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1.  Distribution and clinical significance of tumour-associated macrophages in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma: a retrospective analysis in China 
Current Oncology  2015;22(1):e11-e19.
We aimed to characterize the localization and prognostic significance of tumour-associated macrophages (tams) in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (pdac).
Tumour specimens from 70 patients with pdac and inflammatory specimens from 13 patients with chronic pancreatitis were collected and analyzed for tam and M2 macrophage counts by immunohistochemistry. Correlations between tam distributions and clinicopathologic features were determined.
Immunohistochemical analysis showed that tam and M2 macrophage counts were higher in tissues from pdac than from chronic pancreatitis. The tams and M2 macrophages both infiltrated more into peritumour. Both macrophage types were positively associated with lymph node metastasis (p = 0.041 for tams in peritumour, p = 0.013 for M2 macrophages in introtumour, p = 0.006 for M2 macrophage in peritumour). In addition, abdominal pain was significantly more frequent in pdac patients with a greater tams count. The survival rate was much lower in patients having high infiltration by M2 macrophages than in those having low infiltration.
The tam count might be associated with neural invasion in pdac, and M2 macrophages might play an important role in lymph node metastasis. Higher counts of either macrophage type were associated with increased risk of lymph node metastasis, and the M2 macrophage count could potentially be a marker for evaluating prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4324348
Pancreatic cancer; tumour-associated macrophages; lymph node metastasis; neural invasion
2.  The biometric study in different stages of primary angle-closure glaucoma 
Eye  2013;27(9):1070-1076.
This study compared the general and ocular biometric characteristics of normal, primary angle closure (PAC), and primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG) patients to better understand the possible relationship between differences in ocular parameters that might predict risk for PACG in PAC patients.
One hundred normal, 90 PAC, and 90 PACG eyes were retrospectively reviewed. General characteristics such as age, gender, body height, body weight, blood pressure, pulse, systemic diseases, and education level were recorded. Ocular findings included visual acuity, intraocular pressure, refraction, cup to disc ratio, and ocular biometry. Ocular biometry was obtained by A-scan ultrasonography (Digital A/B scan 5500; Sonomed Inc., Lake Success, NY, USA). The parameters recorded were anterior chamber depth (ACD), lens thickness (LT), axial length (AXL), lens/axial length factor (LAF), and relative lens position (RLP).
Although the controls, PAC group, and PACG group were found to be significantly different in age (62.7±9.8; 65.3±7.5; and 66.0±7.4, respectively), there were no gender differences. With regard to ocular parameters, the ACD tended to decrease and the LT and LAF tended to increase from normal to PAC to PACG. The eyes of the PACG group had significantly shallower ACD (P<0.001) and thicker lens (P<0.001) than those of the PAC group. While PAC had similar lens position to the control group, PACG had more anteriorly positioned lens than the PAC group (P<0.001). Logistic regression analysis found a significant association between a decrease in ACD and increased risk of PACG (odds ratio (OR)=3.59 for 0.2 mm decrease in ACD) as well as a significant association between an increase in LT and increased risk of PACG (OR=1.30).
In addition to LT, a shallower ACD owing to a change in RLP may have a role in the progression from PAC to PACG. Owing to the differences of certain biometric characteristics between PAC and PACG, A-scan ultrasonography might potentially be used for the early detection of PACG in PAC eyes.
PMCID: PMC3772361  PMID: 23788204
A-scan ultrasonography; ocular biometry; primary angle-closure glaucoma; primary angle closure
3.  A novel radioresistant mechanism of galectin-1 mediated by H-Ras-dependent pathways in cervical cancer cells 
Cell Death & Disease  2012;3(1):e251-.
Galectin-1 is a lectin recognized by galactoside-containing glycoproteins, and is involved in cancer progression and metastasis. The role of galectin-1 in radiosensitivity has not previously been investigated. Therefore, this study tests whether galectin-1 is involved in the radiosensitivity mediated by the H-Ras signaling pathway using cervical carcinoma cell lines. A knockdown of galectin-1 expression in HeLa cells decreased clonogenic survival following irradiation. The clonogenic survival increased in both HeLa and C33A cells with galectin-1 overexpression. The overexpression or knockdown of galectin-1 did not alter radiosensitivity, whereas H-Ras was silenced in both cell lines. Whereas K-Ras was knocked down, galectin-1 restored the radiosensitivity in HeLa cells and C33A cells. The knockdown of galectin-1 increased the high-dose radiation-induced cell death of HeLa cells transfected by constitutively active H-Ras. The knockdown of galectin-1 inhibited the radiation-induced phosphorylation of Raf-1 and ERK in HeLa cells. Overexpression of galectin-1 enhanced the phosphorylation of Raf-1 and ERK in C33A cells following irradiation. Galectin-1 decreased the DNA damage detected using comet assay and γ-H2AX in both cells following irradiation. These findings suggest that galectin-1 mediates radioresistance through the H-Ras-dependent pathway involved in DNA damage repair.
PMCID: PMC3270263  PMID: 22237208
galectin-1; cervical cancer; radiosensitivity; radioresistance; H-Ras
4.  Down-regulation of Pax6 is associated with abnormal differentiation of corneal epithelial cells in severe ocular surface diseases 
The Journal of pathology  2008;214(1):114-122.
