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1.  Integrated mRNA and microRNA analysis identifies genes and small miRNA molecules associated with transcriptional and post-transcriptional-level responses to both drought stress and re-watering treatment in tobacco 
BMC Genomics  2017;18:62.
Drought stress is one of the most severe problem limited agricultural productivity worldwide. It has been reported that plants response to drought-stress by sophisticated mechanisms at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. However, the precise molecular mechanisms governing the responses of tobacco leaves to drought stress and water status are not well understood. To identify genes and miRNAs involved in drought-stress responses in tobacco, we performed both mRNA and small RNA sequencing on tobacco leaf samples from the following three treatments: untreated-control (CL), drought stress (DL), and re-watering (WL).
In total, we identified 798 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between the DL and CL (DL vs. CL) treatments and identified 571 DEGs between the WL and DL (WL vs. DL) treatments. Further analysis revealed 443 overlapping DEGs between the DL vs. CL and WL vs. DL comparisons, and, strikingly, all of these genes exhibited opposing expression trends between these two comparisons, strongly suggesting that these overlapping DEGs are somehow involved in the responses of tobacco leaves to drought stress. Functional annotation analysis showed significant up-regulation of genes annotated to be involved in responses to stimulus and stress, (e.g., late embryogenesis abundant proteins and heat-shock proteins) antioxidant defense (e.g., peroxidases and glutathione S-transferases), down regulation of genes related to the cell cycle pathway, and photosynthesis processes. We also found 69 and 56 transcription factors (TFs) among the DEGs in, respectively, the DL vs. CL and the WL vs. DL comparisons. In addition, small RNA sequencing revealed 63 known microRNAs (miRNA) from 32 families and 368 novel miRNA candidates in tobacco. We also found that five known miRNA families (miR398, miR390, miR162, miR166, and miR168) showed differential regulation under drought conditions. Analysis to identify negative correlations between the differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs) and DEGs revealed 92 mRNA-miRNA interactions between CL and DL plants, and 32 mRNA-miRNA interactions between DL and WL plants.
This study provides a global view of the transcriptional and the post-transcriptional responses of tobacco under drought stress and re-watering conditions. Our results establish an empirical foundation that should prove valuable for further investigations into the molecular mechanisms through which tobacco, and plants more generally, respond to drought stress at multiple molecular genetic levels.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-016-3372-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5223433  PMID: 28068898
2.  A reduced susceptibility to chemoconvulsant stimulation in adenylyl cyclase 8 knockout mice 
Epilepsy research  2015;119:24-29.
Adenylyl cyclases (ACs) catalyze the synthesis of cAMP from ATP, and cAMP signaling affects a large number of neuronal processes. Ca2+-stimualted adenylyl cyclase 8 (AC8) expressed in the CNS plays a role in synaptic plasticity, drug addiction and ethanol sensitivity, and chronic pain. This study was to aim at examining the contributions of AC8 to epileptogenesis.
In this study, we observed the seizure behavior induced by kainic acid (20mg/kg or 30mg/kg) or pilocarpine (350mg/kg) in AC8 KO and wild-type mice. Next we injected kainic acid or pilocarpine to induce status epilepticus (SE), and examined neuronal degeneration (by Fluoro-Jade B staining) and mossy fiber sprouting (by Timm staining) 24 hr and 2 weeks after SE termination in the hippocampus, respectively. Finally, 15min after intraperitoneal injection of kainic acid (30mg/kg), we examined phosphor-ERK1/2 in the hippocampus by western blot and immunochemistry staining.
We first observed that AC8 KO mutants display reduced susceptibility (including seizure latency and episodes) to two chemoconvulsants, kainic acid and pilocarpine. Moreover, we found that degenerative neurons and mossy fiber sprouting induced by chemoconvulsants were significant decreased in the hippocampus. Further, western blot and immunochemistry analysis revealed that the MAPK signaling in the hippocampus was attenuated in kainic acid-injected AC8 KO mice.
AC8 is involved in epileptogenesis, and may serve as a potential target for the treatment of epilepsy.
PMCID: PMC4698032  PMID: 26656781
Epilepsy; cAMP; Adenylyl cyclase; AC8 knockout; Calcium
3.  Network Analysis-Based Approach for Exploring the Potential Diagnostic Biomarkers of Acute Myocardial Infarction 
Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is a severe cardiovascular disease that is a serious threat to human life. However, the specific diagnostic biomarkers have not been fully clarified and candidate regulatory targets for AMI have not been identified. In order to explore the potential diagnostic biomarkers and possible regulatory targets of AMI, we used a network analysis-based approach to analyze microarray expression profiling of peripheral blood in patients with AMI. The significant differentially-expressed genes (DEGs) were screened by Limma and constructed a gene function regulatory network (GO-Tree) to obtain the inherent affiliation of significant function terms. The pathway action network was constructed, and the signal transfer relationship between pathway terms was mined in order to investigate the impact of core pathway terms in AMI. Subsequently, constructed the transcription regulatory network of DEGs. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) was employed to identify significantly altered gene modules and hub genes in two groups. Subsequently, the transcription regulation network of DEGs was constructed. We found that specific gene modules may provide a better insight into the potential diagnostic biomarkers of AMI. Our findings revealed and verified that NCF4, AQP9, NFIL3, DYSF, GZMA, TBX21, PRF1 and PTGDR genes by RT-qPCR. TBX21 and PRF1 may be potential candidates for diagnostic biomarker and possible regulatory targets in AMI.
