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1.  A Meta-Analysis of Red Yeast Rice: An Effective and Relatively Safe Alternative Approach for Dyslipidemia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98611.
To explore whether red yeast rice is a safe and effective alternative approach for dyslipidemia.
Pubmed, the Cochrane Library, EBSCO host, Chinese VIP Information (VIP), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Wanfang Databases were searched for appropriate articles. Randomized trials of RYR (not including Xuezhikang and Zhibituo) and placebo as control in patients with dyslipidemia were considered. Two authors read all papers and independently extracted all relevant information. The primary outcomes were serum total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglyceride (TG), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). The secondary outcomes were increased levels of alanine transaminase, aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, creatinine and fasting blood glucose.
A total of 13 randomized, placebo-controlled trials containing 804 participants were analyzed. Red yeast rice exhibited significant lowering effects on serum TC [WMD = −0.97 (95% CI: −1.13, −0.80) mmol/L, P<0.001], TG [WMD = −0.23 (95% CI: −0.31, −0.14) mmol/L, P<0.001], and LDL-C [WMD = −0.87 (95% CI: −1.03, −0.71) mmol/L, P<0.001] but no significant increasing effect on HDL-C [WMD = 0.08 (95% CI: −0.02, 0.19) mmol/L, P = 0.11] compared with placebo. No serious side effects were reported in all trials.
The meta-analysis suggests that red yeast rice is an effective and relatively safe approach for dyslipidemia. However, further long-term, rigorously designed randomized controlled trials are still warranted before red yeast rice could be recommended to patients with dyslipidemia, especially as an alternative to statins.
PMCID: PMC4045580  PMID: 24897342
2.  Evaluating team-based, lecture-based, and hybrid learning methods for neurology clerkship in China: a method-comparison study 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:98.
Neurology is complex, abstract, and difficult for students to learn. However, a good learning method for neurology clerkship training is required to help students quickly develop strong clinical thinking as well as problem-solving skills. Both the traditional lecture-based learning (LBL) and the relatively new team-based learning (TBL) methods have inherent strengths and weaknesses when applied to neurology clerkship education. However, the strengths of each method may complement the weaknesses of the other. Combining TBL with LBL may produce better learning outcomes than TBL or LBL alone. We propose a hybrid method (TBL + LBL) and designed an experiment to compare the learning outcomes with those of pure LBL and pure TBL.
One hundred twenty-seven fourth-year medical students attended a two-week neurology clerkship program organized by the Department of Neurology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital. All of the students were from Grade 2007, Department of Clinical Medicine, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University. These students were assigned to one of three groups randomly: Group A (TBL + LBL, with 41 students), Group B (LBL, with 43 students), and Group C (TBL, with 43 students). The learning outcomes were evaluated by a questionnaire and two tests covering basic knowledge of neurology and clinical practice.
The practice test scores of Group A were similar to those of Group B, but significantly higher than those of Group C. The theoretical test scores and the total scores of Group A were significantly higher than those of Groups B and C. In addition, 100% of the students in Group A were satisfied with the combination of TBL + LBL.
Our results support our proposal that the combination of TBL + LBL is acceptable to students and produces better learning outcomes than either method alone in neurology clerkships. In addition, the proposed hybrid method may also be suited for other medical clerkships that require students to absorb a large amount of abstract and complex course materials in a short period, such as pediatrics and internal medicine clerkships.
PMCID: PMC4037118  PMID: 24884854
Lecture-based learning; Team-based learning; Neurology; Clerkship; Hybrid learning method
3.  Effects of antioxidants on the microleakage of composite resin restorations after external tooth bleaching 
European Journal of Dentistry  2014;8(2):147-153.
To compare the effects of three antioxidants (sodium ascorbate, sodium ascorbate combined with a surfactant, and catalase) on the microleakage of composite resin restorations after external tooth bleaching with 10% carbamide peroxide.
Materials and Methods:
Buccal cavities were prepared on the surface of 60 intact premolars, which were randomly divided into six groups. All cavities were filled with composite resin. In group 1, teeth were not bleached; in group 2, cavities were filled immediately after bleaching; in group 3, cavities were delay-filled for 3 weeks; in group 4, cavities were treated with sodium ascorbate after bleaching and then filled; in group 5, cavities were treated with sodium ascorbate combined with surfactant after bleaching and then filled; and in group 6, cavities were treated with catalase after bleaching and then filled. Microleakage of the restorations was measured from sections using a stereomicroscope.