Pax6 is the universal master control gene for eye morphogenesis. Other than retina and lens, Pax6 also expressed in the ocular surface epithelium from early gestation until the postnatal stage, in which little is known about the function of Pax6. In this study, corneal pannus tissues from patients with ocular surface diseases such as Stevens–Johnson syndrome (SJS), chemical burn, aniridia and recurrent pterygium were investigated. Our results showed that normal ocular surface epithelial cells expressed Pax6. However, corneal pannus epithelial cells from the above patients showed a decline or absence of Pax6 expression, accompanied by a decline or absence of K12 keratin but an increase of K10 keratin and filaggrin expression. Pannus basal epithelial cells maintained nuclear p63 expression and showed activated proliferation, evidenced by positive Ki67 and K16 keratin staining. On 3T3 fibroblast feeder layers, Pax6 immunostaining was negative in clones generated from epithelial cells harvested from corneal pannus from SJS or aniridia, but positive in those from the normal limbal epithelium; whereas western blots showed that some epithelial clones expanded from pannus retained Pax6 expression. Transient transfection of an adenoviral vector carrying EGFP–Pax6 transgenes into these Pax6− clones increased both Pax6 and K12 keratin expression. These results indicate that Pax6 helps to maintain the normal corneal epithelial phenotype postnatally, and that down-regulation of Pax6 is associated with abnormal epidermal differentiation in severe ocular surface diseases. Reintroduction of activation of the Pax6 gene might be useful in treating squamous metaplasia of the ocular surface epithelium.
PMCID: PMC2835363  PMID: 18027901
Pax6; squamous metaplasia; cornea; epithelium
5.  Mechanoelectrical feedback regulates the arrhythmogenic activity of pulmonary veins 
Heart  2006;93(1):82-88.
Atrial fibrillation is commonly associated with dilated pulmonary veins. Stretch has been shown to have mechano‐electrical effects.
To investigate whether stretch can increase the arrhythmogenic activity of the pulmonary veins.
The transmembrane action potentials were recorded from rabbit pulmonary veins before and after stretch (100 and 300 mg). Gadolinium and streptomycin (stretch‐activated ion channel blockers) were each perfused into the pulmonary veins under a 300‐mg stretch.
Stretch (0, 100 and 300 mg) force dependently increased the incidence of spontaneous activity (22%, 48% and 83%; p<0.05), mean (standard deviation (SD)) firing rates of spontaneous activity (1.7 (0.2), 2.1 (0.3) and 3 (0.2) Hz; p<0.05) and incidence of early post‐depolarisations (9%, 26% and 61%; p<0.05) and delayed post‐depolarisations (0%, 4% and 30%; p<0.05) in 23 pulmonary veins. In the seven preparations with spontaneous activity after the 300‐mg stretch, gadolinium (1, 3 and 10 μmol/l) decreased the incidence of spontaneous activity by 43%, 29% and 14%, respectively (p<0.05), and decreased the firing rate from 2.9 (0.1) Hz to 0.8 (0.4), 0.3 (0.1) and 0.1 (0.1) Hz, respectively (p<0.05). Streptomycin (10 and 40 μmol/l) decreased the incidence of spontaneous activity by 71% and 29%, respectively (p<0.05), and decreased the firing rate from 2.9 (0.1) Hz to 1.6 (0.4) and 0.5 (0.3) Hz, respectively (p<0.05).
Stretch is an important factor in the electrical activity of the pulmonary vein. Stretch‐induced arrhythmogenic activity of the pulmonary vein may contribute to the genesis of atrial fibrillation.
PMCID: PMC1861344  PMID: 16905626
6.  hTERT phosphorylation by PKC is essential for telomerase holoprotein integrity and enzyme activity in head neck cancer cells 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;94(6):870-878.
Telomerase activity is suppressed in normal somatic tissues but is activated in most cancer cells. We have previously found that all six telomerase subunit proteins, including hTERT and hsp90 are needed for full enzyme activity. Telomerase activity has been reported to be upregulated by protein kinase C (PKC), but the mechanism is not clear. In this study, we examined how PKC regulates telomerase activity in head and neck cancer cells. PKC inhibitor, bisindolylmaleimide I (BIS), inhibited telomerase activity but had no effect on the expressions of telomerase core subunits. RNA interference (RNAi) and in vitro phosphorylation studies revealed that PKC isoforms α, β, δ, ɛ, ζ specifically involved in telomerase regulation, and the phosphorylation target was on hTERT. Treatment with the hsp-90 inhibitor novobiocin dissociated hsp90 and hTERT as revealed by immunoprecipitation and immunoblot analysis and reduced telomerase activity. Treatment with the PKC activator SC-10 restored the association of hsp90 and hTERT and reactivate telomerase, suggesting that hTERT phosphorylation by PKC is essential for telomerase holoenzyme integrity and function. Analysis on clinical normal and tumour tissues reveal that the expressions of PKC α, β, δ, ɛ, ζ were higher in the tumour tissues, correlated with telomerase activity. Disruption of PKC phosphorylation by BIS significantly increased chemosensitivity to cisplatin. In conclusion, PKC isoenzymes α, β, δ, ɛ, ζ regulate telomerase activity in head and neck cancer cells by phosphorylating hTERT. This phosphorylation is essential for telomerase holoenzyme assembly, leading to telomerase activation and oncogenesis. Manipulation of telomerase activity by PKC inhibitors is worth exploring as an adjuvant therapeutic approach.
