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1.  Collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis following long-term treatment with oral ibandronate: case report and review of literature 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:535.
Renal toxicity has been reported with bisphosphonates such as pamidronate and zolidronate but not with ibandronate, in the treatment of breast cancer patients with bone metastasis. One of the patterns of bisphosphonate-induced nephrotoxicity is focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) or its morphological variant, collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (CFSGS).
Case presentation
We describe a breast cancer patient who developed heavy proteinuria (protein/creatinine ratio 9.1) and nephrotic syndrome following treatment with oral ibandronate for 29 months. CFSGS was proven by biopsy. There was no improvement 1 month after ibandronate was discontinued. Prednisone and tacrolimus were started and she experienced a decreased in proteinuria.
In patient who develops ibandronate-associated CFSGS, proteinuria appears to be at least partially reversible with the treatment of prednisone and/or tacrolimus if the syndrome is recognized early and ibandronate is stopped.
PMCID: PMC4510889  PMID: 26197890
Collapsing glomerulopathy; Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; Bisphosphonates; Ibandronate
2.  Re-Examining of Moffitt’s Theory of Delinquency through Agent Based Modeling 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0126752.
Moffitt’s theory of delinquency suggests that at-risk youths can be divided into two groups, the adolescence- limited group and the life-course-persistent group, predetermined at a young age, and social interactions between these two groups become important during the adolescent years. We built an agent-based model based on the microscopic interactions Moffitt described: (i) a maturity gap that dictates (ii) the cost and reward of antisocial behavior, and (iii) agents imitating the antisocial behaviors of others more successful than themselves, to find indeed the two groups emerging in our simulations. Moreover, through an intervention simulation where we moved selected agents from one social network to another, we also found that the social network plays an important role in shaping the life course outcome.
PMCID: PMC4465023  PMID: 26062022
3.  Cordyceps sinensis attenuates renal fibrosis and suppresses BAG3 induction in obstructed rat kidney 
BAG3 regulates a number of cellular processes, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, adhesion and migration, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). However, the role of BAG3 in renal tubular EMT and renal interstitial fibrosis remains elusive. This study aimed to examine the dynamic expression of BAG3 during renal fibrosis, and to investigate the efficacy of Cordyceps sinensis (C. sinensis) on renal fibrosis. A rat model of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) was established, and the expression of BAG3 and α-SMA, and the efficacy of C. sinensis on renal fibrosis induced by UUO were examined. The results showed that UUO led to collagen accumulation, which was significantly suppressed by C. sinensis. UUO increased the expression of BAG3 and α-SMA, a mesenchymal marker, while UUO induced BAG3 and α-SMA expression was significantly inhibited by C. sinensis. In addition, immunohistochemical staining demonstrated that BAG3 immunoreactivity was restricted to tubular epithelium. In conclusion, BAG3 is a potential target for the prevention and/or treatment of renal fibrosis, and C. Sinensis is a promising agent for renal fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4494144  PMID: 26175854
BAG3; Cordyceps sinensis; unilateral ureteral obstruction; renal fibrosis
4.  The mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis suppresses plant defense responses by manipulating JA-SA crosstalk 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:9354.
Induced plant defenses against herbivores are modulated by jasmonic acid-, salicylic acid-, and ethylene-signaling pathways. Although there is evidence that some pathogens suppress plant defenses by interfering with the crosstalk between different signaling pathways, such evidence is scarce for herbivores. Here, we demonstrate that the mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis suppresses the induced defenses in tomato. We found that exogenous JA, but not SA, significantly decreased mealybug feeding time and reduced nymphal performance. In addition, constitutive activation of JA signaling in 35s::prosys plants reduced mealybug survival. These data indicate that the JA signaling pathway plays a key role in mediating the defense responses against P. solenopsis. We also found that mealybug feeding decreased JA production and JA-dependent defense gene expression, but increased SA accumulation and SA-dependent gene expression. In SA-deficient plants, mealybug feeding did not suppress but activated JA accumulation, indicating that the suppression of JA-regulated defenses depends on the SA signaling pathway. Mealybugs benefit from suppression of JA-regulated defenses by exhibiting enhanced nymphal performance. These findings confirm that P. solenopsis manipulates plants for its own benefits by modulating the JA-SA crosstalk and thereby suppressing induced defenses.
PMCID: PMC4366759  PMID: 25790868
5.  Cross-modality PET/CT and contrast-enhanced CT imaging for pancreatic cancer 
AIM: To explore the diagnostic value of the cross-modality fusion images provided by positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) and contrast-enhanced CT (CECT) for pancreatic cancer (PC).
