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1.  Culturally-Tailored Education Programs to Address Health Literacy Deficits and Pervasive Health Disparities among Hispanics in Rural Shelbyville, Kentucky 
This investigation was conducted to evaluate the impact of culturally-tailored education on health knowledge among Hispanic residents of rural, Shelbyville, KY.
The program identified specific pathways to address health literacy deficits and disparities identified through a community-wide health assessment completed in 2010.
A total of 43 Hispanic males who shared deficiencies in community-wide health infrastructure were enrolled in the program. The curriculum included an introductory session followed by five, subject-specific, sessions offered on a weekly basis from February to April 2011. Pre/post-test assessments showed marked improvement in knowledge base for all participants after each session, most notably related to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The group reconvened in January 2012 for follow-up instruction on cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as global assessment of knowledge retention over a nine-month period.
Comparisons of pre/post testing in cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as global health-related knowledge showed significant gains for all parameters.
Health education programs that embrace perceptions of the community of their own health, and that integrate knowledge into culturally-sensitive education, significantly improved health knowledge among Hispanic residents in rural Kentucky. Such gains may translate into sustainable improvements in health literacy and help reduce health disparities.
PMCID: PMC4231820  PMID: 25401044
Culturally-sensitive health literacy programs; Health disparities; Hispanic health; Immigrant health
2.  The Truncate Mutation of Notch2 Enhances Cell Proliferation through Activating the NF-κB Signal Pathway in the Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphomas 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108747.
The Notch2 is a critical membrane receptor for B-cell functions, and also displays various biological roles in lymphoma pathogenesis. In this article, we reported that 3 of 69 (4.3%) diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCLs) exhibited a truncate NOTCH2 mutation at the nucleotide 7605 (G/A) in the cDNA sequence, which led to partial deletion of the C-terminal of PEST (proline-, glutamic acid-, serine- and threonine-rich) domain. The truncate Notch2 activated both the Notch2 and the NF-κB signals and promoted the proliferation of B-cell lymphoma cell lines, including DLBCL and Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines. Moreover, the ectopic proliferation was completely inhibited by ammonium pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate (PDTC), an NF-κB inhibitor. Simultaneously, PDTC also reduced the expression level of Notch2. Based on these results, we conclude that the Notch2 receptor with PEST domain truncation enhances cell proliferation which may be associated with the activation of the Notch2 and the NF-κB signaling. Our results are expected to provide a possible target for new DLBCL therapies by suppressing the Notch2 and the NF-κB signaling.
PMCID: PMC4196756  PMID: 25314575
3.  Smoking and Major Depressive Disorder in Chinese Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106287.
To investigate the risk factors that contribute to smoking in female patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and the clinical features in depressed smokers.
We examined the smoking status and clinical features in 6120 Han Chinese women with MDD (DSM-IV) between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Logistic regression was used to determine the association between clinical features of MDD and smoking status and between risk factors for MDD and smoking status.
Among the recurrent MDD patients there were 216(3.6%) current smokers, 117 (2.0%) former smokers and 333(5.6%) lifetime smokers. Lifetime smokers had a slightly more severe illness, characterized by more episodes, longer duration, more comorbid illness (panic and phobias), with more DSM-IV A criteria and reported more symptoms of fatigue and suicidal ideation or attempts than never smokers. Some known risk factors for MDD were also differentially represented among smokers compared to non-smokers. Smokers reported more stressful life events, were more likely to report childhood sexual abuse, had higher levels of neuroticism and an increased rate of familial MDD. Only neuroticism was significantly related to nicotine dependence.
Although depressed women smokers experience more severe illness, smoking rates remain low in MDD patients. Family history of MDD and environmental factors contribute to lifetime smoking in Chinese women, consistent with the hypothesis that the association of smoking and depression may be caused by common underlying factors.
PMCID: PMC4152240  PMID: 25180682
4.  Economic development and coastal ecosystem change in China 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5995.
