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1.  Oxidized High-Density Lipoprotein Impairs Endothelial Progenitor Cells' Function by Activation of CD36-MAPK-TSP-1 Pathways 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2015;22(4):308-324.
Aims: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels inversely correlate with cardiovascular events due to the protective effects on vascular wall and stem cells, which are susceptible to oxidative modifications and then lead to potential pro-atherosclerotic effects. We proposed that oxidized HDL (ox-HDL) might lead to endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) dysfunction and investigated underlying mechanisms. Results: ox-HDL was shown to increase apoptosis and intracellular reactive oxygen species levels, but to reduce migration, angiogenesis, and cholesterol efflux of EPCs in a dose-dependent manner. p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and NF-κB were activated after ox-HDL stimulation, which also upregulated thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) expression without affecting vascular endothelial growth factor. Effects caused by ox-HDL could be significantly attenuated by pretreatment with short hairpin RNA-mediated CD36 knockdown or probucol. Data of in vivo experiments and the inverse correlation of ox-HDL and circulating EPC numbers among patients with coronary artery diseases (CAD) or CAD and type 2 diabetes also supported it. Meanwhile, HDL separated from such patients could significantly increase cultured EPC's caspase 3 activity, further supporting our proposal. Innovation: This is the most complete study to date of how ox-HDL would impair EPCs function, which was involved with activation of CD36-p38 MAPK-TSP-1 pathways and proved by not only the inverse relationship between ox-HDL and circulating EPCs in clinic but also pro-apoptotic effects of HDL separated from patients' serum. Conclusion: Activation of CD36-p38 MAPK-TSP-1 pathways contributes to the pathological effects of ox-HDL on EPCs' dysfunction, which might be one of the potential etiological factors responsible for the disturbed neovascularization in chronic ischemic disease. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 22, 308–324.
PMCID: PMC4298149  PMID: 25313537
2.  Percutaneous Intramyocardial Delivery of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Induces Superior Improvement in Regional Left Ventricular Function Compared with Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells in Porcine Myocardial Infarcted Heart 
Theranostics  2015;5(2):196-205.
Aim: To investigate the efficacy and feasibility of percutaneous intramyocardial injection of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and autologous bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells (BMMNC) on cardiac functional improvement in porcine myocardial infarcted hearts. Methods and Results: Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) was induced in 22 minipigs by temporary balloon occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery for 60min.Two weeks post AMI, BMMNC (n = 7, 245 ± 98×106), MSC (n = 8, 56 ± 17×106), or phosphate buffered saline (PBS; n = 7) were injected intramyocardially. Cardiac function and myocardial perfusion were analyzed by echocardiography and gated single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) at 1 week before AMI and 2 and 10 weeks after AMI. Cell engraftment, proliferation, vascular density, and cardiac fibrosis were evaluated by histology analysis. In all groups, the echocardiography revealed no significant change in the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), left ventricular end-systolic volume (LVESV), or left ventricular end-diastolic volume (LVEDV) at 10 weeks after AMI compared with those at 2 weeks after AMI. However, the wall motion score index (WMSI) and left ventricular systolic wall thickening (WT%) were significantly improved at 10 weeks compared with those at 2 weeks after AMI in the MSC group (WMSI 1.55 ± 0.06 vs. 1.87 ± 0.10, WT 33.4 ± 2.3% vs.24.8 ± 2.7%,p < 0.05) but not in the BMMNC group. In addition, myocardial perfusion quantified by SPECT/CT was improved in both the MSC and BMMNC groups, whereas the MSC group showed a superior improvement in vascular density and collagen volume fraction (p < 0.05). Conclusion: This preclinically relevant study suggests that when delivered by percutaneous (transcatheter) intramyocardial injection, MSC might be more effective than BMMNC to improve ischemia and reperfusion after AMI.
PMCID: PMC4279004  PMID: 25553108
Angiogenesis; Imaging; Myocardial infarction; Remodeling; Stem cells.