PMCID: PMC2361368  PMID: 16508638
hTERT; PKC isoenzymes; phosphorylation; telomerase
7.  Childhood sexual abuse and the risk for recurrent major depression in Chinese women 
Psychological Medicine  2011;42(2):409-417.
Studies in Western countries have repeatedly shown that women with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are at increased risk for developing major depression (MD). Would this relationship be found in China?
Three levels of CSA (non-genital, genital, and intercourse) were assessed by self-report in two groups of Han Chinese women: 1970 clinically ascertained with recurrent MD and 2597 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression and regression coefficients by linear or Poisson regression.
Any form of CSA was significantly associated with recurrent MD [OR 3.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.95–5.45]. This association strengthened with increasing CSA severity: non-genital (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.17–5.23), genital (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.32–5.83) and intercourse (OR 13.35, 95% CI 1.83–97.42). The association between any form of CSA and MD remained significant after accounting for parental history of depression, childhood emotional neglect (CEN), childhood physical abuse (CPA) and parent–child relationship. Among the depressed women, those with CSA had an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes and an increased risk for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.39–2.66) and dysthymia (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.52–3.09).
In Chinese women CSA is strongly associated with MD and this association increases with greater severity of CSA. Depressed women with CSA have an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes and increased co-morbidity with GAD and dysthymia. Although reporting biases cannot be ruled out, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that, as in Western countries, CSA substantially increases the risk for MD in China.
PMCID: PMC3250087  PMID: 21835095
Childhood sexual abuse; co-morbidity; major depression
8.  Jumonji domain-containing protein 2B silencing induces DNA damage response via STAT3 pathway in colorectal cancer 
Chen, L | Fu, L | Kong, X | Xu, J | Wang, Z | Ma, X | Akiyama, Y | Chen, Y | Fang, J
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(4):1014-1026.
Jumonji domain-containing protein 2B (JMJD2B), directly targeted by hypoxia-inducible factor 1α, maintains the histone methylation balance important for the transcriptional activation of many oncogenes. Jumonji domain-containing protein 2B has been implicated in colorectal cancer (CRC) progression; however, the mechanism remains unclear.
Immunofluorescence and western blotting detected phosphorylated histone H2AX, characteristic of double-strand breaks, and comet assay was used to investigate DNA damage, in CRC cells after JMJD2B small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection. We assessed the resulting in vitro responses, that is, cell cycle progression, apoptosis, and senescence coupled with JMJD2B silencing-induced DNA damage, studying the regulatory role of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3). The JMJD2B silencing anti-cancer effect was determined using an in vivo CRC xenograft model.
Jumonji domain-containing protein 2B knockdown induced DNA damage via ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) and ATM and Rad3-related pathway activation, resulting in cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and senescence in both normoxia and hypoxia. Signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 suppression by JMJD2B silencing enhanced DNA damage. Intratumoural injection of JMJD2B siRNA suppressed tumour growth in vivo and activated the DNA damage response (DDR).
Jumonji domain-containing protein 2B has an essential role in cancer cell survival and tumour growth via DDR mediation, which STAT3 partially regulates, suggesting that JMJD2B is a potential anti-cancer target.
PMCID: PMC3929886  PMID: 24473398
JMJD2B; DNA damage response; hypoxia; STAT3; colorectal cancer
9.  Congener-Specific Polychlorinated Biphenyl–Induced Cell Death in Human Kidney Cells In Vitro: Potential Role of Caspase 
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are among the most widespread and persistent pollutants in the global environment. Coplanar and noncoplanar PCBs have been shown to cause congener-specific apoptosis mediated neurotoxicity in rats. Very few, if any, such studies have been reported on human renal cell toxicity. The authors report here caspase-dependent or caspase-independent renal toxicity, as measured by apoptotic death induced by PCBs, depending on the planarity of congeners PCB-77 (coplanar) and PCB-153 (noncoplanar) in human kidney cells (HK2) in vitro. The authors have combined morphological and biological techniques to discover the relevance of apoptosis in renal proximal tubule cell death induced by these two PCB congeners. Treatment with both PCB congeners caused accelerated apoptosis in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Based on our findings using human kidney (HK2) cells, there was more apoptosis-mediated loss of cell viability by non–ortho-substituted PCB-77 when compared to PCB-153. A significant increase of caspase-3 expression through immunoblot studies showed the involvement of apoptosis by PCB-77 compared to none by PCB-153. The broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor z-VAD-fmk showed increased cell death when treated by PCB-153, but not by PCB-77, confirming that caspase inhibitor induced a switch in the mode of cell death. It is reasonable to assume that apoptotic cell death in the renal proximal tubule cells treated by PCBs may have both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent pathways.
PMCID: PMC4332521  PMID: 16940006
Apoptosis; Caspase; Human Proximal Tubule Cell Culture; PCB-77; PCB-153
10.  TBX6 Null Variants and a Common Hypomorphic Allele in Congenital Scoliosis 
The New England journal of medicine  2015;372(4):341-350.
Congenital scoliosis is a common type of vertebral malformation. Genetic susceptibility has been implicated in congenital scoliosis.
