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1.  Passive smoking at work as a risk factor for coronary heart disease in Chinese women who have never smoked. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1994;308(6925):380-384.
OBJECTIVE--To study whether passive smoking at work is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. DESIGN--Case-control study. SETTING--Xi'an, China. SUBJECTS--59 patients with coronary heart disease and 126 controls, all Chinese women with full time jobs, who had never smoked cigarettes. RESULTS--The crude odds ratio for passive smoking from husband was 2.12 (95% confidence interval 1.06 to 4.25) and at work was 2.45 (1.23 to 4.88). The final logistic regression model, with passive smoking from husband and at work as the base, included age, history of hypertension, type A personality, and total cholesterol and high density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations; the adjusted odds ratios for passive smoking from husband and at work were 1.24 (0.56 to 2.72) and 1.85 (0.86 to 4.00) respectively. For passive smoking at work, statistically significant linear trends of increasing risks (for both crude and adjusted odds ratios) with increasing exposures (amount exposed daily, number of smokers, number of hours exposed daily, and cumulative exposure) were observed. When these exposure variables were analysed as continuous variables, the crude and adjusted odds ratios were also significant. CONCLUSION--Passive smoking at work is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Urgent public health measures are needed to reduce smoking and to protect non-smokers from passive smoking in China.
PMCID: PMC2539443  PMID: 8124145
2.  The Three-Dimensional Structure of Bovine Calcium Ion-Bound Osteocalcin Using 1H NMR Spectroscopy† 
Biochemistry  2003;42(25):7769-7779.
Structural information on osteocalcin or other noncollagenous bone proteins is very limited. We have solved the three-dimensional structure of calcium bound osteocalcin using 1H 2D NMR techniques and proposed a mechanism for mineral binding. The protons in the 49 amino acid sequence were assigned using standard two-dimensional homonuclear NMR experiments. Distance constraints, dihedral angle constraints, hydrogen bonds, and 1H and 13C chemical shifts were all used to calculate a family of 13 structures. The tertiary structure of the protein consisted of an unstructured N terminus and a C-terminal loop (residues 16–49) formed by long-range hydrophobic interactions. Elements of secondary structure within residues 16–49 include type III turns (residues 20–25) and two α-helical regions (residues 27–35 and 41–44). The three Gla residues project from the same face of the helical turns and are surface exposed. The genetic algorithm–molecular dynamics simulation approach was used to place three calcium atoms on the NMR-derived structure. One calcium atom was coordinated by three side chain oxygen atoms, two from Asp30, and one from Gla24. The second calcium atom was coordinated to four oxygen atoms, two from the side chain in Gla 24, and two from the side chain of Gla 21. The third calcium atom was coordinated to two oxygen atoms of the side chain of Gla17. The best correlation of the distances between the uncoordinated Gla oxygen atoms is with the intercalcium distance of 9.43 Å in hydroxyapatite. The structure may provide further insight into the function of osteocalcin.
PMCID: PMC4517610  PMID: 12820886
3.  The 1H NMR Structure of Bovine Pb2+- Osteocalcin and Implications for Lead Toxicity 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2008;1784(11):1534-1545.
Structural information on the effect of Pb2+ on proteins under physiologically relevant conditions is largely unknown. We have previously shown that low levels of lead increased the amount of osteocalcin bound to hydroxyapatite (BBA 1535:153)). This suggested that lead induced a more compact structure in the protein. We have determined the 3D structure of Pb2+-osteocalcin (49 amino acids), a bone protein from a target tissue, using 1H 2D NMR techniques. Lead, at a stoichiometry of only 1:1, induced a similar fold in the protein as that induced by Ca2+ at a stoichiometry of 3:1. The structure consisted of an unstructured N terminus and an ordered C-terminal consisting of a hydrophobic core (residues 16–49). The genetic algorithm –molecular dynamics simulation predicted the lead ion was coordinated by the Gla 24 and Gla 21 residues. It is proposed that mineral binding occurs via uncoordinated Gla oxygen ions binding to calcium in hydroxyapatite. A comparison of Pb2+- and Ca2+-osteocalcin suggests Pb2+, at a lower stoichiometry, may induce similar conformational changes in proteins and subsequent molecular processes normally controlled by calcium alone. This may contribute to a molecular mechanism of lead toxicity for calcium binding proteins. Lead exposure may alter the amount of mineral bound osteocalcin and contribute to abnormal bone remodeling.
PMCID: PMC4517943  PMID: 18793762
Osteocalcin; NMR; Pb2+; Lead Toxicity
4.  Characterizing longitudinal health state transitions among heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine users 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2014;140:69-77.