PMCID: PMC5145872  PMID: 28018242
acute myocardial infarction; biomarkers; inflammation; systems biology; hub genes
4.  Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic study of Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus main protease in complex with an inhibitor 
This article describes the preliminary crystallographic data for a complex consisting of Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus main protease and its inhibitor N3.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) mainly infects neonatal pigs, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality. Owing to problems such as long periods of virus shedding, existing vaccines cannot provide complete protection from PEDV infection. The PEDV genome encodes two polyprotein precursors required for genome replication and transcription. Each polyprotein undergoes extensive proteolytic processing, resulting in functional subunits. This process is mainly mediated by its genome-encoded main protease, which is an attractive target for antiviral drug design. In this study, the main protease of Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in complex with a Michael acceptor was crystallized. The complex crystals diffracted to 2.5 Å resolution and belonged to space group R3, with unit-cell parameters a = 175.3, b = 175.3, c = 58.7 Å. Two molecules were identified per asymmetric unit.
PMCID: PMC4259222  PMID: 25484208
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus; main protease; N3 inhibitor
5.  Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic study of Feline infectious peritonitis virus main protease in complex with an inhibitor 
This article describes the preliminary crystallographic data of a complex of Feline infectious peritonitis virus main protease with its inhibitor N3.
Feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) causes a lethal systemic granulomatous disease in wild and domestic cats around the world. Currently, no effective vaccines or drugs have been developed against it. As a member of the genus Alphacoronavirus, FIPV encodes two polyprotein precursors required for genome replication and transcription. Each polyprotein undergoes extensive proteolytic processing, resulting in functional subunits. This process is mainly mediated by its genome-encoded main protease, which is an attractive target for antiviral drug design. In this study, the main protease of FIPV in complex with a Michael acceptor-type inhibitor was crystallized. The complex crystals diffracted to 2.5 Å resolution and belonged to space group I422, with unit-cell parameters a = 112.3, b = 112.3, c = 102.1 Å. There is one molecule per asymmetric unit.
PMCID: PMC4259223  PMID: 25484209
Feline infectious peritonitis virus; main protease; N3 inhibitor
6.  Expression, crystallization and preliminary crystallographic study of the functional mutant (N60K) of nonstructural protein 9 from Human coronavirus HKU1  
This article describes the preliminary crystallographic data of a functional mutant (N60K) of nonstructural protein 9 from Human coronavirus HKU1.
Human coronavirus HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1), which mainly causes acute self-limited respiratory-tract infections, belongs to group A of the Betacoronavirus genus. Coronavirus genomes encode 16 nonstructural proteins (nsp1–16), which assemble into a large replication–transcription complex mediating virus propagation. Nonstructural protein 9, which binds to the single-stranded DNA/RNA, has been shown to be indispensible for viral replication. Interestingly, a functional mutant (N60K) of nsp9 was identified to compensate for a 6 nt insertion mutation of the 3′-untranslated region (UTR), which is critical for viral RNA synthesis. It has been proposed that the N60K mutation may cause certain conformational changes of nsp9 to rescue the defective insertion mutant. To further investigate the underlying structural mechanism, the N60K mutant of nsp9 from HCoV-HKU1 was successfully crystallized in this study. The crystals diffracted to 2.6 Å resolution and belonged to space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 31.9, b = 85.0, c = 95.0 Å. Two molecules were identified per asymmetric unit.
PMCID: PMC4259225  PMID: 25484211
Human coronavirus HKU1; nonstructural protein 9; N60K mutant
7.  Cisplatin induces HepG2 cell cycle arrest through targeting specific long noncoding RNAs and the p53 signaling pathway 
Oncology Letters  2016;12(6):4605-4612.
Cisplatin has been used effectively in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) were recently reported to contribute to the pathogenesis and progression of HCC. Their molecular mechanism related to cisplatin treatment remains unclear. The purpose of this study is to identify specific lncRNAs and to clarify their functions in HCC after cisplatin exposure. Reannotation and identification of differentially expressed lncRNAs were performed using the microarray data set GSE38122 in the Gene Expression Omnibus database. Four significantly differentially expressed lncRNAs (RP11-134G8.8, RP11-612B6.2, RP11-363E7.4 and RP1-193H18.2) were identified in HepG2 cells exposed to cisplatin by bioinformatics methods. The upregulated RP11-134G8.8 and RP11-363E7.4 and the downregulated RP1-193H18.2 were confirmed by reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Furthermore, 57 significant co-expressing genes and their corresponding pathways were annotated and identified. The p53 signaling pathway showed the most significant difference among all pathways. Based on these results, the cell cycle and three key genes, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A (CDKN1A, also known as p21), tumor protein p53 inducible protein 3 (TP53I3) and wild-type p53-induced phosphatase 1 (Wip1, also known as PPM1D), were examined. CDKN1A, TP53I3 and PPM1D were all downregulated by RP1-193H18.2 but upregulated by RP11-134G8.8 and RP11-363E7.4. And obvious S phase arrest was induced by cisplatin treatment for 24 h in HepG2 cells. Finally, the immunofluorescence results showed upregulation of TP53I3 and Wip1 and downregulation of p21 at the protein level. The results suggested that the lncRNAs RP11-134G8.8, RP11-363E7.4 and RP1-193H18.2, and their co-expression genes, which annotated into the p53 signaling pathway, could be potential targets for cisplatin treatment.