We evaluated 161 Han Chinese persons with sporadic congenital scoliosis, 166 Han Chinese controls, and 2 pedigrees, family members of which had a 16p11.2 deletion, using comparative genomic hybridization, quantitative polymerase-chain-reaction analysis, and DNA sequencing. We carried out tests of replication using an additional series of 76 Han Chinese persons with congenital scoliosis and a multi-center series of 42 persons with 16p11.2 deletions.
We identified a total of 17 heterozygous TBX6 null mutations in the 161 persons with sporadic congenital scoliosis (11%); we did not observe any null mutations in TBX6 in 166 controls (P<3.8×10−6). These null alleles include copy-number variants (12 instances of a 16p11.2 deletion affecting TBX6) and single-nucleotide variants (1 nonsense and 4 frame-shift mutations). However, the discordant intrafamilial phenotypes of 16p11.2 deletion carriers suggest that heterozygous TBX6 null mutation is insufficient to cause congenital scoliosis. We went on to identify a common TBX6 haplotype as the second risk allele in all 17 carriers of TBX6 null mutations (P<1.1×10−6). Replication studies involving additional persons with congenital scoliosis who carried a deletion affecting TBX6 confirmed this compound inheritance model. In vitro functional assays suggested that the risk haplotype is a hypomorphic allele. Hemivertebrae are characteristic of TBX6-associated congenital scoliosis.
Compound inheritance of a rare null mutation and a hypomorphic allele of TBX6 accounted for up to 11% of congenital scoliosis cases in the series that we analyzed.
PMCID: PMC4326244  PMID: 25564734
11.  Synthesis of conjugated linoleic acid by the linoleate isomerase complex in food-derived lactobacilli 
Journal of applied microbiology  2014;117(2):430-439.
To assess strains of lactobacilli for their capacity to produce functional fatty acid-conjugated linoleic acid. To assess the linoleate isomerase for CLA production in the most efficient CLA producer.
Methods and Results
In this study, strains of food-derived lactobacilli were cultured in media with linoleic acid and CLA production was assessed. Most of the selected strains produced CLA at different levels, with Lactobacillus plantarum ZS2058 being the most efficient CLA producer converting over 50% of linoleic acid to c9, t11-CLA and t9, t11-CLA. Some intermediates 10-hydroxy-cis-12-octadecenoic acid, 10-oxo-cis-12-octadecenoic acid and 10-oxo-trans-11-octadecenoic acid were determined via GC-MS. The genes coding the multicomponent linoleate isomerase containing myosin-cross-reactive antigen, short-chain dehydrogenase/oxidoreductase and acetoacetate decarboxylase for CLA production in Lact. plantarum ZS2058 were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. With the mixture of recombinant E. coli, c9, t11-CLA and three kinds of intermediates were produced from linoleic acid, which were in line with those in the lactobacilli.
The ability for CLA production by lactobacilli exhibited variation. Lactobacillus plantarum and Lact. bulgaricus were the most efficient producers in the selected strains. Lact. plantarum ZS2058 converted linoleic acid to CLAs with 10-hydroxy-cis-12-octadecenoic acid, 10-oxo-cis-12-octadecenoic acid and 10-oxo-trans-11-octadecenoic acid as intermediates. The multiple-step reactions for CLA production catalysed by multicomponent linoleate isomerase in Lact. plantarum ZS2058 were confirmed successfully.
Significance and Impact of the study
Multicomponent linoleate isomerase provides important results for the illustration of the mechanism for CLA production in lactic acid bacteria. Food-derived lactobacilli with CLA production ability offers novel opportunities for functional foods development.
PMCID: PMC4306591  PMID: 24750362
conjugated linoleic acid; lactic acid bacteria; Lactobacillus plantarum; linoleate isomerase
12.  A Genome-Wide Investigation of MicroRNA Expression Identifies Biologically-Meaningful MicroRNAs That Distinguish between High-Risk and Low-Risk Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasms of the Pancreas 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0116869.
Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) are pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) precursors. Differentiating between high-risk IPMNs that warrant surgical resection and low-risk IPMNs that can be monitored is a significant clinical problem, and we sought to discover a panel of mi(cro)RNAs that accurately classify IPMN risk status.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In a discovery phase, genome-wide miRNA expression profiling was performed on 28 surgically-resected, pathologically-confirmed IPMNs (19 high-risk, 9 low-risk) using Taqman MicroRNA Arrays. A validation phase was performed in 21 independent IPMNs (13 high-risk, 8 low-risk). We also explored associations between miRNA expression level and various clinical and pathological factors and examined genes and pathways regulated by the identified miRNAs by integrating data from bioinformatic analyses and microarray analysis of miRNA gene targets. Six miRNAs (miR-100, miR-99b, miR-99a, miR-342-3p, miR-126, miR-130a) were down-regulated in high-risk versus low-risk IPMNs and distinguished between groups (P<10−3, area underneath the curve (AUC) = 87%). The same trend was observed in the validation phase (AUC = 74%). Low miR-99b expression was associated with main pancreatic duct involvement (P = 0.021), and serum albumin levels were positively correlated with miR-99a (r = 0.52, P = 0.004) and miR-100 expression (r = 0.49, P = 0.008). Literature, validated miRNA:target gene interactions, and pathway enrichment analysis supported the candidate miRNAs as tumor suppressors and regulators of PDAC development. Microarray analysis revealed that oncogenic targets of miR-130a (ATG2B, MEOX2), miR-342-3p (DNMT1), and miR-126 (IRS-1) were up-regulated in high- versus low-risk IPMNs (P<0.10).