Despite their value, coastal ecosystems are globally threatened by anthropogenic impacts, yet how these impacts are driven by economic development is not well understood. We compiled a multifaceted dataset to quantify coastal trends and examine the role of economic growth in China's coastal degradation since the 1950s. Although China's coastal population growth did not change following the 1978 economic reforms, its coastal economy increased by orders of magnitude. All 15 coastal human impacts examined increased over time, especially after the reforms. Econometric analysis revealed positive relationships between most impacts and GDP across temporal and spatial scales, often lacking dropping thresholds. These relationships generally held when influences of population growth were addressed by analyzing per capita impacts, and when population density was included as explanatory variables. Historical trends in physical and biotic indicators showed that China's coastal ecosystems changed little or slowly between the 1950s and 1978, but have degraded at accelerated rates since 1978. Thus economic growth has been the cause of accelerating human damage to China's coastal ecosystems. China's GDP per capita remains very low. Without strict conservation efforts, continuing economic growth will further degrade China's coastal ecosystems.
PMCID: PMC4125988  PMID: 25104138
5.  Association between four common microRNA polymorphisms and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma and HBV infection 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(3):1255-1260.
microRNAs (miR/miRNAs) have been demonstrated to function as tumor suppressors and oncogenes, and miRNA polymorphisms may have a role in cancer development. The present study aimed to investigate the association between the miR-146aG>C, miR-149C>T, miR-196a2C>T and miR-499A>G polymorphisms and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. A total of 271 patients with HCC and 532 healthy control participants were enrolled in the present study. miR-146aG>C, miR-149C>T, miR-196a2C>T and miR-499A>G polymorphisms were genotyped using the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method. A significant difference was identified in the genotype frequency of miR-196a2C>T in the patients in the case group compared with the control group (χ2=6.88; P=0.032). Compared with the CC genotype, the miR-196a2 TT genotype was associated with a significantly reduced risk of HCC [odds ratio (OR), 0.62; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.38–0.99], and a significantly reduced risk was also found in the dominant (OR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.49–0.98) and recessive (OR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.46–1.02) models. Moreover, individuals with HBV who were carrying the miR-196a2 CT and TT genotypes had a significantly reduced risk of HCC (OR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.41–0.95; and OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.20–0.73, respectively). In conclusion, the present study found that the miR-196a2C>T polymorphism has a protective effect in patients with HCC, particularly in those with HBV infection.
PMCID: PMC4114578  PMID: 25120701
microRNA; polymorphisms; hepatocellular carcinoma; hepatitis B virus
6.  Antioxidant Supplement Inhibits Skeletal Muscle Constitutive Autophagy rather than Fasting-Induced Autophagy in Mice 
In this study, we tested the hypothesis that NAC administration leads to reduced oxidative stress and thus to decreased expression of autophagy markers in young mice. Our results reveal that NAC administration results in reduced muscle mRNA levels of several autophagy markers, including Beclin-1, Atg7, LC3, Atg9, and LAMP2. However, NAC supplement fails to block the activation of skeletal muscle autophagy in response to fasting, because fasting significantly increases the mRNA level of several autophagy markers and LC3 lipidation. We further examined the effects of NAC administration on mitochondrial antioxidant capacity in fed and 24-hour fasted mice. Our results clearly show that NAC administration depresses the expression of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and TP53-induced glycolysis and apoptosis regulator (TIGAR), both of which play a predominant antioxidant role in mitochondria by reducing ROS level. In addition, we found no beneficial effect of NAC supplement on muscle mass but it can protect from muscle loss in response to fasting. Collectively, our findings indicate that ROS is required for skeletal muscle constitutive autophagy, rather than starvation-induced autophagy, and that antioxidant NAC inhibits constitutive autophagy by the regulation of mitochondrial ROS production and antioxidant capacity.
PMCID: PMC4084590  PMID: 25028602
7.  Fine-Mapping of Immunodominant Linear B-Cell Epitopes of the Staphylococcus Aureus SEB Antigen Using Short Overlapping Peptides 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90445.
Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is one of the most potent Staphylococcus aureus exotoxins (SEs). Due to its conserved sequence and stable structure, SEB might be a good candidate antigen for MRSA vaccines. Although cellular immune responses to SEB are well-characterized, much less is known regarding SEB-specific humoral immune responses, particularly regarding detailed epitope mapping. In this study, we utilized a recombinant nontoxic mutant of SEB (rSEB) and an AlPO4 adjuvant to immunize BALB/c mice and confirmed that rSEB can induce a high antibody level and effective immune protection against MRSA infection. Next, the antisera of immunized mice were collected, and linear B cell epitopes within SEB were finely mapped using a series of overlapping synthetic peptides. Three immunodominant B cell epitopes of SEB were screened by ELISA, including a novel epitope, SEB205-222, and two known epitopes, SEB97–114 and SEB247-261. Using truncated peptides, an ELISA was performed with peptide-KLH antisera, and the core sequence of the three immunodominant B cell epitopes were verified as SEB97-112, SEB207-222, and SEB247-257. In vitro, all of the immunodominant epitope-specific antisera (anti-SEB97-112, anti-SEB207-222 and anti-SEB247-257) were observed to inhibit SEB-induced T cell mitogenesis and cytokine production from splenic lymphocytes of BALB/c mice. The homology analysis indicated that SEB97–112 and SEB207-222 were well-conserved among different Staphylococcus aureus strains. The 3D crystal structure of SEB indicated that SEB97–112 was in the loop region inside SEB, whereas SEB207-222 and SEB247-257 were in the β-slice region outside SEB. In summary, the fine-mapping of linear B-cell epitopes of the SEB antigen in this study will be useful to understand anti-SEB immunity against MRSA infection further and will be helpful to optimize MRSA vaccine designs that are based on the SEB antigen.
PMCID: PMC3943954  PMID: 24599257
8.  Prevalence of chronic kidney disease and its association with metabolic diseases: a cross-sectional survey in Zhejiang province, Eastern China 
BMC Nephrology  2014;15:36.
The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and metabolic diseases has increased at different rates in different regions in China. The aim of our study was to estimate the prevalence of CKD and to analyze associated risk factors of CKD in Zhejiang province, Eastern China.
A cross-sectional survey of 11,013 adults was conducted from September 2009 to June 2012 in Zhejiang Province, located in Eastern China. CKD was defined as having an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 or the presence of albuminuria. Medical history, physical examination and laboratory data were used to diagnose metabolic diseases. Age- and sex-standardized prevalence was calculated using the data on the population distribution in China in 2010. We examined risk factors associated with decreased renal function and albuminuria using multivariate logistic regression.
A total of 10,384 adults (94.3%) completed the screening. The standardized prevalence of reduced renal function (eGFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2) was 1.83% (95% CI 1.52–2.13) and that of albuminuria was 8.65% (95% CI 7.98–9.31). The overall prevalence of CKD was 9.88% (95% CI 9.18–10.59). The prevalence of reduced renal function was greater in the eastern rural areas in Zhejiang province. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and hyperuricemia were independent risk factors of CKD. Patients with metabolic diseases had a significantly (P < 0.001) higher prevalence of CKD than those without such diseases.
CKD has become a severe public health problem in Zhejiang Province, and metabolic diseases may increase the risk of CKD in Zhejiang population.
PMCID: PMC3936864  PMID: 24559433
Cross-sectional survey; Chronic kidney disease; Metabolic diseases; Prevalence; Risk factors; Eastern China
9.  Linking Stoichiometric Homeostasis of Microorganisms with Soil Phosphorus Dynamics in Wetlands Subjected to Microcosm Warming 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85575.
Soil biogeochemical processes and the ecological stability of wetland ecosystems under global warming scenarios have gained increasing attention worldwide. Changes in the capacity of microorganisms to maintain stoichiometric homeostasis, or relatively stable internal concentrations of elements, may serve as an indicator of alterations to soil biogeochemical processes and their associated ecological feedbacks. In this study, an outdoor computerized microcosm was set up to simulate a warmed (+5°C) climate scenario, using novel, minute-scale temperature manipulation technology. The principle of stoichiometric homeostasis was adopted to illustrate phosphorus (P) biogeochemical cycling coupled with carbon (C) dynamics within the soil-microorganism complex. We hypothesized that enhancing the flux of P from soil to water under warming scenarios is tightly coupled with a decrease in homeostatic regulation ability in wetland ecosystems. Results indicate that experimental warming impaired the ability of stoichiometric homeostasis (H) to regulate biogeochemical processes, enhancing the ecological role of wetland soil as an ecological source for both P and C. The potential P flux from soil to water ranged from 0.11 to 34.51 mg m−2 d−1 in the control and 0.07 to 61.26 mg m−2 d−1 in the warmed treatment. The synergistic function of C-P acquisition is an important mechanism underlying C∶P stoichiometric balance for soil microorganisms under warming. For both treatment groups, strongly significant (p<0.001) relationships fitting a negative allometric power model with a fractional exponent were found between n-HC∶P (the specialized homeostatic regulation ability as a ratio of soil highly labile organic carbon to dissolved reactive phosphorus in porewater) and potential P flux. Although many factors may affect soil P dynamics, the n-HC∶P term fundamentally reflects the stoichiometric balance or interactions between the energy landscape (i.e., C) and flow of resources (e.g., N and P), and can be a useful ecological tool for assessing potential P flux in ecosystems.
