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1.  Effects of Interface Pressure Distribution on Human Sleep Quality 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99969.
High sleep quality promotes efficient performance in the following day. Sleep quality is influenced by environmental factors, such as temperature, light, sound and smell. Here, we investigated whether differences in the interface pressure distribution on healthy individuals during sleep influenced sleep quality. We defined four types of pressure models by differences in the area distribution and the subjective feelings that occurred when participants slept on the mattresses. One type of model was showed “over-concentrated” distribution of pressure; one was displayed “over-evenly” distributed interface pressure while the other two models were displayed intermediate distribution of pressure. A polysomnography analysis demonstrated an increase in duration and proportion of non-rapid-eye-movement sleep stages 3 and 4, as well as decreased number of micro-arousals, in subjects sleeping on models with pressure intermediately distributed compared to models with over-concentrated or over-even distribution of pressure. Similarly, higher scores of self-reported sleep quality were obtained in subjects sleeping on the two models with intermediate pressure distribution. Thus, pressure distribution, at least to some degree, influences sleep quality and self-reported feelings of sleep-related events, though the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. The regulation of pressure models imposed by external sleep environment may be a new direction for improving sleep quality. Only an appropriate interface pressure distribution is beneficial for improving sleep quality, over-concentrated or -even distribution of pressure do not help for good sleep.
PMCID: PMC4055748  PMID: 24924427
2.  In Vitro Activity of Paclitaxel-Loaded Polymeric Expansile Nanoparticles in Breast Cancer Cells 
Biomacromolecules  2013;14(6):2074-2082.
Through a series of in vitro studies, the essential steps for intracellular drug delivery of paclitaxel using a pH-responsive nanoparticle system have been investigated in breast cancer cells. We successfully encapsulated paclitaxel within polymeric expansile nanoparticles (Pax-eNPs) at 5% loading via a miniemulsion polymerization procedure. Fluorescently tagged eNPs were readily taken up by MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells grown in culture as confirmed by confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. The ability of the encapsulated paclitaxel to reach the cytoplasm was also observed using confocal microscopy and fluorescently labeled paclitaxel. Pax-eNPs were shown to be efficacious against three in vitro human breast adenocarcinoma cell lines (MDA-MB-231, MCF-7 and SK-BR-3) as well as cells isolated from the pleural effusions of two different breast cancer patients. Lastly, macropinocytosis was identified as the major cellular pathway responsible for eNP uptake, as confirmed using temperature-sensitive metabolic reduction, pharmacologic inhibitors, and fluid-phase marker co-localization.
PMCID: PMC3915286  PMID: 23617223
drug delivery; nanoparticle; paclitaxel; breast cancer; cellular uptake; endocytosis
3.  Zebrafish High Throughput Screening to Study the Impact of Dissolving Metal Oxide Nanoparticles on the Hatching Enzyme, ZHE1 
PMCID: PMC4034474  PMID: 23180726
high throughput screening; metal oxide; hatching interference; predictive toxicology; zebrafish
4.  Melatonin Inhibits Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition during Bleomycin-Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97266.
Several reports indicate that melatonin alleviates bleomycin (BLM)-induced pulmonary fibrosis in rodent animals. Nevertheless, the exact mechanism remains obscure. The present study investigated the effects of melatonin on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during BLM-induced lung fibrosis. For the induction of pulmonary fibrosis, mice were intratracheally injected with a single dose of BLM (5.0 mg/kg). Some mice were intraperitoneally injected with melatonin (5 mg/kg) daily for a period of 3 wk. Twenty-one days after BLM injection, lung fibrosis was evaluated. As expected, melatonin significantly alleviated BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis, as evidenced by Sirius red staining. Moreover, melatonin significantly attenuated BLM-induced EMT to myofibroblasts, as determined by its repression of α-SMA expression. Further analysis showed that melatonin markedly attenuated BLM-induced GRP78 up-regulation and elevation of the cleaved ATF6 in the lungs. Moreover, melatonin obviously attenuated BLM-induced activation of pulmonary eIF2α, a downstream target of the PERK pathway. Finally, melatonin repressed BLM-induced pulmonary IRE1α phosphorylation. Correspondingly, melatonin inhibited BLM-induced activation of XBP-1 and JNK, two downstream targets of the IRE1 pathway. Taken together, these results suggest that melatonin alleviates ER stress and ER stress-mediated EMT in the process of BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4018327  PMID: 24818755
5.  Mechanism and factors that control HIV-1 transcription and latency activation*  
After reverse transcription, the HIV-1 proviral DNA is integrated into the host genome and thus subjected to transcription by the host RNA polymerase II (Pol II). With the identification and characterization of human P-TEFb in the late 1990s as a specific host cofactor required for HIV-1 transcription, it is now believed that the elongation stage of Pol II transcription plays a particularly important role in regulating HIV-1 gene expression. HIV-1 uses a sophisticated scheme to recruit human P-TEFb and other cofactors to the viral long terminal repeat (LTR) to produce full-length HIV-1 transcripts. In this process, P-TEFb is regulated by the reversible association with various transcription factors/cofactors to form several multi-subunit complexes (e.g., 7SK snRNP, super elongation complexes (SECs), and the Brd4-P-TEFb complex) that collectively constitute a P-TEFb network for controlling cellular and HIV-1 transcription. Recent progresses in HIV-1 transcription were reviewed in the paper, with the emphasis on the mechanism and factors that control HIV-1 transcription and latency activation.