3.  Clinical observation of the therapeutic effects of pegylated recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in patients with concurrent chemoradiotherapy-induced grade IV neutropenia 
The aim of the present study was to investigate the efficacy and side-effects of preventive treatment with pegylated recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (PEG-rhG-CSF) on concurrent chemoradiotherapy-induced grade IV neutropenia and to provide a rational basis for its clinical application. A total of 114 patients with concurrent chemoradiotherapy-induced grade IV neutropenia were enrolled. A randomized approach was used to divide the patients into an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group included three subgroups, namely a P-50 group, P-100 group and P + R group. The P-50 group had 42 cases, which were given a single 50-μg/kg subcutaneous injection of PEG-rhG-CSF. The P-100 group had 30 cases, which received a single 100-μg/kg subcutaneous injection of PEG-rhG-CSF. The P + R group comprised 22 cases, which were given a single 50-μg/kg subcutaneous injection of PEG-rhG-CSF and rhG-CSF 5 μg/kg/day; when the absolute neutrophil count (ANC) was ≥2.0×109/l, the administration of rhG-CSF was stopped. The control group (RC group) comprised 20 patients, who received rhG-CSF 5 μg/kg/day by subcutaneous injection until the ANC was ≥2.0×109/l. Changes in the neutrophil proliferation rate and ANC values over time, the neutropenic symptom remission time and incidence of adverse drug reactions were analyzed statistically in each group of patients. In the experimental group, the neutrophil proliferation rate and ANC values were significantly higher than those in the control group; the clinical effects began 12–24 h after treatment in the experimental group, and indicated that the treatment improved neutropenia in ~48 h after treatment. There was no significant difference in the neutrophil proliferation rate and ANC values between the P-50 and P+R groups. In the experimental group, the remission time of neutropenia-induced fever and muscle pain after administration was significantly shorter than that in the control group, with a statistically significant difference (P<0.05). The adverse drug reaction rates showed no significant difference between the experimental group and the control group. PEG-rhG-CSF had good efficacy and safety in the treatment of concurrent chemotherapy-induced grade IV neutropenia. For the treatment of concurrent chemotherapy-induced grade IV neutropenia, a single subcutaneous injection of 50 μg/kg PEG-rhG-CSF is the recommended dose. The effects begin at 12–24 h; if the ANC values are not significantly improved during this time, no supplementary administration of rhG-CSF is necessary.
PMCID: PMC4316958  PMID: 25667625
pegylated recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor; concurrent chemoradiotherapy; grade IV neutropenia
4.  High intensity focused ultrasound: A noninvasive therapy for locally advanced pancreatic cancer 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(44):16480-16488.
The noninvasive ablation of pancreatic cancer with high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) energy is received increasingly widespread interest. With rapidly temperature rise to cytotoxic levels within the focal volume of ultrasound beams, HIFU can selectively ablate a targeted lesion of the pancreas without any damage to surrounding or overlying tissues. Preliminary studies suggest that this approach is technical safe and feasible, and can be used alone or in combination with systemic chemotherapy for the treatment of patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer. It can effectively alleviate cancer-related abdominal pain, and may confer an additional survival benefit with few significant complications. This review provides a brief overview of HIFU, describes current clinical applications, summarizes characteristics of continuous and pulsed HIFU, and discusses future applications and challenges in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4248191  PMID: 25469016
Pancreatic cancer; High intensity focused ultrasound; Focused ultrasound surgery; Thermal ablation; Hyperthermia; Therapeutic ultrasound
5.  Immunization with advanced glycation end products modified low density lipoprotein inhibits atherosclerosis progression in diabetic apoE and LDLR null mice 
Cardiovascular Diabetology  2014;13(1):151.
Diabetes accelerates atherosclerosis through undefined molecular mechanisms. Hyperglycemia induces formation of advanced glycation end product (AGE)-modified low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Anti-AGE-LDL autoantibodies favor atherosclerosis (AS) progression in humans, while anti oxidized LDL immunization inhibits AS in hypercholesterolemic, non-diabetic mice. We here investigated if AGE-LDL immunization protects against AS in diabetic mice.
After diabetes induction with streptozotocin and high fat diet, both low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR)−/− and apoE female mice were randomized to: AGE-LDL immunization with aluminum hydroxide (Alum) adjuvant; Alum alone; or PBS.
AGE-LDL immunization: significantly reduced AS; induced specific plasma IgM and IgG antibodies; upregulated splenic Th2, Treg and IL-10 levels, without altering Th1 or Th17 cells; and increased serum high density lipoprotein(HDL) while numerically lowering HbA1c levels.
Subcutaneous immunization with AGE-LDL significantly inhibits atherosclerosis progression in hyperlipidemic diabetic mice possibly through activation of specific humoral and cell mediated immune responses and metabolic control improvement.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12933-014-0151-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4234834  PMID: 25391642
Immunization; Advanced glycation end products; Low density lipoprotein; Atherosclerosis; Diabetes
6.  Analysis of the APETALA3- and PISTILLATA-like genes in Hedyosmum orientale (Chloranthaceae) provides insight into the evolution of the floral homeotic B-function in angiosperms 
Annals of Botany  2013;112(7):1239-1251.
Background and Aims
According to the floral ABC model, B-function genes appear to play a key role in the origin and diversification of the perianth during the evolution of angiosperms. The basal angiosperm Hedyosmum orientale (Chloranthaceae) has unisexual inflorescences associated with a seemingly primitive reproductive morphology and a reduced perianth structure in female flowers. The aim of this study was to investigate the nature of the perianth and the evolutionary state of the B-function programme in this species.
A series of experiments were conducted to characterize B-gene homologues isolated from H. orientale, including scanning electron microscopy to observe the development of floral organs, phylogenetic analysis to reconstruct gene evolutionary history, reverse transcription–PCR, quantitative real-time PCR and in situ hybridization to identify gene expression patterns, the yeast two-hybrid assay to explore protein dimerization affinities, and transgenic analyses in Arabidopsis thaliana to determine activities of the encoded proteins.
