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1.  Prion protein- and cardiac troponin T-marked interstitial cells from the adult myocardium spontaneously develop into beating cardiomyocytes 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7301.
Atypically-shaped cardiomyocytes (ACMs) constitute a novel subpopulation of beating heart cells found in the cultures of cardiac myocyte-removed crude fraction cells obtained from adult mouse cardiac ventricles. Although ~500 beating ACMs are observed under microscope in the cell cultures obtained from the hearts of either male or female mice, the origin of these cells in cardiac tissue has yet to be elucidated due to the lack of exclusive markers. In the present study, we demonstrate the efficacy of cellular prion protein (PrP) as a surface marker of ACMs. Cells expressing PrP at the plasma membrane in the culture of the crude fraction cells were found to develop into beating ACMs by themselves or fuse with each other to become larger multinuclear beating ACMs. Combining PrP with a cardiac-specific contractile protein cardiac troponin T (cTnT) allowed us to identify native ACMs in the mouse cardiac ventricles as either clustered or solitary cells. PrP- and cTnT-marked cells were also found in the adult, even aged, human cardiac ventricles. These findings suggest that interstitial cells marked by PrP and cTnT, native ACMs, exhibit life-long survival in the cardiac ventricles of both mice and humans.
PMCID: PMC4252891  PMID: 25466571
2.  The Detection of Candida Species in Patients with Halitosis 
To examine the effects of Candida on halitosis, the carrier state of Candida was examined in patients who made a visit with a chief complaint of halitosis. Methods. Subjects were 123 patients (42 males and 81 females) who visited our clinic, with a chief complaint of halitosis. Their average age was 45.8 years. To examine halitosis, an organoleptic test was conducted, and volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) were measured by gas chromatography. Tongue-coating samples collected at the initial visit were cultured in CHROMagar Candida medium. The results of a Candida culture test, an organoleptic test, and VSC measurements were examined. Results. The male-to-female ratio of the patients was about 1 : 2. Patients with severe halitosis accounted for less than 20%. In the Candida culture test, the positive rate was about 25.2%, and C. albicans was the most frequently detected. Two kinds of Candida species were detected in 75% (6/8) of the strongly Candida-positive group. The VSC measurements were correlated with the Candida culture test results. Methyl mercaptan concentration was higher in the strongly C. albicans-positive group or the subjects having two kinds of Candida species. Conclusion. We suggest that imbalance of oral microbial community exists in the strongly Candida-positive group.
PMCID: PMC4158284  PMID: 25243010
3.  Improved Functional Expression of Human Cardiac Kv1.5 Channels and Trafficking-Defective Mutants by Low Temperature Treatment 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92923.
We herein investigated the effect of low temperature exposure on the expression, degradation, localization and activity of human Kv1.5 (hKv1.5). In hKv1.5-expressing CHO cells, the currents were significantly increased when cultured at a reduced temperature (28°C) compared to those observed at 37°C. Western blot analysis indicated that the protein levels (both immature and mature proteins) of hKv1.5 were significantly elevated under the hypothermic condition. Treatment with a proteasome inhibitor, MG132, significantly increased the immature, but not the mature, hKv1.5 protein at 37°C, however, there were no changes in either the immature or mature hKv1.5 proteins at low temperature following MG132 exposure. These observations suggest that the enhancement of the mature hKv1.5 protein at reduced temperature may not result from the inhibition of proteolysis. Moreover, the hKv1.5 fluorescence signal in the cells increased significantly on the cell surface at 28°C versus those cultured at 37°C. Importantly, the low temperature treatment markedly shifted the subcellular distribution of the mature hKv1.5, which showed considerable overlap with the trans-Golgi component. Experiments using tunicamycin, an inhibitor of N-glycosylation, indicated that the N-glycosylation of hKv1.5 is more effective at 28°C than at 37°C. Finally, the hypothermic treatment also rescued the protein expression and currents of trafficking-defective hKv1.5 mutants. These results indicate that low temperature exposure stabilizes the protein in the cellular organelles or on the plasma membrane, and modulates its maturation and trafficking, thus enhancing the currents of hKv1.5 and its trafficking defect mutants.