PMCID: PMC5228559
long noncoding RNA; cisplatin; hepatocellular carcinoma; p53 signaling pathway; drug targets
8.  A systematic review and meta-analysis of acupuncture for improving learning and memory ability in animals 
Memory loss is the most prominent symptoms of brain aging, but there is currently no evidence-based treatment strategy. Acupuncture has been widely used in China and the effectiveness for improving learning and memory has been mentioned in previous studies. We conducted this systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for improving learning and memory in animal experiments.
We searched Pubmed, Embase, Ovid Medline(R), the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese Science and Technology Periodical Database (VIP) and Wanfang data Information Site to collect studies published up to December 2015. Study quality for each included article was evaluated according to the CAMARADES 10-item checklist. Outcome measure is Morris water maze. A meta-analysis was conducted according to the Cochrane systematic review method by using RevMan 5.3 software.
Forty-two studies involving 944 animals were included. The quality score of the studies ranged from 2 to 8, with a mean of 5.3. Meta-analysis results showed that 24 studies reported significant effect of acupuncture for decreasing escape latency (−3.00, 95 % CI: −3.78 ~ −2.23, P < 0.00001), 14 studies reported significant effect of acupuncture for increasing frequency of cross platform (2.57, 95 % CI: 1.92 ~ 3.22, P < 0.00001), and 7 studies reported significant effect of acupuncture for increasing time in target quadrant (2.00, 95 % CI: 1.10 ~ 2.91, P < 0.00001) compared with the control group.
These findings show acupuncture has a potential role in improving learning and memory ability in animal models, suggesting it as a candidate therapy for memory loss of aged brain.
PMCID: PMC4992193  PMID: 27543143
Acupuncture; Learning; Memory; Meta-analysis
9.  Clinical characteristics and genetic profiles of 174 patients with X-linked agammaglobulinemia 
Medicine  2016;95(32):e4544.
X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA) is a humoral primary immunodeficiency. XLA patients typically present with very low numbers of peripheral B cells and a profound deficiency of all immunoglobulin isotypes. Most XLA patients carry mutations in Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) gene.
The genetic background and clinical features of 174 Chinese patients with XLA were investigated. The relationship between specific BTK gene mutations and severity of clinical manifestations was also examined. Mutations were graded from mild to severe based on structural and functional prediction through bioinformatics analysis.
One hundred twenty-seven mutations were identified in 142 patients from 124 families, including 45 novel mutations and 82 recurrent mutations that were distributed over the entire BTK gene sequence. Variation in phenotypes was observed, and there was a tendency of association between genotype and age of disease onset.
This report constitutes the largest group of patients with BTK mutations in China. A genotype–phenotype correlation was observed in this study. Early diagnosis of congenital agammaglobulinemia should be based on clinical symptoms, family history, and molecular analysis of the BTK gene.
PMCID: PMC4985333  PMID: 27512878
Bruton tyrosine kinase; Chinese; humoral immunodeficiency; X-linked agammaglobulinemia
10.  Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic study of human coronavirus NL63 main protease in complex with an inhibitor 
This article describes preliminary crystallographic data of a complex consisting of human coronavirus NL63 main protease and its inhibitor N3.
Human coronavirus NL63 mainly infects younger children and causes cough, fever, rhinorrhoea, bronchiolitis and croup. It encodes two polyprotein precursors required for genome replication and transcription. Each polyprotein undergoes extensive proteolytic processing, resulting in functional subunits. This process is mainly mediated by its genome-encoded main protease, which is an attractive target for antiviral drug design. In this study, the main protease of human coronavirus NL63 was crystallized in complex with a Michael acceptor. The complex crystals diffracted to 2.85 Å resolution and belonged to space group P41212, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 87.2, c = 212.1 Å. Two molecules were identified per asymmetric unit.
PMCID: PMC4118806  PMID: 25084384
human coronavirus NL63; main protease; N3 inhibitor
11.  Enhancing the treatment effect on melanoma by heat shock protein 70-peptide complexes purified from human melanoma cell lines 
Oncology Reports  2016;36(3):1243-1250.
