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1.  Light-controlled inhibition of malignant glioma by opsin gene transfer 
Cell Death & Disease  2013;4(10):e893-.
Glioblastomas are aggressive cancers with low survival rates and poor prognosis because of their highly proliferative and invasive capacity. In the current study, we describe a new optogenetic strategy that selectively inhibits glioma cells through light-controlled membrane depolarization and cell death. Transfer of the engineered opsin ChETA (engineered Channelrhodopsin-2 variant) gene into primary human glioma cells or cell lines, but not normal astrocytes, unexpectedly decreased cell proliferation and increased mitochondria-dependent apoptosis, upon light stimulation. These optogenetic effects were mediated by membrane depolarization-induced reductions in cyclin expression and mitochondrial transmembrane potential. Importantly, the ChETA gene transfer and light illumination in mice significantly inhibited subcutaneous and intracranial glioma growth and increased the survival of the animals bearing the glioma. These results uncover an unexpected effect of opsin ion channels on glioma cells and offer the opportunity for the first time to treat glioma using a light-controllable optogenetic approach.
doi:10.1038/cddis.2013.425
PMCID: PMC3920933  PMID: 24176851
gene therapy; cancer; channelrhodopsin; optogenetic; glioma
2.  Clinical and epidemiological survey and analysis of the first case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in Hangzhou, China 
To investigate and report on the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of the first case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in Hangzhou, China. A field epidemiological survey was used to study the first case in Hangzhou. The patient was a 39-year-old male chef with a history of exposure to a farm product market and to poultry prior to the onset of disease on 15 March 2013. He had diarrhea, chills, pyrexia, and intermittent cough with freshly red foamy bloody sputum early in his disease. His fever > 39 °C continued for a week with rapid progression. Computed tomography findings showed extensive bilateral consolidation, followed by multiorgan failure. The patient died on the morning of 27 March. His infection was eventually confirmed 1 week later on 3 April. Flu-like symptoms including fever and cough were found in 46 of his 138 close contacts. This was the first case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in Hangzhou. None of the close contacts had onset of the disease. The case patient’s condition progressed rapidly. The source of infection might be his exposure to the farm product market, but the mode of exposure remains unclear.
doi:10.1007/s10096-013-1922-9
PMCID: PMC3825647  PMID: 23990172
3.  Quantitative glutamate spectroscopic imaging of the human hippocampus 
NMR in biomedicine  2006;19(2):209-216.
We have evaluated a three-dimensional localized spectroscopic imaging sequence that uses two pairs of adiabatic full-passage pulses, which optimizes the detection of glutamate resonances at moderate echo times. This sequence provides excellent volume localization while simultaneously reducing J-modulation losses of glutamate. We have simulated the performance of this sequence for glutamate and used it to quantitatively measure glutamate in the human hippocampus using a linear components model. Using tissue segmentation and regression analysis, we measured a glutamate concentration of 8.8 ± 2.1 mm in hippocampal and temporal gray matter and 3.7 ± 1.1 mm in temporal white matter (95% CI). We have used this approach in a small group of patients (n = 5) with unilateral hippocampal epilepsy.
doi:10.1002/nbm.1019
PMCID: PMC3657732  PMID: 16479532
glutamate; spectroscopic imaging; adiabatic; hippocampus
4.  Levetiracetam has no acute effects on brain γ-aminobutyric acid levels 
Epilepsy & behavior : E&B  2008;12(2):242-244.
Objective
The mechanism of action of levetiracetam (LEV), an antiepileptic drug, is related to a novel binding site, SV2, but LEV acts on GABA-A receptors. The objective of the study described here was to determine if LEV modulates brain GABA in vivo.
Methods
Concentrations of cerebral GABA and serum LEV were obtained in seven healthy individuals using 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy at baseline and 3 and 6 hours following oral administration of 1 g of LEV.
Results
Brain cerebral GABA acutely concentrations did not change from baseline.
Conclusion
The results indicate that LEV docs not increase human cerebral GABA concentrations acutely in healthy individuals.