PMCID: PMC3903482  PMID: 24475045
10.  Role of Endoscopic Ultrasound in the Management of Digestive System Disease: Proceedings of 2013 Asian Pacific Digestive Week Meeting 
Endoscopic Ultrasound  2013;2(4):230-232.
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) was one of the important topics in 2013 Asian Pacific Digestive Week Meeting and some new progresses were highlighted. The global burdens of pancreatic diseases and biliary diseases are increasing. EUS is becoming a fundamental tool for this cohort of patients, because of not only its ability to provide superior visualization of the lesions, but also its ever-improving interventional capacity. Meanwhile, EUS may also help to diagnose and treat the gastrointestinal tract diseases
PMCID: PMC4062276
endoscopic ultrasound; biliary disease; pancreatic disease; gastrointestinal disease
11.  Continuous Cellulosic Bioethanol Fermentation by Cyclic Fed-Batch Cocultivation 
Cocultivation of cellulolytic and saccharolytic microbial populations is a promising strategy to improve bioethanol production from the fermentation of recalcitrant cellulosic materials. Earlier studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of cocultivation in enhancing ethanolic fermentation of cellulose in batch fermentation. To further enhance process efficiency, a semicontinuous cyclic fed-batch fermentor configuration was evaluated for its potential in enhancing the efficiency of cellulose fermentation using cocultivation. Cocultures of cellulolytic Clostridium thermocellum LQRI and saccharolytic Thermoanaerobacter pseudethanolicus strain X514 were tested in the semicontinuous fermentor as a model system. Initial cellulose concentration and pH were identified as the key process parameters controlling cellulose fermentation performance in the fixed-volume cyclic fed-batch coculture system. At an initial cellulose concentration of 40 g liter−1, the concentration of ethanol produced with pH control was 4.5-fold higher than that without pH control. It was also found that efficient cellulosic bioethanol production by cocultivation was sustained in the semicontinuous configuration, with bioethanol production reaching 474 mM in 96 h with an initial cellulose concentration of 80 g liter−1 and pH controlled at 6.5 to 6.8. These results suggested the advantages of the cyclic fed-batch process for cellulosic bioethanol fermentation by the cocultures.
PMCID: PMC3591951  PMID: 23275517
12.  Abdominal aortic calcification is not superior over other vascular calcification in predicting mortality in hemodialysis patients: a retrospective observational study 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:120.
KDIGO (Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes) guidelines recommend that a lateral abdominal radiograph should be performed to assess vascular calcification (VC) in dialysis patients. However, abdominal aortic calcification is a prevalent finding, and it remains unclear whether other anatomical areas of VC can predict mortality more accurately.
A total of 217 maintenance hemodialysis patients were enrolled at the Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital between July 2010 and March 2011. Radiographs of the abdomen, pelvis and hands were evaluated by a radiologist to evaluate the presence of VC. The correlation between different areas of VC and all-cause or cardiovascular mortality was analyzed using univariate and multivariate models.
The prevalence of VC was 70.0% (152 patients), and most had abdominal aortic calcification (90.1%). During 26 ± 7 months of follow-up, 37 patients died. The VC score was independently associated with patient mortality. VC observed on abdominal radiographs (abdominal aortic calcification) was associated with all-cause mortality in models adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors (HR, 4.69; 95%CI, 1.60-13.69) and dialysis factors (HR, 3.38; 95%CI, 1.18-9.69). VC in the pelvis or hands was associated with all-cause mortality in the model adjusted for dialysis factors. When three combinations of VC in different radiographs were included in models, the presence of abdominal VC was only significantly associated with all-cause mortality in the integrated model. VC in the abdomen and pelvis was associated with all-cause mortality in the model adjusted for cardiovascular factors and the integrated model, but neither was significantly associated with cardiovascular mortality. VC in all radiographs was significantly associated with a more than 6-fold risk of all-cause mortality and a more than 5-fold risk of cardiovascular mortality compared to patients without VC.