Dendritic cell (DC) vaccines are currently one of the most effective approaches to treat melanoma. The immunogenicity of antigens loaded into DCs determines the treatment effects. Patients treated with autologous antigen-loaded DC vaccines achieve the best therapeutic effects. In China, most melanoma patients cannot access their autologous antigens because of formalin treatment of tumor tissue after surgery. In the present study, we purified heat shock protein 70 (HSP70)-peptide complexes (PCs) from human melanoma cell lines A375, A875, M21, M14, WM-35, and SK-HEL-1. We named the purified product as M-HSP70-PCs, and determined its immunological activities. Autologous HSP70-PCs purified from primary tumor cells of melanoma patients (nine cases) were used as controls. These two kinds of tumor antigenic complexes loaded into DCs were used to stimulate an antitumor response against tumor cells in the corresponding patients. Mature DCs pulsed with M-HSP70-PCs stimulated autologous T cells to secrete the same levels of type I cytokines compared with the autologous HSP70-PCs. Moreover, DCs pulsed with M-HSP70-PCs induced CD8+ T cells with an equal ability to kill melanoma cells from patients compared with autologous HSP70-PCs. Next, we used these PC-pulsed autologous DCs and induced autologous specific CD8+ T cells to treat one patient with melanoma of the nasal skin and lung metastasis. The treatment achieved a good effect after six cycles. These findings provide a new direction for DC-based immunotherapy for melanoma patients who cannot access autologous antigens.
PMCID: PMC4968617  PMID: 27431432
heat shock protein 70-peptide complexes; dendritic cells; CD8+ T cells; primary tumor cells; melanoma; cellular immunotherapy; cancer
12.  Cardioprotective Effect of Electroacupuncture Pretreatment on Myocardial Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury via Antiapoptotic Signaling 
Objectives. Our previous study has used RNA-seq technology to show that apoptotic molecules were involved in the myocardial protection of electroacupuncture pretreatment (EAP) on the ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) animal model. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate how EAP protects myocardium against myocardial I/R injury through antiapoptotic mechanism. Methods. By using rats with myocardial I/R, we ligated the left anterior descending artery (LAD) for 30 minutes followed by 4 hr of reperfusion after EAP at the Neiguan (PC6) acupoint for 12 days; we employed arrhythmia scores, serum myocardial enzymes, and cardiac troponin T (cTnT) to evaluate the cardioprotective effect. Heart tissues were harvested for western blot analyses for the expressions of pro- and antiapoptotic signaling molecules. Results. Our preliminary findings showed that EAP increased the survival of the animals along with declined arrhythmia scores and decreased CK, LDH, CK-Mb, and cTnT levels. Further analyses with the heart tissues detected reduced myocardial fiber damage, decreased number of apoptotic cells and the protein expressions of Cyt c and cleaved caspase 3, and the elevated level of Endo G and AIF after EAP intervention. At the same time, the protein expressions of antiapoptotic molecules, including Xiap, BclxL, and Bcl2, were obviously increased. Conclusions. The present study suggested that EAP protected the myocardium from I/R injury at least partially through the activation of endogenous antiapoptotic signaling.
PMCID: PMC4897718  PMID: 27313648
13.  TOR Pathway-Mediated Juvenile Hormone Synthesis Regulates Nutrient-Dependent Female Reproduction in Nilaparvata lugens (Stål) 
The “target of rapamycin” (TOR) nutritional signaling pathway and juvenile hormone (JH) regulation of vitellogenesis has been known for a long time. However, the interplay between these two pathways regulating vitellogenin (Vg) expression remains obscure. Here, we first demonstrated the key role of amino acids (AAs) in activation of Vg synthesis and egg development in Nilaparvata lugens using chemically defined artificial diets. AAs induced the expression of TOR and S6K (S6 kinase), whereas RNAi-mediated silencing of these two TOR pathway genes and rapamycin application strongly inhibited the AAs-induced Vg synthesis. Furthermore, knockdown of Rheb (Ras homologue enriched in brain), TOR, S6K and application of rapamycin resulted in a dramatic reduction in the mRNA levels of jmtN (juvenile hormone acid methyltransferase, JHAMT). Application of JH III on the RNAi (Rheb and TOR) and rapamycin-treated females partially rescued the Vg expression. Conversely, knockdown of either jmtN or met (methoprene-tolerant, JH receptor) and application of JH III had no effects on mRNA levels of Rheb, TOR and S6K and phosphorylation of S6K. In summary, our results demonstrate that the TOR pathway induces JH biosynthesis that in turn regulates AAs-mediated Vg synthesis in N. lugens.
PMCID: PMC4848894  PMID: 27043527
Nilaparvata lugens; juvenile hormone; target of rapamycin; vitellogenesis; RNA interference
14.  SENP1-Mediated Desumoylation of DBC1 Inhibits Apoptosis Induced by High Glucose in Bovine Retinal Pericytes 
Journal of Ophthalmology  2016;2016:6392658.
Pericyte loss is an early characteristic change in diabetic retinopathy, but its precise molecular mechanisms have not been elucidated. This study investigated the role of SENP1 in pericyte loss in diabetic retinopathy. We demonstrated that a high concentration of glucose inhibited the expression of the Sentrin/SUMO-specific protease 1 (SENP1), which resulted in an increase in DBC1 sumoylation in bovine retinal pericytes (BRPCs). Furthermore, SENP1 overexpression attenuated hyperemia-induced apoptosis of BPRCs, and SENP1 knockdown aggravated this effect. We also provide evidence that DBC1 sumoylation/desumoylation is involved in the SENP1-regulated apoptosis of BRPCs under high glucose conditions. Understanding the role of SENP1 in the pathogenesis of high glucose induced pericyte loss could help elucidate important targets for future pharmacological interventions.
