, and the patient recovered 4 weeks after the onset of symptoms. Genome analysis of the virus indicated that the predicted antigen city and internal genes of the virus are similar to previously reported H7N9 viruses. The isolated virus is susceptible to neuraminidase (NA) inhibitors but resistant to adamantine. Although this virus contains some unique mutations that were only detected in avian or environment-origin avian influenza A (H7N9) viruses, it is still quite similar to other human H7N9 isolates.
The epidemiological features and genome of the first H7N9 virus in Guangdong Province are similar to other human H7N9 infections. This virus may have existed in the environment and live poultry locally; therefore, it is important to be alert of the risk of H7N9 re-emergence in China, including emergence outside the typical influenza season.
PMCID: PMC4283329  PMID: 25589974
Avian influenza virus; epidemiology; H7N9; viral genome
12.  Down-regulation of long non-coding RNA LET is associated with poor prognosis in gastric cancer 
Introduction: Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have emerged recently as major players in tumor biology and may be used for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and potential therapeutic targets. Although down-regulation of lncRNA LET in several cancers has been studied, its role in gastric cancer remains unknown. The aim of our study was to investigate the expression, and clinical significance of lncRNA LET in gastric cancer. Methods: The expression of lncRNA LET was detected by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) in pairs of tumor tissues and adjacent non-tumor tissues of 93 gastric cancer patients. Then, we analyzed the potential relationship between lncRNA LET expression levels in tumor tissues and clinicopathological features of gastric cancer, and clinical outcome. Results: We found that lncRNA LET expression was markedly down-regulated in tumor tissues compared with adjacent non-tumor tissues, and associated with depth of invasion, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, and TNM stage. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that patients with low lncRNA LET expression had a poor overall survival than those with high lncRNA LET expression. Moreover, univariate and multivariate analyses showed that low lncRNA LET expression was an independent poor prognostic factor for gastric cancer patients. Conclusions: Our data provided the first evidence that lncRNA LET might be a novel prognostic indicator in gastric cancer and might be a potential target for diagnosis and gene therapy.
PMCID: PMC4313956
Gastric cancer; long non coding RNA; LET; prognosis
13.  Chd5 orchestrates chromatin remodeling during sperm development 
Nature communications  2014;5:3812.
One of the most remarkable chromatin remodeling processes occurs during spermiogenesis, the post-meiotic phase of sperm development during which histones are replaced with sperm-specific protamines to repackage the genome into the highly compact chromatin structure of mature sperm. Here we identify Chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 5 (Chd5) as a master regulator of the histone-to-protamine chromatin remodeling process. Chd5 deficiency leads to defective sperm chromatin compaction and male infertility in mice, mirroring the observation of low CHD5 expression in testes of infertile men. Chd5 orchestrates a cascade of molecular events required for histone removal and replacement, including histone 4 (H4) hyperacetylation, histone variant expression, nucleosome eviction, and DNA damage repair. Chd5 deficiency also perturbs expression of transition proteins (Tnp1/Tnp2) and protamines (Prm1/2). These findings define Chd5 as a multi-faceted mediator of histone-to-protamine replacement and depict the cascade of molecular events underlying chromatin remodeling during this process of extensive chromatin remodeling.
PMCID: PMC4151132  PMID: 24818823
14.  Flow Shear Stress Stimulates Gab1 Tyrosine Phosphorylation to Mediate Protein Kinase B and Endothelial Nitric-oxide Synthase Activation in Endothelial Cells* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2005;280(13):12305-12309.
Fluid shear stress generated by blood flow modulates endothelial cell function via specific intracellular signaling events. We showed previously that flow activated the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), Akt, and endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) via Src kinase-dependent transactivation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2). The scaffold protein Gab1 plays an important role in receptor tyrosine kinase-mediated signal transduction. We found here that laminar flow (shear stress = 12 dynes/cm2) rapidly stimulated Gab1 tyrosine phosphorylation in both bovine aortic endothelial cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells, which correlated with activation of Akt and eNOS. Gab1 phosphorylation as well as activation of Akt and eNOS by flow was inhibited by the Src kinase inhibitor PP2 (4-amino-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-7-(t-butyl)pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine) and VEGFR2 kinase inhibitors SU1498 and VTI, suggesting that flow-mediated Gab1 phosphorylation is Src kinase-dependent and VEGFR2-dependent. Tyrosine phosphorylation of Gab1 by flow was functionally important, because flow stimulated the association of Gab1 with the PI3K subunit p85 in a time-dependent manner. Furthermore, transfection of a Gab1 mutant lacking p85 binding sites inhibited flow-induced activation of Akt and eNOS. Finally, knockdown of endogenous Gab1 by small interference RNA abrogated flow activation of Akt and eNOS. These data demonstrate a critical role of Gab1 in flow-stimulated PI3K/Akt/eNOS signal pathway in endothelial cells.
