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1.  Activation of Muscular TrkB by its Small Molecular Agonist 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone Sex-Dependently Regulates Energy Metabolism in Diet-Induced Obese Mice 
Chemistry & biology  2015;22(3):355-368.
SUMMARY
Chronic activation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptor TrkB is a potential method to prevent development of obesity, but the short half-life and nonbioavailable nature of BDNF hampers validation of the hypothesis. We report here that activation of muscular TrkB by the BDNF mimetic, 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF), is sufficient to protect the development of diet-induced obesity in female mice. Using in vitro and in vivo models, we found that 7,8-DHF treatment enhanced the expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity in skeletal muscle, which resulted in increased systemic energy expenditure, reduced adiposity, and improved insulin sensitivity in female mice fed a high-fat diet. This antiobesity activity of 7,8-DHF is muscular TrkB-dependent as 7,8-DHF cannot mitigate diet-induced obesity in female muscle-specific TrkB knockout mice. Hence, our data reveal that chronic activation of muscular TrkB is useful in alleviating obesity and its complications.
doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2015.02.003
PMCID: PMC4369457  PMID: 25754472
2.  Cancer Stem Cells: Targeting the Roots of Cancer, Seeds of Metastasis, and Sources of Therapy Resistance 
Cancer research  2015;75(6):924-929.
With the goal to remove the roots of cancer, eliminate metastatic seeds, and overcome therapy resistance, the 2014 inaugural International Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Conference at Cleveland, OH, convened together over 320 investigators, including 55 invited world-class speakers, 25 short oral presenters, and 100 poster presenters, to gain an in-depth understanding of CSCs and explore therapeutic opportunities targeting CSCs. The meeting enabled intriguing discussions on several topics including: genetics and epigenetics; cancer origin and evolution; microenvironment and exosomes; metabolism and inflammation; metastasis and therapy resistance; single cell and heterogeneity; plasticity and reprogramming; as well as other new concepts. Reports of clinical trials targeting CSCs emphasized the urgent need for strategically designing combinational CSC-targeting therapies against cancer.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-3225
PMCID: PMC4359955  PMID: 25604264
3.  Blockade of Glioma Proliferation Through Allosteric Inhibition of JAK2 
Science signaling  2013;6(283):ra55.
The gene that encodes the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is frequently overexpressed or mutated in human cancers, including glioblastoma. However, the efficacy of EGFR-targeted small-molecule inhibitors or monoclonal antibodies in glioblastomas that also have mutation or deletion of the gene encoding phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) has been modest. We found that EGFR signaling was blocked by a small molecule (G5-7) that selectively inhibited Janus kinase 2 (JAK2)–mediated phosphorylation and activation of EGFR and STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3) by binding to JAK2, thereby decreasing the activity of downstream signaling by mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) and inducing cell cycle arrest. G5-7 inhibited the proliferation of PTEN-deficient glioblastoma cell lines harboring a constitutively active variant of EGFR (U87MG/EGFRvIII) and human glioblastoma explant neurosphere cultures, but the drug only weakly inhibited the proliferation of either glioblastoma cell lines that were wild type for EGFR and stably transfected with PTEN (U87MG/PTEN) or normal neural progenitor cells and astrocytes. Additionally, G5-7 reduced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion and endothelial cell migration and induced apoptosis in glioblastoma xenografts, thereby suppressing glioblastoma growth in vivo. Furthermore, G5-7 was more potent than EGFR or JAK2 inhibitors that interfere with either ligand or adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) binding at impeding glioblastoma cell proliferation, demonstrating that this allosteric JAK2 inhibitor may be an effective clinical strategy.
doi:10.1126/scisignal.2003900
PMCID: PMC4772155  PMID: 23838182
4.  Combined use of vitamin D3and metformin exhibits synergistic chemopreventive effects on colorectal neoplasia in rats and mice 
Vitamin D3 and metformin are widely used in humans for regulating mineral metabolism and as an anti-diabetic drug respectively; and both of them have been shown to have chemopreventive effects against various tumors. This study was designed to investigate the potential synergistic chemopreventive effects of vitamin D3 and metformin against the development of early colon neoplasia in two models. The first model was a 1, 2-dimethylhydrazine dihydrochloride (DMH) induced colon cancer rat model and the second, a DMH-dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) induced colitis-associated colon neoplasia mouse model. Compared to either vitamin D3 or metformin alone, combined use of vitamin D3 and metformin showed more pronounced effect in reducing the numbers of aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and tumor in the colon. The most prominent inhibitory effects were observed in the vitamin D3 medium dose (100 IU/kg/day) and metformin medium dose (120 mg/kg/day) combination group. Furthermore, our results showed that enhancement of metformin’s chemopreventive effects by vitamin D3 was associated with down-regulation of S6P expression, via the AMPK (IGF-1)/mTOR pathway. In addition, and enhancement of vitamin D3’s chemopreventive effects by metformin was associated with inhibition of the protein expressions of c-Myc and Cyclin D1, via the vitamin D receptor/β-catenin pathway. These findings show that combined use of vitamin D3 and metformin exhibits synergistic effects against the development of early colon neoplasia. They suggest that the combined use of vitamin D3 and metformin may represent a novel strategy for chemoprevention of colorectal cancer.
doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0128
PMCID: PMC4540484  PMID: 25416412
Vitamin D3; Metformin; Colorectal neoplasia; Rat; Mouse
5.  Intestinal ischemic preconditioning reduces liver ischemia reperfusion injury in rats 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2016;13(3):2511-2517.
The aim of the current study was to investigate whether intestinal ischemic preconditioning (IP) reduces damage to the liver during hepatic ischemia reperfusion (IR). Sprague Dawley rats were used to model liver IR injury, and were divided into the sham operation group (SO), IR group and IP group. The results indicated that IR significantly increased Bax, caspase 3 and NF-κBp65 expression levels, with reduced expression of Bcl-2 compared with the IP group. Compared with the IR group, the levels of AST, ALT, MPO, MDA, TNF-α and IL-1 were significantly reduced in the IP group. Immunohistochemistry for Bcl-2 and Bax indicated that Bcl-2 expression in the IP group was significantly increased compared with the IR group. In addition, IP reduced Bax expression compared with the IR group. The average liver injury was worsened in the IR group and improved in the IP group, as indicated by the morphological evaluation of liver tissues. The present study suggested that IP may alleviates apoptosis, reduce the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, ameloriate reductions in liver function and reduce liver tissue injury. To conclude, IP provided protection against hepatic IR injury.
doi:10.3892/mmr.2016.4817
PMCID: PMC4768986  PMID: 26821057
intestinal ischemic preconditioning; ischemia-reperfusion; liver damage
6.  Norepinephrine protects against Aβ toxicity via TrkB 
The locus coeruleus (LC), the brainstem noradrenergic nucleus that is the sole source of norepinephrine (NE) in the forebrain, is one of the first structures affected in Alzheimer’s disease. Experimental ablation of the LC exacerbates, while increasing NE abates, AD-like neuropathology and cognitive deficits in animal models of the disease. Some neuroprotective effects of NE appear to be mediated by tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB), the canonical receptor for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Here, we report that NE dosedependently protected primary cortical and LC neurons from amyloid-β (Aβ) toxicity. The neuroprotective effects of NE were fully prevented by the Trk receptor antagonist K252a but only partially attenuated by adrenergic receptor antagonists and not mimicked by adrenergic agonists. Activation of TrkB by NE in cortical and LC neurons was confirmed by immunoblot and immunocytochemistry for phospho-TrkB. These results indicate that NE can activate TrkB and protect against Aβ toxicity, at least in part, via adrenergic receptor-independent mechanisms, and have implications for the consequences of LC degeneration in AD and potential therapies for the disease.
doi:10.3233/JAD-141062
PMCID: PMC4714587  PMID: 25208620
norepinephrine; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β; tropomyosin-related kinase B; neuroprotection; locus coeruleus
7.  Fatigue-induced Orosomucoid 1 Acts on C-C Chemokine Receptor Type 5 to Enhance Muscle Endurance 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:18839.
Understanding and managing fatigue is a significant challenge in clinic and society. In attempting to explore how the body responds to and regulates fatigue, we found in rodent fatigue models that orosomucoid 1 (ORM1) was significantly increased in multiple tissues, including blood and muscle. Interestingly, administration of exogenous ORM1 increased muscle glycogen and enhanced muscle endurance, whereas ORM1 deficiency resulted in a significant decrease of muscle endurance both in vivo and in vitro, which could largely be restored by exogenous ORM1. Further studies demonstrated that ORM1 can bind to C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) on muscle cells and deletion of the receptor abolished the effect of ORM1. Thus, fatigue upregulates the level of ORM1, which in turn functions as an anti-fatigue protein to enhance muscle endurance via the CCR5 pathway. Modulation of the level of ORM1 and CCR5 signaling could be a novel strategy for the management of fatigue.
doi:10.1038/srep18839
PMCID: PMC4703980  PMID: 26740279
8.  Chinese Migrant Adolescents’ Perceived Discrimination and Psychological Well-Being: The Moderating Roles of Group Identity and the Type of School 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(1):e0146559.