PMCID: PMC4826714  PMID: 27110392
15.  Nutritional Signaling Regulates Vitellogenin Synthesis and Egg Development through Juvenile Hormone in Nilaparvata lugens (Stål) 
Insect female reproduction which comprises the synthesis of vitellogenein (Vg) in the fat body and its incorporation into developing oocytes, needs a large amount of energy and food resources. Our previous studies found that juvenile hormone (JH) regulates vitellogenesis in the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens. Here, we report on the role of JH in nutrient-regulated Vg synthesis and egg development. We first cloned the genes coding for juvenile hormone acid methyltransferase (JHAMT) which is involved in JH biosynthesis and methoprene-tolerant (Met) for JH action. Amino acids (AAs) induced the expression of jmtN, while showing no effects on the expression of met using an artificial diet culture system. Reduction in JH biosynthesis or its action by RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated silencing of jmtN or met led to a severe inhibition of AAs-induced Vg synthesis and oocyte maturation, together with lower fecundity. Furthermore, exogenous application of JH III partially restored Vg expression levels in jmtN RNAi females. However, JH III application did not rescue Vg synthesis in these met RNAi insects. Our results show that AAs induce Vg synthesis in the fat body and egg development in concert with JH biosynthesis in Nilaparvata lugens (Stål), rather than through JH action.
PMCID: PMC4813133  PMID: 26927076
Juvenile hormone; vitellogenesis; nutritional signaling; RNA inteference; Nilaparvata lugens
16.  Association of endothelial progenitor cells and peptic ulcer treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus 
The present study aimed to investigate the association between endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and peptic ulcers in patients with or without type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), in association with the efficiency of peptic ulcer treatment. The study recruited healthy subjects and peptic ulcer patients with or without T2DM. All the ulcer patients, including those with and without T2DM, were administered omeprazole for 8 weeks. Peptic ulcer patients with T2DM were additionally treated with glipizide and novolin. Blood samples were then obtained from the three groups following ulcer treatment. CD133+ cells were isolated from the blood samples using magnetic bead selection, and cultured in complete medium 199. Morphological and quantity changes in EPCs were observed by light and fluorescence microscopy. In addition, flow cytometric analysis was used to quantify the number of vascular endothelial cells. The treatment was partially effective in 7 of the 32 peptic ulcer patients without T2DM and 12 of the 32 peptic ulcer patients with T2DM. However, this treatment was ineffective in 20 of the 32 peptic ulcer patients with T2DM. Notably, 25 peptic ulcer patients without T2DM were defined as completely recovered following treatment. In addition, the number of circulating EPCs as well as their colony forming ability was significantly reduced (P<0.05) in the peptic ulcer patients with T2DM following ulcer treatment, compared with the other groups. Circulating EPC counts were significantly increased in peptic ulcer patients without T2DM, as compared with the healthy controls. With regards to colony formation, peptic ulcer patients without T2DM did not exhibit improved colony formation ability. In conclusion, the number of circulating EPCs and their colony-forming ability was significantly reduced in peptic ulcer patients with T2DM following ulcer treatment when compared with the other groups. This suggests that the poor curative effect of peptic ulcer treatment in these patients is associated with impairment of EPCs.
PMCID: PMC4840543  PMID: 27168776
peptic ulcer; type 2 diabetes mellitus; endothelial progenitor cells; curative effect
17.  Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics of Fluticasone Furoate/Vilanterol in Healthy Chinese Subjects 
Pharmacotherapy  2015;35(6):586-599.
Study Objective
To investigate the pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic profiles of fluticasone furoate (FF)/vilanterol (VI) – a fixed‐dose combination of an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and a long‐acting β2‐agonist for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – after single and repeat administration in healthy Chinese subjects.
Double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, single‐site, randomized, four‐way crossover study.
The Clinical Pharmacological Research Centre at Peking Union Medical College Hospital [PUMCH]) in Beijing, China.
Sixteen healthy, nonsmoking Chinese adults.
Subjects were randomized to receive FF/VI 50/25, 100/25, or 200/25 μg, or placebo once/daily in the morning, delivered by the Ellipta dry powder inhaler, for 7 consecutive days. The subjects then received the other three treatments, with each treatment period separated by a 7‐day washout period.
