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1.  Expression and Functional Characterization of NOD2 in Decidual Stromal Cells Isolated during the First Trimester of Pregnancy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99612.
NOD2, one of the cytosolic proteins that contain a nuclear oligomerization domain (NOD), is a pattern recognition receptor (PRR) involved in innate immune responses to intracellular pathogens. Little is known, however, about the effect of NOD2 expression on the maternal–fetal relationship. Our aim was to elucidate the functions of NOD2 in normal decidual stromal cells (DSCs) from the first trimester. Tissues and DSCs were isolated from 26 patients with normal pregnancies that required abortion. The expression of NOD2 in deciduas/decidual stromal cells (DSCs) was examined by real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry, and In-cell western. DSCs containing NOD2 were stimulated by its ligand, muramyl dipeptide (MDP). The secretion of various cytokines and chemokines were measured by ELISA and the apoptotic rate was determined by flow cytometry. Treatment with MDP significantly elevated the expression of both NOD2 mRNA and protein levels in DSCs. In addition, MDP activation of NOD2 significantly increased IL-1β and MCP-1 cytokine expression in a dose dependent manner but had no effect on IL-12 expression. IL-1β and TNF-α also significantly increased the expression of NOD2 in DSCs, suggesting a positive feedback loop mechanism. Moreover, MDP stimulation augmented DSC apoptosis. In summary, the results suggest that NOD2 expression in DSCs plays an important role in protecting the embryo and preventing infection in the maternal-fetal interface.
PMCID: PMC4059701  PMID: 24932916
2.  The Routine Utilization of Dental Care during Pregnancy in Eastern China and the Key Underlying Factors: A Hangzhou City Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98780.
Oral diseases are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. The routine utilization of dental care (RUDC) during pregnancy is an effective way to improve pregnant women’s oral health, and thus safeguard the health of their babies. As China has one fifth of the world’s population, it is especially meaningful to encourage RUDC there. However, the status of RUDC in China and the key underlying factors are largely unknown.
This cross-sectional survey investigated the current status of RUDC during pregnancy and the key underlying factors in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, eastern China. We collected participants’ demographics, individual oral-hygiene behaviors, individual lifestyle, oral-health conditions and attitudes, and also their RUDC during pregnancy. Binary Logistic Regression Analysis was used to analyze the key underlying factors.
Only 16.70% of the participants reported RUDC during pregnancy. The percentage of RUDC was significantly lower among pregnant women with the following characteristics: aged 30 or less, an annual household income under $8,000, brushing once a day or less, never flossing or rinsing the mouth, paying no attention to pregnancy-related oral-health knowledge, and being dissatisfied with one’s individual dental hygiene behavior.
RUDC during pregnancy is very low in eastern China and is greatly influenced not only by a woman’s age, annual income, individual hygiene behavior, but also by her attention and attitudes to oral health. To improve this population’s access to and use of dental care during pregnancy, appropriate programs and policies are urgently needed.
PMCID: PMC4046992  PMID: 24901520
3.  Glabridin Mediate Caspases Activation and Induces Apoptosis through JNK1/2 and p38 MAPK Pathway in Human Promyelocytic Leukemia Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98943.
Glabridin, a prenylated isoflavonoid of G. glabra L. roots, has been associated with a wide range of biological properties such as regulation of energy metabolism, estrogenic, neuroprotective, anti-osteoporotic, and skin-whitening in previous studies. However, the effect of glabridin on tumor cells metastasis has not been clearly clarified. Here, the molecular mechanism by which glabridin anticancer effects in human promyelocytic leukemia cells was investigated.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The results showed that glabridin significantly inhibited cell proliferation of four AML cell lines (HL-60, MV4-11, U937, and THP-1). Furthermore, glabridin induced apoptosis of HL-60 cells through caspases-3, -8, and -9 activations and PARP cleavage in dose- and time-dependent manner. Moreover, western blot analysis also showed that glabridin increase phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38 MAPK and JNK1/2 in dose- and time-dependent manner. Inhibition of p38 MAPK and JNK1/2 by specific inhibitors significantly abolished the glabridin-induced activation of the caspase-3, -8 and -9.
Taken together, our results suggest that glabridin induced HL-60 cell apoptosis through p38 MAPK and JNK1/2 pathways and could serve as a potential additional chemotherapeutic agent for treating AML.
PMCID: PMC4047044  PMID: 24901249
4.  Megakaryocytic Differentiation of K562 Cells Induced by PMA Reduced the Activity of Respiratory Chain Complex IV 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96246.