Perceived discrimination can be harmful to migrant adolescents in China. However, little is known about the processes through which discrimination may be linked to decreased well-being in Chinese migrant adolescents. This study examined the relationship between perceived discrimination and three indices of psychological well-being (self-esteem, life satisfaction, collective self-esteem) in 798 Chinese migrant adolescents (49.4% from public schools). Group identity affirmation and belonging (GIAB) was examined as a protective factor that was expected to alleviate the negative effects of perceived discrimination on well-being, and the type of school was investigated as a potential moderator of the associations of interest. The results indicate that perceived discrimination was negatively linked to the three indices of psychological well-being and that the negative effects of perceived discrimination on psychological well-being were particularly salient for migrant adolescents attending public schools. Additionally, GIAB emerged as a protective buffer against perceived discrimination’s negative effects on collective well-being.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146559
PMCID: PMC4701425  PMID: 26731529
9.  Carnosic acid protects against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity by potentiating Nrf2-mediated antioxidant capacity in mice 
Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is one of the most common causes of acute liver failure. The study aimed to investigate the protective effect of carnosic acid (CA) on APAP-induced acute hepatotoxicity and its underlying mechanism in mice. To induce hepatotoxicity, APAP solution (400 mg/kg) was administered into mice by intraperitoneal injection. Histological analysis revealed that CA treatment significantly ameliorated APAP-induced hepatic necrosis. The levels of both alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) in serum were reduced by CA treatment. Moreover, CA treatment significantly inhibited APAP-induced hepatocytes necrosis and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) releasing. Western blot analysis showed that CA abrogated APAP-induced cleaved caspase-3, Bax and phosphorylated JNK protein expression. Further results showed that CA treatment markedly inhibited APAP-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and MCP-1 mRNA expression and the levels of phosphorylated IκBα and p65 protein in the liver. In addition, CA treatment reduced APAP- induced hepatic malondialdehyde (MDA) contents and reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation. Conversely, hepatic glutathione (GSH) level was increased by administration of CA in APAP-treated mice. Mechanistically, CA facilitated Nrf2 translocation into nuclear through blocking the interaction between Nrf2 and Keap1, which, in turn, upregulated anti-oxidant genes mRNA expression. Taken together, our results indicate that CA facilitates Nrf2 nuclear translocation, causing induction of Nrf2-dependent genes, which contributes to protection from acetaminophen hepatotoxicity.
doi:10.4196/kjpp.2016.20.1.15
PMCID: PMC4722187  PMID: 26807019
Acetaminophen; Anti-oxidation; Carnosic acid; Hepatotoxicity; Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2
10.  Differentiation and loss of malignant character of spontaneous pulmonary metastases in patient-derived breast cancer models 
Cancer research  2014;74(24):7406-7417.
Patient-derived human-in-mouse xenograft models of breast cancer (PDX models) that exhibit spontaneous lung metastases offer a potentially powerful model of cancer metastasis. In this study, we evaluated the malignant character of lung micro-metastases that emerge in such models after orthotopic implantation of human breast tumor cells into the mouse mammary fat pad. Interestingly, relative to the parental primary breast tumors, the lung metastasis (met)-derived mammary tumors exhibited a slower growth rate and a reduced metastatic potential with a more differentiated epithelial status. Epigenetic correlates were determined by gene array analyses. Lung met-derived tumors displayed differential expression of negative regulators of cell proliferation and metabolism and positive regulators of mammary epithelial differentiation. Clinically, this signature correlated with breast tumor subtypes. We identified microRNA-138 as a novel regulator of invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cells, acting by directly targeting the polycomb epigenetic regulator EZH2. Mechanistic investigations showed that GATA3 transcriptionally controlled miR-138 levels in lung metastases. Notably, the miR-138 activity signature served as a novel independent prognostic marker for patient survival beyond traditional pathologic variables, intrinsic subtypes or a proliferation gene signature. Our results highlight the loss of malignant character in some lung micro-metastatic lesions and the epigenetic regulation of this phenotype.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-1188
PMCID: PMC4310213  PMID: 25339353
breast cancer; pulmonary metastasis; microRNA; EZH2; malignancy
11.  Authentication of commercial processed Glehniae Radix (Beishashen) by DNA barcodes 
Chinese Medicine  2015;10:35.