Group 1 displayed the least amount of microleakage, while group 2 showed the greatest amount of microleakage (P < 0.05). Groups 3 and 4 were similar to group 2 (P > 0.05). However, groups 5 and 6 showed a significantly lower amount of microleakage compared to group 2 (P < 0.05).
Microleakage increased significantly after external bleaching with 10% carbamide peroxide, and decreased when the bleached teeth were treated with sodium ascorbate combined with Tween® 80, or with catalase. Catalase was more effective in decreasing microleakage, while delayed filling or treatment with sodium ascorbate alone did not effectively decrease the microleakage.
PMCID: PMC4054042  PMID: 24966762
Antioxidant; composite resin; external tooth bleaching; microleakage
4.  Photothermal therapy of cancer cells using novel hollow gold nanoflowers 
This article presents a new strategy for fabricating large gold nanoflowers (AuNFs) that exhibit high biological safety under visible light and very strong photothermal cytotoxicity to HeLa cells under irradiation with near-infrared (NIR) light. This particular type of AuNF was constructed using vesicles produced from a multiamine head surfactant as a template followed by depositing gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and growing their crystallites on the surface of vesicles. The localized surface plasmon-resonance spectrum of this type of AuNF can be easily modulated to the NIR region by controlling the size of the AuNFs. When the size of the AuNFs increased, biosafety under visible light improved and cytotoxicity increased under NIR irradiation. Experiments in vitro with HeLa cells and in vivo with small mice have been carried out, with promising results. The mechanism for this phenomenon is based on the hypothesis that it is difficult for larger AuNFs to enter the cell without NIR irradiation, but they enter the cell easily at the higher temperatures caused by NIR irradiation. We believe that these effects will exist in other types of noble metallic NPs and cancer cells. In addition, the affinity between AuNPs and functional biomolecules, such as aptamers and biomarkers, will make this type of AuNF a good recognition device in cancer diagnosis and therapy.
PMCID: PMC3897319  PMID: 24549034
HeLa cells; endocytosis; cytotoxicity; AuNFs; NIR; cancer therapy
6.  Evaluation of Ca3Co2O6 as cathode material for high-performance solid-oxide fuel cell 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1125.
A cobalt-based thermoelectric compound Ca3Co2O6 (CCO) has been developed as new cathode material with superior performance for intermediate-temperature (IT) solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC). Systematic evaluation has been carried out. Measurement of thermal expansion coefficient (TEC), thermal-stress (σ) and interfacial shearing stress (τ) with the electrolyte show that CCO matches well with several commonly-used IT electrolytes. Maximum power density as high as 1.47 W cm−2 is attained at 800°C, and an additional thermoelectric voltage of 11.7 mV is detected. The superior electrochemical performance, thermoelectric effect, and comparable thermal and mechanical behaviors with the electrolytes make CCO to be a promising cathode material for SOFC.
PMCID: PMC3553459  PMID: 23350032
7.  A reinforced composite structure composed of polydiacetylene assemblies deposited on polystyrene microspheres and its application to H5N1 virus detection 
In this study, we immobilized polydiacetylene vesicles (PDAVs) onto the surface of polystyrene (PS) microspheres (1 μm in diameter) by using both electrical charge and conjugated forces to form a reinforced composite structure. These reinforced complexes could be easily washed, separated by centrifugation, and resuspended by gentle agitation. After passing through a narrow 200 μm-diameter channel, the composite structures maintained their original shape, demonstrating their resilience and potential for use in microfluidic technologies. The number of PDAVs in the composite structure could be mediated by changing the extent of layer deposition, which affected the sensitivity of detection. It showed that PDAVs did not change their blue color after addition of detecting probes such as anti-H5N1, which was of great importance in the fabrication and modification of stable color-changeable biosensors based on PDAVs. By conjugating anti-H5N1 antibodies to the PS@PDAV via N -hydroxysuccinimide and 1-ethyl3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide chemistry, a stable blue complex, anti-H5N1 microsphere (PS@PDAV-anti-H5N1) was formed. A target antigen of H5N1 (HAQ [H5N1 strain A/ environment/Qinghai/1/2008{H5N1} in clade 0]) was detected by PS@PDAV-anti-H5N1. At an optimal PDAV deposition level of three layers, the limit of detection was determined to be approximately 3 0 ng/mL of HAQ by using optical spectrum measurement and visual inspection, meeting the needs of fast and simple color-changeable detection. However, a much lower limitation of detection (1 ng/mL) was able to be obtained using laser-scanning confocal microscopy, which could be compared with the results obtained with other sophisticated equipment.