Key Results
The expression of HoAP3 genes was restricted to stamens, whereas HoPI genes were broadly expressed in all floral organs. HoAP3 was able to partially restore the stamen but not petal identity in Arabidopsis ap3-3 mutants. In contrast, HoPI could rescue aspects of both stamen and petal development in Arabidopsis pi-1 mutants. When the complete C-terminal sequence of HoPI was deleted, however, no or weak transgenic phenotypes were observed and homodimerization capability was completely abolished.
The results suggest that Hedyosmum AP3-like genes have an ancestral function in specifying male reproductive organs, and that the activity of the encoded PI-like proteins is highly conserved between Hedyosmum and Arabidopsis. Moreover, there is evidence that the C-terminal region is important for the function of HoPI. Our findings indicate that the development of the proposed perianth in Hedyosmum does not rely on the B homeotic function.
PMCID: PMC3806522  PMID: 23956161
Floral homeotic B function; Hedyosmum orientale; Chloranthaceae; C-terminal region; HoAP3; HoPI; homodimerization; APETALA3; PISTILLATA
7.  Enhancement of radiotherapy efficacy by miR-200c-loaded gelatinase-stimuli PEG-Pep-PCL nanoparticles in gastric cancer cells 
Radiotherapy is the main locoregional control modality for many types of unresectable tumors, including gastric cancer. However, many patients fail radiotherapy due to intrinsic radioresistance of cancer cells, which has been found to be strongly associated with cancer stem cell (CSC)-like properties. In this study, we developed a nanoparticle formulation to deliver miR-200c, which is reported to inhibit CSC-like properties, and then evaluated its potential activity as a radiosensitizer. miR-200c nanoparticles significantly augmented radiosensitivity in three gastric cancer cell lines (sensitization enhancement ratio 1.13–1.25), but only slightly in GES-1 cells (1.06). In addition to radioenhancement, miR-200c nanoparticles reduced the expression of CD44, a putative CSC marker, and the percentage of CD44+ BGC823 cells. Meanwhile, other CSC-like properties, including invasiveness and resistance to apoptosis, could be suppressed by miR-200c nanoparticles. CSC-associated radioresistance mechanisms, involving reactive oxygen species levels and DNA repair capacity, were also attenuated. We have demonstrated that miR-200c nanoparticles are an effective radiosensitizer in gastric cancer cells and induce little radiosensitization in normal cells, which suggests that they are as a promising candidate for further preclinical and clinical evaluation.
PMCID: PMC4026568  PMID: 24872697
radiosensitizer; miR-200c; gelatinase-stimuli nanoparticles; cancer stem cell-like properties; gastric cancer
8.  PE-induced apoptosis in SMMC-7721 cells: Involvement of Erk and Stat signalling pathways 
Emerging evidence indicates that the redistribution of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) across the bilayer of the plasma membrane is an important molecular marker for apoptosis. However, the effect of PE on apoptosis and the underlying mechanism of PE remain unclear. In the current study, MTT and flow cytometric assays were used to examine the effects of PE on apoptosis in SMMC-7721 cells. The level of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and the expression of Bax, Bcl-2, caspase-3, phospho-Erk and phospho-Stat1/2 in SMMC-7721 cells that were exposed to PE were also investigated. The results showed that PE inhibited proliferation, caused G0/G1 phase cell cycle arrest and induced apoptosis in SMMC-7721 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Rhodamine 123 staining showed that the treatment of SMMC-7721 cells with different concentrations of PE for 24 h significantly decreased the level of ΔΨm and exerted dose-dependent effects. Using immunofluorescence and western blotting, we found that the expression of Bax was upregulated, whereas that of Bcl-2 was downregulated in PE-induced apoptotic cells. In addition, these events were accompanied by an increase in caspase-3 expression in a dose-dependent manner following PE treatment. PE-induced apoptosis was accompanied by a decrease in Erk phosphorylation and by the activation of Stat1/2 phosphorylation in SMMC-7721 cells. In conclusion, the results suggested that PE-induced apoptosis is involved in upregulating the Bax/Bcl-2 protein ratio and decreasing the ΔΨm. Moreover, the results showed that the Erk and Stat1/2 signalling pathways may be involved in the process of PE-induced apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4072400  PMID: 24821075
phosphatidylethanolamine; apoptosis; SMMC-7721 cells; Erk; Stat
9.  Toll-like receptor 4 single-nucleotide polymorphisms Asp299Gly and Thr399Ile in ovarian cancers 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(1):438-440.