PMCID: PMC4076602  PMID: 24793763
HIV-1; Transcriptional elongation; RNA polymerase II; Tat; P-TEFb
6.  Expert consensus on acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the People’s Republic of China 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common disease that severely threatens human health. Acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD) is a major cause of disease progression and death, and causes huge medical expenditures. This consensus statement represents a description of clinical features of AECOPD in the People’s Republic of China and a set of recommendations. It is intended to provide clinical guidelines for community physicians, pulmonologists and other health care providers for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of AECOPD.
PMCID: PMC4008287  PMID: 24812503
COPD; AECOPD; recommendations; guidelines
7.  Immature visual neural system in children reflected by contrast sensitivity with adaptive optics correction 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4687.
This study aimed to explore the neural development status of the visual system of children (around 8 years old) using contrast sensitivity. We achieved this by eliminating the influence of higher order aberrations (HOAs) with adaptive optics correction. We measured HOAs, modulation transfer functions (MTFs) and contrast sensitivity functions (CSFs) of six children and five adults with both corrected and uncorrected HOAs. We found that when HOAs were corrected, children and adults both showed improvements in MTF and CSF. However, the CSF of children was still lower than the adult level, indicating the difference in contrast sensitivity between groups cannot be explained by differences in optical factors. Further study showed that the difference between the groups also could not be explained by differences in non-visual factors. With these results we concluded that the neural systems underlying vision in children of around 8 years old are still immature in contrast sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3986699  PMID: 24732728
8.  Classification Nano-SAR Development for Cytotoxicity of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles 
A classification based cytotoxicity nano-structure-activity-realtionship (nano-SAR) is presented based on a set of nine metal oxide nanoparticles to which transformed bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) were exposed over a range of concentrations of 0.375–200 mg·L−1 and exposure times up to 24 h. The nano-SAR is developed using cytotoxicity data from high throughput screening (HTS) assay that was processed to identify and label toxic (in terms of the Propidium Iodide uptake of BEAS-2B cells) versus non-toxic events relative to unexposed control cell population. Starting with a set of fourteen intuitive but fundamental physicochemical nano-SAR input parameters, a number of models were identified which had classification accuracy above 95%. The best performing model had a 100% classification accuracy in both internal and external validation. This model is based on four descriptors including the atomization energy of the metal oxide, period of the nanoparticle metal, nanoparticle primary size, in addition to nanoparticle volume fraction (in solution). Notwithstanding the success of the present modeling approach with a relatively small nanoparticle library, it is important to recognize that a significantly larger data set would be needed in order to expand the applicability domain and increase the confidence and reliability of data-driven nano-SARs.
PMCID: PMC3970551  PMID: 21456088
nanoparticle; metal oxides; cytotoxicity; nano-SAR; classification
9.  Association between Sleep Quality and C-Reactive Protein: Results from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2008 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92607.
Our objective was to explore the association between poor sleep quality and hs_CRP in an adult U.S. population.
This study focused on 9,317 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2005–2008 who were aged 20–85 years, completed a sleep disorder questionnaire, and had available information on serum hs_CRP. Sleep quality was classified into three categories (good, moderate, poor) based on the responses of participants to the NHANES sleep disorder questionnaire. High CRP was defined as hs-CRP >1 md/dL. Linear regression model was applied to investigate the association between poor sleep quality and log-transformed hs_CRP. And logistic regression model was fitted to evaluate the association between sleep quality and the risk of high CRP.