PMCID: PMC3565586  PMID: 23403826
reinforced composite structure; polystyrene; polydiacetylene; H5N1 virus detection
8.  Expression and role of SDF-1α-CXCR4 axis in Human Dental Pulp 
Journal of endodontics  2008;34(8):939-944.
Recent reports have suggested that SDF (Stromal cell-derived factor)-1α- CXCR4 axis has a direct effect on stem and progenitor cell recruitment in muscle and neural tissue repair after injury. No information is available about SDF-1α or CXCR4 in dental tissues. The aim of this study was to assess the expression of SDF-1α and its receptor, CXCR4, in healthy or inflamed human dental pulp and to evaluate the effects of SDF-1α on dental pulp cells (DPCs) in both proliferation and migration in vitro. Immunohistochemical staining and RT-PCR detected weak expression of SDF-1α and CXCR4 in healthy dental pulp and strong expression of SDF-1a and CXCR4 in inflamed dental pulp. An MTT assay demonstrated that SDF-1α could not promote DPCs proliferation. A transmigration assay, however, indicated that SDF-1α enhanced DPCs migration, and which could be abolished by anti-CXCR4 antibodies. Taken together, these results imply that the SDF-1α-CXCR4 axis may play a role in the recruitment of CXCR4-positive DPCs toward the damaged sites
PMCID: PMC3508770  PMID: 18634924
9.  HLA-A*0201-restricted CD8+ T-cell epitopes identified in dengue viruses 
Virology Journal  2012;9:259.
All four dengue virus (DV) serotypes (D1V, D2V, D3V and D4V) can cause a series of disorders, ranging from mild dengue fever (DF) to severe dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS). Previous studies have revealed that DV serotype-specific CD8+ T cells are involved in controlling DV infection. Serotype cross-reactive CD8+ T-cells may contribute to the immunopathogenesis of DHF/DSS. The aim of the study was to identify HLA-A*0201-binding peptides from four DV serotypes. We then examined their immunogenicity in vivo and cross-reactivity within heterologous peptides.
D1V-derived candidate CD8+ T-cell epitopes were synthesized and evaluated for their affinity to the HLA-A*0201 molecule. Variant peptides representing heterologous D2V, D3V, D4V serotypes were synthesized. The immunogenicity of the high-affinity peptides were evaluated in HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice.
Of the seven D1V-derived candidate epitopes [D1V-NS4a56–64(MLLALIAVL), D1V-C46–54(LVMAFMAFL), D1V-NS4b562–570(LLATSIFKL), D1V-NS2a169–177(AMVLSIVSL), D1V-NS4a140–148(GLLFMILTV), D1V-NS2a144–152(QLWAALLSL) and D1V-NS4b183–191(LLMRTTWAL)], three peptides [D1V-NS4a140–148, D1V-NS2a144–152 and D1V-NS4b183–191] had a high affinity for HLA-A*0201 molecules. Moreover, their variant peptides for D2V, D3V and D4V [D2V-NS4a140–148(AILTVVAAT), D3V-NS4a140-148(GILTLAAIV), D4V-NS4a140-148(TILTIIGLI), D2V-NS2a144–152(QLAVTIMAI), D3V-NS2a144–152(QLWTALVSL), D4V-NS2a143–151(QVGTLALSL), D2V-NS4b182–190(LMMRTTWAL), D3V-NS4b182–190 (LLMRTSWAL) and D4V-NS4b179–187(LLMRTTWAF)] also had a high affinity for HLA-A*0201 molecules. Furthermore, CD8+ T cells directed to these twelve peptides were induced in HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice following immunization with these peptides. Additionally, cross-reactivity within four peptides (D1V-NS4b183–191, D2V-NS4b182–190, D3V-NS4b182–190 and D4V-NS4b179–187) was observed.
Two novel serotype-specific HLA-A*0201-restricted CD8+ T-cell epitopes (NS4a140-148 and NS2a144–152) and one cross-reactive HLA-A*0201-restricted CD8+ T-cell epitopes which is similar to a previously identified epitope were identified in D1V-D4V. Combining prediction algorithms and HLA transgenic mice is an effective strategy to identify HLA-restricted epitopes. Serotype-specific epitopes would be used to determine the protective role of serotype-specific CD8+ T cells, while cross-reactive epitopes may provide assistance in exploring the role of serotype cross-reactive CD8+ T cells in the immunopathogenesis of DHF/DSS.