METHODS: Data from 70 patients with pancreatic lesions who underwent CECT and PET/CT examinations at our hospital from August 2010 to October 2012 were analyzed. PET/CECT for the cross-modality image fusion was obtained using TureD software. The diagnostic efficiencies of PET/CT, CECT and PET/CECT were calculated and compared with each other using a χ2 test. P < 0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance.
RESULTS: Of the total 70 patients, 50 had PC and 20 had benign lesions. The differences in the sensitivity, negative predictive value (NPV), and accuracy between CECT and PET/CECT in detecting PC were statistically significant (P < 0.05 for each). In 15 of the 31 patients with PC who underwent a surgical operation, peripancreatic vessel invasion was verified. The differences in the sensitivity, positive predictive value, NPV, and accuracy of CECT vs PET/CT and PET/CECT vs PET/CT in diagnosing peripancreatic vessel invasion were statistically significant (P < 0.05 for each). In 19 of the 31 patients with PC who underwent a surgical operation, regional lymph node metastasis was verified by postsurgical histology. There was no statistically significant difference among the three methods in detecting regional lymph node metastasis (P > 0.05 for each). In 17 of the 50 patients with PC confirmed by histology or clinical follow-up, distant metastasis was confirmed. The differences in the sensitivity and NPV between CECT and PET/CECT in detecting distant metastasis were statistically significant (P < 0.05 for each).
CONCLUSION: Cross-modality image fusion of PET/CT and CECT is a convenient and effective method that can be used to diagnose and stage PC, compensating for the defects of PET/CT and CECT when they are conducted individually.
PMCID: PMC4356919  PMID: 25780297
Pancreatic neoplasms; Positron-emission tomography; Tomography, X-ray computed; Contrast enhancement; Diagnostic imaging; Staging
6.  VEGF is essential for the growth and migration of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells 
Molecular biology reports  2011;39(5):5085-5093.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a crucial role in tumor angiogenesis. VEGF induces new vessel formation and tumor growth by inducing mitogenesis and chemotaxis of normal endothelial cells and increasing vascular permeability. However, little is known about VEGF function in the proliferation, survival or migration of hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HCC). In the present study, we have found that VEGF receptors are expressed in HCC line BEL7402 and human hepatocellular carcinoma specimens. Importantly, VEGF receptor expression correlates with the development of the carcinoma. By using a comprehensive approaches including TUNEL assay, transwell and wound healing assays, migration and invasion assays, adhesion assay, western blot and quantitative RT-PCR, we have shown that knockdown of VEGF165 expression by shRNA inhibits the proliferation, migration, survival and adhesion ability of BEL7402. Knockdown of VEGF165 decreased the expression of NF-κB p65 and PKCα while increased the expression of p53 signaling molecules, suggesting that VEGF functions in HCC proliferation and migration are mediated by P65, PKCα and/or p53.
PMCID: PMC4354771  PMID: 22161247
RNA interference; vascular endothelial growth factor; hepatocellular carcinoma; migration; proliferation
7.  Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Protects against Hyperglycemic-Induced Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition and Improves Myocardial Dysfunction by Suppressing Poly(ADP-Ribose) Polymerase 1 Activity 
Molecular Medicine  2015;21(1):15-25.
Under high glucose conditions, endothelial cells respond by acquiring fibroblast characteristics, that is, endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT), contributing to diabetic cardiac fibrosis. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) has cardioprotective properties independent of its glucose-lowering effect. However, the potential mechanism has not been fully clarified. Here we investigated whether GLP-1 inhibits myocardial EndMT in diabetic mice and whether this is mediated by suppressing poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1). Streptozotocin diabetic C57BL/6 mice were treated with or without GLP-1 analog (24 nmol/kg daily) for 24 wks. Transthoracic echocardiography was performed to assess cardiac function. Human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) were cultured in normal glucose (NG) (5.5 mmol/L) or high glucose (HG) (30 mmol/L) medium with or without GLP-1analog. Immunofluorescent staining and Western blot were performed to evaluate EndMT and PARP-1 activity. Diabetes mellitus attenuated cardiac function and increased cardiac fibrosis. Treatment with the GLP-1 analog improved diabetes mellitus–related cardiac dysfunction and cardiac fibrosis. Immunofluorescence staining revealed that hyperglycemia markedly increased the percentage of von Willebrand factor (vWF)+/alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA)+ cells in total α-SMA+ cells in diabetic hearts compared with controls, which was attenuated by GLP-1 analog treatment. In cultured HAECs, immunofluorescent staining and Western blot also showed that both GLP-1 analog and PARP-1 gene silencing could inhibit the HG-induced EndMT. In addition, GLP-1 analog could attenuate PARP-1 activation by decreasing the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Therefore, GLP-1 treatment could protect against the hyperglycemia-induced EndMT and myocardial dysfunction. This effect is mediated, at least partially, by suppressing PARP-1 activation.