Females were more likely to report poor sleep quality than males (26% vs. 19%, p<0.0001). Each sleep disorder was significantly associated with increased hs_CRP and correlative to other sleep disorders. In fully-adjusted linear regression model, poor sleep quality was significantly associated with elevated hs_CRP (log transformed) among the overall sample and in females only (β = 0.10, se = 0.03, p<0.01 and β = 0.13, se = 0.04, p<0.01, respectively). In fully-adjusted logistics regression model, poor sleep quality was linked with risk of high CRP(OR: 1.42, 95%CI: 1.15–1.76 in overall sample and OR: 1.59, 95%CI: 1.18–2.14 in females, respectively).
We found that poor sleep quality was independently associated with elevated hs_CRP in females but not in males in a U.S. adult population.
PMCID: PMC3963926  PMID: 24663098
10.  Paroxetine ameliorates lipopolysaccharide-induced microglia activation via differential regulation of MAPK signaling 
Paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor for counteracting depression, has been recently suggested as having a role in prevention of dopaminergic neuronal degeneration in substantia nigra, a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The pathogenesis of this type of neurological disorders often involves the activation of microglia and associated inflammatory processes. Thus in this study we aimed to understand the role of paroxetine in microglia activation and to elucidate the underlying mechanism(s).
BV2 and primary microglial cells were pretreated with paroxetine and stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Cells were assessed for the responses of pro-inflammatory mediator and cytokines, and the related signaling pathways were evaluated and analyzed in BV2 cells.
Paroxetine significantly inhibited LPS-induced production of nitric oxide (NO) and pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-1β. Further analysis showed inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and mRNA expression of TNF-α and IL-1β were attenuated by paroxetine pretreatment. Analyses in signaling pathways demonstrated that paroxetine led to suppression of LPS-induced JNK1/2 activation and baseline ERK1/2 activity, but had little effect on the activation of p38 and p65/NF-κB. Interference with specific inhibitors revealed that paroxetine-mediated suppression of NO production was via JNK1/2 pathway while the cytokine suppression was via both JNK1/2 and ERK1/2 pathways. Furthermore, conditioned media culture showed that paroxetine suppressed the microglia-mediated neurotoxicity.
Paroxetine inhibits LPS-stimulated microglia activation through collective regulation of JNK1/2 and ERK1/2 signaling. Our results indicate a potential role of paroxetine in neuroprotection via its anti-neuroinflammatory effect besides targeting for depression.
PMCID: PMC3995780  PMID: 24618100
Paroxetine; Microglia; Lipopolysaccharide; Neuroinflammation; MAPK
11.  The Longitudinal Trajectory of Vitamin D Status from Birth to Early Childhood on the Development of Food Sensitization 
Pediatric research  2013;74(3):321-326.
Increasing evidence supports the immunomodulatory effect of vitamin D on allergic diseases. The combined role of prenatal and postnatal vitamin D status in the development of food sensitization (FS) and food allergy remains under-studied.
460 children in the Boston Birth Cohort had plasma 25(OH)D measured at birth and early childhood, and were genotyped for rs2243250 (C-590T) in the IL4 gene. We defined FS as specific IgE ≥0.35kUA/L to any of eight common food allergens; and persistently low vitamin D status as cord blood 25(OH)D <11ng/ml and postnatal 25(OH)D <30ng/ml.
We observed a moderate correlation between cord blood 25(OH)D at birth and venous blood 25(OH)D measured at 2–3 years (r=0.63), but a weak correlation at <1 year (r=0.28). There was no association between low vitamin D status and FS at any single time point alone. However, in combination, persistence of low vitamin D status at birth and early childhood increased the risk of FS (OR=2.03, 95%CI:1.02–4.04), particularly among children carrying the C allele of rs2243250 (OR=3.23, 95%CI:1.37–7.60).
Prenatal and early postnatal vitamin D levels, along with individual genetic susceptibility, should be considered in assessing the role of vitamin D in the development of FS and food allergy.
PMCID: PMC3773018  PMID: 23797532
12.  Overexpression of a Vesicle Trafficking Gene, OsRab7, Enhances Salt Tolerance in Rice 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:483526.