This pilot study highlights miRNAs that may aid in preoperative risk stratification of IPMNs and provides novel insights into miRNA-mediated progression to pancreatic malignancy. The miRNAs identified here and in other recent investigations warrant evaluation in biofluids in a well-powered prospective cohort of individuals newly-diagnosed with IPMNs and other pancreatic cysts and those at increased genetic risk for these lesions.
PMCID: PMC4301643  PMID: 25607660
13.  Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of levofloxacin injection in healthy Chinese volunteers and dosing regimen optimization 
Cao, G | Zhang, J | Wu, X | Yu, J | Chen, Y | Ye, X | Zhu, D | Zhang, Y | Guo, B | Shi, Y
What is known and objective
The pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of levofloxacin were investigated following administration of levofloxacin injection in healthy Chinese volunteers for optimizing dosing regimen.
The PK study included single-dose (750 mg/150 mL) and multiple-dose (750 mg/150 mL once daily for 7 days) phases. The concentration of levofloxacin in blood and urine was determined using HPLC method. Both non-compartmental and compartmental analyses were performed to estimate PK parameters. Taking fCmax/MIC ≥5 and fAUC24 h/MIC ≥30 as a target, the cumulative fraction of response (CFR) of levofloxacin 750 mg for treatment of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) was calculated using Monte Carlo simulation. The probability of target attainment (PTA) of levofloxacin at various minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) was also evaluated.
Results and discussion
The results of PK study showed that the Cmax and AUC0–∞ of levofloxacin were 14·94 μg/mL and 80·14 μg h/mL following single-dose infusion of levofloxacin. The half-life and average cumulative urine excretion ratio within 72 h post-dosing were 7·75 h and 86·95%, respectively. The mean Css,max, Css,min and AUC0–τ of levofloxacin at steady state following multiple doses were 13·31 μg/mL, 0·031 μg/mL and 103·7 μg h/mL, respectively. The accumulation coefficient was 1·22. PK/PD analysis revealed that the CFR value of levofloxacin 750-mg regimen against Streptococcus pneumoniae was 96·2% and 95·4%, respectively, in terms of fCmax/MIC and fAUC/MIC targets.
What is new and conclusion
The regimen of 750-mg levofloxacin once daily provides a satisfactory PK/PD profile against the main pathogenic bacteria of CAP, which implies promising clinical and bacteriological efficacy for patients with CAP. A large-scale clinical study is warranted to confirm these results.
PMCID: PMC4285945  PMID: 23701411
healthy volunteer; levofloxacin; Monte Carlo simulation; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics
14.  Cycle on Wheels: Is APP Key to the AppBp1 Pathway? 
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the gradual loss of the cognitive function due to neuronal death. Currently no therapy is available to slow down, reverse or prevent the disease. Here we analyze the existing data in literature and hypothesize that the physiological function of the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) is activating the AppBp1 pathway and this function is gradually lost during the progression of AD pathogenesis. The AppBp1 pathway, also known as the neddylation pathway, activates the small ubiquitin-like protein nedd8, which covalently modifies and switches on Cullin ubiquitin ligases, which are essential in the turnover of cell cycle proteins. Here we discuss how APP may activate the AppBp1 pathway, which downregulates cell cycle markers and protects genome integrity. More investigation of this mechanism-driven hypothesis may provide insights into disease treatment and prevention strategies.
PMCID: PMC4283775  PMID: 25568892
APP; Alzheimer's disease; Ubiquitination; Neddylation; Cell cycle
15.  Genome-Wide Family-Based Linkage Analysis of Exome Chip Variants and Cardiometabolic Risk 
Genetic epidemiology  2014;38(4):345-352.
Linkage analysis of complex traits has had limited success in identifying trait-influencing loci. Recently, coding variants have been implicated as the basis for some biomedical associations. We tested whether coding variants are the basis for linkage peaks of complex traits in 42 African-American (n = 596) and 90 Hispanic (n = 1,414) families in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS) using Illumina HumanExome Beadchips. A total of 92,157 variants in African Americans (34%) and 81,559 (31%) in Hispanics were polymorphic and tested using two-point linkage and association analyses with 37 cardiometabolic phenotypes. In African Americans 77 LOD scores greater than 3 were observed. The highest LOD score was 4.91 with the APOE SNP rs7412 (MAF = 0.13) with plasma apolipoprotein B (ApoB). This SNP was associated with ApoB (P-value = 4 × 10−19) and accounted for 16.2% of the variance in African Americans. In Hispanic families, 104 LOD scores were greater than 3. The strongest evidence of linkage (LOD = 4.29) was with rs5882 (MAF = 0.46) in CETP with HDL. CETP variants were strongly associated with HDL (0.00049 < P-value <4.6 × 10−12), accounting for up to 4.5% of the variance. These loci have previously been shown to have effects on the biomedical traits evaluated here. Thus, evidence of strong linkage in this genome wide survey of primarily coding variants was uncommon. Loci with strong evidence of linkage was characterized by large contributions to the variance, and, in these cases, are common variants. Less compelling evidence of linkage and association was observed with additional loci that may require larger family sets to confirm.