Measurements and Main Results
The co‐primary outcome measures reflected pharmacodynamic responses relating to recognized class effects of the two drug classes: reduced serum cortisol level (ICSs), and increased Fridericia's corrected QT interval (QTcF) and reduced serum potassium level (long‐acting β2‐agonists). Co‐primary pharmacodynamic endpoints were 0–24‐hour weighted mean serum cortisol level on day 7 (cortisol0–24 hr, Day 7), and 0–4‐hour weighted mean and maximum QTcF and weighted mean and minimum serum potassium level on days 1 and 7. Fluticasone furoate and VI plasma concentrations, derived pharmacokinetic parameters, and safety were also assessed. Of the 16 subjects randomized, 15 completed the study. Reductions in cortisol0–24 hour, Day 7 of 15% and 25% were observed with FF/VI 100/25 and 200/25 μg, respectively, versus placebo. Minor increases (< 10 msec) in maximum QTcF on day 7 were seen with FF/VI 50/25 and 100/25 μg but not with 200/25 μg. Slight decreases in serum potassium level were only observed in subjects receiving FF/VI 50/25 μg on day 1 and FF/VI 50/25 and 200/25 μg on day 7. Fluticasone furoate accumulation (day 7 vs day 1) for FF/VI 50/25–200/25 μg ranged from 38 to 54% for maximum observed concentration and 63–71% for area under the concentration‐time curve from 0 to 4 hours. Fluticasone furoate pharmacokinetics were less than dose proportional. The VI pharmacokinetic profiles were similar for all three FF/VI doses. Adverse events were all mild in intensity and were reported by 13 (81%) of the 16 subjects.
In healthy Chinese subjects, minimal and non–clinically relevant β‐adrenergic pharmacodynamic effects were observed with FF/VI doses ranging from 50/25 to 200/25 μg. FF dose‐dependent reductions in serum cortisol levels of 15–25% were seen after administration of FF/VI 100/25 and 200/25 μg. FF/VI was safe and well tolerated in these subjects at doses ranging from 50/25 to 200/25 μg.
PMCID: PMC4744690  PMID: 26059225
China; cortisol; fluticasone furoate, inhaled corticosteroids; long‐acting beta2 agonists; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics; systemic exposure; vilanterol
18.  Evaluating a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for predicting the pharmacokinetics of midazolam in Chinese after oral administration 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2015;37(2):276-284.
To evaluate the SimCYP simulator ethnicity-specific population model for predicting the pharmacokinetics of midazolam, a typical CYP3A4/5 substrate, in Chinese after oral administration.
The physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model for midazolam was developed using a SimCYP population-based simulator incorporating Chinese population demographic, physiological and enzyme data. A clinical trial was conducted in 40 Chinese subjects (the half was females) receiving a single oral dose of 15 mg midazolam. The subjects were separated into 4 groups based on age (20–50, 51–65, 66–75, and above 76 years), and the pharmacokinetics profiles of each age- and gender-group were determined, and the results were used to verify the PBPK model.
Following oral administration, the simulated profiles of midazolam plasma concentrations over time in virtual Chinese were in good agreement with the observed profiles, as were AUC and Cmax. Moreover, for subjects of varying ages (20–80 years), the ratios of predicted to observed clearances were between 0.86 and 1.12.
The SimCYP PBPK model accurately predicted the pharmacokinetics of midazolam in Chinese from youth to old age. This study may provide novel insight into the prediction of CYP3A4/5-mediated pharmacokinetics in the Chinese population relative to Caucasians and other ethnic groups, which can support the rational design of bridging clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC4753367  PMID: 26592516
midazolam; pharmacokinetics; PBPK model; CYP3A4/5; Chinese
19.  Differential lncRNA-mRNA co-expression network analysis revealing the potential regulatory roles of lncRNAs in myocardial infarction 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2015;13(2):1195-1203.
Previous studies have reported that long, non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are important in cardiovascular disease. However, the lncRNAs involved in myocardial infarction and their detailed mechanism have not been well characterized. In the present study, an affymetrix microarray associated with myocardial infarction was re-annotated, following which a myocardial infarction-related differential lncRNA-mRNA co-expression network (MILMN) was constructed. Subsequently, pathway enrichment analysis was used for all the mRNAs in the MILMN, and an lncRNA-pathway network was constructed. It was found that the mRNAs were predominantly involved in certain cardiovascular disease-associated pathway, for example the dilated cardiomyopathy and mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway. Finally, a total of 39 key lncRNAs were identified, which regulate crucial pathways in myocardial infarction. Through pathway analysis of these 39 key lncRNAs, the novel function of an annotated lncRNAs-H19 was predicted, which may regulate apoptosis signal-regulating kinase, which is a protein that promotes pathological cardiac remodeling following myocardial infarction. The results of the present study not only provide potential non-coding RNA biomarkers, but also provide further insights into understanding the molecular mechanism of lncRNAs.
PMCID: PMC4732855  PMID: 26676325
myocardial infarction; lncRNA; network analysis; pathway; co-expression network
20.  The central nervous system effects of the partial GABA-Aα2,3-selective receptor modulator AZD7325 in comparison with lorazepam in healthy males 
AZD7325 is a novel α2,3-subtype-selective partial GABA-A-receptor modulator. This study investigated the pharmacodynamics of single oral doses of AZD7325 2 mg and 10 mg on the central nervous system (CNS) compared with placebo and lorazepam 2 mg.
This double-blind, randomized, four way crossover study enrolled 16 healthy males and administered two validated CNS test batteries to measure drug effects on cognitive, neurophysiologic and psychomotor function and subjective feelings. The pharmacological selectivity of AZD7325 was compared with lorazepam by plotting saccadic peak velocity change from baseline (ΔSPV) against body sway (ΔSway) and visual analogue scale for alertness(ΔVASalertness). This analysis has previously been used to identify α2,3-subtype-selectivity.