High soils salinity is a main factor affecting agricultural production. Studying the function of salt-tolerance-related genes is essential to enhance crop tolerance to stress. Rab7 is a small GTP-binding protein that is distributed widely among eukaryotes. Endocytic trafficking mediated by Rab7 plays an important role in animal and yeast cells, but the current understanding of Rab7 in plants is still very limited. Herein, we isolated a vesicle trafficking gene, OsRab7, from rice. Transgenic rice over-expressing OsRab7 exhibited enhanced seedling growth and increased proline content under salt-treated conditions. Moreover, an increased number of vesicles was observed in the root tip of OsRab7 transgenic rice. The OsRab7 over-expression plants showed enhanced tolerance to salt stress, suggesting that vacuolar trafficking is important for salt tolerance in plants.
PMCID: PMC3943248  PMID: 24688390
13.  Possible Involvement of Locus-Specific Methylation on Expression Regulation of LEAFY Homologous Gene (CiLFY) during Precocious Trifoliate Orange Phase Change Process 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88558.
DNA methylation plays an essential role in regulating plant development. Here, we described an early flowering trifoliate orange (precocious trifoliate orange, Poncirus trifoliata L. Raf) was treated with 5-azacytidine and displayed a number of phenotypic and developmental abnormalities. These observations suggested that DNA methylation might play an important role in regulating many developmental pathways including early flowering trait, and then the expression level of five key or integrated citrus flowering genes were analyzed. Our results showed that FLOWERING LOCUS T (CiFT) relative expression level was increased with the increasing concentrations of 5-AzaC. However, LEAFY (CiLFY), APETELA1 (CiAP1), TERMINAL FLOWER1 (CiTFL1), and FLOWERING LOCUS C (CiFLC) showed highest relative expression levels at 250 µΜ treatment, while decreased sharply at higher concentrations. In order to further confirm DNA methylation affects the expression of these genes, their full-length sequences were isolated by genome-walker method, and then was analyzed by using bioinformatics tools. However, only one locus-specific methylation site was observed in CiLFY sequence. Therefore, DNA methylation level of the CiLFY was investigated both at juvenile and adult stages of precocious trifoliate orange by bisulfate sequencing PCR; it has been shown that the level of DNA methylation was altered during phase change. In addition, spatial and temporal expression patterns of CiLFY promoter and a series of 5′ deletions were investigated by driving the expression of a β-glucuronidase reporter gene in Arabidopsis. Exogenous GA3 treatment on transgenic Arabidopsis revealed that GA3 might be involved in the developmental regulation of CiLFY during flowering process of precocious trifoliate orange. These results provided insights into the molecular regulation of CiLFY gene expression, which would be helpful for studying citrus flowering.
PMCID: PMC3921215  PMID: 24523915
14.  Prevention of nodal metastases in breast cancer following the lymphatic migration of paclitaxel-loaded expansile nanoparticles 
Biomaterials  2012;34(7):1810-1819.
Although breast cancer patients with localized disease exhibit an excellent long-term prognosis, up to 40% of patients treated with local resection alone may harbor occult nodal metastatic disease leading to increased locoregional recurrence and decreased survival. Given the potential for targeted drug delivery to result in more efficacious locoregional control with less morbidity, the current study assessed the ability of drug-loaded polymeric expansile nanoparticles (eNP) to migrate from the site of tumor to regional lymph nodes, locally deliver a chemotherapeutic payload, and prevent primary tumor growth as well as lymph node metastases. Expansile nanoparticles entered tumor cells and paclitaxel-loaded eNP (Pax-eNP) exhibited dose-dependent cytotoxicity in vitro and significantly decreased tumor doubling time in vivo against human triple negative breast cancer in both microscopic and established murine breast cancer models. Furthermore, migration of Pax-eNP to axillary lymph nodes resulted in higher intranodal paclitaxel concentrations and a significantly lower incidence of lymph node metastases. These findings demonstrate that lymphatic migration of drug-loaded eNP provides regionally targeted delivery of chemotherapy to both decrease local tumor growth and strategically prevent the development of nodal metastases within the regional tumor-draining lymph node basin.