Toll-like receptor (TLR4) 4 is present in numerous cell types and serves as the first point of defense in the innate immune system. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are present in a number TLR genes and have been associated with various infection and inflammation disorders. Asp299Gly and Thr399Ile, TLR4 SNPs, are associated with tumor progression. In the present study, cases of ovarian cancer were analyzed with regards to Asp299Gly and Thr399Ile of the TLR4 gene. Genotype analysis was performed using DNA from tissue samples from stage I–IV patients with ovarian cancer. DNA from tissue samples was extracted and analyzed by a pyrosequencing method following multiplex polymerase chain reaction. The genotypes of these SNPs were analyzed in the present study in a population of 105 patients, with different types of ovarian cancer, between 2004 and 2012. The allele frequencies for TLR4 Asp299Gly identified in this population were 1.00 (A) and 0.00 (G); for TLR4 Thr399Ile the allele frequencies were; 1.00 (C) and 0.00 (T). For TLR4 Asp299Gly the observed genotype frequency was 1.00 (AA), 0.00 (AG) and 0.0 (GG). In TLR4 Thr399Ile the observed genotype frequencies were 1.00 (CC), 0.00 (CT) and 0.00 (TT). TLR4 Asp299Gly and Thr399Ile alleles were not detected in the patients. These results indicated that the TLR4 299Gly and 399Ile alleles were exhibited at a lower frequency in the ovarian cancer patients that were examined.
PMCID: PMC4063650  PMID: 24959291
toll-like receptor 4; single-nucleotide polymorphism; ovarian cancer
10.  Forkhead Transcription Factor Foxq1 Promotes Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition and Breast Cancer Metastasis 
Cancer research  2011;71(4):1292-1301.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) promotes cancer invasion and metastasis, but the integrative mechanisms that coordinate these processes are incompletely understood. In this study, we used a cross-species expression profiling strategy in metastatic cell lines of human and mouse origin to identify 22 up-regulated and 12 down-regulated genes that are part of an essential genetic program in metastasis. In particular, we identified a novel function in metastasis that was not previously known for the transcription factor Forkhead Box Q1 (Foxq1). Ectopic expression of Foxq1 increased cell migration and invasion in vitro, enhanced the lung metastatic capabilities of mammary epithelial cells in vivo, and triggered a marked EMT. In contrast, Foxq1 knockdown elicited converse effects on these phenotypes in vitro and in vivo. Neither ectopic expression nor knockdown of Foxq1 significantly affected cell proliferation or colony formation in vitro. Notably, Foxq1 repressed expression of the core EMT regulator E-cadherin by binding to the E-box in its promoter region. Further mechanistic investigation revealed that Foxq1 expression is regulated by TGF-β1, and that Foxq1 knockdown blocked TGF-β1-induced EMT at both morphological and molecular levels. Our findings highlight the feasibility of cross-species expression profiling as a strategy to identify metastasis-related genes, and they reveal that EMT induction is a likely mechanism underlying a novel metastasis-promoting function of Foxq1 defined here in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3906209  PMID: 21285253
11.  Frontal-Subcortical Volumetric Deficits in Single Episode, Medication-Naïve Depressed Patients and the Effects of 8 Weeks Fluoxetine Treatment: A VBM-DARTEL Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e79055.
Convergent studies suggest that morphological abnormalities of frontal-subcortical circuits which involved with emotional and cognitive processing may contribute to the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). Antidepressant treatment which has been reported to reverse the functional abnormalities of frontal-subcortical circuits in MDD may have treating effects to related brain morphological abnormalities. In this study, we used voxel-based morphometry method to investigate whole brain structural abnormalities in single episode, medication-naïve MDD patients. Furthermore, we investigated the effects of an 8 weeks pharmacotherapy with fluoxetine.
28 single episode, medication-naïve MDD participants and 28 healthy controls (HC) acquired the baseline high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) scan. 24 MDD participants acquired a follow-up sMRI scan after 8 weeks antidepressant treatment. Gray matter volumetric (GMV) difference between groups was examined.
Medication-naïve MDD had significantly decreased GMV in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and left middle frontal gyrus as well as increased GMV in the left thalamus and right insula compared to HC (P<0.05, corrected). Moreover, treated MDD had significantly increased GMV in the left middle frontal gyrus and right orbitofrontal cortex compared to HC (P<0.05, corrected). No difference on GMV was detected between medication-naïve MDD group and treated MDD group.
This study of single episode, medication-naïve MDD subjects demonstrated structural abnormalities of frontal-subcortical circuitsin the early stage of MDD and the effects of 8 weeks successful antidepressant treatment, suggesting these abnormalities may play an important role in the neuropathophysiology of MDD at its onset.
PMCID: PMC3888377  PMID: 24427263
12.  Menatetrenone versus alfacalcidol in the treatment of Chinese postmenopausal women with osteoporosis: a multicenter, randomized, double-blinded, double-dummy, positive drug-controlled clinical trial 
To evaluate whether the efficacy and safety of menatetrenone for the treatment of osteoporosis is noninferior to alfacalcidol in Chinese postmenopausal women.
This multicenter, randomized, double-blinded, double-dummy, noninferiority, positive drug-controlled clinical trial was conducted in five Chinese sites. Eligible Chinese women with postmenopausal osteoporosis (N=236) were randomized to Group M or Group A and received menatetrenone 45 mg/day or alfacalcidol 0.5 μg/day, respectively, for 1 year. Additionally, all patients received calcium 500 mg/day. Posttreatment bone mineral density (BMD), new fracture onsets, and serum osteocalcin (OC) and undercarboxylated OC (ucOC) levels were compared with the baseline value in patients of both groups.