PMCID: PMC4461581  PMID: 25715248
8.  Discovery of Tertiary Amine and Indole Derivatives as Potent RORγt Inverse Agonists 
A novel series of tertiary amines as retinoid-related orphan receptor gamma-t (RORγt) inverse agonists was discovered through agonist/inverse agonist conversion. The level of RORγt inhibition can be enhanced by modulating the conformational disruption of H12 in RORγt LBD. Linker exploration and rational design led to the discovery of more potent indole-based RORγt inverse agonists.
PMCID: PMC4027777  PMID: 24900774
RORγt; agonists; inverse agonists; Th17 cell differentiation; cocrystal structure; structure-based design
9.  5-Fluorouracil Chemotherapy of Gastric Cancer Generates Residual Cells with Properties of Cancer Stem Cells 
Background: 5-Fluorouracil (5Fu) chemotherapy is the first treatment of choice for advanced gastric cancer (GC), but its effectiveness is limited by drug resistance. Emerging evidence suggests that the existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) contributes to chemoresistance. The aim of the present study was to determine whether 5Fu chemotherapy generates residual cells with CSC-like properties in GC. Methods: Human GC cell lines, SGC7901 and AGS, were exposed to increasing 5Fu concentrations. The residual cells were assessed for both chemosensitivity and CSC-like properties. B lymphoma Mo-MLV insertion region 1 (BMI1), a putative CSC protein, was analyzed by immunohistochemical staining and subjected to pairwise comparison in GC tissues treated with or without neoadjuvant 5Fu-based chemotherapy. The correlation between BMI1 expression and recurrence-free survival in GC patients who received 5Fu-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy was then examined. Results: The residual cells exhibited 5Fu chemoresistance. These 5Fu-resistant cells displayed some CSC features, such as a high percentage of quiescent cells, increased self-renewal ability and tumorigenicity. The 5Fu-resistant cells were also enriched with cells expressing cluster of differentiation (CD)133+, CD326+ and CD44+CD24-. Moreover, the BMI1 gene was overexpressed in 5Fu-resistant cells, and BMI1 knockdown effectively reversed chemoresistance. The BMI1 protein was highly expressed consistently in the remaining GC tissues after 5Fu-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and BMI1 levels were correlated positively with recurrence-free survival in GC patients who received 5Fu-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Conclusions: Our data provided molecular evidence illustrating that 5Fu chemotherapy in GC resulted in acquisition of CSC-like properties. Moreover, enhanced BMI1 expression contributed to 5Fu resistance and may serve as a potential therapeutic target to reverse chemoresistance in GC patients.
PMCID: PMC4323368  PMID: 25678847
Gastric cancer; 5-Fluorouracil (5Fu); Chemoresistance; Cancer stem cells
10.  Acetylcholine Induces Mesenchymal Stem Cell Migration via Ca2+/PKC/ERK1/2 Signal Pathway 
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2012;113(8):2704-2713.
Acetylcholine (ACh) plays an important role in neural and non-neural function, but its role in mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) migration remains to be determined. In the present study, we have found that ACh induces MSC migration via muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs). Among several mAChRs, MSCs express mAChR subtype 1 (m1AChR). ACh induces MSC migration via interaction with mAChR1. MEK1/2 inhibitor PD98059 blocks ERK1/2 phosphorylation while partially inhibiting the ACh-induced MSC migration. InsP3Rs inhibitor 2-APB that inhibits MAPK/ERK phosphorylation completely blocks Ach-mediated MSC migration. Interestingly, intracellular Ca2+ ATPase specific inhibitor thapsigargin also completely blocks ACh-induced MSC migration through the depletion of intracellular Ca2+ storage. PKCα or PKCβ inhibitor or their siRNAs only partially inhibit ACh-induced MSC migration, but PKC-ζ siRNA completely inhibits ACh-induced MSC migration via blocking ERK1/2 phosphorylation. These results indicate that ACh induces MSC migration via Ca2+, PKC and ERK1/2 signal pathways.