VC in different arteries as shown on radiographs is associated with different levels of risk for mortality. The lateral abdominal radiograph may not be superior to other radiographs for predicting patient outcomes. Further research is needed to elucidate the effects of difference burdens of VC on patient outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3691830  PMID: 23738982
Vascular calcification; Mortality; Hemodialysis; Abdominal aortic calcification
13.  Structure and regulation of the cellulose degradome in Clostridium cellulolyticum 
Many bacteria efficiently degrade lignocellulose yet the underpinning genome-wide metabolic and regulatory networks remain elusive. Here we revealed the “cellulose degradome” for the model mesophilic cellulolytic bacterium Clostridium cellulolyticum ATCC 35319, via an integrated analysis of its complete genome, its transcriptomes under glucose, xylose, cellobiose, cellulose, xylan or corn stover and its extracellular proteomes under glucose, cellobiose or cellulose.
Proteins for core metabolic functions, environment sensing, gene regulation and polysaccharide metabolism were enriched in the cellulose degradome. Analysis of differentially expressed genes revealed a “core” set of 48 CAZymes required for degrading cellulose-containing substrates as well as an “accessory” set of 76 CAZymes required for specific non-cellulose substrates. Gene co-expression analysis suggested that Carbon Catabolite Repression (CCR) related regulators sense intracellular glycolytic intermediates and control the core CAZymes that mainly include cellulosomal components, whereas 11 sets of Two-Component Systems (TCSs) respond to availability of extracellular soluble sugars and respectively regulate most of the accessory CAZymes and associated transporters. Surprisingly, under glucose alone, the core cellulases were highly expressed at both transcript and protein levels. Furthermore, glucose enhanced cellulolysis in a dose-dependent manner, via inducing cellulase transcription at low concentrations.
A molecular model of cellulose degradome in C. cellulolyticum (Ccel) was proposed, which revealed the substrate-specificity of CAZymes and the transcriptional regulation of core cellulases by CCR where the glucose acts as a CCR inhibitor instead of a trigger. These features represent a distinct environment-sensing strategy for competing while collaborating for cellulose utilization, which can be exploited for process and genetic engineering of microbial cellulolysis.
PMCID: PMC3656788  PMID: 23657055
Cellulose degradation; Transcription; Two-component systems; Catabolite control proteins; CcpA-like; LacI family
14.  Albumin-Like Proteins Are Critical Regulators of Vascular Redox Signaling 
This laboratory previously identified an albumin-like protein (denoted as p70) as a component of the macromolecular complex assembled within the 5′-regulatory region of redox-sensitive genes in vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMCs). Here we show that p70 is present in the cytosolic and nuclear compartments of vSMCs and dynamically responsive to redox status. Intense cytoplasmic and perinuclear staining, coupled with enhanced nuclear localization, was observed in vSMCs, but not HepG2 cells, treated with benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), H2O2, or N-acetylcysteine, agents known to modulate redox status. 3′ RACE indicated that p70 is not generated as a product of endogenous gene expression, but rather taken up from the extracellular compartment. While p70 was undetectable in cells grown for 24 hours under serum-free conditions, cell-associated, acid-resistant albumin was detected 30 min after the addition of exogenous albumin. vSMCs incubated at 4°C with 100 μg/mL unlabeled BSA and 10 μg/mL FITC-BSA for 60 minutes and switched to 37°C to examine temperature-sensitive label uptake showed punctate structures throughout the cell consistent with albumin internalization at the higher temperature. Albumin was found to influence redox-signaling, as evidenced by modulation of cyp1a1 gsta1 and Ha-ras gene inducibility. Together, these results implicate albumin and albumin-like proteins as critical regulators of vascular redox signaling.
PMCID: PMC3576797  PMID: 23476722
15.  Enhanced recovery in the management of mild gallstone pancreatitis: a prospective cohort study 
Surgery Today  2012;43(6):643-647.
The aim of this study was to establish enhanced recovery protocols for the management of mild gallstone pancreatitis.
Sixty consecutive patients were divided into enhanced recovery and traditional recovery (TR) groups in a randomized observational study. The basic enhanced recovery elements included early laparoscopic cholecystectomy, restrictive endoscopic intervention, and early oral nutrition. The incidence of complications, readmission, length of stay, and total medical cost were analyzed during the hospital course.
The length of hospital stay and medical cost were significantly lower in the enhanced recovery group in comparison to the TR group: 5.9 days vs. 10.6 days (P < 0.01) and ¥10,023 vs. ¥15,035 (P < 0.01). The complications and readmission rates in the two groups were similar.