PMCID: PMC4228934  PMID: 15665327
15.  Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ Deficiency in T Cells Accelerates Chronic Rejection by Influencing the Differentiation of CD4+ T Cells and Alternatively Activated Macrophages 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112953.
In a previous study, activation of the peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ (PPARγ) inhibited chronic cardiac rejection. However, because of the complexity of chronic rejection and the fact that PPARγ is widely expressed in immune cells, the mechanism of the PPARγ - induced protective effect was unclear.
Materials and Methods
A chronic rejection model was established using B6.C-H-2bm12KhEg (H-2bm12) mice as donors, and MHC II-mismatched T-cell-specific PPARγ knockout mice or wild type (WT) littermates as recipients. The allograft lesion was assessed by histology and immunohistochemistry. T cells infiltrates in the allograft were isolated, and cytokines and subpopulations were detected using cytokine arrays and flow cytometry. Transcription levels in the allograft were measured by RT-PCR. In vitro, the T cell subset differentiation was investigated after culture in various polarizing conditions. PPARγ-deficient regularory T cells (Treg) were cocultured with monocytes to test their ability to induce alternatively activated macrophages (AAM).
T cell-specific PPARγ knockout recipients displayed reduced cardiac allograft survival and an increased degree of pathology compared with WT littermates. T cell-specific PPARγ knockout resulted in more CD4+ T cells infiltrating into the allograft and altered the Th1/Th2 and Th17/Treg ratios. The polarization of AAM was also reduced by PPARγ deficiency in T cells through the action of Th2 and Treg. PPARγ-deficient T cells eliminated the pioglitazone-induced polarization of AAM and reduced allograft survival.
PPARγ-deficient T cells influenced the T cell subset and AAM polarization in chronic allograft rejection. The mechanism of PPARγ activation in transplantation tolerance could yield a novel treatment without side effects.
PMCID: PMC4226585  PMID: 25383620
16.  Apolipoprotein E Gene Polymorphisms Are Associated with Primary Hyperuricemia in a Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110864.
Primary hyperuricemia, an excess of uric acid in the blood, is a major public health problem. In addition to the morbidity that is attributable to gout, hyperuricemia is also associated with metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. This study aims to assess the genetic associations between Apolipoprotein E (APOE) polymorphisms and hyperuricemia in a Chinese population.
A total of 770 subjects (356 hyperuricemic cases and 414 normouricemic controls) were recruited from the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China. A physical examination was performed and fasting blood was collected for biochemical tests, including determination of the levels of serum lipid, creatinine, and uric acid. Multi-ARMS PCR was applied to determine the APOE genotypes, followed by an investigation of the distribution of APOE genotypes and alleles frequencies in the controls and cases.
The frequencies of the APOE-ε2ε3 genotype (17.70% vs. 10.39%, P = 0.003) and the APOE-ε2 allele (10.53% vs. 5.80%, P = 0.001) were significantly higher in the hyperuricemic group than in the normouricemic group. Furthermore, male cases were more likely to have the APOE-ε2ε3 genotype and APOE-ε2 allele, compared with male controls. In both Han and Hui subjects, cases were more likely to have the APOE-ε2ε3 genotype and the APOE-ε2 allele compared with controls. Furthermore, multivariate logistic regression showed that carriers of the APOE-ε2ε3 genotype (P = 0.001, OR = 2.194) and the ε2 allele (P = 0.001, OR = 2.099) were significantly more likely to experience hyperuricemia than carriers of the ε3/ε3 genotype and the ε3 allele after adjustment for sex, body mass index (BMI), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), triglyceride (TG), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), creatinine (Cr) and fasting blood glucose(FBG).
The APOE-ε2ε3 genotype and the APOE-ε2 allele are associated with serum uric acid levels in Chinese subjects, indicating that individuals carrying the APOE-ε2 allele have a higher risk of hyperuricemia than non-carriers.