PMCID: PMC3657745  PMID: 18286712
Levetiracetam; GABA; MRS; Neurotransmitter; Antiepileptic drug
5.  OCCIPITAL LEVELS OF GABA ARE RELATED TO SEVERE HEADACHES IN MIGRAINE 
Neurology  2008;70(22):2078-2080.
doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000313376.07248.28
PMCID: PMC3600581  PMID: 18505983
6.  Metabolic networks in epilepsy by MR spectroscopic imaging 
Acta neurologica Scandinavica  2012;126(6):411-420.
Objective
The concept of an epileptic network has long been suggested from both animal and human studies of epilepsy. Based on the common observation that the MR spectroscopic imaging measure of NAA/Cr is sensitive to neuronal function and injury, we use this parameter to assess for the presence of a metabolic network in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) patients.
Materials and methods
A multivariate factor analysis is performed with controls and MTLE patients, using NAA/Cr measures from 12 loci: the bilateral hippocampi, thalami, basal ganglia, and insula. The factor analysis determines which and to what extent these loci are metabolically covarying.
Results
We extract two independent factors that explain the data’s variability in control and MTLE patients. In controls, these factors characterize a ‘thalamic’ and ‘dominant subcortical’ function. The MTLE patients also exhibit a ‘thalamic’ factor, in addition to a second factor involving the ipsilateral insula and bilateral basal ganglia.
Conclusions
These data suggest that MTLE patients demonstrate a metabolic network that involves the thalami, also seen in controls. The MTLE patients also display a second set of metabolically covarying regions that may be a manifestation of the epileptic network that characterizes limbic seizure propagation.
doi:10.1111/j.1600-0404.2012.01665.x
PMCID: PMC3600585  PMID: 22574807
epilepsy; neuroimaging; seizures
7.  Hippocampal extracellular GABA correlates with metabolism in human epilepsy 
Metabolic brain disease  2008;23(4):457-468.
As the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in human brain, GABA is an important modulator of hyperexcitability in epilepsy patients. Given the high energetic cost of neurotransmission and synaptic activity, GABA concentrations may be hypothesized to correlate with metabolic function. We studied human epilepsy patients undergoing intracranial EEG monitoring for seizure localization to examine microdialysis measures of extracellular GABA (ecGABA), pre-operative MR spectroscopic measures of neuronal mitochondrial function (NAA/Cr), and wherever possible, neuropathology and hippocampal volumetry. Two groups undergoing intracranial monitoring for seizure localization were studied: surgically treated hippocampal epilepsy (MTLE) and neocortical (non-hippocampal seizure onset) epilepsy. All data are hippocampal and thus these groups allow comparisons between the epileptogenic and non-epileptogenic regions. ecGABA was measured using in vivo microdialysis performed during intracranial monitoring. Pre-operative in vivo MR spectroscopic imaging was performed to measure the ratio of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) to creatine. Standard methods for neuropathology and hippocampal volumetry were used. In the neocortical group, increased ecGABA correlated with greater NAA/Cr (R=+0.70, p<0.015, n=12) while in the MTLE group, increased ecGABA linked with decreased NAA/Cr (R=−0.94, p<0.001, n=8). In MTLE, ecGABA (increased) and NAA/Cr (decreased) correlated with increased glial cell numbers (R=+0.71, p<0.01, n=12, R=−0.76 p<0.03 respectively). No relationship was seen between ecGABA and hippocampal volumes in either group. In epilepsy, ecGABA increases occur across a range of metabolic function. Outside the seizure focus, ecGABA and NAA/Cr increase together; in contrast, within the seizure focus, ecGABA increases with declining mitochondrial function.
doi:10.1007/s11011-008-9106-5
PMCID: PMC3578212  PMID: 18807158
Epilepsy; GABA; NAA; Microdialysis; Hippocampus; Metabolism
8.  J-Refocused Coherence Transfer Spectroscopic Imaging at 7 T in Human Brain 
Short echo spectroscopy is commonly used to minimize signal modulation due to J-evolution of the cerebral amino acids. However, short echo acquisitions suffer from high sensitivity to macromolecules which make accurate baseline determination difficult. In this report, we describe implementation at 7 T of a double echo J-refocused coherence transfer sequence at echo time (TE) of 34 msec to minimize J-modulation of amino acids while also decreasing interfering macromolecule signals. Simulation of the pulse sequence at 7 T shows excellent resolution of glutamate, glutamine, and N-acetyl aspartate. B1 sufficiency at 7 T for the double echo acquisition is achieved using a transceiver array with radiofrequency (RF) shimming. Using an alternate RF distribution to minimize receiver phase cancellation in the transceiver, accurate phase determination for the coherence transfer is achieved with rapid single scan calibration. This method is demonstrated in spectroscopic imaging mode with n = 5 healthy volunteers resulting in metabolite values consistent with literature and in a patient with epilepsy.