Characterize longitudinal patterns of drug use careers and identify determinants of drug use frequency across cohorts of primary heroin, methamphetamine (MA) and cocaine users.
Pooled analysis of prospective cohort studies.
Illicit drug users recruited from community, criminal justice and drug treatment settings in California, USA.
We used longitudinal data on from five observational cohort studies featuring primary users of heroin (N=629), cocaine (N=694) and methamphetamine (N=474). The mean duration of follow-up was 20.9 years.
Monthly longitudinal data was arranged according to five health states (incarceration, drug treatment, abstinence, non-daily and daily use). We fitted proportional hazards (PH) frailty models to determine independent differences in successive episode durations. We then executed multi-state Markov (MSM) models to estimate probabilities of transitioning between health states, and the determinants of these transitions.
Across primary drug use types, PH frailty models demonstrated durations of daily use diminished in successive episodes over time. MSM models revealed primary stimulant users had more erratic longitudinal patterns of drug use, transitioning more rapidly between periods of treatment, abstinence, non-daily and daily use. MA users exhibited relatively longer durations of high-frequency use. Criminal engagement had a destabilizing effect on health state durations across drug types. Longer incarceration histories were associated with delayed transitions towards cessation.
PH frailty and MSM modeling techniques provided complementary information on longitudinal patterns of drug abuse. This information can inform clinical practice and policy, and otherwise be used in health economic simulation models, designed to inform resource allocation decisions.
PMCID: PMC4072125  PMID: 24837584
drug use careers; longitudinal; health state transitions; proportional hazards frailty; multi-state Markov
5.  Heat stress induced apoptosis is triggered by transcription-independent p53, Ca2+ dyshomeostasis and the subsequent Bax mitochondrial translocation 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11497.
In this study, We demonstrated that Bax mitochondrial translocation plays a vital role in the initiation of the mitochondrial signaling pathway upon activation by heat stress. In addition, both p53 mitochondrial translocation and Ca2+ signal mediated MPTP opening activate Bax mitochondrial translocation. Employing pifithrin-α (a p53 mitochondrial translocation inhibitor) and CsA (a permeability transition pore (MPTP) inhibitor), we found that heat stress induced Bax mitochondrial translocation was significantly inhibited in cells pretreated with both PFT and CsA. Furthermore, we demonstrated that generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a critical mediator in heat stress induced apoptosis and that the antioxidant MnTBAP significantly decreased heat stress induced p53 mitochondrial translocation and Ca2+ signal mediated MPTP opening, as well as the subsequent Bax mitochondrial translocation and activation of the caspase cascade. Taken together, our results indicate that heat stress induces apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway with ROS dependent mitochondrial p53 translocation and Ca2+ dyshomeostasis, and the ensuing intro Bax mitochondrial translocation as the upstream events involved in triggering the apoptotic process observed upon cellular exposure to heat stress.
PMCID: PMC4478470  PMID: 26105784
6.  Coexistence of EGFR with KRAS, or BRAF, or PIK3CA somatic mutations in lung cancer: a comprehensive mutation profiling from 5125 Chinese cohorts 
Li, S | Li, L | Zhu, Y | Huang, C | Qin, Y | Liu, H | Ren-Heidenreich, L | Shi, B | Ren, H | Chu, X | Kang, J | Wang, W | Xu, J | Tang, K | Yang, H | Zheng, Y | He, J | Yu, G | Liang, N
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(11):2812-2820.
Determining the somatic mutations of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-pathway networks is the key to effective treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).The somatic mutation frequencies and their association with gender, smoking history and histology was analysed and reported in this study.
Five thousand one hundred and twenty-five NSCLC patients' pathology samples were collected, and EGFR, KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations were detected by multiplex testing. The mutation status of EGFR, KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA and their association with gender, age, smoking history and histological type were evaluated by appropriate statistical analysis.
EGFR, KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA mutation rates revealed 36.2%, 8.4%, 0.5% and 3.3%, respectively, across the 5125 pathology samples. For the first time, evidence of KRAS mutations were detected in two female, non-smoking patients, age 5 and 14, with NSCLC. Furthermore, we identified 153 double and coexisting mutations and 7 triple mutations. Interestingly, the second drug-resistant mutations, T790M or E545K, were found in 44 samples from patients who had never received TKI treatments.
EGFR exons 19, 20 and 21, and BRAF mutations tend to happen in females and non-smokers, whereas KRAS mutations were more inclined to males and smokers. Activating and resistant mutations to EGFR-TKI drugs can coexist and ‘second drug-resistant mutations', T790M or E545K, may be primary mutations in some patients. These results will help oncologists to decide candidates for mutation testing and EGFR-TKI treatment.