PMCID: PMC4263956  PMID: 22441978
Mesenchymal stem cell; Acetylcholine; Migration; Protein kinase C; Ras mitogen-activated protein kinase; Calcium; Muscarinic receptors; ERK1/2
11.  HMGB1 mediates hyperglycaemia-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis via ERK/Ets-1 signalling pathway 
Apoptosis is a key event involved in diabetic cardiomyopathy. The expression of high mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) is up-regulated in diabetic mice. However, the molecular mechanism of high glucose (HG)-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis remains obscure. We aimed to determine the role of HMGB1 in HG-induced apoptosis of cardiomyocytes. Treating neonatal primary cardiomyocytes with HG increased cell apoptosis, which was accompanied by elevated levels of HMGB1. Inhibition of HMGB1 by short-hairpin RNA significantly decreased HG-induced cell apoptosis by reducing caspase-3 activation and ratio of Bcl2-associated X protein to B-cell lymphoma/leukemia-2 (bax/bcl-2). Furthermore, HG activated E26 transformation-specific sequence-1 (Ets-1), and HMGB1 inhibition attenuated HG-induced activation of Ets-1 via extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) signalling. In addition, inhibition of Ets-1 significantly decreased HG-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Similar results were observed in streptozotocin-treated diabetic mice. Inhibition of HMGB1 by short-hairpin RNA markedly decreased myocardial cell apoptosis and activation of ERK and Ets-1 in diabetic mice. In conclusion, inhibition of HMGB1 may protect against hyperglycaemia-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis by down-regulating ERK-dependent activation of Ets-1.
PMCID: PMC4224563  PMID: 25210949
high glucose; cardiomyocyte; apoptosis; diabetes; HMGB1; Ets-1
12.  Breast Cancer Risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Update Meta-Analysis 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:453012.
Background. The incidence of breast cancer in RA patients remains controversial. Thus we performed a meta-analysis to investigate the impact of RA on breast cancer. Methods. Published literature was available from PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library. Pooled standardized incidence rate (SIR) was computed by random-effect model analysis. Results. We identified 16 separate studies in the present study, in which the number of patients ranged from 458 to 84,475. We did not find the increased cancer risk in RA patients (SIR = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.72–1.02). However, subgroup analysis showed that breast cancer risk in RA patients was positively different in Caucasians (SIR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.73–0.93) and non-Caucasians (SIR = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.19–1.23), respectively. In subgroup analysis by style, a reduced incidence was found in hospital-based case subjects (SIR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.69–0.97). Similarly, subgroup analysis for adjusted factors indicated that in A3 (age and sex) and A4 (age, sex, and race/ethnicity) the risk was decreased (SIR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.76–0.99; SIR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.59–0.67). Conclusions. The meta-analysis revealed no increased breast cancer risk in RA patients. However, in the subgroup analysis, the risk of breast cancer is increased in non-Caucasians patients with RA while it decreased in Caucasian population, hospital-based case subjects, and A3 group. Such relationship may provide preference for risk of breast cancer in different population.
PMCID: PMC4227363  PMID: 25405203
13.  Impaired secretion of interferons by dendritic cells from aged subjects to influenza 
Age  2012;35(5):1785-1797.
Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections such as influenza is the hallmark of advancing age. The mechanisms underlying the impaired immune response to influenza are not well understood. In the present study, we have investigated the effect of advancing age on dendritic cell (DC) function because they are critical in generating robust antiviral responses. Our results indicate that monocyte derived DCs from the aged are impaired in their capacity to secrete interferon (IFN)-I in response to influenza virus. Additionally, we observed a severe reduction in the production of IFN-III, which plays an important role in defense against viral infections at respiratory mucosal surfaces. This reduction in IFN-I and IFN-III were a result of age-associated modifications in the chromatin structure. Investigations using chromatin immunoprecipitation with H3K4me3 and H3K9me3 antibodies revealed that there is increased association of IFN-I and IFN-III promoters with the repressor histone, H3K9me3 in non-stimulated aged DCs compared to young DCs. This was accompanied by decreased association of these promoters with activator histone, H3K4me3 in aged DCs after activation with influenza. In contrast to interferons, the association of TNF-alpha promoter with both these histones was comparable between aged and young subjects. Investigations at 48 h suggested that these changes are not stable and change with time. In summary, our study demonstrates that myeloid DCs from aged subjects are impaired in their capacity to produce IFNs in response to influenza virus and that age-associated altered histone expression patterns are responsible for the decrease in IFN production.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-012-9477-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3776111  PMID: 23007963
Dendritic cells; Aging; IFN-I; IL-29; Histones; Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
14.  CTP synthase 1, a smooth muscle-sensitive therapeutic target for effective vascular repair 
Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology  2013;33(10):10.1161/ATVBAHA.113.301561.