Mitochondria are involved in the regulation of cell differentiation processes, but its function changes and molecular mechanisms are not yet clear. In this study, we found that mitochondrial functions changed obviously when K562 cells were induced to megakaryocytic differentiation by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). During the cell differentiation, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) level was increased, mitochondrial membrane potential declined and respiratory chain complex IV activity was decreased. Treatment with specific inhibitor of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex IV led to a significant inhibition in mitochondrial membrane potential and reduction of PMA-induced cell differentiation. However, treatment with cyclosporine A, a stabilization reagent of mitochondrial membrane potential, did not improve the down-regulation of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex IV induced by PMA. Furthermore, we found that the level of the complex IV core subunit COX3 and mitochondrial transport-related proteins Tim9 and Tim10 were decreased during the differentiation of K562 cells induced by PMA, suggesting an important role of these factors in mitochondrial functional changes. Our results suggest that changes in mitochondrial functions are involved in the PMA-induced K562 cell differentiation process, and the maintenance of the steady-state of mitochondrial functions plays a critical role in the regulation of cell differentiation.
PMCID: PMC4015910  PMID: 24817082
5.  Emergence, Circulation, and Spatiotemporal Phylogenetic Analysis of Coxsackievirus A6- and Coxsackievirus A10-Associated Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Infections from 2008 to 2012 in Shenzhen, China 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(11):3560-3566.
Sporadic hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) outbreaks and other infectious diseases in recent years have frequently been associated with certain human enterovirus (HEV) serotypes. This study explored the prevalences and genetic characteristics of non-HEV71 and non-coxsackievirus A16 (CV-A16) human enterovirus-associated HFMD infections in Shenzhen, China. A total of 2,411 clinical stool specimens were collected from hospital-based surveillance for HFMD from 2008 to 2012. The detection of HEV was performed by real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) and RT-seminested PCR, and spatiotemporal phylogenetic analysis was performed based on the VP1 genes. A total of 1,803 (74.8%) strains comprising 28 different serotypes were detected. In the past 5 years, the predominant serotypes were HEV71 (60.0%), followed by CV-A16 (21.2%) and two uncommon serotypes, CV-A6 (13.0%) and CV-A10 (3.3%). However, CV-A6 replaced CV-A16 as the second most common serotype between 2010 and 2012. As an emerging pathogen, CV-A6 became as common a causative agent of HFMD as HEV71 in Shenzhen in 2012. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that little variation occurred in the Chinese HEV71 and CV-A16 strains. The genetic characteristics of the Chinese CV-A6 and CV-A10 strains displayed geographic differences. The CV-A6 and CV-A10 strains circulating in Shenzhen likely originated in Europe. It was found that human enteroviruses have a high mutation rate due to evolutionary pressure and frequent recombination (3.2 × 10−3 to 6.4 ×10−3 substitutions per site per year for HEV71, CV-A6, CV-A16, and CV-A10). Since certain serotypes are potential threats to the public health, this study provides further insights into the significance of the epidemiological surveillance of HFMD.
PMCID: PMC3889734  PMID: 23966496
6.  Infection of Apple by Apple Stem Grooving Virus Leads to Extensive Alterations in Gene Expression Patterns but No Disease Symptoms 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95239.
To understand the molecular basis of viral diseases, transcriptome profiling has been widely used to correlate host gene expression change patterns with disease symptoms during viral infection in many plant hosts. We used infection of apple by Apple stem grooving virus (ASGV), which produces no disease symptoms, to assess the significance of host gene expression changes in disease development. We specifically asked the question of whether such asymptomatic infection is attributed to limited changes in host gene expression. Using RNA-seq, we identified a total of 184 up-regulated and 136 down-regulated genes in apple shoot cultures permanently infected by ASGV in comparison with virus-free shoot cultures. As in most plant hosts showing disease symptoms during viral infection, these differentially expressed genes encode known or putative proteins involved in cell cycle, cell wall biogenesis, response to biotic and abiotic stress, development and fruit ripening, phytohormone function, metabolism, signal transduction, transcription regulation, translation, transport, and photosynthesis. Thus, global host gene expression changes do not necessarily lead to virus disease symptoms. Our data suggest that the general approaches to correlate host gene expression changes under viral infection conditions to specific disease symptom, based on the interpretation of transcription profiling data and altered individual gene functions, may have limitations depending on particular experimental systems.