PMCID: PMC3546861  PMID: 23121866
Dengue virus; CD8+ T-cell epitope; Immunogenicity
10.  Constructions of two polycatenanes and one polypseudo-rotaxane by discrete tetrahedral cages and stool-like building units 
Scientific Reports  2012;2:668.
Mechanically Interlocked molecules, such as catenanes and rotaxanes, are of great interest due to their fascinating structures and potential applications, while such molecules have been mainly restricted to comprising components of interlocked rings or polygons. The constructions of infinite polycatenanes and polyrotaxanes by discrete cages remain great challenge, and only two infinite polycatenanes fabricated by discrete cages have been reported so far, while the structures of polyrotaxanes and polypseudo-rotaxanes fabricated by discrete build units have not been documented to date. Herein we report the first example of a two-dimensional (2D) polypseudo-rotaxane fabricated by stool-like build units, the second example of a one-dimensional (1D) polycatenane, and the second example of a three-dimensional (3D) polycatenane, which were assemblied by discrete tetrahedral cages. The pores of dehydrated 3D polycatenane are dynamic, and display size-dependent adsorption/desorption behaviors of alcohols.
PMCID: PMC3444800  PMID: 22993693
11.  2-(4-Fluoro­phen­yl)quinoxaline 
In the title compound, C14H9FN2, the dihedral angle between the benzene ring and the quinoxaline ring system is 22.2 (3)°. Any aromatic π–π stacking in the crystal must be very weak, with a minimum centroid–centroid separation of 3.995 (2) Å.
PMCID: PMC3379358  PMID: 22719556
12.  Methyl 4-(5-meth­oxy-1H-indol-3-yl)benzoate 
In the title compound, C17H15NO3, the dihedral angle between the benzene ring and the indole ring system is 22.5 (3)°. In the crystal, mol­ecules are linked by N—H⋯π and C—H⋯O inter­actions.
PMCID: PMC3254479  PMID: 22259421
13.  Ethyl 8-chloro-1-cyclo­propyl-6,7-difluoro-4-oxo-1,4-dihydro­quinoline-3-carboxyl­ate 
In the mol­ecule of the title compound, C15H12ClF2NO3, the quinoline ring system is not planar, the dihedral angle between the pyridine and benzene rings being 3.55 (8)°. In the crystal, inter­molecular C—H⋯O hydrogen bonds link the mol­ecules into layers parallel to (101).
PMCID: PMC3247378  PMID: 22219996
14.  6-Benzyl-6,7-dihydro-5H-pyrrolo­[3,4-b]pyridine-5,7-dione 
In the title compound, C14H10N2O2, the dihedral angle between the heterocyclic ring system and the phenyl ring is 45.8 (5)°. Weak inter­molecular C—H⋯N hydrogen bonding is present in the crystal structure.
PMCID: PMC3247312  PMID: 22219930
15.  Modulation of growth and angiogenic potential of oral squamous carcinoma cells in vitro using salvianolic acid B 
Our previous studies showed that Salvianolic acid B (Sal B) inhibited 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced oral carcinogenesis in hamsters and such anti-cancer effects might be related to the inhibition of angiogenesis. This study was aimed to further investigate the anti-proliferative effect of Sal B on the most common type of oral cancer, oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and the possible mechanisms of action with respect to angiogenesis inhibition.
Two well-characterized oral squamous cell carcinoma cell lines, CAL27 and SCC4, and premalignant leukoplakia cells were treated with different concentrations of Sal B. Cytotoxicity was assessed by MTT assay. cDNA microarray was utilized to evaluate the expression of 96 genes known to be involved in modulating the biological processes of angiogenesis. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis was conducted to confirm the cDNA microarray data.
Sal B induced growth inhibition in OSCC cell lines but had limited effects on premalignant cells. A total of 17 genes showed a greater than 3-fold change when comparing Sal B treated OSCC cells to the control. Among these genes, HIF-1α, TNFα and MMP9 are specifically inhibited, expression of THBS2 was up-regulated.
Sal B has inhibitory effect on OSCC cell growth. The antitumor effect can be attributed to anti-angiogenic potential induced by a decreased expression of some key regulator genes of angiogenesis. Sal B may be a promising modality for treating oral squamous cell carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3158556  PMID: 21726465
16.  4-[4,5-Bis(pyridin-2-yl)-1H-imidazol-2-yl]phenol monohydrate 
In the title hydrate, C19H14N4O·H2O, the dihedral angle between the two pyridine rings is 38.0 (2)°. The dihedral angle between the imidazole and benzene rings is 25.3 (2)°. The crystal structure is stabilized by inter­molecular O—H⋯O, O—H⋯N and N—H⋯O hydrogen bonds.