PMCID: PMC4214707  PMID: 25356596
17.  Serologic screenings for H7N9 from three sources among high-risk groups in the early stage of H7N9 circulation in Guangdong Province, China 
Virology Journal  2014;11(1):184.
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of the novel avian influenza A virus (H7N9) in three high risk groups. The groups were divided into those exposed through infected individuals, those exposed through poultry and those individuals exposed through the external environment, in the early stage of the epidemic in Guangdong Province, which is located in the southern region of China.
Serologic studies were conducted among samples collected from individuals who had close contact with the first H7N9 infected patient reported in Guangdong Province, those who were most likely exposed to the first group of H7N9 infected poultry, and those who might have been exposed to H7N9 in the environmental settings, namely hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) and microneutralizaiton(MN) assays using three viruses as antigens.
The alignment results of the viral sequences indicated the similarity of the HA gene sequence among viruses from exposure to infected poultry, infected humans and contaminated environments were highly conserved. Seven samples of individuals exposed to contaminated environments were positive in the HI assay and one sample among them was positive in the MN assay using poultry H7N9 virus as the antigen. One sample was positive against human H7N9 virus and 3 samples were positive against environmental H7N9 among those that were in contact with infected patients in HI assay. None of these were positive in MN assay. All HI titers of the 240 samples from those individuals in contact with infected poultry were less than 40 aganist the antigens from three viruses.
The results suggest that when the H7N9 virus was in the early stages of circulation in Guangdong Province, the antigenic sites of the HA proteins of the H7N9 strain isolated from different hosts were highly conserved. The risk of new infection is low in individuals who have contact with the infected patients, poultry or a contaminated environment in the early stages of the circulation of the H7N9 virus.
PMCID: PMC4283156  PMID: 25342002
Influenza virus; H7N9 virus; Antibody; Serologic screening
18.  Increase in Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Isolated in Shanghai, China: Results from a Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109736.
In China, the prevalence of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) in isolates from mycobacterial culture-positive patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is largely unknown.
We used conventional biochemical and 16S rRNA gene sequencing to identify species of mycobacteria in specimens from patients suspected of having TB. Drug-susceptibility testing was performed on NTM isolates using the proportion method. We also determined the independent risk factors associated with infection with NTM compared with infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
The overall rate of NTM isolated from mycobacterial culture-positive patients was 5.9% in this population, with a significantly increasing trend from 3.0% in 2008 to 8.5% in 2012 (P for trend <0.001). The organism most frequently identified was M. kansasii (45.0%), followed by M. intracellulare (20.8%) and M. chelonae/abscessus (14.9%). The overall proportion of isolates resistant to the four first-line anti-TB agents were 64.6% for isoniazid, 77.6% for streptomycin, 63.3% for rifampicin and 75.1% for ethambutol. The risk factors most often associated with NTM infection were older age (P for trend <0.001), being a resident of Shanghai (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.48; 95% CI, 1.10–2.00), having been treated for tuberculosis (aOR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.18–2.29), having a cavity on chest X-ray (aOR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.16–1.96), and being sputum smear–negative (aOR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.16–2.18).
The prevalence of NTM isolated in Shanghai increased between 2008 and 2012, thus clinicians should consider NTM as a possible cause of TB-like disease. Accurate species identification is imperative so that proper treatment can be administered for diseases caused by the diversity of NTM species.
PMCID: PMC4199589  PMID: 25330201
19.  Efficacy and Safety of Remifemin on Peri-Menopausal Symptoms Induced by Post-Operative GnRH-a Therapy for Endometriosis: A Randomized Study versus Tibolone 
The aim of this study was to investigate clinical efficacy and safety of Remifemin on peri-menopausal symptoms in endometriosis patients with a post-operative GnRH-a therapy.
We treated 116 women who had endometriosis with either Remifemin (n=56) 20 mg bid po or Tibolone (n=60) 2.5 mg qd po for 12 weeks after GnRH-a injection. The efficacy was evaluated by Kupperman menopausal index (KMI), and hot flash/sweating scores. The safety parameters such as liver and renal functions, lipid profile, endometrial thickness, and serum sex hormone level, as well as the incidence of adverse events were recorded.