PMCID: PMC3988175  PMID: 24736405
7.  Renal Involvement in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Proven by Renal Biopsy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95190.
To determine the spectrum of renal lesions in patients with kidney involvement in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) by renal biopsy.
The clinical features and histological findings at the time of the renal biopsy were assessed for each patient.
We identified 20 patients with NHL and renal involvement, and the diagnosis of NHL was established following the kidney biopsy in 18 (90%) patients. The types of NHL include the following: chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (n = 8), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (n = 4), T/NK cell lymphoma (n = 3), lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (n = 2), cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (n = 1), mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma (n = 1) and mantle cell lymphoma (n = 1). All presented with proteinuria, and 15 patients had impaired renal function. The pathological findings included (1) membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis-like pattern in seven patients; (2) crescent glomerulonephritis in four; (3) minimal-change disease in three, and glomeruli without specific pathological abnormalities in three; (4) intraglomerular large B-cell lymphoma in one; (5) intracapillary monoclonal IgM deposits in one; (6) primary diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the kidneys in one; and (7) lymphoma infiltration of the kidney in eight patients.
A wide spectrum of renal lesions can be observed in patients with NHL, and NHL may be first proven by renal biopsies for evaluation of kidney injury or proteinuria. Renal biopsy is necessary to establish the underlying cause of renal involvement in NHL.
PMCID: PMC3986362  PMID: 24733356
8.  The optimal concentration of topical hydroxycamptothecin in preventing intraarticular scar adhesion 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4621.
10-Hydroxycamptothecin could reduce intraarticular adhesion by inhibiting fibroblasts proliferation after knee surgery. However, the ideal concentration of hydroxycamptothecin have not been defined. This study was tried to verify the optimal concentration of 10-hydroxycamptothecin in preventing knee intraarticular adhesion. Sixty rabbits were randomly divided into five groups. Approximately 10 mm × 10 mm of the cortical bone was removed from both sides of the femoral condyle and the underneath cancellous bone was exposed. Various concentrations of hydroxycamptothecin (0.1 mg/ml, 0.5 mg/ml, 1.0 mg/ml, 2.0 mg/ml) or saline were applied to the decorticated areas for 10 minutes. After four weeks, the degree of inraarticular adhesion was assessed by macroscopic evaluation, biochemical analysis of hydroxyproline content and histological evaluation. The results demonstrated that the extent of knee inraarticular adhesion in 1.0 mg/ml group and 2.0 mg/ml hydroxycamptothecin group were significantly lower than those of 0.5 mg/ml group, 0.1 mg/ml hydroxycamptothecin group and control group. Moreover, there was no significant difference between 1.0 mg/ml group and 2.0 mg/ml hydroxycamptothecin group. In conclusion, topical application of 1.0 mg/ml hydroxycamptothecin may be the optimal concentration in reducing intraarticular adhesion after knee surgery in rabbits.
PMCID: PMC3980220  PMID: 24714729
9.  Transarterial Chemoembolization for the Treatment of Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma with Portal Vein Tumor Thrombosis: Prognostic Factors in a Single-Center Study of 188 Patients 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:194278.
Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) could achieve a better survival benefit than conservative treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with portal vein tumor thrombosis (PVTT). In this retrospective study, all HCC patients with Child-Pugh score <7 and PVTT who were consecutively admitted to our center between January 2006 and June 2012 and underwent TACE were enrolled. The efficacy and safety of TACE were analyzed. Prognostic factors were determined by Cox regression analysis. Of the 188 patients included, 89% had hepatitis B virus infection, 100% were at Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage C, and 81% (n = 152) and 19% (n = 36) were at Child-Pugh classes A and B, respectively. The incidence of procedure-related complications was 88%. No procedure-related death was found. The median overall survival was 6.1 months. Type of PVTT (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.806), number of tumor lesions (HR = 2.288), Child-Pugh class (HR = 2.981), and presence of metastasis (HR = 1.909) were the independent predictors of survival. In conclusion, TACE could be selectively used for the treatment of advanced HCC with PVTT. But a high rate of postoperative adverse events should not be undermined in spite of no procedure-related death. Preoperative type of PVTT, number of tumor lesions, Child-Pugh class, and metastasis could predict the prognosis of these patients.
PMCID: PMC3996986  PMID: 24800212
10.  New analogs of the clinical complement inhibitor compstatin with subnanomolar affinity and enhanced pharmacokinetic properties 
Immunobiology  2012;218(4):496-505.