PMCID: PMC3963980  PMID: 24663680
4.  The COX-2 Selective Blocker Etodolac Inhibits TNFα-Induced Apoptosis in Isolated Rabbit Articular Chondrocytes 
Chondrocyte apoptosis contributes to the disruption of cartilage integrity in osteoarthritis (OA). Recently, we reported that activation of volume-sensitive Cl− current (ICl,vol) mediates cell shrinkage, triggering apoptosis in rabbit articular chondrocytes. A cyclooxygenase (COX) blocker is frequently used for the treatment of OA. In the present study, we examined in vitro effects of selective blockers of COX on the TNFα-induced activation of ICl,vol in rabbit chondrocytes using the patch-clamp technique. Exposure of isolated chondrocytes to TNFα resulted in an obvious increase in membrane Cl− conductance. The TNFα-evoked Cl− current exhibited electrophysiological and pharmacological properties similar to those of ICl,vol. Pretreatment of cells with selective COX-2 blocker etodolac markedly inhibited ICl,vol activation by TNFα as well as subsequent apoptotic events such as apoptotic cell volume decrease (AVD) and elevation of caspase-3/7 activity. In contrast, a COX-1 blocker had no effect on the decrease in cell volume or the increase in caspase-3/7 activity induced by TNFα. Thus, the COX-2-selective blocker had an inhibitory effect on TNFα-induced apoptotic events, which suggests that this drug would have efficacy for the treatment of OA.
PMCID: PMC3821581  PMID: 24084720
chondrocyte; apoptosis; TNFα; COX-2; osteoarthritis
5.  Role of Breast Regression Protein–39 in the Pathogenesis of Cigarette Smoke–Induced Inflammation and Emphysema 
The exaggerated expression of chitinase-like protein YKL-40, the human homologue of breast regression protein–39 (BRP-39), was reported in a number of diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the in vivo roles of YKL-40 in normal physiology or in the pathogenesis of specific diseases such as COPD remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that BRP-39/YKL-40 plays an important role in the pathogenesis of cigarette smoke (CS)–induced emphysema. To test this hypothesis, 10-week-old wild-type and BRP-39 null mutant mice (BRP-39−/−) were exposed to room air (RA) and CS for up to 10 months. The expression of BRP-39 was significantly induced in macrophages, airway epithelial cells, and alveolar Type II cells in the lungs of CS-exposed mice compared with RA-exposed mice, at least in part via an IL-18 signaling–dependent pathway. The null mutation of BRP-39 significantly reduced CS-induced bronchoalveolar lavage and tissue inflammation. However, CS-induced epithelial cell apoptosis and alveolar destruction were further enhanced in the absence of BRP-39. Consistent with these findings in mice, the tissue expression of YKL-40 was significantly increased in the lungs of current smokers compared with the lungs of ex-smokers or nonsmokers. In addition, serum concentrations of YKL-40 were significantly higher in smokers with COPD than in nonsmokers or smokers without COPD. These studies demonstrate a novel regulatory role of BRP-39/YKL-40 in CS-induced inflammation and emphysematous destruction. These studies also underscore that maintaining physiologic concentrations of YKL-40 in the lung is therapeutically important in preventing excessive inflammatory responses or emphysematous alveolar destruction.
PMCID: PMC3135840  PMID: 20656949
YKL-40/BRP-39; COPD; emphysema; cigarette smoke
6.  Autophagy Is Constitutively Active in Normal Mouse Sino-Atrial Nodal Cells 
Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica  2011;44(5):223-231.
This study was designed to examine the autophagy in sino-atrial (SA) nodal cells from the normal adult mouse heart. Autophagy is the cellular process responsible for the degradation and recycling of long-lived and/or damaged cytoplasmic components by lysosomal digestion. In the heart, autophagy is known to occur at a low level under physiological conditions, but to become upregulated when cells are exposed to certain stresses, such as ischemia. We examined whether the basal level of autophagy in SA nodal cells was different from that in ventricular or atrial myocytes. An ultrastructural analysis revealed that the SA nodal cells contained a number of autophagic vacuoles (autophagosomes) with various stages of degradation by lysosomal digestion, whereas the number of those in ventricular or atrial myocytes was either negligible or very small. The immunostaining of autophagosome marker microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) and lysosome marker lysosome-associated membrane protein 1 (LAMP1) indicated that the content of both autophagosomes and lysosomes were much greater in SA nodal cells than in ordinary cardiomyocytes. Our results provide evidence that the autophagy is active in normal SA nodal cells, which is not a stress-activated process but a constitutive event in the mouse heart.