PMCID: PMC4037826  PMID: 24743704
non-small cell lung cancer; somatic mutations; double and triple mutations; multiplex testing; liquid chip technology
7.  Comparison of radiological and clinical features of temporal lobe necrosis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients treated with 2D radiotherapy or intensity-modulated radiotherapy 
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(11):2633-2639.
To compare the imaging and clinical features of temporal lobe necrosis (TLN) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients treated with two-dimensional radiotherapy (2D-RT) or those with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).
We retrospectively analysed NPC patients who underwent 2D-RT (72 patients, 128 temporal lobes) or IMRT (36 patients, 50 lobes) and developed radiation-induced, MRI-confirmed TLN.
White-matter lesions (WMLs), contrast-enhanced lesions, cysts and local mass effects were present in 128 out of 128 vs 48 out of 50 (P=0.078), 123 out of 128 vs 47 out of 50 (P=0.688), 10 out of 128 vs 1 out of 50 (P=0.185) and 57 out of 128 vs 13 out of 50 (P=0.023) temporal lobes, respectively, in the 2D-RT and IMRT groups. The WMLs were more extensive in the 2D-RT group (P<0.001). The maximum diameter of contrast-enhanced lesions was greater in the 2D-RT group (P<0.001), and these lesions tended to extend far away from the nasopharynx. The WMLs and enhancement had no impact on cyst development (both P=1). Local mass effects were always accompanied with contrast-enhanced lesions (P=0.024) but were not correlated with WMLs or cysts (P=0.523 and 0.341, respectively). There were no between-group differences in clinical features (all P-values>0.05), whereas the difference in the incidence of severe debility was of marginal significance (18.1% vs 5.6%, P=0.077).
The IMRT-induced TLN was less extensive and milder than 2D-RT-induced TLN, but both had similar clinical features.
PMCID: PMC4037838  PMID: 24809780
temporal lobe necrosis; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; radiotherapy; radiological features; clinical features
8.  NPM-ALK mediates phosphorylation of MSH2 at tyrosine 238, creating a functional deficiency in MSH2 and the loss of mismatch repair 
Blood Cancer Journal  2015;5(5):e311-.
The vast majority of anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALK+ALCL) tumors express the characteristic oncogenic fusion protein NPM-ALK, which mediates tumorigenesis by exerting its constitutive tyrosine kinase activity on various substrates. We recently identified MSH2, a protein central to DNA mismatch repair (MMR), as a novel binding partner and phosphorylation substrate of NPM-ALK. Here, using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry, we report for the first time that MSH2 is phosphorylated by NPM-ALK at a specific residue, tyrosine 238. Using GP293 cells transfected with NPM-ALK, we confirmed that the MSH2Y238F mutant is not tyrosine phosphorylated. Furthermore, transfection of MSH2Y238F into these cells substantially decreased the tyrosine phosphorylation of endogenous MSH2. Importantly, gene transfection of MSH2Y238F abrogated the binding of NPM-ALK with endogenous MSH2, re-established the dimerization of MSH2:MSH6 and restored the sensitivity to DNA mismatch-inducing drugs, indicative of MMR return. Parallel findings were observed in two ALK+ALCL cell lines, Karpas 299 and SUP-M2. In addition, we found that enforced expression of MSH2Y238F into ALK+ALCL cells alone was sufficient to induce spontaneous apoptosis. In conclusion, our findings have identified NPM-ALK-induced phosphorylation of MSH2 at Y238 as a crucial event in suppressing MMR. Our studies have provided novel insights into the mechanism by which oncogenic tyrosine kinases disrupt MMR.
PMCID: PMC4476014  PMID: 25978431
9.  MicroRNA-145 inhibits tumour growth and metastasis in colorectal cancer by targeting fascin-1 
Feng, Y | Zhu, J | Ou, C | Deng, Z | Chen, M | Huang, W | Li, L
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(9):2300-2309.
Recent studies have reported miR-145 dysregulated in colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study, miR-145 profiles were compared between CRC and corresponding non-tumour tissues.
The expression levels of miR-145 were analysed in CRC cell lines and tumour tissues by real-time PCR. A luciferase reporter assay confirmed direct targets. The functional effects of miR-145 were examined in transfected CRC cells in vitro and in vivo using established assays.