doi:10.1002/mrm.22534
PMCID: PMC3578217  PMID: 20648684
coherence transfer; ultra high field; water suppression
9.  Cerebral energetic effects of creatine supplementation in humans 
There has been considerable interest in the use of creatine (Cr) supplementation to treat neurological disorders. However, in contrast to muscle physiology, there are relatively few studies of creatine supplementation in the brain. In this report, we use high-field MR 31P and 1H spectroscopic imaging of human brain with a 7-day protocol of oral Cr supplementation to examine its effects on cerebral energetics (phosphocreatine, PCr; ATP) and mitochondrial metabolism (N-acetyl aspartate, NAA; and Cr). We find an increased ratio of PCr/ATP (day 0, 0.80 ± 0.10; day 7, 0.85 ± 09), with this change largely due to decreased ATP, from 2.7 ± 0.3 mM to 2.5 ± 0.3 mM. The ratio of NAA/Cr also decreased (day 0, 1.32 ± 0.17; day 7 1.18 ± 0.13), primarily from increased Cr (9.6 ± 1.9 to 10.1 ± 2.0 mM). The Cr-induced changes significantly correlated with the basal state, with the fractional increase in PCr/ATP negatively correlating with the basal PCr/ATP value (R = −0.74, P < 0.001). As NAA is a measure of mitochondrial function, there was also a significant negative correlation between basal NAA concentrations with the fractional change in PCr and ATP. Thus healthy human brain energetics is malleable and shifts with 7 days of Cr supplementation, with the regions of initially low PCr showing the largest increments in PCr. Overall, Cr supplementation appears to improve high-energy phosphate turnover in healthy brain and can result in either a decrease or an increase in high-energy phosphate concentrations.
doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00717.2006
PMCID: PMC3570026  PMID: 17185404
high-energy phosphates; brain; N-acetyl aspartate; metabolism
11.  Abuse and dependence on prescription opioids in adults: a mixture categorical and dimensional approach to diagnostic classification 
Psychological medicine  2010;41(3):653-664.
Background
For the emerging DSM-V, it has been recommended that dimensional and categorical methods be used simultaneously in diagnostic classification; however, little is known about this combined approach for abuse and dependence.
Method
Using data (n=37 708) from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), DSM-IV criteria for prescription opioid abuse and dependence among non-prescribed opioid users (n=3037) were examined using factor analysis (FA), latent class analysis (LCA, categorical), item response theory (IRT, dimensional), and factor mixture (hybrid) approaches.
Results
A two-class factor mixture model (FMM) combining features of categorical latent classes and dimensional IRT estimates empirically fitted more parsimoniously to abuse and dependence criteria data than models from FA, LCA and IRT procedures respectively. This mixture model included a severely affected group (7%) with a comparatively moderate to high probability (0.32–0.88) of endorsing all abuse and dependence criteria items, and a less severely affected group (93%) with a low probability (0.003–0.16) of endorsing all criteria. The two empirically defined groups differed significantly in the pattern of non-prescribed opioid use, co-morbid major depression, and substance abuse treatment use.
Conclusions
A factor mixture model integrating categorical and dimensional features of classification fits better to DSM-IV criteria for prescription opioid abuse and dependence in adults than a categorical or dimensional approach. Research is needed to examine the utility of this mixture classification for substance use disorders and treatment response.