PMCID: PMC4281959  PMID: 24719370
Hispanic; African American; genetic variance
16.  Adhesion Forces and Composition of Planktonic and Adhering Oral Microbiomes 
Journal of Dental Research  2014;93(1):84-88.
The oral microbiome consists of a planktonic microbiome residing in saliva and an adhering microbiome (the biofilm adhering to oral hard and soft tissues). Here we hypothesized that possible differences in microbial composition of the planktonic and adhering oral microbiome on teeth can be related to the forces by which different bacterial species are attracted to the tooth surface. The relative presence of 7 oral bacterial species in saliva and biofilm collected from 10 healthy human volunteers was determined twice in each volunteer by denaturing-gradient-gel electrophoresis. Analysis of both microbiomes showed complete separation of the planktonic from the adhering oral microbiome. Next, adhesion forces of corresponding bacterial strains with saliva-coated enamel surfaces were measured by atomic force microscopy. Species that were found predominantly in the adhering microbiome had significantly higher adhesion forces to saliva-coated enamel (-0.60 to -1.05 nN) than did species mostly present in the planktonic microbiome (-0.40 to -0.55 nN). It is concluded that differences in composition of the planktonic and the adhering oral microbiome are due to small differences in the forces by which strains adhere to saliva-coated enamel, providing an important step in understanding site- and material-specific differences in the composition of biofilms in the oral cavity.
PMCID: PMC3872853  PMID: 24186560
atomic force microscopy; denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; biofilm; dental plaque; saliva; bacterial adhesion
17.  Safety, Efficacy, and Biomarkers of Nivolumab With Vaccine in Ipilimumab-Refractory or -Naive Melanoma 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(34):4311-4318.
Nivolumab, a human immunoglobulin G4–blocking antibody against the T-cell programmed death-1 checkpoint protein, has activity against metastatic melanoma. Its safety, clinical efficacy, and correlative biomarkers were assessed with or without a peptide vaccine in ipilimumab-refractory and -naive melanoma.
Patients and Methods
In this phase I study, 90 patients with unresectable stage III or IV melanoma who were ipilimumab naive and had experienced progression after at least one prior therapy (cohorts 1 to 3, 34 patients) or experienced progression after prior ipilimumab (cohorts 4 to 6, 56 patients) received nivolumab at 1, 3, or 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks for 24 weeks, then every 12 weeks for up to 2 years, with or without a multipeptide vaccine.
Nivolumab with vaccine was well tolerated and safe at all doses. The RECIST 1.1 response rate for both ipilimumab-refractory and -naive patients was 25%. Median duration of response was not reached at a median of 8.1 months of follow-up. High pretreatment NY-ESO-1 and MART-1–specific CD8+ T cells were associated with progression of disease. At week 12, increased peripheral-blood T regulatory cells and decreased antigen-specific T cells were associated with progression. PD-L1 tumor staining was associated with responses to nivolumab, but negative staining did not rule out a response. Patients who experienced progression after nivolumab could respond to ipilimumab.
In patients with ipilimumab-refractory or -naive melanoma, nivolumab at 3 mg/kg with or without peptide vaccine was well tolerated and induced responses lasting up to 140 weeks. Responses to nivolumab in ipilimumab-refractory patients or to ipilimumab in nivolumab-refractory patients support combination or sequencing of nivolumab and ipilimumab.
PMCID: PMC3837092  PMID: 24145345
18.  Comparisons of vaginal and abdominal radical trachelectomy for early-stage cervical cancer: preliminary results of a multi-center research in China 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;109(11):2778-2782.
There are limited data comparing the prognosis and fertility outcomes of the patients with early cervical cancer treated by trans-vaginal radical trachelectomy (VRT) or abdominal radical trachelectomy (ART).The objective of this study was to compare the surgical and pathologic characteristics, the prognosis and fertility outcomes of the patients treated by VRT or ART.
Matched-case study based on a prospectively maintained database of patients underwent radical trachelectomy in 10 centres of China was designed to compare the prognosis and fertility outcomes of the patients treated by VRT or ART.
Totally 150 cases, 77 in the VRT and 73 in the ART group, were included. VRT and ART provide similar surgical and pathological outcomes except larger specimens obtained by ART. In the ART group, no patient developed recurrent diseases, but, in the VRT group, 7 (9.8%) patients developed recurrent diseases and 2 (1.6%) patients died of the tumours (P=0.035). The rate of pregnancy in the VRT group was significantly higher than those of ART (39.5% vs 8.8% P=0.003). The patients with tumour size >2 cm showed significant higher recurrent rate (11.6% vs 2.4%, P<0.05) and lower pregnant rate (12.5% vs 32.1%, P=0.094) compared with the patients with tumour size <2 cm.