(1) After GnRH-a therapy, KMI and hot flash/sweating scores in both groups increased significantly (P<0.05) but we found no significant difference for KMI (2.87±1.40 for Remifemin and 2.70±1.26 for Tibolone) and hot flash/sweating scores (0.94±1.72 for Remifemin and 1.06±1.78 for Tibolone) between the 2 groups (P>0.05). (2) No statistical change was observed in liver or renal functions and lipid profile in both groups before and after the treatment (P>0.05). The post-therapeutic serum FSH, LH, and E2 level and endometrial thickness decreased remarkably in both groups (P<0.05). E2 level in the Remifemin group was obviously lower than that in the Tibolone group (P<0.05), and FSH and LH levels were strongly higher (P<0.05). No significant difference in thickness were found in either group (P>0.05). The Remifemin group had far fewer adverse events than the Tibolone group (P<0. 05).
Compared with Tibolone, Remifemin had a similar clinical efficacy and was safer for the peri-menopausal symptoms induced by GnRH-a in endometriosis patients.
PMCID: PMC4211309  PMID: 25321621
Drug Therapy; Endometriosis; Treatment Outcome
20.  DAZL Limits Pluripotency, Differentiation, and Apoptosis in Developing Primordial Germ Cells 
Stem Cell Reports  2014;3(5):892-904.
The scarcity of primordial germ cells (PGCs) in the developing mammalian embryo hampers robust biochemical analysis of the processes that underlie early germ cell formation. Here, we demonstrate that DAZL, a germ cell-specific RNA binding protein, is a robust PGC marker during in vitro germ cell development. Using Dazl-GFP reporter ESCs, we demonstrate that DAZL plays a central role in a large mRNA/protein interactive network that blocks the translation of core pluripotency factors, including Sox2 and Sall4, as well as of Suz12, a polycomb family member required for differentiation of pluripotent cells. Thus, DAZL limits both pluripotency and somatic differentiation in nascent PGCs. In addition, we observed that DAZL associates with mRNAs of key Caspases and similarly inhibits their translation. This elegant fail-safe mechanism ensures that, whereas loss of DAZL results in prolonged expression of pluripotency factors, teratoma formation is avoided due to the concomitant activation of the apoptotic cascade.
Graphical Abstract
•DAZL colocalizes with a network of translational inhibitors in granular structures•DAZL interacts with mRNA transcripts of key pluripotency genes and Caspases•Loss of DAZL function leads to prolonged expression of pluripotency genes•Loss of DAZL leads to expression of Caspases, resulting in apoptosis in PGCs
In this article, Geijsen and colleagues demonstrate that DAZL acts as a translational suppressor of pluripotency, differentiation, and apoptosis in developing primordial germ cells. As such, DAZL limits pluripotency while simultaneously preventing somatic differentiation and provides an elegant fail-safe mechanism into the PGC system, in which the loss of pluripotency regulation simultaneously triggers germ cell death and prevents germ cell tumor formation.
PMCID: PMC4235140  PMID: 25418731
21.  Biogenesis of C-Glycosyl Flavones and Profiling of Flavonoid Glycosides in Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108860.
Flavonoids in nine tissues of Nelumbo nucifera Gaertner were identified and quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detector (HPLC-DAD) and HPLC-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MSn). Thirty-eight flavonoids were identified; eleven C-glycosides and five O-glycosides were discovered for the first time in N. nucifera. Most importantly, the C-glycosyl apigenin or luteolin detected in lotus plumules proved valuable for deep elucidation of flavonoid composition in lotus tissues and for further utilization as functional tea and medicine materials. Lotus leaves possessed the significantly highest amount of flavonoids (2.06E3±0.08 mg 100 g−1 FW) and separating and purifying the bioactive compound, quercetin 3-O-glucuronide, from leaves showed great potential. In contrast, flavonoids in flower stalks, seed coats and kernels were extremely low. Simultaneously, the optimal picking time was confirmed by comparing the compound contents in five developmental phases. Finally, we proposed the putative flavonoid biosynthesis pathway in N. nucifera.