Downregulation of miR-145 was detected in most primary CRC tumours, and was significantly correlated with a more aggressive phenotype of CRC in patients. In CRC cell lines, ectopic overexpression of miR-145 inhibited cell proliferation, motility and invasion in vitro. Stable overexpression of miR-145 suppressed tumour growth and pulmonary metastasis in vivo. Further studies indicated that miR-145 may directly interact with the 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR) of Fascin-1 messenger RNA (mRNA), downregulating its mRNA and protein expression levels. In clinical specimens, Fascin-1 expression was negatively correlated with miR-145 expression.
MiR-145 has a critical role in the inhibition of invasive and metastatic capacities of CRC, probably through directly targeting Fascin-1. This miRNA may be involved in the development and progression of CRC.
PMCID: PMC4007224  PMID: 24642628
colorectal cancer; miR-145; Fascin-1; growth; metastasis
10.  A systematic review of therapeutic interventions to reduce acute and chronic post-surgical pain after amputation, thoracotomy or mastectomy* 
Perioperative neuropathic pain is under-recognized and often undertreated. Chronic pain may develop after any routine surgery, but it can have a far greater incidence after amputation, thoracotomy or mastectomy. The peak noxious barrage due to the neural trauma associated with these operations may be reduced in the perioperative period with the potential to reduce the risk of chronic pain.
Databases and data treatment
A systematic review of the evidence for perioperative interventions reducing acute and chronic pain associated with amputation, mastectomy or thoracotomy.
Thirty-two randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria. Gabapentinoids reduced pain after mastectomy, but a single dose was ineffective for thoracotomy patients who had an epidural. Gabapentinoids were ineffective for vascular amputees with pre-existing chronic pain. Venlafaxine was associated with less chronic pain after mastectomy. Intravenous and topical lidocaine and perioperative EMLA (eutectic mixture of local anaesthetic) cream reduced the incidence of chronic pain after mastectomy, whereas local anaesthetic infiltration appeared ineffective. The majority of the trials investigating regional analgesia found it to be beneficial for chronic symptoms. Ketamine and intercostal cryoanalgesia offered no reduction in chronic pain. Total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA) reduced the incidence of post-thoracotomy pain in one study, whereas high-dose remifentanil exacerbated chronic pain in another.
Appropriate dose regimes of gabapentinoids, antidepressants, local anaesthetics and regional anaesthesia may potentially reduce the severity of both acute and chronic pain for patients. Ketamine was not effective at reducing chronic pain. Intercostal cryoanalgesia was not effective and has the potential to increase the risk of chronic pain. TIVA may be beneficial but the effects of opioids are unclear.
PMCID: PMC4405062  PMID: 25088289
11.  Aggresome Formation and Neurodegenerative Diseases: Therapeutic Implications 
Current medicinal chemistry  2008;15(1):47-60.
Accumulation of misfolded proteins in proteinaceous inclusions is a prominent pathological feature common to many age-related neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In cultured cells, when the production of misfolded proteins exceeds the capacity of the chaperone refolding system and the ubiquitin-proteasome degradation pathway, misfolded proteins are actively transported to a cytoplasmic juxtanuclear structure called an aggresome. Aggresome formation is recognized as a cytoprotective response serving to sequester potentially toxic misfolded proteins and facilitate their clearance by autophagy. Recent evidence indicates that aggresome formation is mediated by dynein/dynactin-mediated microtubule-based transport of misfolded proteins to the centrosome and involves several regulators, including histone deacetylase 6, E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase parkin, deubiquitinating enzyme ataxin-3, and ubiquilin-1. Characterization of the molecular mechanisms underlying aggresome formation and its regulation has begun to provide promising therapeutic targets that may be relevant to neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we provide an overview of the molecular machinery controlling aggresome formation and discuss potential useful compounds and intervention strategies for preventing or reducing the cytotoxicity of misfolded and aggregated proteins.
PMCID: PMC4403008  PMID: 18220762
Neurodegenerative diseases; aggresome; HDAC6; parkin; ataxin-3; ubiquilin-1; inclusion body; protein misfolding
12.  Cocaine-and-Amphetamine-Regulated-Transcript (CART) peptide attenuates dopamine- and cocaine-mediated locomotor activity in both male and female rats: lack of sex differences 
Neuropeptides  2014;48(2):75-81.
Cocaine-and-Amphetamine Regulated Transcript peptide (CART peptide) is known for having an inhibitory effect on dopamine (DA)- and cocaine-mediated actions and is postulated to be a homeostatic, regulatory factor in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Some sex differences in cocaine-mediated LMA and in the expression and function of CART peptide have been reported. However, it is not known if the inhibitory effect of CART peptide on cocaine-mediated locomotor activity (LMA) is sexually dimorphic. In this study, the effect of CART 55-102 on LMA due to intra-NAc DA and i.p. cocaine were determined in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats. The results show that CART 55-102 blunted or reduced both the DA- and cocaine-induced LMA in both males and females. In conclusion, CART peptide is effective in blunting DA- and cocaine-mediated LMA in both males and females.