A total of 213 patients (90.3%) completed the study. After 1 year of treatment, BMD among patients in Group M significantly increased from baseline by 1.2% and 2.7% at the lumbar spine and trochanter, respectively (P<0.001); and the percentage increase of BMD in Group A was 2.2% and 1.8%, respectively (P<0.001). No difference was observed between groups. There were no changes in femoral neck BMD in both groups. Two patients (1.9%, 2/108) in Group M and four patients (3.8%, 4/105) in Group A had new fracture onsets (P>0.05). In Group M, OC and ucOC decreased from baseline by 38.7% and 82.3%, respectively (P<0.001). In Group A, OC and ucOC decreased by 25.8% and 34.8%, respectively (P<0.001). Decreases in serum OC and ucOC were more obvious in Group M than in Group A (P<0.001). The safety profile of menatetrenone was similar to alfacalcidol.
Menatetrenone is an effective and safe choice in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis in Chinese women.
PMCID: PMC3890406  PMID: 24426779
menatetrenone; alfacalcidol; postmenopausal; osteoporosis; bone mineral density; undercarboxylated osteocalcin
13.  TLR4 induces tumor growth and inhibits paclitaxel activity in MyD88-positive human ovarian carcinoma in vitro 
Oncology Letters  2013;7(3):871-877.
In ovarian cancer patients, chemotherapy resistance is the principal factor restricting long-term treatment. Paclitaxel (Pac) has been previously reported to be a ligand to Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). It was determined that TLR4 signaling is divided into the following two pathways: Myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88)-dependent and MyD88-independent. The present study investigated the effect of TLR4 ligation by Pac in MyD88-positive (MyD88+) and MyD88-negative (MyD88−) human ovarian cancer cell lines. An RNA interference expression vector was specifically constructed to target TLR4 mRNA, which was stably transfected into the human ovarian cancer cell lines (SKOV3, OVCAR3, A2780 and 3AO). Cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8, were detected. Cell proliferation and apoptosis were assessed in the cells transfected with scramble control and TLR4 shRNA to explore the possible functions of TLR4 in ovarian cancer cell growth. It was found that lipopolysaccharide and Pac significantly increase the secretion of IL-6 and IL-8 in the SKOV3 cell line. Similarly, Pac resulted in a significant upregulation of IL-6 and IL-8 in OVCAR3 cells, but not in A2780 and 3AO cells. These results suggested that in MyD88+ ovarian cancer cell lines, TLR4 depletion shows increased sensitivity to Pac treatment in inhibiting cell proliferation compared with in cells without TLR4 knockdown. On the contrary, such changes were not found in MyD88− cells (A2780 and 3AO). TLR4 negatively regulates Pac chemotherapy, particularly in terms of cell proliferation, and TLR4 may be a novel treatment target in Pac-resistant ovarian cancer.
PMCID: PMC3919821  PMID: 24527095
ovarian cancer; TLR4; MyD88; paclitaxel; chemotherapy
14.  Angiostrongylus cantonensis: Scanning Electron Microscopic Observations on the Cuticle of Moulting Larvae 
Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a parasitic nematode that needs to develop in different hosts in different larval stages. Freshwater snails, such as Pomacea canaliculata, are the intermediate host, and rats are the definitive host. Periodic shedding of the cuticle (moulting) is an important biological process for the survival and development of the parasite in the intermediate and definitive hosts. However, there are few studies on the cuticle alterations between different stages of this parasite. In this study, we observed the ultrastructural appearance and changes of the cuticle of the 2nd/3rd stage larvae (L2/L3) and the 3rd/4th stage larvae (L3/L4) using a scanning electron microscope. We also first divided L2/L3 into late L2 and early L3. The late L2 lacked alae, but possessed a pull-chain-like fissure. Irregular alignment of spherical particles on the cuticle were noted compared to the L3. Alae appeared in the early L3. The old cuticle turned into a thin film-like structure which adhered to the new cuticle, and spherical particles were seen regularly arranged on the surface of this structure. Regular rectangular cavities were found on the surface of L3/L4. The caudal structure of L3/L4 was much larger than that of L3, but caudal inflation, such as seen in L4, was not observed. These results are the first to reveal the ultrastructural changes of the cuticle of A. cantonensis before and after moulting of L2/L3 and L3/L4.
PMCID: PMC3916450  PMID: 24516266
Angiostrongylus cantonensis; moulting larva; scanning electron microscopy
15.  Functional connectivity between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex in medication-naive individuals with major depressive disorder 
Convergent evidence suggests dysfunction within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and amygdala, important components of a neural system that subserves emotional processing, in individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD). Abnormalities in this system in the left hemisphere and during processing of negative emotional stimuli are especially implicated. In this study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate amygdala–PFC functional connectivity during emotional face processing in medication-naive individuals with MDD.
Individuals with MDD and healthy controls underwent fMRI scanning while processing 3 types of emotional face stimuli. We compared the strength of functional connectivity from the amygdala between the MDD and control groups.