The implementation of enhanced recovery protocols is feasible in the management of mild gallstone pancreatitis. The utilization of these protocols can achieve shorter hospital stays and reduced costs, with no increase in either the re-admission or peri-operative complication rates.
PMCID: PMC3651532  PMID: 23052751
Enhanced recovery; Acute gallstone pancreatitis; Laparoscopic cholecystectomy; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
16.  Porous Surface Modified Bioactive Bone Cement for Enhanced Bone Bonding 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42525.
Polymethylmethacrylate bone cement cannot provide an adhesive chemical bonding to form a stable cement-bone interface. Bioactive bone cements show bone bonding ability, but their clinical application is limited because bone resorption is observed after implantation. Porous polymethylmethacrylate can be achieved with the addition of carboxymethylcellulose, alginate and gelatin microparticles to promote bone ingrowth, but the mechanical properties are too low to be used in orthopedic applications. Bone ingrowth into cement could decrease the possibility of bone resorption and promote the formation of a stable interface. However, scarce literature is reported on bioactive bone cements that allow bone ingrowth. In this paper, we reported a porous surface modified bioactive bone cement with desired mechanical properties, which could allow for bone ingrowth.
Materials and Methods
The porous surface modified bioactive bone cement was evaluated to determine its handling characteristics, mechanical properties and behavior in a simulated body fluid. The in vitro cellular responses of the samples were also investigated in terms of cell attachment, proliferation, and osteoblastic differentiation. Furthermore, bone ingrowth was examined in a rabbit femoral condyle defect model by using micro-CT imaging and histological analysis. The strength of the implant–bone interface was also investigated by push-out tests.
The modified bone cement with a low content of bioactive fillers resulted in proper handling characteristics and adequate mechanical properties, but slightly affected its bioactivity. Moreover, the degree of attachment, proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of preosteoblast cells was also increased. The results of the push-out test revealed that higher interfacial bonding strength was achieved with the modified bone cement because of the formation of the apatite layer and the osseointegration after implantation in the bony defect.
Our findings suggested a new bioactive bone cement for prosthetic fixation in total joint replacement.
PMCID: PMC3414445  PMID: 22905143
17.  Functional Characterization of Crp/Fnr-Type Global Transcriptional Regulators in Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough 
Crp/Fnr-type global transcriptional regulators regulate various metabolic pathways in bacteria and typically function in response to environmental changes. However, little is known about the function of four annotated Crp/Fnr homologs (DVU0379, DVU2097, DVU2547, and DVU3111) in Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough. A systematic study using bioinformatic, transcriptomic, genetic, and physiological approaches was conducted to characterize their roles in stress responses. Similar growth phenotypes were observed for the crp/fnr deletion mutants under multiple stress conditions. Nevertheless, the idea of distinct functions of Crp/Fnr-type regulators in stress responses was supported by phylogeny, gene transcription changes, fitness changes, and physiological differences. The four D. vulgaris Crp/Fnr homologs are localized in three subfamilies (HcpR, CooA, and cc). The crp/fnr knockout mutants were well separated by transcriptional profiling using detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), and more genes significantly changed in expression in a ΔDVU3111 mutant (JW9013) than in the other three paralogs. In fitness studies, strain JW9013 showed the lowest fitness under standard growth conditions (i.e., sulfate reduction) and the highest fitness under NaCl or chromate stress conditions; better fitness was observed for a ΔDVU2547 mutant (JW9011) under nitrite stress conditions and a ΔDVU2097 mutant (JW9009) under air stress conditions. A higher Cr(VI) reduction rate was observed for strain JW9013 in experiments with washed cells. These results suggested that the four Crp/Fnr-type global regulators play distinct roles in stress responses of D. vulgaris. DVU3111 is implicated in responses to NaCl and chromate stresses, DVU2547 in nitrite stress responses, and DVU2097 in air stress responses.
PMCID: PMC3273024  PMID: 22156435
18.  Laparoscopic versus open catheter placement in peritoneal dialysis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:69.
Peritoneal dialysis has been proven to be a safe and effective mode of renal replacement therapy for patients with end-stage renal disease. The usage of laparoscopic catheter placement technique was increased in recent years. But the advantages and disadvantages between the laparoscopic catheter placement technique and open laparotomy technique were still http://in controversy. The objective of this study is to access the operation-related data and complications of catheter placement for peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients, Then to determine the better method for catheter insertion.