Vascular remodeling due to smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and neointima formation is a major medical challenge in cardiovascular intervention. However, anti-neointima drugs often indistinguishably block re-endothelialization, an essential step toward successful vascular repair, due to their non-specific effect on endothelial cells (EC). The objective of this study was to identify a therapeutic target that differentially regulates SMC and EC proliferation.
Approach and Results
By using both rat balloon-injury and mouse wire-injury models, we identified CTP synthase (CTPS) as one of the potential targets that may be used for developing therapeutics for treating neointima-related disorders. CTPS1 was induced in proliferative SMCs in vitro and neointima SMCs in vivo. Blockade of CTPS1 expression by small hairpin RNA or activity by cyclopentenyl cytosine suppressed SMC proliferation and neointima formation. Surprisingly, cyclopentenyl cytosine had much less effect on EC proliferation. Of importance, blockade of CTPS1 in vivo sustained the re-endothelialization due to induction of CTP synthesis salvage pathway enzymes nucleoside diphosphate kinase A and B in ECs. Diphosphate kinase B appeared to preserve EC proliferation via utilization of extracellular cytidine to synthesize CTP. Indeed, blockade of both CTPS1 and diphosphate kinase B suppressed EC proliferation in vitro and the re-endothelization in vivo.
Our study uncovered a fundamental difference in CTP biosynthesis between SMCs and ECs during vascular remodeling, which provided a novel strategy by using cyclopentenyl cytosine or other CTPS1 inhibitors to selectively block SMC proliferation without disturbing or even promoting re-endothelialization for effective vascular repair following injury.
PMCID: PMC3852677  PMID: 24008161
CTP synthase; vascular remodeling; smooth muscle proliferation; re-endothelialization; nucleoside diphosphate kinase
15.  Multiple injections of human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stromal cells through the tail vein improve microcirculation and the microenvironment in a rat model of radiation myelopathy 
At present, no effective clinical treatment is available for the late effects of radiation myelopathy. The aim of the present study was to assess the therapeutic effects of human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (UC-MSCs) in a rat model of radiation myelopathy.
An irradiated cervical spinal cord rat model was generated. UC-MSCs were injected through the tail vein at 90, 97, 104 and 111 days post-irradiation. Behavioral tests were performed using the forelimb paralysis scoring system, and histological damage was examined using Nissl staining. The microcirculation in the spinal cord was assessed using von Willebrand factor (vWF) immunohistochemical analysis and laser-Doppler flowmetry. The microenvironment in the spinal cord was determined by measuring the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in the serum and the anti-inflammatory cytokines brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in the spinal cord.
Multiple injections of UC-MSCs through the tail veil decreased the forelimb paralysis, decreased spinal cord histological damage, increased the number of neurons in the anterior horn of the spinal cord, increased the endothelial cell density and the microvessel density in the white matter and gray matter of the spinal cord, increased the relative magnitude of spinal cord blood flow, down-regulated pro-inflammatory cytokine expression in the serum, and increased anti-inflammatory cytokine expression in the spinal cord.
Multiple injections of UC-MSCs via the tail vein in a rat model of radiation myelopathy significantly improved the microcirculation and microenvironment through therapeutic paracrine effects.
PMCID: PMC4174271  PMID: 25196350
Radiation myelopathy; Endothelial cell; Spinal cord blood flow; Paracrine system; Human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stromal cells
16.  Alterations in Gene Array Patterns in Dendritic Cells from Aged Humans 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106471.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are major antigen-presenting cells that play a key role in initiating and regulating innate and adaptive immune responses. DCs are critical mediators of tolerance and immunity. The functional properties of DCs decline with age. The purpose of this study was to define the age-associated molecular changes in DCs by gene array analysis using Affymatrix GeneChips. The expression levels of a total of 260 genes (1.8%) were significantly different (144 down-regulated and 116 upregulated) in monocyte-derived DCs (MoDCs) from aged compared to young human donors. Of the 260 differentially expressed genes, 24% were down-regulated by more than 3-fold, suggesting that a large reduction in expression occurred for a notable number of genes in the aged. Our results suggest that the genes involved in immune response to pathogens, cell migration and T cell priming display significant age-related changes. Furthermore, downregulated genes involved in cell cycle arrest and DNA replication may play a critical role in aging-associated genetic instability. These changes in gene expression provide molecular based evidence for age-associated functional abnormalities in human DCs that may be responsible for the defects in adaptive immunity observed in the elderly.