Background
The radix of Glehnia littoralis Fr. Schmidt ex Miq. (Beishashen), is often misidentified and adultered in Chinese medicine. Its seven common adulterants include Chuanminshen violaceum Sheh et Shan (Chuanmingshen), Changium smyrnioides Wolff (Mingdangshen), Sphallerocarpus gracilis (Bess.) K.-Pol. (Miguoqin), Adenophora polyantha Nakai (Shishashen), Silene tatarinowii Regel (Shishengyingzicao), Adenophora tetraphylla (Thunb.) Fisch (Lunyeshashen) and Adenophora stricta Miq. (Shashen). This study aims to evaluate the feasibility of the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) DNA barcoding to discriminate between Glehniae Radix and its common adulterants.
Methods
In this study, we collected 46 samples of G. littoralis and 59 samples of its seven common adulterants. Genomic DNA sequences were extracted from samples, including original plants and commercially processed crude drugs. The ITS2 of the ribosomal DNA sequences were amplified and sequenced bi-directionally. The sequences were assembled by CodonCode Aligner 3.5.7. The descriptive data analysis was conducted and neighbor-joining (NJ) phylogenetic tree was constructed by MEGA 5.0 in accordance with the kimura 2 -parameter (K2P) model. The identification efficiency was evaluated based on the BLAST1 methods. The ITS2 secondary structures were predicted and compared between Glehniae Radix and its adulterants by the ITS2 database.
Results
As the 46 ITS2 sequences of G. littoralis were identical to each other, the identification efficiency of the ITS2 region was 100 %. A NJ tree based on the ITS2 sequences, and the predicted secondary structures of ITS2, distinguished Glehniae Radix from its adulterants.
Conclusion
DNA barcoding based on ITS2 distinguished commercial processed Glehniae Radix from common herbal adulterants.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13020-015-0071-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13020-015-0071-8
PMCID: PMC4665842  PMID: 26628908
12.  Delta-secretase cleaves amyloid precursor protein and regulates the pathogenesis in Alzheimer's disease 
Nature Communications  2015;6:8762.
The age-dependent deposition of amyloid-β peptides, derived from amyloid precursor protein (APP), is a neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Despite age being the greatest risk factor for AD, the molecular mechanisms linking ageing to APP processing are unknown. Here we show that asparagine endopeptidase (AEP), a pH-controlled cysteine proteinase, is activated during ageing and mediates APP proteolytic processing. AEP cleaves APP at N373 and N585 residues, selectively influencing the amyloidogenic fragmentation of APP. AEP is activated in normal mice in an age-dependent manner, and is strongly activated in 5XFAD transgenic mouse model and human AD brains. Deletion of AEP from 5XFAD or APP/PS1 mice decreases senile plaque formation, ameliorates synapse loss, elevates long-term potentiation and protects memory. Blockade of APP cleavage by AEP in mice alleviates pathological and behavioural deficits. Thus, AEP acts as a δ-secretase, contributing to the age-dependent pathogenic mechanisms in AD.
Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, yet how ageing regulates disease pathology is unclear. Here, the authors find that asparagine endopeptidase expression increases with age and cleaves APP, contributing to ß-amyloid production and cognitive defects in a transgenic mouse model.
doi:10.1038/ncomms9762
PMCID: PMC4659940  PMID: 26549211
13.  Decreased Diversity of the Oral Microbiota of Patients with Hepatitis B Virus-Induced Chronic Liver Disease: A Pilot Project 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:17098.
Increasing evidence suggests that altered gut microbiota is implicated in the pathogenesis of hepatitis B virus-induced chronic liver disease (HBV-CLD). However, the structure and composition of the oral microbiota of patients with HBV-CLD remains unclear. High-throughput pyrosequencing showed that decreased oral bacterial diversity was found in patients with HBV-CLD. The Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio was increased significantly, which indicated that dysbiosis of the oral microbiota participated in the process of HBV-CLD development. However, the changing patterns of the oral microbiota in patients with HBV-induced liver cirrhosis (LC) were almost similar to patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). HBV infection resulted in an increase in potential H2S- and CH3SH-producing phylotypes such as Fusobacterium, Filifactor, Eubacterium, Parvimonas and Treponema, which might contribute to the increased oral malodor. These key oral-derived phylotypes might invade into the gut as opportunistic pathogens and contribute to altering the composition of the gut microbiota. This study provided important clues that dysbiosis of the oral microbiota might be involved in the development of HBV-CLD. Greater understanding of the relationships between the dysbiosis of oral microbiota and the development of HBV-CLD might facilitate the development of non-invasive differential diagnostic procedures and targeted treatments of HBV-CLD patients harbouring specific oral phylotypes.
doi:10.1038/srep17098
PMCID: PMC4660595  PMID: 26606973
14.  Effects of human vascular endothelial growth factor on reparative dentin formation 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2015;13(1):705-712.