Patients treated by ART obtained better oncology results, but their fertility outcomes were unfavourable compared with VRT. Tumour size <2 cm should be emphasised as an indication for radical trachelectomy for improving the outcome of fertility and prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3844910  PMID: 24169350
radical trachelectomy; cervical cancer; fertility; prognosis
19.  Angiogenesis-regulating microRNAs and ischemic stroke 
Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Ischemic stroke is the dominant subtype of stroke and results from focal cerebral ischemia due to occlusion of major cerebral arteries. Thus, the restoration or improvement of reduced regional cerebral blood supply in a timely manner is very critical for improving stroke outcomes and post-stroke functional recovery. The recovery from ischemic stroke largely relies on appropriate restoration of blood flow via angiogenesis. Newly formed vessels would allow increased cerebral blood flow, thus increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients delivered to affected brain tissue. Angiogenesis is strictly controlled by many key angiogenic factors in the central nervous system, and these molecules have been well-documented to play an important role in the development of angiogenesis in response to various pathological conditions. Promoting angiogenesis via various approaches that target angiogenic factors appears to be a useful treatment for experimental ischemic stroke. Most recently, microRNAs (miRs) have been identified as negative regulators of gene expression in a post-transcriptional manner. Accumulating studies have demonstrated that miRs are essential determinants of vascular endothelial cell biology/angiogenesis as well as contributors to stroke pathogenesis. In this review, we summarize the knowledge of stroke-associated angiogenic modulators, as well as the role and molecular mechanisms of stroke-associated miRs with a focus on angiogenesis-regulating miRs. Moreover, we further discuss their potential impact on miR-based therapeutics in stroke through targeting and enhancing post-ischemic angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4079753  PMID: 23713863
microRNAs; angiogenesis; angiogenesis-regulating microRNAs (angiomiRs); cerebrovascular diseases; ischemic stroke; angiogenic factors; vascular endothelial cells; neurovascular unit
20.  Pharmacogenetic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of LDL cholesterol response to statins 
Postmus, Iris | Trompet, Stella | Deshmukh, Harshal A. | Barnes, Michael R. | Li, Xiaohui | Warren, Helen R. | Chasman, Daniel I. | Zhou, Kaixin | Arsenault, Benoit J. | Donnelly, Louise A. | Wiggins, Kerri L. | Avery, Christy L. | Griffin, Paula | Feng, QiPing | Taylor, Kent D. | Li, Guo | Evans, Daniel S. | Smith, Albert V. | de Keyser, Catherine E. | Johnson, Andrew D. | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Stott, David J. | Buckley, Brendan M. | Ford, Ian | Westendorp, Rudi G. J. | Eline Slagboom, P. | Sattar, Naveed | Munroe, Patricia B. | Sever, Peter | Poulter, Neil | Stanton, Alice | Shields, Denis C. | O’Brien, Eoin | Shaw-Hawkins, Sue | Ida Chen, Y.-D. | Nickerson, Deborah A. | Smith, Joshua D. | Pierre Dubé, Marie | Matthijs Boekholdt, S. | Kees Hovingh, G. | Kastelein, John J. P. | McKeigue, Paul M. | Betteridge, John | Neil, Andrew | Durrington, Paul N. | Doney, Alex | Carr, Fiona | Morris, Andrew | McCarthy, Mark I. | Groop, Leif | Ahlqvist, Emma | Bis, Joshua C. | Rice, Kenneth | Smith, Nicholas L. | Lumley, Thomas | Whitsel, Eric A. | Stürmer, Til | Boerwinkle, Eric | Ngwa, Julius S. | O’Donnell, Christopher J. | Vasan, Ramachandran S. | Wei, Wei-Qi | Wilke, Russell A. | Liu, Ching-Ti | Sun, Fangui | Guo, Xiuqing | Heckbert, Susan R | Post, Wendy | Sotoodehnia, Nona | Arnold, Alice M. | Stafford, Jeanette M. | Ding, Jingzhong | Herrington, David M. | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Launer, Leonore J. | Harris, Tamara B. | Chu, Audrey Y. | Giulianini, Franco | MacFadyen, Jean G. | Barratt, Bryan J. | Nyberg, Fredrik | Stricker, Bruno H. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Hofman, Albert | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Emilsson, Valur | Franco, Oscar H. | Ridker, Paul M. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Liu, Yongmei | Denny, Joshua C. | Ballantyne, Christie M. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Adrienne Cupples, L. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Palmer, Colin N. A. | Tardif, Jean-Claude | Colhoun, Helen M. | Hitman, Graham | Krauss, Ronald M. | Wouter Jukema, J | Caulfield, Mark J.
Nature Communications  2014;5:5068.
Statins effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels in large studies and the observed interindividual response variability may be partially explained by genetic variation. Here we perform a pharmacogenetic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in studies addressing the LDL cholesterol response to statins, including up to 18,596 statin-treated subjects. We validate the most promising signals in a further 22,318 statin recipients and identify two loci, SORT1/CELSR2/PSRC1 and SLCO1B1, not previously identified in GWAS. Moreover, we confirm the previously described associations with APOE and LPA. Our findings advance the understanding of the pharmacogenetic architecture of statin response.
Statins are effectively used to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease, but patient response to these drugs is highly variable. Here, the authors identify two new genes associated with the response of LDL cholesterol to statins and advance our understanding of the genetic basis of drug response.
PMCID: PMC4220464  PMID: 25350695
21.  Critical behaviours of contact near phase transitions 
Nature Communications  2014;5:5140.
A central quantity of importance for ultracold atoms is contact, which measures two-body correlations at short distances in dilute systems. It appears in universal relations among thermodynamic quantities, such as large momentum tails, energy and dynamic structure factors, through the renowned Tan relations. However, a conceptual question remains open as to whether or not contact can signify phase transitions that are insensitive to short-range physics. Here we show that, near a continuous classical or quantum phase transition, contact exhibits a variety of critical behaviours, including scaling laws and critical exponents that are uniquely determined by the universality class of the phase transition, and a constant contact per particle. We also use a prototypical exactly solvable model to demonstrate these critical behaviours in one-dimensional strongly interacting fermions. Our work establishes an intrinsic connection between the universality of dilute many-body systems and universal critical phenomena near a phase transition.