PMCID: PMC4023686  PMID: 24630272
Cocaine-and-Amphetamine Regulated Transcript peptide; CART55-102; cocaine; dopamine; locomotion; nucleus accumbens; sex differences
13.  Microscopic mechanisms contributing to the synchronous improvement of strength and plasticity (SISP) for TWIP copper alloys 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:9550.
In this study, the concept of “twinning induced plasticity (TWIP) alloys” is broadened, and the underlying intrinsic microscopic mechanisms of the general TWIP effect are intensively explored. For the first aspect, “TWIP copper alloys” was proposed following the concept of “TWIP steels”, as they share essentially the same strengthening and toughening mechanisms. For the second aspect, three intrinsic features of twinning: i.e. “dynamic development”, “planarity”, as well as “orientation selectivity” were derived from the detailed exploration of the deformation behavior in TWIP copper alloys. These features can be considered the microscopic essences of the general “TWIP effect”. Moreover, the effective cooperation between deformation twinning and dislocation slipping in TWIP copper alloys leads to a desirable tendency: the synchronous improvement of strength and plasticity (SISP). This breakthrough against the traditional trade-off relationship, achieved by the general “TWIP effect”, may provide useful strategies for designing high-performance engineering materials.
PMCID: PMC4381273  PMID: 25828192
14.  Caffeic acid improves cell viability and protects against DNA damage: involvement of reactive oxygen species and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 
Hormesis is an adaptive response to a variety of oxidative stresses that renders cells resistant to harmful doses of stressing agents. Caffeic acid (CaA) is an important antioxidant that has protective effects against DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, whether CaA-induced protection is a hormetic effect remains unknown, as is the molecular mechanism that is involved. We found that a low concentration (10 μM) of CaA increased human liver L-02 cell viability, attenuated hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-mediated decreases in cell viability, and decreased the extent of H2O2-induced DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). In L-02 cells exposed to H2O2, CaA treatment reduced ROS levels, which might have played a protective role. CaA also activated the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signal pathway in a time-dependent manner. Inhibition of ERK by its inhibitor U0126 or by its specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) blocked the CaA-induced improvement in cell viability and the protective effects against H2O2-mediated DNA damage. This study adds to the understanding of the antioxidant effects of CaA by identifying a novel molecular mechanism of enhanced cell viability and protection against DNA damage.
PMCID: PMC4470308  PMID: 25831202
Caffeic acid; Hormesis; Antioxidants; DNA double-strand breaks; Extracellular signal-regulated kinase
15.  Prognostic value of magnetic resonance imaging-detected cranial nerve invasion in nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
Liu, X | Liu, L-Z | Mao, Y-P | Chen, L | Tang, L-L | Zhou, G-Q | Sun, Y | Yue, D | Lin, A-H | Li, L | Ma, J
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(6):1465-1471.
We previously reported that magnetic resonance imaging evidence of cranial nerve invasion was an unfavourable prognostic factor in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. However, the prognostic value of this evidence in nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy remains unknown.
We retrospectively analysed 749 nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients who underwent intensity-modulated radiotherapy.
Cranial nerve invasion was observed in 299 (39.9%) patients with T3–4 disease. In T3–4 nasopharyngeal carcinoma, magnetic resonance imaging-detected cranial nerve invasion was associated with inferior 5-year overall survival, distant metastasis-free survival, and locoregional relapse-free survival (P=0.002, 0.003, and 0.012, respectively). Multivariate analyses confirmed that cranial nerve invasion was an independent prognostic factor for distant metastasis-free survival (hazard ratio, 1.927; P=0.019) and locoregional relapse-free survival (hazard ratio, 2.605; P=0.032). Furthermore, the receiver-operating characteristic curves verified that the predictive validity of T classifications was significantly improved when combined with magnetic resonance imaging-detected cranial nerve invasion in terms of death, distant metastasis, and locoregional recurrence (P=0.015, 0.021 and 0.008, respectively).
Magnetic resonance imaging-detected cranial nerve invasion is an independent adverse prognostic factor in nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3960608  PMID: 24496459
nasopharyngeal neoplasms; perineural invasion; magnetic resonance imaging; prognosis; prognostic factor
16.  Super adsorption capability from amorphousization of metal oxide nanoparticles for dye removal 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:9028.