PMCID: PMC3541056  PMID: 23228419
nanoparticle; drug delivery; polymer; metastases; breast cancer; lymphatic
15.  Differential Expression of Syndecan-1 Mediates Cationic Nanoparticle Toxicity in Undifferentiated versus Differentiated Normal Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells 
ACS nano  2011;5(4):2756-2769.
Most in vitro toxicity studies on engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) use transformed rather than primary cells for logistical reasons. However, primary cells may provide a more appropriate connection to in vivo toxicity because these cells maintain their phenotypic fidelity and are also capable of differentiating into lineages that may be differently affected by potentially hazardous ENM. Few studies to date have focused on the role of cellular differentiation in determining ENM toxicity. We compared the response of undifferentiated and differentiated primary human bronchial epithelial cells (NHBE) to cationic mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNP) that are coated with polyethyleneimine (PEI) since this polymer is known to exert differential cytotoxicity depending on its molecular weight and cationic density. The attachment of cationic PEI polymers to the MSNP surface was used to assess these materials' toxicological potential in undifferentiated and differentiated human bronchial epithelial cells (NHBE), using of a multi-parametric assay that screens for an integrated set of sub-lethal and lethal response outcomes. MSNP coated with high molecular weight (10 and 25 kD) polymers were more toxic in differentiated cells than particles coated with shorter length polymers. The increased susceptibility of the differentiated cells is in agreement with more abundant expression of a proteoglycan, syndecan-1, which contains copious heparin sulfate side chains. Pre-treatment with heparinase to remove the negatively charged sulfates decreased MSNP-PEI binding to the cell surface and lowered the cytotoxic potential of the cationic particles. These data demonstrate the importance of studying cellular differentiation as an important variable in the response of primary cells to toxic ENM properties.
PMCID: PMC3896548  PMID: 21366263
Cationic nanoparticles; polyethyleneimine (PEI); toxicity; differentiation; primary epithelial cells
16.  Use of a High Throughput Screening Approach Coupled With In Vivo Zebrafish Embryo Screening to Develop Hazard Ranking for Engineered Nanomaterials 
ACS nano  2011;5(3):1805-1817.
Because of concerns about the safety of a growing number of engineered nanomaterials (ENM), it is necessary to develop high throughput screening and in silico data transformation tools that can speed up in vitro hazard ranking. Here, we report the use of a multi-parametric, automated screening assay that incorporates sub-lethal and lethal cellular injury responses to perform high throughput analysis of a batch of commercial metal/metal oxide nanoparticles (NP) with the inclusion of a quantum dot (QD1). The responses chosen for tracking cellular injury through automated epifluorescence microscopy included ROS production, intracellular calcium flux, mitochondrial depolarization, and plasma membrane permeability. The z-score transformed high volume data set was used to construct heat maps for in vitro hazard ranking as well as showing the similarity patterns of NPs and response parameters through the use of self-organizing maps (SOM). Among the materials analyzed, QD1 and nano-ZnO showed the most prominent lethality, while Pt, Ag, SiO2, Al2O3, and Au triggered sub-lethal effects but without cytotoxicity. In order to compare the in vitro with the in vivo response outcomes in zebrafish embryos, NPs were used to assess their impact on mortality rate, hatching rate, cardiac rate, and morphological defects. While QDs, ZnO, and Ag induced morphological abnormalities or interfered in embryo hatching, Pt and Ag exerted inhibitory effects on cardiac rate. Ag toxicity in zebrafish differed from the in vitro results, which is congruent with this material's designation as extremely dangerous in the environment. Interestingly, while toxicity in the initially selected QD formulation was due to a solvent (toluene), supplementary testing of additional QDs selections yielded in vitro hazard profiling that reflect the release of chalcogenides. In conclusion, the use of a high throughput screening, in silico data handling and zebrafish testing may constitute a paradigm for rapid and integrated ENM toxicological screening.
PMCID: PMC3896549  PMID: 21323332
Nanotoxicology; hazard ranking; High-throughput-screening; self-organizing-map; zebrafish
17.  Differential regulation of distinct Vps34 complexes by AMPK in nutrient stress and autophagy 
Cell  2013;152(1-2):290-303.