PMCID: PMC4184820  PMID: 25279809
22.  Intra-individual variation in one-carbon metabolism plasma biomarkers 
Interest in the relationship between one-carbon metabolism (OCM) and carcinogenesis is intensifying, leading to increased use of related biomarkers as measures of exposure. Little is known, however, about intra-individual variation in these markers and if use of a single measure is appropriate for assessing exposure-disease relationships in epidemiologic studies. We evaluated intra-individual variation in plasma concentrations of 19 OCM biomarkers in a sample of 147 African American and 68 non-Hispanic white participants from the Southern Community Cohort Study who donated blood samples and responded to questionnaires at two points in time from 2005–2008. Weighted kappa coefficients (κ) were calculated to assess agreement between quartile assignments based on the repeated measures. Adjusted intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs) were also used to assess the consistency of the two measurements. Most (16 of 19) OCM biomarkers showed moderate or better agreement for quartile assignment at the two timepoints, with only methionine, methionine sulfoxide, and cystathionine having κ ≤ 0.40. The median adjusted ICC across the 19 biomarkers was 0.60. Reproducibility was highest for flavin mononucleotide (ICC=0.84, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79–0.87) and lowest for methionine and its oxidative product methionine sulfoxide (ICC=0.22, 95%CI 0.09–0.34; ICC=0.20, 95%CI 0.07–0.32, respectively). Overall, intra-individual variation in OCM biomarkers was similar for African Americans and whites, and for males and females. Our results suggest that, with the exception of methionine and methionine sulfoxide, OCM biomarkers generally have good intra-individual reproducibility and can be considered reliable exposure measures in epidemiologic studies.
PMCID: PMC4104117  PMID: 23950212
One-carbon metabolism; intra-class correlation; biological markers; prospective studies; reproducibility of results
23.  Genetic Changes of Reemerged Influenza A(H7N9) Viruses, China 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(9):1582-1583.
PMCID: PMC4178397  PMID: 25153821
Avian influenza; H7N9; H9N2; reassortment; Guangdong; China; viruses; influenza
24.  Decreased exposure of simvastatin and simvastatin acid in a rat model of type 2 diabetes 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2014;35(9):1215-1225.
Simvastatin is frequently administered to diabetic patients with hypercholesterolemia. The aim of the study was to investigate the pharmacokinetics of simvastatin and its hydrolysate simvastatin acid in a rat model of type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes was induced in 4-week-old rats by a treatment of high-fat diet combined with streptozotocin. After the rats received a single dose of simvastatin (20 mg/kg, po, or 2 mg/kg, iv), the plasma concentrations of simvastatin and simvastatin acid were determined. Simvastatin metabolism and cytochrome P4503A (Cyp3a) activity were assessed in hepatic microsomes, and its uptake was studied in freshly isolated hepatocytes. The expression of Cyp3a1, organic anion transporting polypeptide 2 (Oatp2), multidrug resistance-associated protein 2 (Mrp2) and breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp) in livers was measured using qRT-PCR.
After oral or intravenous administration, the plasma concentrations and areas under concentrations of simvastatin and simvastatin acid were markedly decreased in diabetic rats. Both simvastatin metabolism and Cyp3a activity were markedly increased in hepatocytes of diabetic rats, accompanied by increased expression of hepatic Cyp3a1 mRNA. Furthermore, the uptake of simvastatin by hepatocytes of diabetic rats was markedly increased, which was associated with increased expression of the influx transporter Oatp2, and decreased expression of the efflux transporters Mrp2 and Bcrp.
Diabetes enhances the metabolism of simvastatin and simvastatin acid in rats via up-regulating hepatic Cyp3a activity and expression and increasing hepatic uptake.
PMCID: PMC4155525  PMID: 25152023
diabetes; hypercholesterolemia; simvastatin; pharmacokinetics; hepatocyte; microsome; Cyp3a; organic anion transporting polypeptide 2; multidrug resistance-associated protein 2; breast cancer resistance protein
25.  Crystal structure of 4-eth­oxy-N-(4-eth­oxy­phen­yl)-N-phenyl­aniline 
In the title compound, C22H23NO2, the planes of the eth­oxy­benzene rings are oriented with respect to that of the phenyl ring at dihedral angles of 61.77 (8) and 84.77 (8)°, and they are twisted with respect to one another, with a dihedral angle of 80.37 (7)°. In the crystal, weak C—H⋯π inter­actions link the mol­ecules into supra­molecular chains propagating along [101].
PMCID: PMC4186099  PMID: 25309234
crystal structure; tri­phenyl­amine derivatives; supra­molecular chains; C—H⋯π inter­actions

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