Transitional metal oxide nanoparticles as advanced environment and energy materials require very well absorption performance to apply in practice. Although most metal oxides are based on crystalline, high activities can also be achieved with amorphous phases. Here, we reported the adsorption behavior and mechanism of methyl blue (MB) on the amorphous transitional metal oxide (Fe, Co and Ni oxides) nanoparticles, and we demonstrated that the amorphousization of transitional metal oxide (Fe, Co and Ni oxides) nanoparticles driven by a novel process involving laser irradiation in liquid can create a super adsorption capability for MB, and the maximum adsorption capacity of the fabricated NiO amorphous nanostructure reaches up to 10584.6 mgg−1, the largest value reported to date for all MB adsorbents. The proof-of-principle investigation of NiO amorphous nanophase demonstrated the broad applicability of this methodology for obtaining new super dyes adsorbents.
PMCID: PMC4356953  PMID: 25761448
17.  Chest wall shrapnel-induced beryllium-sensitization and associated pulmonary disease 
Chronic beryllium disease (CBD) is an exposure-related granulomatous disease mimicking sarcoidosis. Beryllium exposure-associated disease occurs mainly via inhalation, but skin may also be a source of sensitization. A 65-year-old male with a history of war-related shrapnel wounds was initially diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoidosis. Twenty years later, the possibility of a metal-related etiology for the lung disease was raised. A beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test, elemental analysis of removed shrapnel, and genetic studies were consistent with a diagnosis of CBD. This case demonstrates that retained beryllium-containing foreign bodies can be linked to a pathophysiologic response in the lung consistent with CBD.
PMCID: PMC4347841  PMID: 23461078
beryllium sensitization; shrapnel; chest wall
18.  Serological and Virological Surveillance of Avian Influenza A Virus H9N2 Subtype in Humans and Poultry in Shanghai, China, Between 2008 and 2010 
Wang, Q | Ju, L | Liu, P | Zhou, J | Lv, X | Li, L | Shen, H | Su, H | Jiang, L | Jiang, Q
Zoonoses and Public Health  2014;62(2):131-140.
We report the serological evidence of low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H9N2 infection in an occupational poultry-exposed population and a general population. A serological survey of an occupational poultry-exposed population and a general population was conducted using a haemagglutinin-inhibiting (HI) assay in Shanghai, China, from January 2008 to December 2010. Evidence of higher anti-H9 antibodies was found in serum samples collected from poultry workers. During this period, 239 H9N2 avian influenza viruses (AIVs) were isolated from 9297 tracheal and cloacal paired specimens collected from the poultry in live poultry markets. In addition, a total of 733 influenza viruses were isolated from 1569 nasal and throat swabs collected from patients with influenza-like symptoms in a sentinel hospital, which include H3N2, H1N1, pandemic H1N1 and B, but no H9N2 virus was detected. These findings highlight the need for long-term surveillance of avian influenza viruses in occupational poultry-exposed workers.
PMCID: PMC4345435  PMID: 24803167
Avian influenza virus; H9N2 subtype; occupational exposure; poultry; serology
19.  Effects of Dietary Supplementation with Ferulic Acid or Vitamin E Individually or in Combination on Meat Quality and Antioxidant Capacity of Finishing Pigs 
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of vitamin E (VE), ferulic acid (FA) and their combination supplementation on meat quality and antioxidant capacities of finishing pigs. Sixty barrows were randomly allocated to four experimental diets using a 2×2 factorial arrangement with 2 VE supplemental levels (0 or 400 mg/kg) and 2 FA supplemental levels (0 or 100 mg/kg) in basal diets. After 28 days, six pigs per treatment were slaughtered. The results showed that VE supplementation increased loin eye area of pigs (p<0.05) and FA supplementation increased pH45min value (p<0.05). The interaction of FA×VE was observed in shear force of longissimus dorsi muscle (p<0.05). Moreover, supplementation with VE decreased hepatic and sarcous malondialdehyde (MDA) content, increased hepatic glutathione (GSH) content and sarcous glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity (p<0.05). Additionally, supplementation with FA increased hepatic GSH-Px activity and decreased sarcous MDA content (p<0.05). However, dietary treatment did not affect the expression of genes related to nuclear factor, erythroid 2-like 2 (NFE2L2) pathway. These results suggest that dietary FA and VE could partially improve meat quality and antioxidant capacity of finishing pigs, but not by activating NFE2L2 pathway under the normal conditions of farming.