It is a challenge for dentists to save dental pulp in patients with pulp disease without resorting to root canal therapy. Formation of tertiary dentin to maintain pulp vitality is a key odontoblast response to dental pulp injury. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is the most potent angiogenic and vasculogenic factor involved in tertiary dentin formation. It was hypothesized that VEGF may be used to treat pulp diseases such as pulpitis. To explore this hypothesis, the first step was to assess whether VEGF affects dental pulp cells to promote reparative dentin formation. In the current study, an AdCMV-hVEGF vector was constructed to deliver hVEGF into dental pulp cells of exfoliated deciduous teeth (hDPCs) in vitro and dental pulp cells in a rat model in vivo. The collected data clearly demonstrated that hVEGF increased alkaline phosphatase and mineralization by enzymatic activity. RT-qPCR data demonstrated that hVEGF significantly increased the expression levels of genes commonly involved in osteogenesis/odontogenesis. Data from the in vivo assays indicated that hVEGF enhanced pulp cell proliferation and neovascularization, and markedly increased formation of reparative dentin in dental pulp. The in vitro and in vivo data suggest that hVEGF may have potential clinical applications, thus may aid in the development of novel treatment strategies for dental pulpitis.
doi:10.3892/mmr.2015.4608
PMCID: PMC4686068  PMID: 26647730
VEGF; formation of reparative dentin; dental pulp cells; gene therapy; mineralization
15.  Specific N-glycans of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Surface and the Abnormal Increase of Core-α-1, 6-fucosylated Triantennary Glycan via N-acetylglucosaminyltransferases-IVa Regulation 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:16007.
Glycosylation alterations of cell surface proteins are often observed during the progression of malignancies. The specific cell surface N-glycans were profiled in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with clinical tissues (88 tumor and adjacent normal tissues) and the corresponding serum samples of HCC patients. The level of core-α-1,6-fucosylated triantennary glycan (NA3Fb) increased both on the cell surface and in the serum samples of HCC patients (p < 0.01). Additionally, the change of NA3Fb was not influenced by Hepatitis B virus (HBV)and cirrhosis. Furthermore, the mRNA and protein expression of N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase IVa (GnT-IVa), which was related to the synthesis of the NA3Fb, was substantially increased in HCC tissues. Knockdown of GnT-IVa leads to a decreased level of NA3Fb and decreased ability of invasion and migration in HCC cells. NA3Fb can be regarded as a specific cell surface N-glycan of HCC. The high expression of GnT-IVa is the cause of the abnormal increase of NA3Fb on the HCC cell surface, which regulates cell migration. This study demonstrated the specific N-glycans of the cell surface and the mechanisms of altered glycoform related with HCC. These findings lead to better understanding of the function of glycan and glycosyltransferase in the tumorigenesis, progression and metastasis of HCC.
doi:10.1038/srep16007
PMCID: PMC4633583  PMID: 26537865
16.  Clinicopathological Significance of MicroRNA-20b Expression in Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Regulation of HIF-1α and VEGF Effect on Cell Biological Behaviour 
Disease Markers  2015;2015:325176.
miRNA-20b has been shown to be aberrantly expressed in several tumor types. However, the clinical significance of miRNA-20b in the prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is poorly understood, and the exact role of miRNA-20b in HCC remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association of the expression of miR-20b with clinicopathological characteristics and overall survival of HCC patients analyzed by Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression models. Meanwhile, the HIF-1α and VEGF targets of miR-20b have been confirmed. We found not only miR-20b regulation of HIF-1α and VEGF in normal but also regulation of miR-20b in hypoxia. This mechanism would help the tumor cells adapt to the different environments thus promoting the tumor invasion and development. The whole study suggests that miR-20b, HIF-1α, and VEGF serve as a potential therapeutic agent for hepatocellular carcinoma.
doi:10.1155/2015/325176
PMCID: PMC4646993  PMID: 26612965
17.  Co-expression of Interleukin-15 Enhances the Protective Immune Responses Induced by Immunization with a Murine Malaria MVA-Based Vaccine Encoding the Circumsporozoite Protein 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0141141.