PMCID: PMC3210427  PMID: 22096262
autophagy; SA node; cardiomyocyte; LC3; LAMP1
7.  The Chitinase-like Proteins Breast Regression Protein-39 and YKL-40 Regulate Hyperoxia-induced Acute Lung Injury 
Rationale: Prolonged exposure to 100% O2 causes hyperoxic acute lung injury (HALI), characterized by alveolar epithelial cell injury and death. We previously demonstrated that the murine chitinase-like protein, breast regression protein (BRP)–39 and its human homolog, YKL-40, inhibit cellular apoptosis. However, the regulation and roles of these molecules in hyperoxia have not been addressed.
Objectives: We hypothesized that BRP-39 and YKL-40 (also called chitinase-3–like 1) play important roles in the pathogenesis of HALI.
Methods: We characterized the regulation of BRP-39 during HALI and the responses induced by hyperoxia in wild-type mice, BRP-39–null (−/−) mice, and BRP-39−/− mice in which YKL-40 was overexpressed in respiratory epithelium. We also compared the levels of tracheal aspirate YKL-40 in premature newborns with respiratory failure.
Measurements and Main Results: These studies demonstrate that hyperoxia inhibits BRP-39 in vivo in the murine lung and in vitro in epithelial cells. They also demonstrate that BRP-39−/− mice have exaggerated permeability, protein leak, oxidation, inflammatory, chemokine, and epithelial apoptosis responses, and experience premature death in 100% O2. Lastly, they demonstrate that YKL-40 ameliorates HALI, prolongs survival in 100% O2, and rescues the exaggerated injury response in BRP-39−/− animals. In accord with these findings, the levels of tracheal aspirate YKL-40 were lower in premature infants treated with hyperoxia for respiratory failure who subsequently experienced bronchopulmonary dysplasia or death compared with those that did not experience these complications.
Conclusions: These studies demonstrate that hyperoxia inhibits BRP-39/YKL-40, and that BRP-39 and YKL-40 are critical regulators of oxidant injury, inflammation, and epithelial apoptosis in the murine and human lung.
PMCID: PMC2970863  PMID: 20558631
BRP-39; YKL-40; hyperoxygen; BPD; HALI
8.  Liver Parenchyma Perforation following Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2011;5(2):487-491.
Although endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an effective modality for the diagnosis and treatment of biliary and pancreatic diseases, it is still related with several severe complications. We report on the case of a female patient who developed liver parenchyma perforation following ERCP. She underwent ERCP with sphincterotomy and extraction of a common bile duct stone. Shortly after ERCP, abdominal distension was identified. Abdominal computed tomography revealed intraabdominal air leakage and leakage of contrast dye penetrating the liver parenchyma into the space around the spleen. Since periampullary perforation related to sphincterotomy could not be denied, she was referred for immediate surgery. Obvious perforation could not be found at surgery. Cholecystectomy, insertion of a T tube into the common bile duct, placement of a duodenostomy tube and drainage of the retroperitoneum were performed. She did well postoperatively and was discharged home on postoperative day 28. In conclusion, as it is well recognized that perforation is one of the most serious complication related to ERCP, liver parenchyma perforation should be suspected as a cause.
PMCID: PMC3180667  PMID: 21960953
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Sphincterotomy; Complication; Guide wire; Liver injury
9.  KCNE2 modulation of Kv4.3 current and its potential role in fatal rhythm disorders 
Heart Rhythm  2009;7(2):199-205.
The transient outward current Ito is of critical importance in regulating myocardial electrical properties during the very early phase of the action potential. The auxiliary β subunit KCNE2 recently was shown to modulate Ito.
The purpose of this study was to examine the contributions of KCNE2 and its two published variants (M54T, I57T) to Ito.
The functional interaction between Kv4.3 (α subunit of human Ito) and wild-type (WT), M54T, and I57T KCNE2, expressed in a heterologous cell line, was studied using patch-clamp techniques.
Compared to expression of Kv4.3 alone, co-expression of WT KCNE2 significantly reduced peak current density, slowed the rate of inactivation, and caused a positive shift of voltage dependence of steady-state inactivation curve. These modifications rendered Kv4.3 channels more similar to native cardiac Ito. Both M54T and I57T variants significantly increased Ito current density and slowed the inactivation rate compared with WT KCNE2. Moreover, both variants accelerated the recovery from inactivation.
The study results suggest that KCNE2 plays a critical role in the normal function of the native Ito channel complex in human heart and that M54T and I57T variants lead to a gain of function of Ito, which may contribute to generating potential arrhythmogeneity and pathogenesis for inherited fatal rhythm disorders.