Therapeutic modulation of the complement system has become increasingly important in line with the growing recognition of the role of complement in numerous diseases. Compstatin, a peptidic inhibitor that acts at the central level of the complement cascade, is currently in clinical evaluation but routes to improve its efficacy have not yet been fully explored. Here, we report improvements in both the inhibitory potency and pharmacokinetic parameters of compstatin that broaden its clinical applications. Selective modification of the compstatin N-terminus with non-proteinogenic amino acids resulted in the first analogue with subnanomolar binding affinity (KD = 0.5 nM) and other similarly potent derivatives with improved solubility in clinically relevant solvents. Detailed structure-activity relationship studies based on biophysical and computational methods revealed key structural determinants for the observed improvements. Importantly, pharmacokinetic evaluation in non-human primates revealed target-driven elimination kinetics with plasma half-life values exceeding expectations for peptidic drugs (close to 12 hours). This successful optimization strategy is expected to pave the way for systemic administration of compstatin in a range of clinical conditions.
PMCID: PMC3518557  PMID: 22795972
complement; innate immunity; compstatin; inhibitor; peptide therapeutic; pharmacokinetics
11.  Hydroxycarboxylic acid receptor 2 mediates dimethyl fumarate’s protective effect in EAE 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2014;124(5):2188-2192.
Taken orally, the drug dimethyl fumarate (DMF) has been shown to improve functional outcomes for patients with MS; however, it is unclear how DMF mediates a protective effect. DMF and, more so, its active metabolite, monomethyl fumarate, are known agonists of the hydroxycarboxylic acid receptor 2 (HCA2), a G protein–coupled membrane receptor. Here, we evaluated the contribution of HCA2 in mediating the protective effect afforded by DMF in EAE, a mouse model of MS. DMF treatment reduced neurological deficit, immune cell infiltration, and demyelination of the spinal cords in wild-type mice, but not in Hca2–/– mice, indicating that HCA2 is required for the therapeutic effect of DMF. In particular, DMF decreased the number of infiltrating neutrophils in a HCA2-dependent manner, likely by interfering with neutrophil adhesion to endothelial cells and chemotaxis. Together, our data indicate that HCA2 mediates the therapeutic effects of DMF in EAE. Furthermore, identification of HCA2 as a molecular target may help to optimize MS therapy.
PMCID: PMC4001545  PMID: 24691444
12.  Ring cell migration assay identifies distinct effects of extracellular matrix proteins on cancer cell migration 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:183.
Alterations in cell migration are a hallmark of cancer cell invasion and metastasis. In vitro assays commonly used to study cell migration, including the scratch wound healing assay, Boyden chamber assay, and newly developed advanced systems with microfluidics, each have several disadvantages.
Here we describe an easy and cost-effective in vitro assay for cell migration employing cloning rings to create gaps in the cell monolayer (“ring cell migration assay”). The assay was used to quantitate innate differences in cell motility and the effect of various extracellular matrix proteins on migration of five cancer cell lines: U87 and U251N glioma cells, MDA-MB-231and MCF-7 breast cancer cells, and HeLa cervical cancer cells. Interestingly, collagen was a general promoter of cell migration for all five cancer cell lines, without affecting cell proliferation.
Taken together, the ring cell migration assay is an easy, convenient and cost-effective assay to study cell migration in vitro.
PMCID: PMC3986826  PMID: 24674422
Cell migration assay; Cloning ring; Extracellular matrices
13.  Combination Therapy of Sorafenib and TACE for Unresectable HCC: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91124.
Background and Aim
A large number of studies have tried to combine sorafenib with TACE for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the results were controversial. We conducted this systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the safety and efficacy of combination therapy of sorafenib and TACE in the management of unresectable HCC.
MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Scopus, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were searched from January 1990 to October 2013 and these databases were searched for appropriate studies combining TACE and sorafenib in treatment of HCC. Two authors independently reviewed the databases and extracted the data and disagreements were resolved by discussion. Effective value and safety were analyzed. Effective value included disease control rate (DCR), time to progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS).
17 studies were included in the study. In the 10 noncomparative studies, DCR ranged from 18.4 to 91.2%. Median TTP ranged from 7.1 to 9.0 months, and median OS ranged from 12 to 27 months. In the 7 comparative studies, the hazard ratio (HR) for TTP was found to be 0.76 (95% CI 0.66–0.89; P<0.001) with low heterogeneity among studies (P = 0.243; I2 = 25.5%). However, the HR for OS was found to be 0.81 (95% CI 0.65–1.01; P = 0.061) with low heterogeneity among studies (P = 0.259; I2 = 25.4%). The common toxicities included fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, hand foot skin reaction (HFSR), hematological events, hepatotoxicity, alopecia, hepatotoxicity, hypertension and rash/desquamation. AEs are generally manageable with dose reductions.