PMCID: PMC3050325  PMID: 21522668
17.  Centrally Administered Pertussis Toxin Inhibits Microglia Migration to the Spinal Cord and Prevents Dissemination of Disease in an EAE Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12400.
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) models are important vehicles for studying the effect of infectious elements such as Pertussis toxin (PTx) on disease processes related to acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis (ADEM) or multiple sclerosis (MS). PTx has pleotropic effects on the immune system. This study was designed to investigate the effects of PTx administered intracerebroventricularly (icv) in preventing downstream immune cell infiltration and demyelination of the spinal cord.
Methods and Findings
EAE was induced in C57BL/6 mice with MOG35–55. PTx icv at seven days post MOG immunization resulted in mitigation of clinical motor symptoms, minimal T cell infiltration, and the marked absence of axonal loss and demyelination of the spinal cord. Integrity of the blood brain barrier was compromised in the brain whereas spinal cord BBB integrity remained intact. PTx icv markedly increased microglia numbers in the brain preventing their migration to the spinal cord. An in vitro transwell study demonstrated that PTx inhibited migration of microglia.
Centrally administered PTx abrogated migration of microglia in EAE mice, limiting the inflammatory cytokine milieu to the brain and prevented dissemination of demyelination. The effects of PTx icv warrants further investigation and provides an attractive template for further study regarding the pleotropic effects of infectious elements such as PTx in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders.
PMCID: PMC2928301  PMID: 20811645
18.  catena-Poly[[[tetra­aqua­manganese(II)]-μ-4,4′-bipyridine] bis­(3-hydroxy­cinnamate) dihydrate] 
The title compound, {[Mn(C10H8N2)(H2O)4](C9H7O3)2·2H2O}n, was obtained by the hydro­thermal reaction of manganese chloride with mixed 3-hydroxy­lcinnamic acid (H2 L) and 4,4′-bipyridine (4,4′-bipy) ligands. The structure contains [Mn(C10H8N2)(H2O)4]2+ cations with the MnII atoms lying on a centres of inversion and bridged into a linear chain along the a axis by 4,4′-bipy ligands, surrounded by HL − anions and uncoordinated water mol­ecules. Extensive O—H⋯O hydrogen-bonding and weak π–π inter­actions [centroid–centroid distance = 3.7572  (3) Å] between the constituents lead to the formation of a three-dimensional supra­molecular network.
PMCID: PMC2977154  PMID: 21583422
19.  Increased N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide level predicts atrial fibrillation after surgery for esophageal carcinoma 
AIM: To evaluate the value of plasma N-terminal pro- brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) level for predicting postoperative atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients undergoing surgery for esophageal carcinoma.
METHODS: NT-proBNP levels were measured in 142 patients 24 h before and 1 h after surgery for esophageal carcinoma. All patients having a preoperative cardiac diagnosis by electrocardiogram (ECG), remained under continuous monitoring for at least 48 h after surgery, and then underwent clinical cardiac evaluation until discharge.
RESULTS: Postoperative AF occurred in 11 patients (7.7%). AF patients were significantly older (69.6 ± 12.2 years vs 63.4 ± 13.3 years, P = 0.031) than non-AF patients. There were no significant differences in history of diabetes mellitus, sex distribution, surgical approach, anastomosis site, intraoperative hypotension and postoperative fever. The preoperative plasma NT-proBNP level was significantly higher in patients who developed postoperative AF (121.3 ± 18.3 pg/mL vs 396.1 ± 42.6 pg/mL, P = 0.016). After adjustment for age, gender, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), history of cardiac diseases, hypertension, postoperative hypoxia and thoracic-gastric dilation, NT-proBNP levels were found to be associated with the highest risk factor for postoperative AF (odds ratio = 4.711, 95% CI = 1.212 to 7.644, P = 0.008).
CONCLUSION: An elevated perioperative plasma BNP level is a strong and independent predictor of postoperative AF in patients undergoing surgery for esophageal carcinoma. This finding has important implications for identifying patients at higher risk of postoperative AF who should be considered for preventive antiarrhythmic therapy.
PMCID: PMC2708374  PMID: 18442210
Esophageal carcinoma; Atrial fibrillation; Natriuretic peptides; Surgery

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