Autophagy is a stress response protecting cells from unfavorable conditions, such as nutrient starvation. The class III phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase, Vps34, forms multiple complexes and regulates both intracellular vesicle trafficking and autophagy induction. Here, we show that AMPK plays a key role in regulating different Vps34 complexes. AMPK inhibits the non-autophagy Vps34 complex by phosphorylating T163/S165 in Vps34, therefore suppresses overall PI(3)P production and protects cells from starvation. In parallel, AMPK activates the pro-autophagy Vps34 complex by phosphorylating S91/S94 in Beclin1 to induce autophagy. Atg14L, an autophagy essential gene present only in pro-autophagy Vps 34 complex, inhibits Vps34 phosphorylation but increases Beclin1 phosphorylation by AMPK. As such, Atg14L dictates the differential regulation (either inhibition or activation) of different Vps34 complexes in response to glucose starvation. Our study reveals an intricate molecular regulation of Vps34 complexes by AMPK in nutrient stress response and autophagy.
PMCID: PMC3587159  PMID: 23332761
18.  Binocular Combination of Second-Order Stimuli 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84632.
Phase information is a fundamental aspect of visual stimuli. However, the nature of the binocular combination of stimuli defined by modulations in contrast, so-called second-order stimuli, is presently not clear. To address this issue, we measured binocular combination for first- (luminance modulated) and second-order (contrast modulated) stimuli using a binocular phase combination paradigm in seven normal adults. We found that the binocular perceived phase of second-order gratings depends on the interocular signal ratio as has been previously shown for their first order counterparts; the interocular signal ratios when the two eyes were balanced was close to 1 in both first- and second-order phase combinations. However, second-order combination is more linear than previously found for first-order combination. Furthermore, binocular combination of second-order stimuli was similar regardless of whether the carriers in the two eyes were correlated, anti-correlated, or uncorrelated. This suggests that, in normal adults, the binocular phase combination of second-order stimuli occurs after the monocular extracting of the second-order modulations. The sensory balance associated with this second-order combination can be obtained from binocular phase combination measurements.
PMCID: PMC3880315  PMID: 24404180
19.  Association between Lutein and Zeaxanthin Status and the Risk of Cataract: A Meta-Analysis 
Nutrients  2014;6(1):452-465.
The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the relationship between blood lutein and zeaxanthin concentration and the risk of age-related cataract (ARC). MEDLINE, EMBASE, ISI and Cochrane Library were searched to identify relevant studies up to April 2013. Meta-analysis was conducted to obtain pooled relative risks (RRs) for the highest-versus-lowest categories of blood lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations. One cohort study and seven cross-sectional studies were included in the meta-analysis. There were significant inverse associations between nuclear cataract and blood lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations, with the pooled RRs ranging from 0.63 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.49, 0.77) for zeaxanthin to 0.73 (95% CI: 0.59, 0.87) for lutein. A stronger association between nuclear cataract and blood zeaxanthin might be noted for the studies conducted in the European Nations. Blood lutein and zeaxanthin were also noted to lead towards a decrease in the risk of cortical cataract and subcapsular cataract; however, these pooled RRs were not statistically significant, with the exception of a marginal association between lutein and subcapsular cataract. Our results suggest that high blood lutein and zeaxanthin are significantly associated with a decrease in the risk of nuclear cataract. However, no significant associations were found for ARC in other regions of the lens.
PMCID: PMC3916871  PMID: 24451312
lutein; zeaxanthin; blood; age-related cataract; meta-analysis
20.  Helicobacter pylori filtrate impairs spatial learning and memory in rats and increases β-amyloid by enhancing expression of presenilin-2 
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is related with a high risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD), but the intrinsic link between H. pylori infection and AD development is still missing. In the present study, we explored the effect of H. pylori infection on cognitive function and β-amyloid production in rats. We found that intraperitoneal injection of H. pylori filtrate induced spatial learning and memory deficit in rats with a simultaneous retarded dendritic spine maturation in hippocampus. Injection of H. pylori filtrate significantly increased Aβ42 both in the hippocampus and cortex, together with an increased level of presenilin-2 (PS-2), one key component of γ-secretase involved in Aβ production. Incubation of H. pylori filtrate with N2a cells which over-express amyloid precursor protein (APP) also resulted in increased PS-2 expression and Aβ42 overproduction. Injection of Escherichia coli (E.coli) filtrate, another common intestinal bacterium, had no effect on cognitive function in rats and Aβ production in rats and cells. These data suggest a specific effect of H. pylori on cognition and Aβ production. We conclude that soluble surface fractions of H. pylori may promote Aβ42 formation by enhancing the activity of γ-secretase, thus induce cognitive impairment through interrupting the synaptic function.