doi:10.1017/S0033291710000954
PMCID: PMC3086580  PMID: 20459887
DSM-IV; factor mixture model; item response theory; latent class analyses; nosology; prescription opioid use disorders
12.  Mechanism of Action and Limited Cross-Resistance of New Lipopeptide MX-2401▿ 
MX-2401 is a semisynthetic calcium-dependent lipopeptide antibiotic (analogue of amphomycin) in preclinical development for the treatment of serious Gram-positive infections. In vitro and in vivo, MX-2401 demonstrates broad-spectrum bactericidal activity against Gram-positive organisms, including antibiotic-resistant strains. The objective of this study was to investigate the mechanism of action of MX-2401 and compare it with that of the lipopeptide daptomycin. The results indicated that although both daptomycin and MX-2401 are in the structural class of Ca2+-dependent lipopeptide antibiotics, the latter has a different mechanism of action. Specifically, MX-2401 inhibits peptidoglycan synthesis by binding to the substrate undecaprenylphosphate (C55-P), the universal carbohydrate carrier involved in several biosynthetic pathways. This interaction resulted in inhibition, in a dose-dependent manner, of the biosynthesis of the cell wall precursors lipids I and II and the wall teichoic acid precursor lipid III, while daptomycin had no significant effect on these processes. MX-2401 induced very slow membrane depolarization that was observed only at high concentrations. Unlike daptomycin, membrane depolarization by MX-2401 did not correlate with its bactericidal activity and did not affect general membrane permeability. In contrast to daptomycin, MX-2401 had no effect on lipid flip-flop, calcein release, or membrane fusion with 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC)/1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-(1′-rac-glycerol) (sodium salt) (POPG) liposomes. MX-2401 adopts a more defined structure than daptomycin, presumably to facilitate interaction with C55-P. Mutants resistant to MX-2401 demonstrated low cross-resistance to other antibiotics. Overall, these results provided strong evidence that the mode of action of MX-2401 is unique and different from that of any of the approved antibiotics, including daptomycin.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00170-11
PMCID: PMC3101398  PMID: 21464247
13.  Putative Stem Cells in Human Dental Pulp with Irreversible Pulpitis-An Exploratory Study 
Journal of endodontics  2010;36(5):820-825.
Introduction
Although human dental pulp stem cells isolated from healthy teeth have been extensively characterized, it is unknown whether stem cells also exist in clinically compromised teeth with irreversible pulpitis. Here we explored whether cells retrieved from clinically compromised dental pulp have stem cell-like properties.
Methods
Pulp cells were isolated from healthy teeth (control group) and from teeth with clinically diagnosed irreversible pulpitis (diseased group). Cell proliferation, stem cell marker STRO-1 expression and cell odonto-osteo-genic differentiation competence were compared.
Results
Cells from the diseased group demonstrated decreased colony formation capacity and a slightly decreased cell proliferation rate but had similar STRO-1 expression, and exhibited a similar percentage of positive ex vivo osteogenic induction and dentin sialophosphoprotein expression from STRO-1-enriched pulp cells.
Conclusion
Our study provides preliminary evidence that clinically compromised dental pulp may contain putative cells with certain stem cell properties. Further characterization of these cells will provide insight regarding whether they could serve as a source of endogenous multipotent cells in tissue regeneration based dental pulp therapy.
doi:10.1016/j.joen.2010.02.003
PMCID: PMC2907071  PMID: 20416426
irreversible pulpitis; dental pulp; stem cell
14.  Hippocampal correlates of pain in healthy elderly adults 
Neurology  2009;73(19):1567-1570.
Background:
Few neuroimaging investigations of pain in elderly adults have focused on the hippocampus, a brain structure involved in nociceptive processing that is also subject to involution associated with dementing disorders. The goal of this pilot study was to examine MRI- and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)–derived hippocampal correlates of pain in older adults.
Methods:
A subset of 20 nondemented older adults was drawn from the Einstein Aging Study, a community-based sample from the Bronx, NY. Pain was measured on 3 time scales: 1) acute pain right now (pain severity); 2) pain over the past 4 weeks (Short Form–36 Bodily Pain); 3) chronic pain over the past 3 months (Total Pain Index). Hippocampal data included volume data normalized to midsagittal area and N-acetylaspartate to creatine ratios (NAA/Cr).
Results:
Smaller hippocampal volume was associated with higher ratings on the Short Form–36 Bodily Pain (rs = 0.52, p = 0.02) and a nonsignificant trend was noted for higher ratings of acute pain severity (rs = −0.44, p = 0.06). Lower levels of hippocampal NAA/Cr were associated with higher acute pain severity (rs = −0.45, p = 0.05). Individuals with chronic pain had a nonsignificant trend for smaller hippocampal volumes (t = 2.00, p = 0.06) and lower levels of hippocampal NAA/Cr (t = 1.71, p = 0.10).