Malaria remains a major global public health problem with an estimated 200 million cases detected in 2012. Although the most advanced candidate malaria vaccine (RTS,S) has shown promise in clinical trials, its modest efficacy and durability have created uncertainty about the impact of RTS,S immunization (when used alone) on global malaria transmission. Here we describe the development and characterization of a novel modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)–based malaria vaccine which co-expresses the Plasmodium yoelii circumsporozoite protein (CSP) and IL-15. Vaccination/challenge studies showed that C57BL/6 mice immunized with the MVA-CSP/IL15 vaccine were protected significantly better against a P. yoelii 17XNL sporozoite challenge than either mice immunized with an MVA vaccine expressing only CSP or naïve controls. Importantly, the levels of total anti-CSP IgG were elevated about 100-fold for the MVA-CSP/IL15 immunized group compared to mice immunized with the MVA-CSP construct that does not express IL-15. Among the IgG subtypes, the IL-15 expressing MVA-CSP vaccine induced levels of IgG1 (8 fold) and IgG2b (80 fold) higher than the MVA-CSP construct. The significantly enhanced humoral responses and protection detected after immunization with the MVA-CSP/IL15 vaccine suggest that this IL-15 expressing MVA construct could be considered in the development of future malaria immunization strategies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141141
PMCID: PMC4624717  PMID: 26505634
18.  Diagnostic accuracy of ascitic cholesterol concentration for malignant ascites: a meta-analysis 
Many studies have investigated whether ascitic cholesterol can aid in diagnosis of malignant related ascites (MRA), and the results have varied considerably. To gain a more reliable answer to this question, we meta-analyzed the literature on using ascitic cholesterol as diagnostic tests to help identify MRA. Literature databases were systematically searched for studies examining accuracy of ascitic cholesterol for diagnosing MRA. Data on sensitivity, specificity, positive/negative likelihood ratio (PLR/NLR), and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) were pooled using random effects models. Summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curves and area under the curve (AUC) were used to summarize overall test performance. At last, our meta-analysis included 8 studies involving 743 subjects. Summary estimates for ascitic cholesterol in the diagnosis of MRA were as follows: sensitivity, 0.82 (95% CI 0.78 to 0.86); specificity, 0.90 (95% CI 0.87 to 0.93); PLR, 9.24 (95% CI 4.58 to 18.66); NLR, 0.16 (95% CI 0.08 to 0.32); and DOR, 66.96 (95% CI 18.83 to 238.11). The AUC was 0.96. The ascitic cholesterol level is helpful for the diagnosis of MRA. Nevertheless, the results of ascitic cholesterol assays should be interpreted in parallel with the results of traditional tests and clinical information.
PMCID: PMC4694358  PMID: 26770458
Cholesterol; malignant ascites; diagnosis; meta-analysis
19.  Identification of Hippophae species (Shaji) through DNA barcodes 
Chinese Medicine  2015;10:28.
Background
The morphological identification of different Hippophae species (Shaji) was difficult. This study aims to discriminate between medicinal and non-medicinal Hippophae species by DNA barcodes, the ITS2, psbA-trnH, and a combination of ITS2 and psbA-trnH (ITS2 + psbA-trnH).
Methods
DNA was extracted from the dried fruit samples. Primer pairs ITS2F/3R for ITS2 and psbAF/trnHR for psbA-trnH were used for PCR amplification. The purified PCR products were bidirectionally sequenced. Genetic distances were calculated according to the Kimura 2 parameter model and phylogenetic tree was constructed based on neighbor-joining (NJ) method, barcoding gap was also analyzed to assess identification efficiency.
Results
Amplification and sequencing efficiencies for both ITS2 and psbA-trnH were 100 %. Sequence data revealed that ITS2 + psbA-trnH was the most suitable candidate barcode at the species and subspecies level. The closely related Hippophae species were effectively differentiated in the NJ tree.