PMCID: PMC4156347  PMID: 25191744
17.  Gefitinib-Integrated Regimen versus Chemotherapy Alone in Heavily Pretreated Patients with Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor–Mutated Lung Adenocarcinoma: A Case-Control Study12 
Translational Oncology  2014;7(4):508-512.
BACKGROUND: The study aimed to compare the tolerability and efficacy of gefitinib combined with chemotherapy agents versus chemotherapy alone for the treatment of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)–mutated lung adenocarcinoma in heavily pretreated patients. METHODS: The study was designed as a matched-pair case-control investigation to minimize intergroup heterogeneity. Patients were stratified into gefitinib plus chemotherapy and chemotherapy alone groups with matching for sex, age, ECOG performance status, progress-free survival (PFS) from previous EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor treatment, EGFR mutation types, and tumor metastasis status. RESULTS: Sixty-six patients were selected from our database using the matched-pair method. The median age was 61 years (95% confidence interval, 57-65 years). During a follow-up period of 14.5 months on average, the overall response rates of the gefitinib-integrated and chemotherapy alone groups were 9.1% and 6.5%, respectively (P > .05), whereas the corresponding disease-control rates were 39.4% and 30.3%, respectively (P > .05). No statistically significant differences in PFS (median, 4.2 vs 3.3 months; P = .06) and overall survival (median, 10.4 vs 7.9 months; P = .44) were observed between two groups. The 6-month survival rates of the gefitinib-integrated and chemotherapy alone groups were 21.2% and 12.1%, respectively (P < .05). Side effects were mild, and all treatments were well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicated that gefitinib-integrated therapy offered a trend to better PFS and an improved 6-month survival rate in heavily pretreated patients with metastatic EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinoma. All treatments were well tolerated. Future prospective studies are warranted to confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC4202800  PMID: 24954357
18.  Protective Effects of Astragaloside IV against Amyloid Beta1-42 Neurotoxicity by Inhibiting the Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pore Opening 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98866.
Mitochondrial dysfunction caused by amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). Substantial evidence has indicated that the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) opening is involved in Aβ-induced neuronal death and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Astragaloside IV (AS-IV), one of the major active constituents of Astragalus membranaceus, has been reported as an effective anti-oxidant for treating neurodegenerative diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms still need to be clarified. In this study, we investigated whether AS-IV could prevent Aβ1-42-induced neurotoxicity in SK-N-SH cells via inhibiting the mPTP opening. The results showed that pretreatment of AS-IV significantly increased the viability of neuronal cells, reduced apoptosis, decreased the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and decreased mitochondrial superoxide in the presence of Aβ1-42. In addition, pretreatment of AS-IV inhibited the mPTP opening, rescued mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), enhanced ATP generation, improved the activity of cytochrome c oxidase and blocked cytochrome c release from mitochondria in Aβ1-42 rich milieu. Moreover, pretreatment of AS-IV reduced the expression of Bax and cleaved caspase-3 and increased the expression of Bcl-2 in an Aβ1-42 rich environment. These data indicate that AS-IV prevents Aβ1-42-induced SK-N-SH cell apoptosis via inhibiting the mPTP opening and ROS generation. These results provide novel insights of AS-IV for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as AD.
PMCID: PMC4048237  PMID: 24905226
19.  Report of Recombinant Norovirus GII.g/GII.12 in Beijing, China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88210.
Norovirus (NoV) has been recognized as the most important cause of nonbacterial acute gastroenteritis affecting all age group people in the world. Genetic recombination is a common occurance in RNA viruses and many recombinant NoV strains have been described since it was first reported in 1997. However, the knowledge of recombinant NoV in China is extremely limited.
A total of 685 stool specimens were tested for NoV infection from the acute gastroenteritis patients who visited one general hospital in Beijing from April 2009 to November 2011. The virus recombination was identified by constructing phylogenetic trees of two genes, further SimPlot and the maximum chi-square analysis.
The overall positive rate was 9.6% (66/685). GII.4 New Orleans 2009 and GII.4 2006b variants were the dominant genotype. Four GII.g/GII.12 and one GII.12/GII.3 recombinant strains were confirmed, and all derived from adult outpatients. The predictive recombination point occurred at the open reading frame (ORF)1/ORF2 overlap.
The GII.g ORF1/GII.12ORF2 recombinant has been reported in several countries and it was the first report of this recombinant in China.