Conclusions:
Older adults who report more severe acute or chronic pain have smaller hippocampal volumes and lower levels of hippocampal N-acetylaspartate/creatine, a marker of neuronal integrity. Future studies should consider the role of the hippocampus and other brain structures in the development and experience of pain in healthy elderly and individuals with Alzheimer disease.
GLOSSARY
= Blessed Information Memory Concentration Test; DSM-IV = Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition;
= magnetic resonance spectroscopy;
= N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratios;
= SF-36 Bodily Pain;
= Total Pain Index.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181c0d454
PMCID: PMC2777070  PMID: 19901248
15.  Human papillomavirus infection in Beijing, People's Republic of China: a population-based study 
British Journal of Cancer  2009;101(9):1635-1640.
Background:
No recent data exist on human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in Beijing, People's Republic of China.
Materials and method
We interviewed and examined a representative, randomly selected sample of 5552 sexually active women aged 25–54 years. Cervical cell samples were analysed for HPV DNA by a MY09/11-based PCR assay.
Results:
Human papillomavirus prevalence was 6.7% overall and 4.8% among women without cervical abnormalities. Of the 21 subtypes identified, HPV16 was the commonest type (2.6% overall; 39.1% of HPV-positive women), followed by HPV 58 (1.0%), 33 (0.8%), 43 (0.7%) and 56 (0.7%). High-risk HPV types predominated in all age groups. Human papillomavirus prevalence was highest in young to middle-aged women. Marital status, number of husband's sexual partners, age at sexual debut and nulligravidity were all associated with being HPV positive.
Conclusions:
In our survey, HPV 16, HPV 58 and HPV 33 were the most prevalent HPV types in Beijing, indicating the potential for the prophylactic HPV 16/18 vaccine in China.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605351
PMCID: PMC2778508  PMID: 19862002
human papillomavirus; cervical neoplasia; China; epidemiology
16.  Supratentorial Brain AVM Embolization with Onyx-18 and Post-Embolization Management 
Interventional Neuroradiology  2009;15(3):275-282.
Summary
Onyx is increasingly used in endovascular therapy of intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, the embolic effect and post-embolization management are still under discussion. We report our experience in the treatment of supratentorial brain arteriovenous malformations (SBAVMs) with Onyx and discuss post-embolic management.
From June 2006 to July 2008, 20 patients with SBAVM were embolized with Onyx. There were 14 men and six women ranging from 14 to 64 years of age (mean 38.3 years). Initial symptoms included spontaneous hemorrhage (n=12), headaches (n=4), seizure (n=3) and incidentally disclosed after head trauma (n=1). After the endovascular procedure, all had subsequent treatment (follow-up angiogram, stereotactic radiosurgery or microsurgery) according to the obliteration degree.
At angiography, seven patients (35%, 7/20) were completely obliterated (over 95% closure) after embolization while one suffered a small subarachnoid hemorrhage without permanent clinical sequelae. Four patients (20%, 4/20) were subtotally obliterated (over 80% closure), one patient who suffered severe cerebral edema after embolization underwent decompressive craniectomy, two patients had additional radiosurgery and one patient had follow-up angiogram. Nine patients (45%, 9/20) were partially obliterated (20-80% closure), five patients had additional surgery, two patients had additional radiosurgery and two patients had follow-up angiogram (one patient had intraventricular hemorrhage three months after embolization). Of all 20 AVMs, an average of 2.2 ml Onyx was used per patient and average volume reduction was 80% (range, 30%-99%).
Onyx is suitable for embolization of SBAVMs because of its diffuse controllable properties. We suggest clinical follow-up after complete obliteration, additional radiosurgery or angiographic follow-up after subtotal obliteration and additional surgery after partially obliteration. More cases with long-term follow-up are needed to evaluate the long-term prognosis of our postembolization management.
PMCID: PMC3299373  PMID: 20465910
Onyx, brain arteriovenous malformations, embolization
17.  Enhanced effect of soluble transforming growth factor-β receptor II and IFN-γ fusion protein in reversing hepatic fibrosis 
Objective
To examine the in vivo anti-fibrotic effect of rat soluble transforming growth factor β receptor II (RsTβRII) and IFN-γ fusion protein (RsTβRII-IFN-γ) in rat hepatic fibrosis model.