Conclusion
The combination of the two loci, ITS2 + psbA-trnH is applicable to the identification of medicinal and non-medicinal Hippophae species.
doi:10.1186/s13020-015-0062-9
PMCID: PMC4604095  PMID: 26468319
20.  Sequence Variation Analysis of Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigen 1 Gene in the Virus Associated Lymphomas of Northern China 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0140529.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) is the only viral protein expressed in all EBV-positive tumors as it is essential for the maintenance, replication and transcription of the virus genome. According to the polymorphism of residue 487 in EBNA1 gene, EBV isolates can be classified into five subtypes: P-ala, P-thr, V-val, V-leu and V-pro. Whether these EBNA1 subtypes contribute to different tissue tropism of EBV and are consequently associated with certain malignancies remain to be determined. To elucidate the relationship, one hundred and ten EBV-positive lymphoma tissues of different types from Northern China, a non-NPC endemic area, were tested for the five subtypes by nested-PCR and DNA sequencing. In addition, EBV type 1 and type 2 classification was typed by using standard PCR assays across type-specific regions of the EBNA3C genes. Four EBNA1 subtypes were identified: V-val (68.2%, 75/110), P-thrV (15.5%, 17/110), V-leuV (3.6%, 4/110) and P-ala (10.9%, 12/110). The distribution of the EBNA1 subtypes in the four lymphoma groups was not significantly different (p = 0.075), neither was that of the EBV type 1/type 2 (p = 0.089). Compared with the previous data of gastric carcinoma (GC), nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and throat washing (TW) from healthy donors, the distribution of EBNA1 subtypes in lymphoma differed significantly (p = 0.016), with a little higher frequency of P-ala subtype. The EBV type distribution between lymphoma and the other three groups was significantly different (p = 0.000, p = 0.000, p = 0.001, respectively). The proportion of type 1 and type 2 mixed infections was higher in lymphoma than that in GC, NPC and TW. In lymphomas, the distribution of EBNA1 subtypes in the three EBV types was not significantly different (p = 0.546). These data suggested that the variation patterns of EBNA1 gene may be geographic-associated rather than tumor-specific and the role of EBNA1 gene variations in tumorigenesis needs more extensive and deep explorations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140529
PMCID: PMC4604123  PMID: 26460969
21.  Gossypium barbadense genome sequence provides insight into the evolution of extra-long staple fiber and specialized metabolites 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:14139.
Of the two cultivated species of allopolyploid cotton, Gossypium barbadense produces extra-long fibers for the production of superior textiles. We sequenced its genome (AD)2 and performed a comparative analysis. We identified three bursts of retrotransposons from 20 million years ago (Mya) and a genome-wide uneven pseudogenization peak at 11–20 Mya, which likely contributed to genomic divergences. Among the 2,483 genes preferentially expressed in fiber, a cell elongation regulator, PRE1, is strikingly At biased and fiber specific, echoing the A-genome origin of spinnable fiber. The expansion of the PRE members implies a genetic factor that underlies fiber elongation. Mature cotton fiber consists of nearly pure cellulose. G. barbadense and G. hirsutum contain 29 and 30 cellulose synthase (CesA) genes, respectively; whereas most of these genes (>25) are expressed in fiber, genes for secondary cell wall biosynthesis exhibited a delayed and higher degree of up-regulation in G. barbadense compared with G. hirsutum, conferring an extended elongation stage and highly active secondary wall deposition during extra-long fiber development. The rapid diversification of sesquiterpene synthase genes in the gossypol pathway exemplifies the chemical diversity of lineage-specific secondary metabolites. The G. barbadense genome advances our understanding of allopolyploidy, which will help improve cotton fiber quality.
doi:10.1038/srep14139
PMCID: PMC4588572  PMID: 26420475
22.  The Intervention Effects of Acupuncture on Fatigue Induced by Exhaustive Physical Exercises: A Metabolomics Investigation 
In this study, the antifatigue effects of acupuncture had been investigated at the metabolic level on the young male athletes with exhaustive physical exercises. After a series of exhaustive physical exercises and a short-term rest, the athletes either were treated with needling acupuncture on selected acupoints (TA group) or enjoyed an extended rest (TR group). NMR-based metabolomics analysis was then applied to depict the metabolic profiles of urine samples, which were collected from the athletes at three time points including the time before exercises, the time before and after the treatment of acupuncture, or taking the extended rest. The results from multivariate statistical analysis indicated that the recoveries of disturbed metabolites in the athletes treated with acupuncture were significantly faster than in those only taking rest. After the treatment with acupuncture, the levels of distinguished metabolites, 2-hydroxybutyrate, 3-hydroxyisovalerate, lactate, pyruvate, citrate, dimethylglycine, choline, glycine, hippurate, and hypoxanthine were recovered at an accelerated speed in the TA group in comparison with the TR group. The above-mentioned results indicated that the acupuncture treatment ameliorated fatigue by backregulating the perturbed energy metabolism, choline metabolism, and attenuating the ROS-induced stress at an accelerated speed, which demonstrated that acupuncture could serve as an alternative fatigue-relieving approach.
doi:10.1155/2015/508302
PMCID: PMC4579316  PMID: 26442121
23.  Short-term differences in drug prices after implementation of the national essential medicines system: A case study in rural Jiangxi Province, China 
Indian Journal of Pharmacology  2015;47(5):535-539.