PMCID: PMC3914918  PMID: 24505432
20.  Up-regulated FHL1 Expression Maybe Involved in the Prognosis of Hirschsprung's Disease 
Background: In a subset of patients with Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR), gastrointestinal motor dysfunction persisted long after surgical correction. Gastrointestinal motility is achieved through the coordinated activity of the enteric nervous system, interstitial cells of Cajal, and smooth muscle (SMC) cells. Inhibition of four-and-a-half LIM protein-1 (Fhl1) expression by siRNA significantly decreases pulmonary artery SMCs migration and proliferation. Furthermore when up-expressing FHL1 in atrial myocytes, K (+) current density markedly increases, therefore changing myocytes' response to an electrical stimulus. However whether FHL1 in colon SMCs (the final effector organ) influences intestinal motility in HSCR patients has not been clarified. Methods: FHL1 mRNA and protein expressions were analyzed in 32 HSCR colons and 4 normal colons. Results: Smooth muscle layers were thicken and disorganized in HSCR. FHL1 was expressed in the ganglion cells of the myenteric plexus, submucosa, as well as in the longitudinal and circular muscle layer of the ganglionic colon. FHL1 mRNA relative expression level in aganglionic colons was 1.06±0.49 (ganglionic colon relative expression level was 1) (P=0.44). FHL1 protein gray level relative to GAPDH in normal colons was 0.83±0.09. FHL1 expression level in ganglionic colon (1.66±0.30) or aganglionic colon (1.81±0.35) was significantly higher than that in normal colons (P=0.045 and P=0.041, respectively). Meanwhile, we found FHL1 expression in aganglionic colon was slightly stronger than that in ganglionic colon (P=0.036). Conclusion: These data suggested that up-regulated FHL1 in smooth muscle in HSCR might be associated with intestinal wall remodeling in HSCR and might be one of the risk factors for gastrointestinal motor dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3917115  PMID: 24516350
FHL1; Hirschsprung's disease; expression; smooth muscle; prognosis
21.  Analysis of therapeutic effect and safety of target-dose metoprolol in the treatment of patients with diabetes mellitus with chronic heart failure 
Objective: To explore the therapeutic effect and safety of target-dose metoprolol in treating chronic heart failure (CHF) patients complicated with diabetes mellitus (DM).
Method s : One hundred and fifty-four elderly patients were randomly divided into an observation group and a control group (n=77), which were treated with target-dose metoprolol and conventional therapy, and routinely treated respectively. The New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification, left ventricular end-systolic diameter (LVESD), left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (LVEDD), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), 6-min walking distance and medication safety of the two groups were compared.
Results: Compared with the results before treatment, the NYHA classification, LVESD, LVEDD, LVEF and 6-minutes walking distance of both groups were significantly improved (P<0.05), with significantly better results in the observation group than those in the control group after treatment (P<0.05). In the 6 months of follow-up, the incidence of cardiac events in the observation group (3.90%) was significantly lower than that of the control group (14.29%) (P<0.05). The levels of average fasting blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin in the groups showed no significant differences (P>0.05).
Conclusion: Treating CHF patients complicated with DM with target-dose metoprolol can obviously boost the cardiac function and exercise tolerance, leading to satisfactory clinical therapeutic effect, high security and moderate tolerance.
PMCID: PMC3955532  PMID: 24639821
Chronic heart failure; Diabetes mellitus; Metoprolol; Therapeutic effect; Safety
22.  TRPP2 and TRPV4 Form an EGF-Activated Calcium Permeable Channel at the Apical Membrane of Renal Collecting Duct Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e73424.
Regulation of apical calcium entry is important for the function of principal cells of the collecting duct. However, the molecular identity and the regulators of the transporter/channel, which is responsible for apical calcium entry and what factors regulate the calcium conduction remain unclear.
Methods and Results
We report that endogenous TRPP2 and TRPV4 assemble to form a 23-pS divalent cation-permeable non-selective ion channel at the apical membrane of renal principal cells of the collecting duct. TRPP2\TRPV4 channel complex was identified by patch-clamp, immunofluorescence and co-immunprecipitation studies in both principal cells that either possess normal cilia (cilia (+)) or in which cilia are absent (cilia (-)). This channel has distinct biophysical and pharmacological and regulatory profiles compared to either TRPP2 or TRPV4 channels. The rate of occurrence detected by patch clamp was higher in cilia (-) compared to cilia (+) cells. In addition, shRNA knockdown of TRPP2 increased the prevalence of TRPV4 channel activity while knockdown of TRPV4 resulted in TRPP2 activity and knockdown of both proteins vastly decreased the 23-pS channel activity. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulated TRPP2\TRPV4 channel through the EGF receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase-dependent signaling. With loss of cilia, apical EGF treatment resulted in 64-fold increase in channel activity in cilia (-) but not cilia (+) cells. In addition EGF increased cell proliferation in cilia (-) cell that was dependent upon TRPP2\TRPV4 channel mediated increase in intracellular calcium.