PMCID: PMC2819024  PMID: 20042375
Cardiac arrhythmia; M54T variation; I57T variation; KCNE2; Kv4.3; Sudden cardiac death
10.  Endogenous IL-11 Signaling Is Essential in Th2- and IL-13–Induced Inflammation and Mucus Production 
IL-11 and IL-11 receptor (R)α are induced by Th2 cytokines. However, the role(s) of endogenous IL-11 in antigen-induced Th2 inflammation has not been fully defined. We hypothesized that IL-11, signaling via IL-11Rα, plays an important role in aeroallergen-induced Th2 inflammation and mucus metaplasia. To test this hypothesis, we compared the responses induced by the aeroallergen ovalbumin (OVA) in wild-type (WT) and IL-11Rα–null mutant mice. We also generated and defined the effects of an antagonistic IL-11 mutein on pulmonary Th2 responses. Increased levels of IgE, eosinophilic tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) inflammation, IL-13 production, and increased mucus production and secretion were noted in OVA-sensitized and -challenged WT mice. These responses were at least partially IL-11 dependent because each was decreased in mice with null mutations of IL-11Rα. Importantly, the administration of the IL-11 mutein to OVA-sensitized mice before aerosol antigen challenge also caused a significant decrease in OVA-induced inflammation, mucus responses, and IL-13 production. Intraperitoneal administration of the mutein to lung-specific IL-13–overexpressing transgenic mice also reduced BAL inflammation and airway mucus elaboration. These studies demonstrate that endogenous IL-11R signaling plays an important role in antigen-induced sensitization, eosinophilic inflammation, and airway mucus production. They also demonstrate that Th2 and IL-13 responses can be regulated by interventions that manipulate IL-11 signaling in the murine lung.
PMCID: PMC2586049  PMID: 18617680
IL-11; mutein; airway inflammation; mucus; IL-13
11.  Role of breast regression protein 39 (BRP-39)/chitinase 3-like-1 in Th2 and IL-13–induced tissue responses and apoptosis 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(5):1149-1166.
Mouse breast regression protein 39 (BRP-39; Chi3l1) and its human homologue YKL-40 are chitinase-like proteins that lack chitinase activity. Although YKL-40 is expressed in exaggerated quantities and correlates with disease activity in asthma and many other disorders, the biological properties of BRP-39/YKL-40 have only been rudimentarily defined. We describe the generation and characterization of BRP-39−/− mice, YKL-40 transgenic mice, and mice that lack BRP-39 and produce YKL-40 only in their pulmonary epithelium. Studies of these mice demonstrated that BRP-39−/− animals have markedly diminished antigen-induced Th2 responses and that epithelial YKL-40 rescues the Th2 responses in these animals. The ability of interleukin13 to induce tissue inflammation and fibrosis was also markedly diminished in the absence of BRP-39. Mechanistic investigations demonstrated that BRP-39 and YKL-40 play an essential role in antigen sensitization and immunoglobulin E induction, stimulate dendritic cell accumulation and activation, and induce alternative macrophage activation. These proteins also inhibit inflammatory cell apoptosis/cell death while inhibiting Fas expression, activating protein kinase B/AKT, and inducing Faim 3. These studies establish novel regulatory roles for BRP-39/YKL-40 in the initiation and effector phases of Th2 inflammation and remodeling and suggest that these proteins are therapeutic targets in Th2- and macrophage-mediated disorders.
PMCID: PMC2715037  PMID: 19414556
12.  Duplication cyst of the small intestine found by double-balloon endoscopy: A case report 
A 35-year-old man was admitted due to bloody stool and anemia. The bleeding source could not be detected by esophagogastroduodenoscopy or colonoscopy. Double balloon endoscopy (DBE) revealed a diverticulum-like hole in which coagula stuck in the ileum at 1 meter on the oral side from the ileocecal valve. The adjacent mucosa just to the oral side of the hole was elevated like a submucosal tumor. The lesion was considered the source of bleeding and removed surgically. It was determined to be a cyst with an ileal structure on the mesenteric aspect accompanying gastric mucosa. The diagnosis was a duplication cyst of the ileum, which is a rare entity that can cause gastrointestinal bleeding. In the present case, DBE was used to find the hemorrhagic duplication cyst in the ileum.
PMCID: PMC2721455  PMID: 18609722
Duplication cyst; Double-balloon endoscopy; Small intestine bleeding

Results 1-12 (12)