PMCID: PMC3990046  PMID: 24782763
Alzheimer's disease; Helicobacter pylori; learning; memory; Aβ42; presenilin-2
21.  Alterations in Three-dimensional Knee Kinematics and Kinetics during Neutral, Squeeze and Outward Squat 
Journal of Human Kinetics  2013;39:59-66.
The squat exercise was usually performed with varying feet and hip angles by different populations. The objective of this study was to compare and contrast the three-dimensional knee angles, moments, and forces during dynamic squat exercises with varying feet and hip angles. Lower extremity motions and ground reaction forces for fifteen healthy subjects (9 females and 6 males) were recorded while performing the squat with feet pointing straight ahead (neutral squat), 30º feet adduction (squeeze squat) and 30º feet abduction (outward squat). Nonparametric procedures were used to detect differences in the interested measures between the conditions. No significant difference in three-dimensional peak knee angles was observed for three squat exercises (p>0.05), however, the overall tendency of knee rotations was affected by varying feet and hip positions. During the whole cycle, the outward squat mainly displayed adduction moments, while the neutral and squeeze squat demonstrated abduction moments. Peak abduction moments were significantly affected by feet positions (p<0.05). Moreover, the tibiofemoral and patellofemoral joint forces progressively increased as knee flexed and decreased as knee extended, yet peak forces were not affected by varying feet positions (p>0.05). In conclusion, a neutral position is recommended to perform the squat exercise, while the squeeze squat and outward squat might contribute to the occurrence of joint pathologies.
PMCID: PMC3916928  PMID: 24511341
squat performance; foot angle; knee alignment; rehabilitation; osteoarthritis
22.  IgE but not IgG4 Antibodies to Ara h 2 Distinguish Peanut Allergy from Asymptomatic Peanut Sensitization 
Allergy  2012;67(12):1538-1546.
There are no available clinical tests that can accurately predict peanut allergy (PA) and/or anaphylaxis. This study is aimed at evaluating whether the component-resolved diagnostic (CRD) IgE and IgG4 tests can 1) distinguish PA from asymptomatic peanut sensitization; and 2) differentiate anaphylactic vs. non-anaphylactic PA.
This study included 20 non-atopic controls, 58 asymptomatically peanut-sensitized children, 55 non-anaphylactic and 53 anaphylactic PA cases from the Chicago Food Allergy Study. IgE and IgG4 to 103 allergens were measured using the ImmunoCAP ISAC technology, and were compared among each group of children. The random forest test was applied to estimate each allergen’s ability to predict PA and/or peanut anaphylaxis.
PA cases (with or without anaphylaxis) had significantly higher IgE reactivity to Ara h 1–3 (peanut allergens) and Gly m 5–6 (soy allergens) than asymptomatically-sensitized children (p<0.00001). Similar but more modest relationships were found for IgG4 to Ara h 2 (p<0.01). IgE to Ara h 2 was the major contributor to accurate discrimination between PA and asymptomatic sensitization. With an optimal cutoff point of 0.65 ISU-E, it conferred 99.1% sensitivity, 98.3% specificity, and a 1.2% misclassification rate in the prediction of PA, which represented a higher discriminative accuracy than IgE to whole peanut extract (p=0.008). However, none of the IgE and/or IgG4 tests could significantly differentiate peanut anaphylaxis from non-anaphylactic PA.
IgE to Ara h 2 can efficiently differentiate clinical PA from asymptomatic peanut sensitization, which may represent a major step forward in the diagnosis of PA.
PMCID: PMC3499645  PMID: 23094689
Ara h 2; Component-resolved diagnostics; Diagnostic performance; Peanut allergy; Peanut anaphylaxis
23.  Single Intraperitoneal Injection of Monocrotaline as a Novel Large Animal Model of Chronic Pulmonary Hypertension in Tibet Minipigs 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e78965.
The purpose of this study was to establish an animal model of chronic pulmonary hypertension with a single-dose intraperitoneal injection of monocrotaline (MCT) in young Tibet minipigs, so as to enable both invasive and noninvasive measurements and hence facilitate future studies.
Twenty-four minipigs (8-week-old) were randomized to receive single-dose injection of 12.0 mg/kg MCT (MCT group, n = 12) or placebo (control group, n = 12 each). On day 42, all animals were evaluated for pulmonary hypertension with conventional transthoracic echocardiography, right heart catheterization (RHC), and pathological changes. Findings of these studies were compared between the two groups.