Our study included 28 individuals with MDD and 30 controls. Decreased amygdala–left rostral PFC (rPFC) functional connectivity was observed in the MDD group compared with controls for the fear condition (p < 0.05, corrected). No significant differences were found in amygdala connectivity to any cerebral regions between the MDD and control groups for the happy or neutral conditions.
All participants with MDD were experiencing acute episodes, therefore the findings could not be generalized to the entire MDD population.
Medication-naive individuals with MDD showed decreased amygdala–left rPFC functional connectivity in response to negative emotional stimuli, suggesting that abnormalities in amygdala–left rPFC neural circuitry responses to negative emotional stimuli might play an important role in the pathophysiology of MDD.
PMCID: PMC3819156  PMID: 24148846
16.  The road to clinical use of high-intensity focused ultrasound for liver cancer: technical and clinical consensus 
Clinical use of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) under ultrasound or MR guidance as a non-invasive method for treating tumors is rapidly increasing. Tens of thousands of patients have been treated for uterine fibroid, benign prostate hyperplasia, bone metastases, or prostate cancer. Despite the methods' clinical potential, the liver is a particularly challenging organ for HIFU treatment due to the combined effect of respiratory-induced liver motion, partial blocking by the rib cage, and high perfusion/flow. Several technical and clinical solutions have been developed by various groups during the past 15 years to compensate for these problems. A review of current unmet clinical needs is given here, as well as a consensus from a panel of experts about technical and clinical requirements for upcoming pilot and pivotal studies in order to accelerate the development and adoption of focused ultrasound for the treatment of primary and secondary liver cancer.
PMCID: PMC4265946  PMID: 25512859
Ultrasound; Non-invasive surgery; High-intensity ultrasound; Focused ultrasound; Liver cancer
17.  Evaluation of the Impacts of Land Use on Water Quality: A Case Study in The Chaohu Lake Basin 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:329187.
It has been widely accepted that there is a close relationship between the land use type and water quality. There have been some researches on this relationship from the perspective of the spatial configuration of land use in recent years. This study aims to analyze the influence of various land use types on the water quality within the Chaohu Lake Basin based on the water quality monitoring data and RS data from 2000 to 2008, with the small watershed as the basic unit of analysis. The results indicated that there was significant negative correlation between forest land and grassland and the water pollution, and the built-up area had negative impacts on the water quality, while the influence of the cultivated land on the water quality was very complex. Besides, the impacts of the landscape diversity on the indicators of water quality within the watershed were also analyzed, the result of which indicated there was a significant negative relationship between them. The results can provide important scientific reference for the local land use optimization and water pollution control and guidance for the formulation of policies to coordinate the exploitation and protection of the water resource.
PMCID: PMC3736410  PMID: 23970833
18.  Community and Proteomic Analysis of Methanogenic Consortia Degrading Terephthalate 
Degradation of terephthalate (TA) through microbial syntrophy under moderately thermophilic (46 to 50°C) methanogenic conditions was characterized by using a metagenomic approach (A. Lykidis et al., ISME J. 5:122–130, 2011). To further study the activities of key microorganisms responsible for the TA degradation, community analysis and shotgun proteomics were used. The results of hierarchical oligonucleotide primer extension analysis of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA genes indicated that Pelotomaculum, Methanosaeta, and Methanolinea were predominant in the TA-degrading biofilms. Metaproteomic analysis identified a total of 482 proteins and revealed a distinctive distribution pattern of microbial functions expressed in situ. The results confirmed that TA was degraded by Pelotomaculum spp. via the proposed decarboxylation and benzoyl-coenzyme A-dependent pathway. The intermediate by-products, including acetate, H2/CO2, and butyrate, were produced to support the growth of methanogens, as well as other microbial populations that could further degrade butyrate. Proteins related to energy production and conservation, and signal transduction mechanisms (that is, chemotaxis, PAS/GGDEF regulators, and stress proteins) were highly expressed, and these mechanisms were important for growth in energy-limited syntrophic ecosystems.
PMCID: PMC3536119  PMID: 23064332
19.  The Characteristics and Significance of Locally Infiltrating B Cells in Lupus Nephritis and Their Association with Local BAFF Expression 
Introduction. Dysfunction of the B lymphocyte is considered to be involved in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis (LN). Intrarenal B cells have been found in several forms of inflammatory kidney disease. B-cell activating factor (BAFF) regulates B lymphocyte proliferation and survival, and contributes to human autoimmune disease. Their role in renal inflammation is not well defined. Methods. Clinical parameters and renal biopsies from 62 LN patients were prospectively analyzed. We performed standard immunohistochemistry on serial paraffin tissue sections using monoclonal antibodies to CD20 and BAFF to investigate the characteristics and significance of locally infiltrating B cells and local BAFF expression in patients with LN. Results. Intrarenal B cells and/or BAFF were mainly distributed in the renal interstitium. Compared to the LN-non-B-cell/BAFF expression group, proteinuria (g/24 hour), blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine levels, LN renal activity, and chronicity indices, were all significantly greater in the LN-B-cell/BAFF expression groups. The expression of BAFF was strongly associated with the quantity of B-cell infiltrate in the interstitium. Conclusion. As BAFF expression was strongly associated with B-cell infiltration, we hypothesize that altered B-cell differentiation and tolerance induced by excess BAFF may be central to the pathogenesis of LN.