We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis on published studies identified by the databases PubMed, EMBASE, Highwire, and the Cochrane Library. Analysis was performed using the statistical software Review Manager Version 5.0.
We assessed the operation-related data and complications of four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and ten observational studies. The available data showed that laparoscope prolonged the time for catheter insertion in PD patients, however, the two groups did not significantly differ in hospital stays, early and late complications, including infection, dialysate leaks, catheter migration, pericannular bleeding, blockage and hernia.
The data showed that Laparoscopic catheter placement had no superiority to open surgery. However, this treatment still needs to be confirmed in a large, multi-center, well-designed RCT.
PMCID: PMC3439683  PMID: 22839745
Laparoscopic catheter placement; Peritoneal dialysis; Complications
19.  Current Endoscopic Ultrasound Perspectives from 2012 Digestive Disease Week Meeting 
Endoscopic Ultrasound  2012;1(2):114-116.
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) was one of the leading topics in 2012 DDW meeting and some new progresses were highlighted at the EUS monothematic symposium during the period. Although EUS-fine needle aspiration (FNA) has increased the accuracy of EUS in the diagnosis of pancreatic diseases and biliary diseases, controversies still exit in its application such as safety, cost effectiveness and the choice of needle. Meanwhile, EUS may also function as a therapeutic approach, and more and more digestive diseases could be treated with interventional EUS. This report will focus on the above aspects and some progresses of interventional EUS discussed in the meeting.
PMCID: PMC4062212
endoscopic ultrasound; biliary disease; pancreatic disease; interventional procedure
20.  Correlation of Genomic and Physiological Traits of Thermoanaerobacter Species with Biofuel Yields▿† 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(22):7998-8008.
Thermophilic anaerobic noncellulolytic Thermoanaerobacter species are of great biotechnological importance in cellulosic ethanol production due to their ability to produce high ethanol yields by simultaneous fermentation of hexose and pentose. Understanding the genome structure of these species is critical to improving and implementing these bacteria for possible biotechnological use in consolidated bioprocessing schemes (CBP) for cellulosic ethanol production. Here we describe a comparative genome analysis of two ethanologenic bacteria, Thermoanaerobacter sp. X514 and Thermoanaerobacter pseudethanolicus 39E. Compared to 39E, X514 has several unique key characteristics important to cellulosic biotechnology, including additional alcohol dehydrogenases and xylose transporters, modifications to pentose metabolism, and a complete vitamin B12 biosynthesis pathway. Experimental results from growth, metabolic flux, and microarray gene expression analyses support genome sequencing-based predictions which help to explain the distinct differences in ethanol production between these strains. The availability of whole-genome sequence and comparative genomic analyses will aid in engineering and optimizing Thermoanaerobacter strains for viable CBP strategies.
PMCID: PMC3209010  PMID: 21948836
21.  Physical Stress, Not Biotic Interactions, Preclude an Invasive Grass from Establishing in Forb-Dominated Salt Marshes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33164.
Biological invasions have become the focus of considerable concern and ecological research, yet the relative importance of abiotic and biotic factors in controlling the invasibility of habitats to exotic species is not well understood. Spartina species are highly invasive plants in coastal wetlands; however, studies on the factors that control the success or failure of Spartina invasions across multiple habitat types are rare and inconclusive.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We examined the roles of physical stress and plant interactions in mediating the establishment of the smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora, in a variety of coastal habitats in northern China. Field transplant experiments showed that cordgrass can invade mudflats and low estuarine marshes with low salinity and frequent flooding, but cannot survive in salt marshes and high estuarine marshes with hypersaline soils and infrequent flooding. The dominant native plant Suaeda salsa had neither competitive nor facilitative effects on cordgrass. A common garden experiment revealed that cordgrass performed significantly better when flooded every other day than when flooded weekly. These results suggest that physical stress rather than plant interactions limits cordgrass invasions in northern China.
Conclusions and Significance
We conclude that Spartina invasions are likely to be constrained to tidal flats and low estuarine marshes in the Yellow River Delta. Due to harsh physical conditions, salt marshes and high estuarine marshes are unlikely to be invaded. These findings have implications for understanding Spartina invasions in northern China and on other coasts with similar biotic and abiotic environments.
PMCID: PMC3303875  PMID: 22432003
22.  Resemblance of Symptoms for Major Depression Assessed at Interview versus from Hospital Record Review 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e28734.