We conclude that in the absence of cilia, an EGF activated TRPP2\TRPV4 channel may play an important role in increased cell proliferation and cystogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3745395  PMID: 23977387
23.  MicroRNAs may solve the mystery of chronic hepatitis B virus infection 
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a global public health problem that causes persistent liver diseases such as chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. A large amount of people die annually from HBV infection. However, the pathogenesises of the HBV-related diseases are ill defined and the therapeutic strategies for the diseases are less than optimum. The recently discovered microRNAs (miRNAs) are tiny noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression primarily at the post-transcriptional level by binding to mRNAs. miRNAs contribute to a variety of physiological and pathological processes. A number of miRNAs have been found to play a pivotal role in the host-virus interaction including host-HBV interaction. Numerous studies have indicated that HBV infection could change the cellular miRNA expression patterns and different stages of HBV associated disease have displayed distinctive miRNA profiles. Furthermore, the differential expressed miRNAs have been found involved in the progression of HBV-related diseases, for instance some miRNAs are involved in liver tumorigenesis and tumor metastasis. Studies have also shown that the circulating miRNA in serum or plasma might be a very useful biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of HBV-related diseases. In addition, miRNA-based therapy strategies have attracted increasing attention, indicating a promising future in the treatment of HBV-related diseases.
PMCID: PMC3740416  PMID: 23946591
MicroRNA; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis B; Host-virus interaction; Biomarker; Therapy
24.  Altered Expression of 14-3-3ζ Protein in Spinal Cords of Rat Fetuses with Spina Bifida Aperta 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70457.
A large number of studies have confirmed that excessive apoptosis is one of the reasons for deficient neuronal function in neural tube defects (NTDs). A previous study from our laboratory used 2-D gel electrophoresis to demonstrate that 14-3-3ζ expression was low in the spinal cords of rat fetuses with spina bifida aperta at embryonic day (E) 17. As a member of the 14-3-3 protein family, 14-3-3ζ plays a crucial role in the determination of cell fate and anti-apoptotic activity. However, neither the expression of 14-3-3ζ in defective spinal cords, nor the correlation between 14-3-3ζ and excessive apoptosis in NTDs has been fully confirmed.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We used immunoblotting and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) to quantify the expression of 14-3-3ζ and double immunofluorescence to visualize 14-3-3ζ and apoptosis. We found that, compared with controls, 14-3-3ζ was down-regulated in spina bifida between E12 and E15. Excessive apoptotic cells and low expression of 14-3-3ζ were observed in the dorsal region of spinal cords with spina bifida during the same time period. To initially explore the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis in NTDs, we investigated the expression of microRNA-7 (miR-7), microRNA-375 (miR-375) and microRNA-451 (miR-451), which are known to down-regulate 14-3-3ζ in several different cell types. We also investigated the expression of p53, a molecule that is downstream of 14-3-3ζ and can be down-regulated by it. We discovered that, in contrast to the reduction of 14-3-3ζ expression, the expression of miR-451, miR-375 and p53 increased in spina bifida rat fetuses.
These data suggest that the reduced expression of 14-3-3ζ plays a role in the excessive apoptosis that occurs in spina bifida and may be partly regulated by the over-expression of miR-451 and miR-375, and the consequent up-regulation of p53 might further promote apoptosis in spina bifida.
PMCID: PMC3735597  PMID: 23936434
25.  Chronic caffeine treatment reverses memory impairment and the expression of brain BNDF and TrkB in the PS1/APP double transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2013;8(3):737-740.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of varying doses of caffeine on memory impairment and the expression of brain neurotrophic derived factor (BNDF) and TrkB in PS1/APP double transgenic mouse models. PS1/APP double transgenic mice were administered 0.3 ml/day of saline, 1.5 mg/day of caffeine or 0.75 mg/day of caffeine for eight weeks. A water maze test and western blotting were used to determine the memory capability and expression of hippocampal BNDF and TrkB of the mice. The results demonstrated that 0.75 mg/day and 1.5 mg/day doses of caffeine significantly increased memory capability and the expression of hippocampal BDNF and TrkB in PS1/APP mice with a dose-response effect. The results suggested that chronic caffeine treatment may reverse memory impairment in PS1/APP transgenic mice, and BDNF and its receptor TrkB, may be involved in this process.
PMCID: PMC3782531  PMID: 23900282
caffeine; memory; brain neurotrophic derived factor; TrkB; Alzheimer’s disease

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