Combination therapy may bring benefits for unresectable HCC patients in terms of TTP but not OS. Further well-designed randomized controlled studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of combination therapy.
PMCID: PMC3961236  PMID: 24651044
14.  Deep Sequencing-Based Identification of Small Regulatory RNAs in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92711.
Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 is a genetically tractable model organism for photosynthesis research. The genome of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 consists of a circular chromosome and seven plasmids. The importance of small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) as mediators of a number of cellular processes in bacteria has begun to be recognized. However, little is known regarding sRNAs in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. To provide a comprehensive overview of sRNAs in this model organism, the sRNAs of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 were analyzed using deep sequencing, and 7,951,189 reads were obtained. High quality mapping reads (6,127,890) were mapped onto the genome and assembled into 16,192 transcribed regions (clusters) based on read overlap. A total number of 5211 putative sRNAs were revealed from the genome and the 4 megaplasmids, and 27 of these molecules, including four from plasmids, were confirmed by RT-PCR. In addition, possible target genes regulated by all of the putative sRNAs identified in this study were predicted by IntaRNA and analyzed for functional categorization and biological pathways, which provided evidence that sRNAs are indeed involved in many different metabolic pathways, including basic metabolic pathways, such as glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, the citrate cycle, fatty acid metabolism and adaptations to environmentally stress-induced changes. The information from this study provides a valuable reservoir for understanding the sRNA-mediated regulation of the complex physiology and metabolic processes of cyanobacteria.
PMCID: PMC3960264  PMID: 24647397
15.  Effects of THAP11 on Erythroid Differentiation and Megakaryocytic Differentiation of K562 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91557.
Hematopoiesis is a complex process regulated by sets of transcription factors in a stage-specific and context-dependent manner. THAP11 is a transcription factor involved in cell growth, ES cell pluripotency, and embryogenesis. Here we showed that THAP11 was down-regulated during erythroid differentiation but up-regulated during megakaryocytic differentiation of cord blood CD34+ cells. Overexpression of THAP11 in K562 cells inhibited the erythroid differentiation induced by hemin with decreased numbers of benzidine-positive cells and decreased mRNA levels of α-globin (HBA) and glycophorin A (GPA), and knockdown of THAP11 enhanced the erythroid differentiation. Conversely, THAP11 overexpression accelerated the megakaryocytic differentiation induced by phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) with increased percentage of CD41+ cells, increased numbers of 4N cells, and elevated CD61 mRNA levels, and THAP11 knockdown attenuated the megakaryocytic differentiation. The expression levels of transcription factors such as c-Myc, c-Myb, GATA-2, and Fli1 were changed by THAP11 overexpression. In this way, our results suggested that THAP11 reversibly regulated erythroid and megakaryocytic differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3956667  PMID: 24637716
16.  Exome Sequencing Analysis Identifies Compound Heterozygous Mutation in ABCA4 in a Chinese Family with Stargardt Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91962.
Stargardt disease is the most common cause of juvenile macular dystrophy. Five subjects from a two-generation Chinese family with Stargardt disease are reported in this study. All family members underwent complete ophthalmologic examinations. Patients of the family initiated the disease during childhood, developing progressively impaired central vision and bilateral atrophic macular lesions in the retinal pigmental epithelium (RPE) that resembled a “beaten-bronze” appearance. Peripheral venous blood was obtained from all patients and their family members for genetic analysis. Exome sequencing was used to analyze the exome of two patients II1, II2. A total of 50709 variations shared by the two patients were subjected to several filtering steps against existing variation databases. Identified variations were verified in all family members by PCR and Sanger sequencing. Compound heterozygous variants p.Y808X and p.G607R of the ATP-binding cassette, sub-family A (ABC1), member 4 (ABCA4) gene, which encodes the ABCA4 protein, a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transport superfamily, were identified as causative mutations for Stargardt disease of this family. Our findings provide one novel ABCA4 mutation in Chinese patients with Stargardt disease.