Methods
Model rats were divided into five groups and treated i.m. for 8 weeks: 1) fibrotic model group (each rat, 100 μl of 0.9% NaCl day-1); 2) RsTβRII-IFN-γ treatment group (each rat, 0.136 mg· day-1); 3) IFN-γ treatment group (each rat, 7.5 MU· day-1); 4) RsTβRII treatment group (each rat, 0.048 mg· day-1); and 5) mixture of IFN-γ and RsTβRII treatment group (each rat, IFN-γ 7.5 MU· day-1+ RsTβRII 0.048 mg· day-1). After treatment, hepatic fibrogenesis was evaluated by histopathological analysis and measurement of collagen III, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), TGF-β1, TGF-βRII and their mRNA.
Results
Immunohistochemistry, Western blot and real-time RT-PCR showed that RsTβRII-IFN-γ treatment significantly inhibited liver expression of collagen III, α-SMA, TGF-β1 and TGF-βRII at both protein and mRNA levels. Histopathological analysis also showed that the enhanced anti-fibrotic effects were achieved in model rats treated with RsTβRII-IFN-γ.
Conclusion
Our results confirmed that RsTβRII-IFN-γ has the enhanced effects in reversing hepatic fibrosis.
doi:10.1186/2047-783X-15-4-152
PMCID: PMC3474166  PMID: 20554496
TGF-βRII; IFN-γ; Recombinant fusion protein; Hepatic fibrosis
18.  Hippocampal neurochemistry, neuromorphometry, and verbal memory in nondemented older adults 
Neurology  2008;70(18):1594-1600.
Background
Characterization of the behavioral correlates of neuromorphometry and neurochemistry in older adults has important implications for an improved understanding of the aging process. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that a measure of hippocampal neuronal metabolism was associated with verbal memory in nondemented older adults after controlling for hippocampal volume.
Methods
4-T MRI, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS), and neuropsychological assessment were conducted in 48 older adults (23 women; mean age 81 years). Average hippocampal N-acetyl aspartate/creatine ratios (NAA/Cr) and hippocampal volumes were obtained. Neuropsychological evaluation included tests of verbal memory (Buschke and Grober Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test–Immediate Recall [FCSRT-IR], Wechsler Memory Scale–Revised Logical Memory subtest) and attention and executive function (Trail Making Test Parts A and B).
Results
Linear regression analysis indicated that after adjusting for age, hippocampal NAA/Cr was a significant predictor of FCSRT-IR performance (β = 0.38, p = 0.01, R 2 = 0.21). Hippocampal volume was also a significant predictor of FCSRT-IR performance after adjusting for age and midsagittal area (β = 0.47, p = 0.01, R 2 = 0.24). In a combined model, hippocampal NAA/Cr (β = 0.33, p = 0.03) and volume (β = 0.35, p = 0.03) were independent predictors of FCSRT-IR performance, accounting for 30% of the variance in memory.
Conclusions
These findings indicate that nondemented older adults with smaller hippocampal volumes and lower levels of hippocampal N-acetyl aspartate/creatine ratio metabolites perform more poorly on a test of verbal memory. The integrity of both the structure and metabolism of the hippocampus may underlie verbal memory function in nondemented elderly.
doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000306314.77311.be
PMCID: PMC2735229  PMID: 18367703
19.  Knowledge and beliefs on corneal donation in Singapore adults 
Aim: To assess the knowledge and willingness of Singapore adults towards corneal donation.
Methods: The study population consists of a cluster random sample of the population living in Bedok North (an area in the eastern part of Singapore). The study population comprised residents aged 21–65 years living in 675 randomly sampled housing units. The participation rate was 65.9% (544/825). All participants were interviewed face to face with a questionnaire formulated according to the modified Horton and Horton model. Knowledge, values, attitudes, and spiritual beliefs of participants were assessed to evaluate their willingness to donate their corneas.
Results: 67.0% of participants were willing to donate their corneas. Ethnicity (Chinese) and religion (Christians, Hindus, or those with no religion) were associated with increased willingness to donate corneas. Greater knowledge and increased altruistic values were also associated with increased willingness to donate corneas.