Contact parameterises two-body correlations at short distances in dilute systems like ultracold atomic gases. Using a fundamental thermodynamic relation, Chen et al. study the contact near a continuous classical or quantum phase transition and find that it displays a number of critical behaviours.
PMCID: PMC4220487  PMID: 25346226
23.  Cancer risk in patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis: a nationwide cohort study 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;109(9):2496-2501.
This study examined the risk of cancer in patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT).
The Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) was used to identify 1521 newly diagnosed HT patients from 1998–2010, and 6084 frequency-matched non-HT patients. The risk of developing cancer for HT patients was measured using the Cox proportional hazard model.
The incidence of developing cancer in the HT cohort was 5.07 per 1000 person-years, which was 1.68-fold higher than that in the comparison cohort (P<0.001). Compared with patients aged 20–34 years, patients in older age groups had a higher risk of developing cancer (35–55 years: hazard ratio (HR)=5.96; >55 years: HR=9.66). After adjusting for sex, age, and comorbidities, the HT cohort had HRs of 4.76 and 11.8 for developing colorectal cancer and thyroid cancer, respectively, compared with non-HT cohort. Furthermore, the HT cohort to non-HT cohort incidence rate ratio (IRR) of thyroid cancer was higher in the first 3 years (48.4, 95% confidence interval (CI)=35.0–66.3), with an adjusted HR of 49.4 (95% CI=6.39–382.4).
Hashimoto's thyroiditis patients have a higher risk of thyroid cancer and colorectal cancer. The thyroid cancer prevention effort should start soon after HT is diagnosed, while being cautious of colorectal cancer increases with time.
PMCID: PMC3817335  PMID: 24084773
cancer; Hashimoto's thyroiditis; cohort study.
24.  Rad GTPase Deficiency Leads to Cardiac Hypertrophy 
Circulation  2007;116(25):2976-2983.
Rad (Ras associated with diabetes) GTPase is the prototypic member of a subfamily of Ras-related small G proteins. The aim of the present study was to define whether Rad plays an important role in mediating cardiac hypertrophy.
Methods and Results
We document for the first time that levels of Rad mRNA and protein were decreased significantly in human failing hearts (n=10) compared with normal hearts (n=3; P<0.01). Similarly, Rad expression was decreased significantly in cardiac hypertrophy induced by pressure overload and in cultured cardiomyocytes with hypertrophy induced by 10 μmol/L phenylephrine. Gain and loss of Rad function in cardiomyocytes significantly inhibited and increased phenylephrine-induced hypertrophy, respectively. In addition, activation of calcium-calmodulin–dependent kinase II (CaMKII), a strong inducer of cardiac hypertrophy, was significantly inhibited by Rad overexpression. Conversely, downregulation of CaMKIIδ by RNA interference technology attenuated the phenylephrine-induced hypertrophic response in cardiomyocytes in which Rad was also knocked down. To further elucidate the potential role of Rad in vivo, we generated Rad-deficient mice and demonstrated that they were more susceptible to cardiac hypertrophy associated with increased CaMKII phosphorylation than wild-type littermate controls.
The present data document for the first time that Rad is a novel mediator that inhibits cardiac hypertrophy through the CaMKII pathway. The present study will have significant implications for understanding the mechanisms of cardiac hypertrophy and setting the basis for the development of new strategies for treatment of cardiac hypertrophy.
PMCID: PMC4207362  PMID: 18056528
cardiomyopathy; genes; heart diseases; hypertrophy; natriuretic peptides
25.  Downregulation of TIM-3 mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
The T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain (TIM) family is associated with autoimmune diseases, but its expression level in the immune cells of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients is not known. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the expression of TIM-3 mRNA is associated with pathogenesis of SLE. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis (qRT-PCR) was used to determine TIM-1, TIM-3, and TIM-4 mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 132 patients with SLE and 62 healthy controls. The PBMC surface protein expression of TIMs in PBMCs from 20 SLE patients and 15 healthy controls was assayed by flow cytometry. Only TIM-3 mRNA expression decreased significantly in SLE patients compared with healthy controls (P<0.001). No significant differences in TIM family protein expression were observed in leukocytes from SLE patients and healthy controls (P>0.05). SLE patients with lupus nephritis (LN) had a significantly lower expression of TIM-3 mRNA than those without LN (P=0.001). There was no significant difference in the expression of TIM-3 mRNA within different classes of LN (P>0.05). Correlation of TIM-3 mRNA expression with serum IgA was highly significant (r=0.425, P=0.004), but was weakly correlated with total serum protein (rs=0.283, P=0.049) and serum albumin (rs=0.297, P=0.047). TIM-3 mRNA expression was weakly correlated with the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI; rs=-0.272, P=0.032). Our results suggest that below-normal expression of TIM-3 mRNA in PBMC may be involved in the pathogenesis of SLE.
PMCID: PMC4288496  PMID: 25493386
TIM-3; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Lupus nephritis; T-helper cell

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