PMCID: PMC3694495  PMID: 23843794
20.  Atypical chemokine receptor D6 inhibits human non-small cell lung cancer growth by sequestration of chemokines 
Oncology Letters  2013;6(1):91-95.
Chemokines and their receptors have been shown to play a vital role in lung cancer progression. D6 is an atypical chemokine receptor which is able to internalize and degrade chemokines. To investigate the potential role of D6 in lung cancer, we established D6-overexpressing A549 lung cancer cell lines by the transfection of human D6 cDNA. Results showed that D6 inhibited the proliferation of cancer cells in vitro and tumorigenesis in vivo. We also determined chemokine levels in the supernatant and showed that a number of chemokines (CCL2/4/5) had significantly decreased protein levels in D6-overexpressing cells compared with the controls, whereas no significant changes in mRNA expression levels of these chemokines were detected. The cell cycle distribution and expression of certain growth factors and their receptors did not change in the D6-overexpressing cells compared with parental cells. Thus, our results suggest that D6 is a negative regulator of growth in lung cancer, mainly by the sequestration of specific chemokines.
PMCID: PMC3742824  PMID: 23946783
chemokines; D6; decoy receptor; lung neoplasm; proliferation
21.  Actin Microfilament Mediates Osteoblast Cbfa1 Responsiveness to BMP2 under Simulated Microgravity 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63661.
Microgravity decreases osteoblastic activity, induces actin microfilament disruption and inhibits the responsiveness of osteoblast to cytokines, but the mechanisms remains enigmatic. The F-actin cytoskeleton has previously been implicated in manifold changes of cell shape, function and signaling observed under microgravity. Here we investigate the involvement of microfilament in mediating the effects of microgravity and BMP2 induction on Cbfa1 activity. For this purpose we constructed a fluorescent reporter cell line (OSE-MG63) of Cbfa1 activity by stably transfecting MG63 cells with a reporter consisting of six tandem copies of OSE2 and a minimal mOG2 promoter upstream of enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP). The fluorescence intensity of OSE-MG63 showed responsiveness to bone-related cytokines (IGF-I, vitamin D3 and BMP2) and presented an accordant tendency with alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. Using OSE-MG63 reporter fluorescence, we performed a semi-quantitative analysis of Cbfa1 activity after treatment with simulated microgravity, microfilament-disrupting agent (cytochalasin B, CB), microfilament-stabilizing agent (Jasplakinolide, JAS) or any combination thereof. In parallel, ALP activity, DNA binding activity of Cbfa1 to OSE2 (ChIP), F-actin structure (immunofluorescence) and EGFP mRNA expression (RT-qPCR) were analyzed. Simulated microgravity inhibited Cbfa1 activity, affected the responsiveness of Cbfa1 to cytokine BMP2, and caused a thinning and dispersed distribution of microfilament. Under normal gravity, CB significantly attenuated BMP2 induction to Cbfa1 activity as well as DNA binding activity of Cbfa1 to OSE2. The addition of JAS reversed the inhibitory effects of microgravity on the responsiveness of Cbfa1 to BMP2. Our study demonstrates that disrupting the microfilament organization by CB or simulated microgravity attenuates the responsiveness of Cbfa1 to BMP2. A stabilization of the microfilament organization by JAS reverses this inhibition. Taken together, these results suggest that actin microfilament participates in BMP2’s induction to Cbfa1 activity and that their disruption might be an important contributor to microgravity’s inhibition on BMP2’s osteogenic induction.
PMCID: PMC3651164  PMID: 23675497
22.  Spatio-temporal analysis to identify determinants of Oncomelania hupensis infection with Schistosoma japonicum in Jiangsu province, China 
Parasites & Vectors  2013;6:138.
With the successful implementation of integrated measures for schistosomiasis japonica control, Jiangsu province has reached low-endemicity status. However, infected Oncomelania hupensis snails could still be found in certain locations along the Yangtze river until 2009, and there is concern that they might spread again, resulting in the possible re-emergence of infections among people and domestic animals alike. In order to establish a robust surveillance system that is able to detect the spread of infected snails at an early stage, sensitive and reliable methods to identify risk factors for the establishment of infected snails need to be developed.
A total of 107 villages reporting the persistent presence of infected snails were selected. Relevant data on the distribution of infected snails, and human and livestock infection status information for the years 2003 to 2008 were collected. Spatio-temporal pattern analysis including spatial autocorrelation, directional distribution and spatial error models were carried out to explore spatial correlations between infected snails and selected explanatory factors.
The area where infected snails were found, as well as their density, decreased significantly between 2003 and 2008. Changes in human and livestock prevalences were less pronounced. Three statistically significant spatial autocorrelations for infected snails were identified. (i) The Moran’s I of infected snails increased from 2004 to 2007, with the snail density increasing and the area with infected snails decreasing. (ii) The standard deviations of ellipses around infected snails were decreasing and the central points of the ellipses moved from West to East. (iii) The spatial error models indicated no significant correlation between the density of infected snails and selected risk factors.