In contrast with the robust impairment caused by lorazepam (all P < 0.05 vs. placebo), neither dose of AZD7325 induced statistically significant effects on any pharmacodynamic measurements. Lorazepam-induced SPV-reduction was linearly related to changes in other neurophysiologic biomarkers. In contrast, the slopes of the regression lines were flatter for AZD7325, particularly for the Δlog(Sway) −ΔSPV relation (estimate slope, AZD7325 10 mg vs. lorazepam, difference [95% confidence interval], P value −0.00036 vs. −0.00206, 0.001704 [0.000639, 0.002768], P = 0.0018) and the ΔVASalertness−ΔSPV relationship (0.01855 vs. 0.08216, −0.06360 [−0.1046, −0.02257], P = 0.0024). AZD7325 10 mg and lorazepam induced different response patterns on VAS ‘feeling high’ and electro-encephalography.
The characteristic ΔSPV-relative effect profiles of AZD7325 vs. lorazepam suggest anxio-selectivity related to α2,3-selective GABAA agonism. However, exploration of higher doses may be warranted. The paucity of effects on most CNS−PD parameters also indicates a mitigated side effect pattern, with potentially lower cognitive and neurophysiological side effect burden than non-selective benzodiazepines.
PMCID: PMC4256620  PMID: 24802722
agonism; AZD7325; GABAergic; pharmacodynamic; selective
21.  Cloning of the Lycopene β-cyclase Gene in Nicotiana tabacum and Its Overexpression Confers Salt and Drought Tolerance 
Carotenoids are important pigments in plants that play crucial roles in plant growth and in plant responses to environmental stress. Lycopene β cyclase (β-LCY) functions at the branch point of the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway, catalyzing the cyclization of lycopene. Here, a β-LCY gene from Nicotiana tabacum, designated as Ntβ-LCY1, was cloned and functionally characterized. Robust expression of Ntβ-LCY1 was found in leaves, and Ntβ-LCY1 expression was obviously induced by salt, drought, and exogenous abscisic acid treatments. Strong accumulation of carotenoids and expression of carotenoid biosynthesis genes resulted from Ntβ-LCY1 overexpression. Additionally, compared to wild-type plants, transgenic plants with overexpression showed enhanced tolerance to salt and drought stress with higher abscisic acid levels and lower levels of malondialdehyde and reactive oxygen species. Conversely, transgenic RNA interference plants had a clear albino phenotype in leaves, and some plants did not survive beyond the early developmental stages. The suppression of Ntβ-LCY1 expression led to lower expression levels of genes in the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway and to reduced accumulation of carotenoids, chlorophyll, and abscisic acid. These results indicate that Ntβ-LCY1 is not only a likely cyclization enzyme involved in carotenoid accumulation but also confers salt and drought stress tolerance in Nicotiana tabacum.
PMCID: PMC4691183  PMID: 26703579
lycopene β-cyclase; carotenoid biosynthesis; salt and drought tolerance; reactive oxygen species; abscisic acid; Nicotiana tabacum
22.  CXCL10/CXCR3 overexpression as a biomarker of poor prognosis in patients with stage II colorectal cancer 
The CXCL10/CXCR3 axis of inflammatory mediators is one of the most important groups of chemokine axes, which has been proven to be a lymphocyte-associated metastasis mediator in several tumors. The term inflammatory adhesions refers to tumors found to be attached to the surrouding tissues during surgery, although no cancer cell infiltration is later identified on pathological examination. The aim of the present study was to investigate the clinical characteristics of stage II colorectal cancer (CRC) and determine the correlation between the CXCL10/CXCR3 axis, inflammatory adhesions and prognosis. Clinicohistopathological data were collected from 401 CRC patients who had undergone R0 resection. Statistical analysis was performed with SPSS 17.0 software. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was applied to measure the expression of CXCL10 and CXCR3 in 71 recurrent CRC patients, 72 non-recurrent CRC patients and 10 samples from normal peritumoral tissues, all retrieved from the Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, Tianjin, China. Inflammatory adhesions, tumor location and size and the number of high-risk factors for reccurrence were more significantly associated with overall survival (OS) rather than disease-free survival in all the patients as determined by the log-rank and Cox's regression hazard analysis. Further analysis demonstrated that only the presence of inflammatory adhesions (P=0.025) was associated with the OS of recurrent patients. Patients with recurrence exhibited higher CXCR3 (P<0.001) and CXCL10 (P<0.001) expression compared with non-recurrent patients, as determined by IHC. The correlation between clinicopathological variables, CXCL10/CXCR3 expression and survival was also analyzed: Inflammatory adhesions and general tumor type (ulcerated vs. elevated) exhibited a significant correlation with CXCR3; however, the expression of CXCL10 was not significantly correlated with tumor location, histological type, size, gender, or preoperative carcinoembryonic antigen and hemoglobin levels. Furthermore, patients exhibiting a high expression of CXCR3 presented with a higher risk of relapse; among those, patients with inflammatory adhesions always exhibited worse survival. However, no such association was identified for CXCL10 expression. In conclusion, CXCR3 expression may be used as a prognostic marker and may contribute to the prediction of clinical outcome in stage II CRC patients.