Diagnostic information for psychiatric research often depends on both clinical interviews and medical records. Although discrepancies between these two sources are well known, there have been few studies into the degree and origins of inconsistencies.
Principal findings
We compared data from structured interviews and medical records on 1,970 Han Chinese women with recurrent DSM-IV major depression (MD). Correlations were high for age at onset of MD (0.93) and number of episodes (0.70), intermediate for family history (+0.62) and duration of longest episode (+0.43) and variable but generally more modest for individual depressive symptoms (mean kappa = 0.32). Four factors were identified for twelve symptoms from medical records and the same four factors emerged from analysis of structured interviews. Factor congruencies were high but the correlation of factors between interviews and records were modest (i.e. +0.2 to +0.4).
Structured interviews and medical records are highly concordant for age of onset, and the number and length of episodes, but agree more modestly for individual symptoms and symptom factors. The modesty of these correlations probably arises from multiple factors including i) inconsistency in the definition of the worst episode, ii) inaccuracies in self-report and iii) difficulties in coding medical records where symptoms were recorded solely for clinical purposes.
PMCID: PMC3256142  PMID: 22247760
23.  Identification of Niclosamide as a New Small-Molecule Inhibitor of the STAT3 Signaling Pathway 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2010;1(9):454-459.
Inhibition of the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling pathway has been considered a novel therapeutic strategy to treat human cancers with constitutively active STAT3. In this study, we report the identification of niclosamide, an FDA-approved anthelmintic drug, as a new small-molecule inhibitor of the STAT3 signaling pathway. This compound potently inhibited the activation and transcriptional function of STAT3 and consequently induced cell growth inhibition, apoptosis, and cell cycle arrest of cancer cells with constitutively active STAT3. Our study provides a new promising lead compound with a salicylic amide scaffold for the development of STAT3 pathway inhibitors as novel molecularly targeted anticancer drugs.
PMCID: PMC4007964  PMID: 24900231
STAT3 signaling pathway; inhibitor; niclosamide; apoptosis; cell cycle arrest
24.  The relationship between neuroticism, major depressive disorder and comorbid disorders in Chinese women 
Journal of Affective Disorders  2011;135(1-3):100-105.
The personality trait of neuroticism is a risk factor for major depressive disorder (MDD), but this relationship has not been demonstrated in clinical samples from Asia.
We examined a large-scale clinical study of Chinese Han women with recurrent major depression and community-acquired controls.
Elevated levels of neuroticism increased the risk for lifetime MDD (with an odds ratio of 1.37 per SD), contributed to the comorbidity of MDD with anxiety disorders, and predicted the onset and severity of MDD. Our findings largely replicate those obtained in clinical populations in Europe and US but differ in two ways: we did not find a relationship between melancholia and neuroticism; we found lower mean scores for neuroticism (3.6 in our community control sample).
Our findings do not apply to MDD in community-acquired samples and may be limited to Han Chinese women. It is not possible to determine whether the association between neuroticism and MDD reflects a causal relationship.
Neuroticism acts as a risk factor for MDD in Chinese women, as it does in the West and may particularly predispose to comorbidity with anxiety disorders. Cultural factors may have an important effect on its measurement.
PMCID: PMC3220767  PMID: 21824661
Major depressive disorder; Anxiety disorders; Neuroticism
25.  Examining the relationship between lifetime stressful life events and the onset of major depression in Chinese women☆ 
Journal of Affective Disorders  2011;135(1-3):95-99.
In European and US studies, patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) report more stressful life events (SLEs) than controls, but this relationship has rarely been studied in Chinese populations.
Sixteen lifetime SLEs were assessed at interview in two groups of Han Chinese women: 1970 clinically ascertained with recurrent MDD and 2597 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
60% of controls and 72% of cases reported at least one lifetime SLE. Fourteen of the sixteen SLEs occurred significantly more frequently in those with MDD (median odds ratio of 1.6). The three SLEs most strongly associated with risk for MDD (OR > 3.0) preceded the onset of MDD the majority of the time: rape (82%), physical abuse (100%) and serious neglect (99%).
Our results may apply to females only. SLEs were rated retrospectively and are subject to biases in recollection. We did not assess contextual information for each life event.
More severe SLEs are more strongly associated with MDD. These results support the involvement of psychosocial adversity in the etiology of MDD in China.
PMCID: PMC3210899  PMID: 21821294
Major depressive disorder; Stressful life event; Social adversity; Symptom

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