Objectives:
China's 2009 national essential medicine system (NEMS) was designed to reduce prices through a zero-markup policy and a centralized bidding system. To analyze NEMS's short-term impact on drug prices, we estimated the retail and wholesale prices before and after the reform at health institutions in rural Jiangxi Province.
Materials and Methods:
We undertook two cross-sectional surveys of prices of 39 medicines in November 2008 and May 2010, calculated inflation adjusted prices, and used the Wilcoxon signed-rank and rank-sum tests to examine price changes at different health institutions.
Results:
Retail prices at pilot (P < 0.01) and nonpilot (P < 0.01) township health centers decreased significantly, whereas the declines at retail pharmacies (P = 0.57) and village clinics (P = 0.29) were insignificant. The decline at pilot township health centers was the largest, compared with other kinds of health institutions (P < 0.01). Retail prices of essential and non-essential medicines declined significantly at pilot facilities (P < 0.05); price drops for non-essential medicines occurred only at pilot facilities (P < 0.05). No significant decline of wholesale prices were found at pilot (P = 0.86) and nonpilot units (P = 0.18), retail pharmacies (P = 0.18), and village clinics (P = 0.20). The wholesale prices changes at pilot units before and after the reform were higher than at nonpilot public units (P < 0.05), retail pharmacies (P < 0.05), and village clinics (P < 0.05).
Conclusion:
While the NEMS zero-markup policy significantly reduced retail prices at pilot health institutions, the centralized bidding system was insufficient to lower wholesale prices. A drug price management system should be constructed to control medicine prices and a long-term price information system is needed to monitor price changes.
doi:10.4103/0253-7613.165192
PMCID: PMC4621676  PMID: 26600644
China; drug prices; healthcare reform; national essential medicine system; rural healthcare
24.  Metastatic and prognostic factors in patients with alveolar echinococcosis 
Background: Prognostic predictions in alveolar echinococcosis (AE) are usually based on relapse and metastasis. Thus, assessment of factors associated with metastasis and clinical outcomes in patients with alveolar echinococcosis are of significant important. The purpose of this study was to investigate the correlated factors for metastasis and prognosis for patients with AE. Methods: We analyzed 159 AE patients who underwent curative surgery at the First Teaching Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University from February 2003 to December 2013 by hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining for CD44 was performed in 159 AE and adjacent normal liver specimens. The clinicopathological parameters were analyzed for metastasis and prognosis, including gender, age, size, calcification, necrosis, foreign body granuloma and CD44 protein level. Results: The rate of metastasis was 22.1%. Chi-square test showed that low levels of CD44 was associated with metastasis (P = 0.004). However, multivariate analysis suggested that CD44 expression is not independent prognostic indicators for overall survival (P = 0.356). In addition, no correlations between prognosis and gender, age, size, calcification, necrosis, foreign body granulomatous, metastasis were identified. Conclusions: The finding that a low level of CD44 is associated with metastasis in AE patients. At present, it thus remains question whether CD44 expression is a valid prognostic marker for AE, further investigations are required.
PMCID: PMC4637656  PMID: 26617841
CD44; metastasis; prognosis; alveolar echinococcosis
25.  Dissemination of Go Sun Smart in Outdoor Recreation: Effect of Program Exposure on Sun Protection of Guests at High Altitude Ski Areas 
Journal of health communication  2014;19(9):999-1016.
Go Sun Smart (GSS) is a theory-based health communication program designed to influence sun protection behaviors of employees and guests at high altitude ski areas to reduce skin cancer risk. The effects of GSS, in a Phase IV dissemination randomized posttest-only trial, upon sun protection behaviors of ski area guests are reported. Program use was assessed by on-site observation and guest message exposure and sun protection was measured in intercept surveys at ski areas. Dissemination strategy, enhanced versus basic, was not significantly related to sun safety practices. Additional analyses examined the relationship of message exposure to guests’ sun safety practices. Ski areas displaying at least 6 GSS materials in guest-only areas and 9 GSS materials throughout the area increased guests’ message exposure. Higher message exposure within the high-use ski areas was associated with improved sun protection by guests but not in the low-use ski areas. The importance of program implementation and message exposure on the success of evidence-based health communication efforts applied industry-wide are underscored.
doi:10.1080/10810730.2013.864725
PMCID: PMC4146645  PMID: 24617350

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