PMCID: PMC3954841  PMID: 24632595
17.  Clinical study of treatment switching from premixed insulin to basal insulin combined with oral hypoglycemic drugs in patients with type 2 diabetes 
Premixed insulin regimens are commonly used for the treatment of patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, limited data are available regarding next-step therapy options in cases where premixed insulin fails to provide adequate glycemic control. This 20-week observational study of everyday clinical practice evaluated the efficacy, safety and treatment satisfaction of insulin glargine plus oral anti-diabetic drugs (OADs) in T2DM patients previously treated with premixed insulin.
In this open-label, single-arm, 20-week study, 70 subjects with T2DM inadequately controlled with premixed insulin were switched to insulin glargine plus OADs. Changes in glycaemic control, incidence of hypoglycaemia, treatment satisfaction using the Diabetes Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire (DTSQ), serum superoxide dismutase (SOD), and serum 8-iso-prostaglandin (8-iso-PG) were evaluated at the start and the end of the study.
Over the 20 week treatment period, mean (±SD) HbA1c levels decreased from 8.28 ± 1.24% to 6.83 ± 1.09%, mean (±SD) FBG levels decreased from 7.64 ± 1.36 mmol/L to 5.57 ± 1.21 mmol/L, and 2 h PBG levels decreased from 12.07 ± 1.17 mmol/L to 8.94 ± 1.56 mmol/L, all P < 0.001. A total of 3 symptomatic hypoglycemic episodes were reported. No significant reductions in body weight were observed. The mean daily dose of insulin decreased by 14 U between week 0 (30.20 ± 9.93 U) and week 20 (16.38 ± 5.15 U). The total treatment satisfaction score showed a significant increase from study baseline to end point. Significant increases in SOD(90.00 ± 16.62 to 108.81 ± 27.02 u/ml, P < 0.01) and reductions in 8-iso-PG(2.15 ± 0.61 to 1.64 ± 0.42 pg/ml, P < 0.05) were observed between the start and end of the observation period. There were significant differences in baseline HbA1c, duration of diabetes, and baseline postprandial C-peptide between the A1c ≤ 6.5% group and the A1c > 7.0% group [HbA1c: 7.25% ± 1.02% vs. 9.32% ± 1.23%; duration: 7.84 ± 1.02 vs. 13.96 ± 1.35 years; postprandial C-peptide: 4.83 ± 2.11 vs 2.54 ± 0.87 nmol/L, all P < 0.05].
The observational study shows that, in T2DM patients inadequately controlled with premixed insulin, switching therapy to glargine plus OADs is associated with significant improvements in glycaemic control and treatment satisfaction, and is with low incidence of hypoglycemia. Baseline postprandial C-peptide, HbA1c, and duration of diabetes are the key factors closely related to efficacy of this treatment regimen.
PMCID: PMC3984683  PMID: 24620742
Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Glargine; Premixed insulin; Oxidative stress
Antiviral research  2012;97(3):232-239.
The flavivirus methyltransferase (MTase) sequentially methylates the N7 and 2’-O positions of the viral RNA cap (GpppA-RNA→m7GpppA-RNA→m7GpppAm-RNA), using S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) as a methyl donor. We report here the synthesis and biological evaluation of a series of novel nucleoside analogs. Two of these compounds can effectively and competitively inhibit the WNV MTase with IC50 values in micromolar range and, more importantly, do not inhibit human MTase. The compounds can also suppress the WNV replication in cell culture.
PMCID: PMC3608738  PMID: 23267828
Flavivirus NS5; RNA cap methylation; West Nile virus; methyltransferase; antiviral development
19.  Shared Mycobacterium avium Genotypes Observed among Unlinked Clinical and Environmental Isolates 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(18):5601-5607.
Our understanding of the sources of Mycobacterium avium infection is partially based on genotypic matching of pathogen isolates from cases and environmental sources. These approaches assume that genotypic identity is rare in isolates from unlinked cases or sources. To test this assumption, a high-resolution PCR-based genotyping approach, large-sequence polymorphism (LSP)-mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit–variable-number tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR), was selected and used to analyze clinical and environmental isolates of M. avium from geographically diverse sources. Among 127 clinical isolates from seven locations in North America, South America, and Europe, 42 genotypes were observed. Among 12 of these genotypes, matches were seen in isolates from apparently unlinked patients in two or more geographic locations. Six of the 12 were also observed in environmental isolates. A subset of these isolates was further analyzed by alternative strain genotyping methods, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and MIRU-VNTR, which confirmed the existence of geographically dispersed strain genotypes. These results suggest that caution should be exercised in interpreting high-resolution genotypic matches as evidence for an acquisition event.