Conclusion: A proportion of participants were willing to donate their corneas. Awareness of corneal donation is high but specific knowledge should be further increased among adults.
doi:10.1136/bjo.2004.057372
PMCID: PMC1772726  PMID: 15965162
knowledge; beliefs; corneal donation; Singapore; survey
20.  Comparison of Various Blood Compartments and Reporting Units for the Detection and Quantification of Epstein-Barr Virus in Peripheral Blood▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(7):2151-2155.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is associated with a broad spectrum of disease. While quantification of EBV nucleic acid in the peripheral blood has been demonstrated to be useful for diagnosis and patient care, the optimal sample type and reporting format for such testing remain uncertain. Using quantitative real-time PCR (QRT-PCR), we evaluated EBV in whole blood (WB), peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and plasma in 249 samples from 122 patients. In WB and PBMC, results were reported both in viral copies/ml and in copies/μg of total DNA. Trendings of quantitative values over time among the different sample types were compared. The sensitivities of QRT-PCR using WB and that using PBMC did not differ significantly (P = 0.33), and both were more sensitive than plasma alone (P < 0.0001). EBV viral load results from WB and PBMC paired sample types also showed a significant correlation (P < 0.05), as did results reported in copies/ml and copies/μg DNA for both WB and PBMC (R2 > 0.93). EBV viral loads detected using WB and PBMC trended very closely for the few patients who had multiple positive samples available for analysis. WB and PBMC show comparable sensitivities and a close quantitative correlation when assayed for EBV by QRT-PCR. The close correlation between copies/ml and copies/μg DNA also suggests that normalization to cell number or genomic DNA in cellular specimens may not be necessary.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02308-06
PMCID: PMC1932972  PMID: 17494720
21.  Carbon monoxide concentrations in paediatric sepsis syndrome 
Shi, Y | Pan, F | Li, H | Pan, J | Qin, S | Jiang, D | Shen, C
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2003;88(10):889-890.
doi:10.1136/adc.88.10.889
PMCID: PMC1719314  PMID: 14500308
22.  Convergent coevolution in the domestication of coral mushrooms by fungus-growing ants. 
Comparisons of phylogenetic patterns between coevolving symbionts can reveal rich details about the evolutionary history of symbioses. The ancient symbiosis between fungus-growing ants, their fungal cultivars, antibiotic-producing bacteria and cultivar-infecting parasites is dominated by a pattern of parallel coevolution, where the symbionts of each functional group are members of monophyletic groups. However, there is one outstanding exception in the fungus-growing ant system, the unidentified cultivar grown only by ants in the Apterostigma pilosum group. We classify this cultivar in the coral-mushroom family Pterulaceae using phylogenetic reconstructions based on broad taxon sampling, including the first mushroom collected from the garden of an ant species in the A. pilosum group. The domestication of the pterulaceous cultivar is independent from the domestication of the gilled mushrooms cultivated by all other fungus-growing ants. Yet it has the same overall assemblage of coevolved ant-cultivar-parasite-bacterium interactions as the other ant-grown fungal cultivars. This indicates a pattern of convergent coevolution in the fungus-growing ant system, where symbionts with both similar and very different evolutionary histories converge to functionally identical interactions.
doi:10.1098/rspb.2004.2759
PMCID: PMC1691797  PMID: 15315892
23.  1,N(2)-propanodeoxyguanosine adduct formation in aortic DNA following inhalation of acrolein. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2001;109(3):219-224.