We conclude that the contribution of local infection sources including humans and livestock to the distribution of infected snails might be relatively small and that snail control may limit infected snails to increasingly small areas ecologically most suitable for transmission. We provide a method to identify these areas and risk factors for persistent infected snail presence through spatio-temporal analysis, and a suggested framework, which could assist in designing evidence based control strategies for schistosomiasis japonica elimination.
PMCID: PMC3654978  PMID: 23648203
Schistosomiasis; Infected snails; Determinants; Spatio-temporal analysis; China
23.  Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 Targets and Restrains Mouse B16 Melanoma and 4T1 Breast Tumors through Expression of Azurin Protein 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(21):7603-7610.
Many studies have demonstrated that intravenously administered bacteria can target and proliferate in solid tumors and then quickly be released from other organs. Here, we employed the tumor-targeting property of Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 to inhibit mouse B16 melanoma and 4T1 breast tumors through the expression of azurin protein. For this purpose, recombinant azurin-expressing E. coli Nissle 1917 was developed. The levels of in vitro and in vivo azurin secretion in the engineered bacterium were determined by immunochemistry. Our results demonstrated that B16 melanoma and orthotopic 4T1 breast tumor growth were remarkably restrained and pulmonary metastasis was prevented in immunocompetent mice. It is worth noting that this therapeutic effect partially resulted from the antitumor activity of neutrophils and lymphocytes due to inflammatory responses caused by bacterial infections. No toxicity was observed in the animal during the experiments. This study indicates that E. coli Nissle 1917 could be a potential carrier to deliver antitumor drugs effectively for cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3485711  PMID: 22923405
24.  Poloxamer 188 Protects Neurons against Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury through Preserving Integrity of Cell Membranes and Blood Brain Barrier 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61641.
Poloxamer 188 (P188), a multiblock copolymer surfactant, has been shown to protect against ischemic tissue injury of cardiac muscle, testes and skeletal muscle, but the mechanisms have not been fully understood. In this study, we explored whether P188 had a protective effect against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury and its underlying mechanisms. The in vivo results showed that P188 significantly reduced the infarct volume, ameliorated the brain edema and neurological symptoms 24 h after ischemia/reperfusion. In the long-term outcome study, P188 markedly alleviated brain atrophy and motor impairments and increased survival rate in 3 weeks of post stroke period. Additionally, P188 protected cultured hippucampal HT22 cells against oxygen–glucose deprivation and reoxygenation (OGD/R) injury. The ability in membrane sealing was assessed with two fluorescent membrane-impermeant dyes. The results showed that P188 treatment significantly reduced the PI-positive cells following ischemia/reperfusion injury and repaired the HT22 cell membrane rupture induced by Triton X-100. In addition, P188 inhibited ischemia/reperfusion-induced activation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and leakage of Evans blue. Therefore, the present study concludes that P188 can protect against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury, and the protection involves multi-mechanisms in addition to the membrane resealing.
PMCID: PMC3628995  PMID: 23613890
25.  Extracellular matrix protein lumican regulates inflammation in a mouse model of colitis 
Inflammatory bowel diseases  2011;18(1):143-151.
Abnormal innate immune response contributes to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and experimental mouse colitis. Colitis studies have focused primarily on key regulators of innate immunity, like pathogen recognition receptors and cytoplasmic mediators. Extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins are emerging as modulators of inflammatory responses by virtue of their interactions with pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), cytokines, growth factors, receptors, and ECM fragments that mimic pathogens or cytokines. The ECM proteins have not been investigated in IBD at great depth from this standpoint. We have shown previously that the ECM protein lumican modulates host sensing of bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) by toll like receptor (TLR) 4, and neutrophil chemotaxis via integrins. Here we investigated the role of lumican in the development of colitis mediated by intra-rectal administration of the hapten 2-4-5, trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) in Lum+/+ and Lum−/− mice. The TNBS-treated Lum+/+ mouse colons showed marked increases in CXCL1, TNF-α and neutrophil infiltration; while these responses were significantly dampened in the Lum−/− mice. The NF-κB transcription factor, known to regulate inflammatory genes, showed a robust increase after TNBS treatment in Lum+/+ but not in Lum−/− colons. Also, nuclear translocation of NF-κB was delayed in LPS-stimulated Lum−/− primary peritoneal macrophages. Thus, the Lum−/− mice have low innate immune and inflammatory responses, but more severe body weight loss and tissue damage, a phenomenon seen in the innate immune impaired Tlr4−/− and MyD88−/− mice. Therefore, lumican promotes intestinal homeostasis by aiding innate immune and inflammatory responses that are beneficial in the early stages of colitis.
PMCID: PMC3135758  PMID: 21484968
Extracellular matrix; lumican; TLR4; CD14; innate immune response; inflammation; murine colitis; neutrophils; tri-nitrobenzene sulfonic acid; dextran sodium sulfate

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