PMCID: PMC3754150  PMID: 23851084
20.  Histones activate the NLRP3 Inflammasome in Kupffer Cells during Sterile Inflammatory Liver Injury 
Cellular processes that drive sterile inflammatory injury after hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury are not completely understood. Activation of the inflammasome plays a key role in response to invading intracellular pathogens, but mounting evidence suggests it also plays a role in inflammation driven by endogenous danger-associate molecular pattern (DAMP) molecules released after ischemic injury. The nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat containing protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is one such process, and the mechanism by which its activation results in damage and inflammatory responses following liver I/R is unknown. Here we report that both NLRP3 and its downstream target Caspase-1 are activated I/R and are essential for hepatic I/R injury as both NLRP3 and Caspase-1 KO mice are protected from injury. Furthermore, inflammasome-mediated injury is dependent on Caspase-1 expression in liver non-parenchymal cells. While upstream signals that activate the inflammasome during ischemic injury are not well characterized, we show that endogenous extracellular histones activate the NLRP3 inflammasome during liver I/R through Toll-like Receptor-9 (TLR9). This occurs through TLR9-dependent generation of reactive oxygen species. This mechanism is operant in resident liver Kupffer cells, which drive innate immune responses after I/R injury by recruiting additional cell types, including neutrophils and inflammatory monocytes. These novel findings illustrate a new mechanism by which extracellular histones and activation of NLRP3 inflammasome contribute to liver damage and activation of innate immunity during sterile inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3777242  PMID: 23904166
21.  The Expression of Programmed Death-1 in Circulating CD4+ and CD8+ T Cells during Hepatitis B Virus Infection Progression and Its Correlation with Clinical Baseline Characteristics 
Gut and Liver  2013;8(2):186-195.
Programmed death-1 (PD-1) expression was investigated in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from hepatitis B virus (HBV)-infected patients at the chronic hepatitis B (CHB) infection, liver cirrhosis (LC), and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) stages.
PD-1 expression in circulating CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was detected by flow cytometry. The correlations between PD-1 expression and HBV viral load, alanine aminotransaminase (ALT) levels and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels were analyzed using GraphPad Prism 5.0.
PD-1 expression in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was significantly increased in both the CHB group and advanced-stage group (LC plus HCC). In the CHB group, PD-1 expression in both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was positively correlated with the HBV viral load, ALT, and AST levels. However, in the LC plus HCC group, significant correlations between PD-1 expression and the clinical parameters were nearly absent.
PD-1 expression in peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T cells is dynamic, changes with HBV infection progression, and is related to HBV viral load and liver function, especially in CHB. PD-1 expression could be utilized as a potential clinical indicator to determine the extent of virus replication and liver injury.
PMCID: PMC3964270  PMID: 24672661
Programmed death-1; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis B, chronic; Liver cirrhosis; Carcinoma, hepatocellular
22.  Relationship between blood levels of methyl donor and folate and mild cognitive impairment in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes: a case-control study 
Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment. Folate insufficiency fosters a decline in the sole methyl donor, S-adenosylmethionine, and decreases methylation potential, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease in non-diabetic patients. However, little is known in diabetic patients. We analyzed plasma levels of S-adenosylmethionine, S-adenosylhomocysteine and serum level of folate in 100 elderly type 2 diabetic patients with and without mild cognitive impairment. S-adenosylmethionine/S-adenosylhomocysteine ratio was used to reflect the methylation potential. Patients with mild cognitive impairment had significantly lower levels of S-adenosylmethionine, folate and S-adenosylmethionine/S-adenosylhomocysteineratios. Furthermore, logistic regression analysis indicated the plasma S-adenosylmethionine, S-adenosylmethionine/S-adenosylhomocysteine ratio and serum folate (OR, 0.96, 0.698, 0.72, respectively; p<0.05) were negatively associated with risk of mild cognitive impairment, even after adjusting for related covariates. In addition, folate level was positively correlated with S-adenosylmethionine and the S-adenosylmethionine/S-adenosylhomocysteine ratio (r = 0.38, 0.46, respectively; p<0.05) among patients within the middle tertile of folate levels (6.3–9.1 µg/L). These findings indicate mild cognitive impairment is associated with lower levels of S-adenosylmethionine, folate and weakened methylation potential; plasma S-adenosylmethionine and methylation potential may be predicted by serum folate within a suitable range of folate concentrations in diabetic patients.
PMCID: PMC3947971  PMID: 24688222
methyl donor; folate; mild cognitive impairment; type 2 diabetes
23.  Androgen receptor CAG repeats, non-random X chromosome inactivation, and loss of heterozygosity at Xq25 in relation to breast cancer risk 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:144.