PMCID: PMC4726926  PMID: 26870351
inflammatory adhesion; CXCL10; CXCR3; colorectal cancer; relapse
23.  A rare case of primary congenital glaucoma in combination with neurofibromatosis 1: a case report 
BMC Ophthalmology  2015;15:149.
Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) is a common disease that mainly affects the skin and peripheral nervous system, and is characterized by bony dysplasia. Primary congenital glaucoma (PCG) is a sight-threatening disease that can manifest as a prodrome of NF1, especially in newborn babies. We report a case of PCG with NF 1.
Case presentation
A 1-month-old boy presented with an enlarged right eyeball. An increased IOP and typical glaucomatous optic neuropathy were found, on the initial physical examination, a clinical diagnosis of primary congenital glaucoma (PCG) was made and a trabeculectomy with mitomycin C (MMC) therapy was subsequently performed. Three year later, the boy again presented with an even larger right eye and a gradually expanding left one. In addition to typical glaucomatous optic neuropathy, the boy also had multiple café au lait patches all over his body, megacephaly (head circumference = 60 cm; body weight = 14 kg; height = 93 cm) and remarkable facial features included swollen, soft upper eyelids and a flat, broad nose sphenoid wing dysplasia, eyelid thickening, bony orbit enlargement were found.
It is rare have both PCG and NF1, and PCG may be a prelude to NF1. Continuous follow-up should be advised and we should raise our awareness of the combined condition and to improve chances for an early diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC4625924  PMID: 26514695
Primary congenital glaucoma; Neurofibromatosis 1; Diagnosis
24.  Therapeutic effects of acetylspiramycin and garlicin on cryptosporidiosis among drug users 
Cryptosporidiosis affects humans of all ages, particularly malnourished children and those with compromised immune systems such as HIV/AIDS. This study investigated the therapeutic effects of acetylspiramycin and garlicin on Cryptosporidium infection in institutionalized male drug users receiving rehabilitative treatment. Examination of stool specimens from 903 drug users via modified acid-fast bacilli staining resulted in 172 positive cases. Among them 151 subjects consented to participate in a randomized trial of acetylspiramycin and garlicin in four groups: acetylspiramycin plus garlicin, acetylspiramycin only, garlicin only, and placebo control. The cryptosporidiosis rate was higher in younger subjects with longer drug use history than subjects who are older with shorter history of drug use. After two segments of treatments, 76.2% of the cases achieved negative test results, with the four groups achieving the rates of 92.1%, 76.7%, 72.2%, and 61.8%, respectively (χ2 = 9.517, P = 0.023). These results indicate clinical potential of garlicin in conjunction with acetylspiramycin in treating cryptosporidiosis.
Graphical abstract
•Randomized trial in Cryptosporidium positive drug users in China.•Positive correlation found between the cryptosporidiosis rate and the drug addicting years.•Clinical potential of garlicin in conjunction with acetylspiramycin in treating cryptosporidiosis.
PMCID: PMC4846998  PMID: 27120065
Drug user; Cryptosporidium; Acetylspiramycin; Garlicin; Randomized controlled trial; Therapeutic effects
25.  Association of the ARL15 rs6450176 SNP and serum lipid levels in the Jing and Han populations 
The association of ADP-ribosylation factor-like 15 (ARL15) rs6450176 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and serum lipid profiles has never been studied in the Chinese population. The present study was undertaken to detect the association of ARL15 rs6450176 SNP and several environmental factors with serum lipid levels in the Jing and Han populations. Genotypes of the SNP were determined in 726 unrelated subjects of Jing nationality and 726 participants of Han nationality. The genotypic and allelic frequencies of the SNP in Jing but not in Han were different between males and females (P < 0.001 and P < 0.05; respectively). The G allele carriers in Han had lower serum total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and apolipoprotein (Apo) B levels, and higher ApoA1/ApoB ratio than the G allele non-carriers (P < 0.05-0.01). The G allele carriers in Jing had lower serum TC, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), ApoA1, ApoB levels and higher ApoA1/ApoB ratio than the G allele non-carriers (P < 0.05 for all). Subgroup analyses showed that the G allele carriers had lower TC and LDL-C levels in Han males; lower LDL-C and ApoB levels in Han females; lower ApoB levels and ApoA1/ApoB ratio in Jing males; and lower LDL-C levels in Jing females than the G allele non-carriers (P < 0.05-0.01). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that serum TC, LDL-C, ApoB levels and the ApoA1/ApoB ratio in Han; and TC, HDL-C and ApoA1 levels in Jing were correlated with the genotypes of the ARL15 rs6450176 SNP (P < 0.05-0.001). Serum lipid parameters were also associated with several environmental factors in both ethnic groups. These findings indicated that there may be a racial/ethnic- and/or sex-specific association of the ARL15 rs6450176 SNP and serum lipid levels.
PMCID: PMC4680439  PMID: 26722494
ADP-ribosylation factor-like 15 gene; single nucleotide polymorphism; rs6450176; serum lipid level

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