At echocardiography, the MCT group showed significantly higher pulmonary arterial mean pressure (PAMP) compared with the controls (P<0.001). The pulmonary valve curve showed v-shaped signals with reduction of a-waves in minipigs treated with MCT. In addition, the MCT group had longer pulmonary artery pre-ejection phases, and shorter acceleration time and ejection time. RHC revealed higher mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP) in the MCT group than in the control group (P<0.01). A significant and positive correlation between the mPAP values and the PAMP values (R = 0.974, P<0.0001), and a negative correlation between the mPAP and ejection time (R = 0.680, P<0.0001) was noted. Pathology demonstrated evidence of pulmonary vascular remodeling and higer index of right ventricular hypertrophy in MCT-treated minipigs.
A chronic pulmonary hypertension model can be successfully established in young minipigs at six weeks after MCT injection. These minipig models exhibited features of pulmonary arterial hypertension that can be evaluated by both invasive (RHC) and noninvasive (echocardiography) measurements, and may be used as an easy and stable tool for future studies on pulmonary hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3823945  PMID: 24244396
24.  Transcatheter arterial embolization promotes liver tumor metastasis by increasing the population of circulating tumor cells 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:1563-1572.
Transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) is widely used as an effective palliative treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and can prolong survival time. However, the high incidence of tumor recurrence and metastasis after TAE is still a major problem. Recent studies demonstrated that circulating tumor cells (CTCs) contribute to tumor metastasis. In this study, we tried to clarify whether the residual HCC after TAE can increase metastasis by increasing the number of CTCs. An orthotopic liver tumor model in the Buffalo rat was established using green fluorescent protein (GFP)-transfected HCC cell line, McA-RH7777. Two weeks after orthotopic liver tumor implantation, the rats underwent TAE treatment from the gastroduodenal artery. Iodized oil or saline was injected intra-arterially. Blood samples were taken on day 0, 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 for detection of CTCs after TAE treatment. We analyzed the number of CTCs and assessed the metastatic potential of surviving tumor cells in rats between TAE and control groups. Our results demonstrated that the metastatic colonies in the lung were significantly increased by TAE treatment. The number of CTCs was also significantly increased by TAE treatment from day 7 to day 21. The expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α and epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) marker proteins (N-cadherin and vimentin) was upregulated, but E-cadherin was downregulated after TAE treatment. In conclusion, the metastatic potential of residual HCC can be induced by TAE treatment in a rat liver tumor model, which involves the acquisition of EMT features and an increased number of CTCs.
PMCID: PMC3821789  PMID: 24235842
transcatheter arterial embolization; hepatocellular carcinoma; circulating tumor cells; epithelial–mesenchymal transition
25.  Prevalence of asthenopia and its risk factors in Chinese college students 
To determine the prevalence of asthenopia and identify any associated risk factors in the college students in Xi'an, China.
From April to September 2012, 1 500 students from five universities in Xi'an were selected according to a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling method. Data on demographic features, lifestyle or dietary habits, health status, living environment conditions, sleep and mental status, and asthenopia symptoms were collected through a self-administered validated questionnaire. Univariate logistic regression and multivariate logistic regression analysis modified by the factor analysis were performed to evaluate risk factors for asthenopia.
Fifty-seven percent of the college students complained of asthenopia. Statistically significant risk factors for asthenopia in the univariate analysis included 13 variables. Multivariate analysis revealed a significant relationship between the use of computer and asthenopia (OR 1.21, 95%CI: 1.09 to 1.35). Good sleep and mental status (OR 0.86, 95%CI: 0.76 to 0.97), good living environment conditions (OR 0.67, 95%CI: 0.60 to 0.76), and high intake of green leafy vegetables (OR 0.89, 95%CI: 0.80 to 0.98) were found to be strong predictors of decreasing the occurrence of asthenopia complaints.
Asthenopia symptom appears to be common among college students; and it is strongly associated with computer use, psychosocial state, environment conditions and dietary habits, suggesting that additional studies are warranted to verify these risk factors and establish prevention guidelines, especially for college students.
PMCID: PMC3808927  PMID: 24195055
asthenopia; risk factor; epidemiological feature; college student

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