PMCID: PMC4341082  PMID: 25656211
Ferulic Acid; Vitamin E; Meat Quality; Antioxidant Capacity; Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2-like 2-Antioxidant Response Element [NFE2L2-ARE]
20.  A benzimidazole derivative exhibiting antitumor activity blocks EGFR and HER2 activity and upregulates DR5 in breast cancer cells 
Chu, B | Liu, F | Li, L | Ding, C | Chen, K | Sun, Q | Shen, Z | Tan, Y | Tan, C | Jiang, Y
Cell Death & Disease  2015;6(3):e1686-.
Aberrant expression or function of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or the closely related human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) can promote cell proliferation and survival, thereby contributing to tumorigenesis. Specific antibodies and low-molecular-weight tyrosine kinase inhibitors of both proteins are currently in clinical trials for cancer treatment. Benzimidazole derivatives possess diverse biological activities, including antitumor activity. However, the anticancer mechanism of 5a (a 2-aryl benzimidazole compound; 2-chloro-N-(2-p-tolyl-1H-benzo[d]imidazol-5-yl)acetamide, C16H14ClN3O, MW299), a novel 2-aryl benzimidazole derivative, toward breast cancer is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that 5a potently inhibited both EGFR and HER2 activity by reducing EGFR and HER2 tyrosine phosphorylation and preventing downstream activation of PI3K/Akt and MEK/Erk pathways in vitro and in vivo. We also show that 5a inhibited the phosphorylation of FOXO and promoted FOXO translocation from the cytoplasm into the nucleus, resulting in the G1-phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Moreover, 5a potently induced apoptosis via the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)-mediated death receptor 5 upregulation in breast cancer cells. The antitumor activity of 5a was consistent with additional results demonstrating that 5a significantly reduced tumor volume in nude mice in vivo. Analysis of the primary breast cancer cell lines with HER2 overexpression further confirmed that 5a significantly inhibited Akt Ser473 and Bad Ser136 phosphorylation and reduced cyclin D3 expression. On the basis of our findings, further development of this 2-aryl benzimidazole derivative, a new class of multitarget anticancer agents, is warranted and represents a novel strategy for improving breast cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC4385914  PMID: 25766325
21.  Epidemiology and the control of disease in China, with emphasis on the Chinese Biobank Study 
Public health  2012;126(3):210-213.
Similar to many other developing countries, China is facing a double burden of disease as a result of epidemiological transition. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent a major challenge, having an adverse effect on the health of the Chinese population and increasing the economic burden of health care. In today’s era of evidence-based medicine and decision making, China, as a developing country, has a lack of local scientific evidence which will affect the effectiveness of NCD prevention and control.
As such, and on the basis of decades of cooperation and trust with the University of Oxford, the Chinese Biobank Study [Kadoorie Study of Chronic Disease in China (KSCDC)] was commenced in 2004. KSCDC, an international prospective project, aims to establish the basis of a blood-based health database, using genetic, environmental and lifestyle aspects to investigate and understand the causes, risk factors, pathogenesis, prevalence patterns and trends of major chronic diseases in China (such as stroke, coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease etc.). This study has a duration of 15–20 years, and will provide scientific evidence for strategic planning of NCD prevention and control, and development of new treatment and intervention approaches. In total, approximately 510,000 adults aged 30–79 years have been recruited from the general population in 10 geographically defined regions (five rural and five urban) of China, with differing disease profiles and differing risk exposures. Extensive data collection has been undertaken with questionnaires, physical measurements, and collection and storage of blood samples. KSCDC is a multi-factor, multi-disease, multi-disciplinary large-scale chronic disease epidemiological study, and is also one of the largest long-term blood-based population cohort studies ever conducted in the world. It is worth mentioning that all gene specimens are kept in China, and all associated intellectual property rights are owned by international cooperation groups; this breaks new ground for Chinese and foreign international cooperation.
This article describes the study design, baseline description and main results to date.
PMCID: PMC4340568  PMID: 22325671
Epidemiology; NCD prevention and control; Chinese Biobank study; KSCDC
22.  β-Catenin and NF-κB co-activation triggered by TLR3 stimulation facilitates stem cell-like phenotypes in breast cancer 
Jia, D | Yang, W | Li, L | Liu, H | Tan, Y | Ooi, S | Chi, L | Filion, L G | Figeys, D | Wang, L
Cell Death and Differentiation  2014;22(2):298-310.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are responsible for tumor initiation and progression. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are highly expressed in cancer cells and associated with poor prognosis. However, a linkage between CSCs and TLRs is unclear, and potential intervention strategies to prevent TLR stimulation-induced CSC formation and underlying mechanisms are lacking. Here, we demonstrate that stimulation of toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) promotes breast cancer cells toward a CSC phenotype in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, conventional NF-κB signaling pathway is not exclusively responsible for TLR3 activation-enriched CSCs. Intriguingly, simultaneous activation of both β-catenin and NF-κB signaling pathways, but neither alone, is required for the enhanced CSC phenotypes. We have further identified a small molecule cardamonin that can concurrently inhibit β-catenin and NF-κB signals. Cardamonin is capable of effectively abolishing TLR3 activation-enhanced CSC phenotypes in vitro and successfully controlling TLR3 stimulation-induced tumor growth in human breast cancer xenografts. These findings may provide a foundation for developing new strategies to prevent the induction of CSCs during cancer therapies.