The aim of this study was to examine the association of non-random X chromosome inactivation (XCI) and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at Xq25 with breast cancer development.
Seventy-nine breast cancer patients, 39 female lung cancer patients, 30 other cancer patients and 77 healthy females were analysed for LOH using a panel of 11 microsatellite markers spanning Xq25. The androgen receptor (AR) gene was chosen as an XCI marker.
LOH of at least one microsatellite locus at Xq25 was identified in 46/65 breast cancers examined, while only 10/25 cancers of other origins demonstrated LOH in this region (p = 0.014). The critical deletion region in breast cancer was around marker DXS1047 (47.23%). Moreover, we found that tissues from eight breast cancers showed LOH at all of the informative loci tested at Xq25, while the other 38 showed partial (interstitial or telomeric) alterations at Xq25. Interestingly, the pattern of XCI of these eight breast cancers tended to be non-random. We estimated the frequencies of AR alleles and found that women with two long AR alleles (≥21 CAG repeats) had an increased risk of developing breast cancer, while those with two short AR alleles (<21 CAG repeats) were likely to be normal (p = 0.00069).
The extraordinary high frequencies of LOH at Xq25 found in this study strongly imply that there might be one or more tumour suppressor genes (TSGs) related to the development of breast cancer at Xq25 in the Taiwanese female population.
PMCID: PMC3975944  PMID: 24581183
Breast cancer; Androgen receptor; Non-random X-chromosome inactivation; Loss of heterozygosity; Xq25
24.  Meta-analysis of the effect of percutaneous coronary intervention on chronic total coronary occlusions 
Background and purpose
Coronary chronic total occlusion (CTO) is the last stage of coronary artery atherosclerosis. Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a therapeutic procedure used to recanalize vessels with total occlusion. However, successful recanalization of CTO is still not optimal, and the key influence factors are still uncertainty. Therefore, a scientific evaluation on the effective of PCI for CTO treatment is necessary.
Relevant studies of PCI treatment for CTO were examined. Data were extracted and assessed by two independent clinical experts. Embase, PubMed and Medline et al. were used as database. The main research key words include “CTO”, “PCI”, “Stent”, “Reopen”, “long-term”, “follow-up” and “outcome”. Quality assessment was carried out according to the Cochrane Handbook. The selected data were pooled and analyzed using fixed-effect model and random-effect model. Heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 test, Q test, L’abbe and Galbraith. Comprehensive Meta -Analysis 2.0 and Metanalysis 1.0 were used for statistics analysis in this research.
A total of 16 articles involving 6695 cases in successful CTO recanalization (CTO success group) and 2370 cases in failed CTO recanalization(CTO failure group) were included in this research. Low CTO success was associated with elder age, previous coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) history, multi-vessel diseases and right coronary artery disease lesion. Six follow-up variables including major adverse cardiac events (MACE), recurrent myocardial infarction (MI), all-cause death, incidence of angina, subsequent CABG and cumulative survival rate were found significantly reduced associated with CTO success.
Clinical baseline characteristics such as age, previous CABG history and lesion baseline characteristics such as lesion length, multi-vessel diseases might be important factors influencing the successful rate of CTO recanalization. Compared to CTO failure patients, all six follow-up variables showed advantage for CTO success patients.
PMCID: PMC3974033  PMID: 24580774
Coronary artery chronic total occlusion; Percutaneous coronary intervention; Meta-analysis
25.  Effects of Water Quality on Dissolution of Yerba Mate Extract Powders 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:768742.
Yerba mate tea is known as one of the most popular nonalcoholic beverages favoured by South Americans due to its nutrition facts and medicinal properties. The processing of yerba mate tea is found to affect the properties of its final forms. This study presents an investigation into the effects of water sources on the dissolution of yerba mate extract powders. Comparisons were conducted between yerba mate teas prepared by dissolving yerba mate extract powders into tap water and deionized water. Topics to be explored in this work are the major compositions and antioxidant activities, including total phenol content, reducing power, DPPH scavenging activity, and ABTS+• scavenging capacity. It is indicated that there is little difference for antioxidant activities and major constituents of yerba mate teas between both water sources. However, a deeper color is seen in the tap water case, resulting from the reaction between tannic acid and ions. This research finding can be treated as a way to benefit the yerba mate tea processing for applications.
PMCID: PMC3956548  PMID: 24723823

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