Recent reports indicate that many of the cytotoxic and health-threatening components of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) reside in the vapor phase of the smoke. We have reported previously that inhalation of 1,3-butadiene, a prominent vapor phase component of ETS, accelerates arteriosclerotic plaque development in cockerels. In this study we asked whether inhaled acrolein, a reactive aldehyde that is also a prominent vapor-phase component of ETS, damages artery-wall DNA and accelerates plaque development. Cockerels inhaled 0, 1, or 10 ppm acrolein mixed with HEPA-filtered air for 6 hr. Half were killed immediately (day 1 group) for detection of the stable, premutagenic 1,N(2)-propanodeoxyguanosine acrolein adduct (AdG3) in aortic DNA via a (32)P-postlabeling/HPLC method, and half were killed after 10 days (day 10 group) for indirect assessment of adduct repair. In the day 1 group, acrolein-DNA adducts were 5 times higher in the 1 and 10 ppm groups than in HEPA-filtered air controls. However, in the day 10 group, adduct levels in the 1 and 10 ppm acrolein groups were reduced to the control adduct level. For the plaque studies, cockerels inhaled 1 ppm acrolein (6 hr/day, 8 weeks), mixed with the same HEPA-filtered air inhaled by controls. Plaque development was measured blind by computerized morphometry. Unlike butadiene inhalation, acrolein inhalation did not accelerate plaque development. Thus, even though repeated exposure to acrolein alone has no effect on plaque size under the exposure conditions described here, a single, brief inhalation exposure to acrolein elicits repairable DNA damage to the artery wall. These results suggest that frequent exposure to ETS may lead to persistent artery-wall DNA damage and thus provide sites on which other ETS plaque accelerants can act.
PMCID: PMC1240238  PMID: 11333181
24.  Cloning and expression of a gene cluster encoding three subunits of membrane-bound gluconate dehydrogenase from Erwinia cypripedii ATCC 29267 in Escherichia coli. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1997;179(21):6566-6572.
We have cloned the gene cluster encoding three subunits of membrane-bound gluconate dehydrogenase (GADH) from Erwinia cypripedii ATCC 29267 in Escherichia coli by performing a direct-expression assay. The positive clone converted D-gluconate to 2-keto-D-gluconate (2KDG) in the culture medium. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the GADH clone revealed that the cloned fragment contained the complete structural genes for a 68-kDa dehydrogenase subunit, a 47-kDa cytochrome c subunit, and a 24-kDa subunit of unknown function and that the genes were clustered with the same transcriptional polarity. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequences and the NH2-terminal sequences determined for the purified protein indicated that the dehydrogenase, cytochrome c, and 24-kDa subunits contained typical signal peptides of 22, 19, and 42 amino acids, respectively. The molecular masses of the processed subunits deduced from the nucleotide sequences (65, 45, and 20 kDa) coincided well with the molecular masses of subunits estimated by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. In E. cypripedii and recombinant E. coli, the GADH was constitutively formed and the activity of GADH was enhanced more than twofold by addition of D-gluconate to the medium. The holoenzyme glucose dehydrogenase of E. coli was reconstituted by addition of pyrroloquinoline quinone to the culture medium, and the conversion of D-glucose or D-gluconate to 2KDG by recombinant E. coli harboring the cloned GADH gene was attempted in batch culture. The conversion yields for D-glucose were 0.95 mol of 2KDG/mol of D-glucose after 16 h of cultivation, and those for D-gluconate were 0.95 mol of 2KDG/mol of D-gluconate after 12 h of cultivation.
PMCID: PMC179580  PMID: 9352901
25.  Androgen receptor-associated protein complex binds upstream of the androgen-responsive elements in the promoters of human prostate-specific antigen and kallikrein 2 genes. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1997;25(16):3318-3325.
An increasing number of proteins which bind to hormone-dependent nuclear receptors and mediate their effects on gene expression are being identified. The human prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and kallikrein 2 (KLK2) genes are regulated by the androgen receptor (AR). Using electrophoresis mobility shift assays (EMSA), a common nuclear protein(s) which binds upstream of the androgen-responsive elements (AREs) in the PSA and KLK2 promoters was identified. Binding occurred between bp -539 and -399 and bp -349 and -224 in the PSA and KLK2 promoters respectively, which were shown previously to be necessary for AR-mediated transactivation. Glutathione S-transferase (GST)-AR fusion proteins were constructed to determine whether the AR interacted directly with this protein or protein complex. Specific interactions were observed with AR fusion proteins containing the DNA binding domain. EMSA supershift experiments and GST-AR pull-down experiments followed by Western blotting identified a Fos-related protein(s) of approximately 40 kDa as part of this complex. Competition experiments with a double-stranded oligonucleotide containing an AP-1 binding site demonstrated that DNA binding was not mediated by AP-1. These results indicate that a Fos-containing protein complex distinct from AP-1 binds upstream of the AREs in the PSA and KLK2 promoters, interacts with the AR and may participate in regulation of these two androgen-responsive genes.
PMCID: PMC146870  PMID: 9241247

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