PMCID: PMC4291491  PMID: 25257174
23.  A New Drug Combinatory Effect Prediction Algorithm on the Cancer Cell Based on Gene Expression and Dose–Response Curve 
Gene expression data before and after treatment with an individual drug and the IC20 of dose–response data were utilized to predict two drugs' interaction effects on a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cancer cell. A novel drug interaction scoring algorithm was developed to account for either synergistic or antagonistic effects between drug combinations. Different core gene selection schemes were investigated, which included the whole gene set, the drug-sensitive gene set, the drug-sensitive minus drug-resistant gene set, and the known drug target gene set. The prediction scores were compared with the observed drug interaction data at 6, 12, and 24 hours with a probability concordance (PC) index. The test result shows the concordance between observed and predicted drug interaction ranking reaches a PC index of 0.605. The scoring reliability and efficiency was further confirmed in five drug interaction studies published in the GEO database.
PMCID: PMC4360667
24.  Physiological response to drought stress in Camptotheca acuminata seedlings from two provenances 
Drought stress is a key environmental factor limiting the growth and productivity of plants. The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological responses of Camptotheca acuminata (C. acuminata) to different drought stresses and compare the drought tolerance between the provenances Kunming (KM) and Nanchang (NC), which are naturally distributed in different rainfall zones with annual rainfalls of 1000–1100 mm and 1600–1700 mm, respectively. We determined relative water content (RWC), chlorophyll content [Chl(a+b)], net photosynthesis (Pn), gas exchange parameters, relative leakage conductivity (REC), malondialdehyde (MDA) content and superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD) activities of C. acuminata seedlings under both moderate (50% of maximum field capacity) and severe drought stress (30% of maximum field capacity). As the degree of water stress increased, RWC, Chl(a+b) content, Pn, stomatal conductance (Gs), transpiration rate (Tr) and intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci) values decreased, but water use efficiency (WUE), REC, MDA content and SOD and POD activities increased in provenances KM and NC. Under moderate and severe drought stress, provenance KM had higher RWC, Chl(a+b), Pn, WUE, SOD, and POD and lower Gs, Tr, Ci, and REC in leaves than provenance NC. The results indicated that provenance KM may maintain stronger drought tolerance via improvements in water-retention capacity, antioxidant enzyme activity, and membrane integrity.
PMCID: PMC4440367  PMID: 26052334
Camptotheca acuminata; provenance; drought stress; physiological response; antioxidant enzyme
25.  Audit and Feedback of Antibiotic Use 
Applied Clinical Informatics  2013;4(4):583-595.
There is now little doubt that improving antimicrobial use is necessary for the containment of resistance.
To determine whether providing individualised feedback to doctors about their recent compliance with the hospital’s antibiotic policy improves compliance with the policy.
This study was conducted at a teaching hospital in Sydney, Australia. Computerised alerts integrated into the electronic prescribing system (ePS) inform prescribers of the local antibiotic policy. We utilised prescribing data extracted from the ePS for ‘audit and feedback’. Thirty-six prescribers were sent feedback letters via email. We also interviewed doctors who had received letters to explore their views of the feedback and the policy in general.
There was no significant change in compliance with the policy following implementation of the feedback intervention (0% compliant vs 11.9%; p = 0.07). Several problems with the policy and the approval process were identified by researchers during auditing and by prescribers during interviews. Some problems identified made it difficult to accurately assess compliance and for doctors to comply with the policy.
Our intervention did not result in improved compliance with the antibiotic policy but revealed practical problems with the policy and approval process that had not been identified prior to the trial. Greater support for the policy by senior doctors and the assignment of more clearly defined roles and responsibilities associated with antibiotic use and approval may result in improved compliance. Harnessing the full potential of technology would streamline the antimicrobial approval process and allow more efficient and reliable monitoring of antibiotic use and compliance.
Many of the problems we identified are generic issues of importance to all organisations seeking to integrate antimicrobial stewardship into ePS.
PMCID: PMC3885917  PMID: 24454584
Antibiotic; compliance; audit and feedback; electronic prescribing

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