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1.  A Systematic Review of Rhubarb (a Traditional Chinese Medicine) Used for the Treatment of Experimental Sepsis 
Sepsis is a global major health problem in great need for more effective therapy. For thousands of years, Rhubarb had been used for various diseases including severe infection. Pharmacological studies and trials reported that Rhubarb may be effective in treating sepsis, but the efficacy and the quality of evidence remain unclear since there is no systematic review on Rhubarb for sepsis. The present study is the first systematic review of Rhubarb used for the treatment of experimental sepsis in both English and Chinese literatures by identifying 27 studies from 7 databases. It showed that Rhubarb might be effective in reducing injuries in gastrointestinal tract, lung, and liver induced by sepsis, and its potential mechanisms might include reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, ameliorating microcirculatory disturbance, and maintaining immune balance. Yet the positive findings should be interpreted with caution due to poor methodological quality. In a word, Rhubarb might be a promising candidate that is worth further clinical and experimental trials for sepsis therapy.
PMCID: PMC4538976  PMID: 26339264
2.  Single-dose intra-articular bupivacaine plus morphine after knee arthroscopic surgery: a meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled studies 
BMJ Open  2015;5(6):e006815.
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of single-dose intra-articular bupivacaine plus morphine after knee arthroscopic surgery.
Data sources and study eligibility criteria
A comprehensive literature search, using Medline (1966–2014), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Embase databases, was conducted to identify randomised placebo-controlled trials that used a combination of single-dose intra-articular bupivacaine and morphine for postoperative pain relief.
12 articles were included in this meta-analysis. The mean visual analogue scale (VAS) scores of the bupivacaine plus morphine group were significantly lower than those of the placebo group (weighted mean difference (WMD) −1.75; 95% CI −2.16 to −1.33; p<0.001). The VAS scores at the last follow-up time point (last VAS scores) of the bupivacaine plus morphine group were also significantly lower than those of the placebo group (WMD −1.46; 95% CI −1.63 to −1.29; p<0.001). The number of patients requiring supplementary analgesia was also significantly reduced (RR 0.60; 95% CI 0.39 to 0.93; p=0.02), while there was no significant difference in the time to first analgesic request (WMD 3.46; 95% CI −1.81 to 8.72; p=0.20) or short-term side effects (RR 1.67; 95% CI 0.65 to 4.26; p=0.29).
The administration of single-dose intra-articular bupivacaine plus morphine after knee arthroscopic surgery is effective for pain relief, and its short-term side effects remain similar to saline placebo.
PMCID: PMC4480015  PMID: 26078306
3.  Interleukin-6 (IL-6) mediated the increased contraction of distal colon in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rats via IL-6 receptor pathway 
Colonic dysmotility occurs in diabetes and blood plasma interleukin (IL)-6 levels are significantly elevated in type 1 diabetes mellitus. The aim of this study was to investigate whether IL-6 and the IL-6 receptor pathway mediates colonic dysfunction in type 1 diabetes mellitus. Male SD rats were treated with a single intraperitoneally injected dose of streptozotocin (STZ), and those displaying sustained high blood glucose were selected as diabetes mellitus models. Longitudinal muscle strips of colon were prepared to monitor colonic contraction in vitro. Contractile responses of strips of colon were recorded following treatment with IL-6 in control animals, and following anti IL-6 antibody treatment in STZ-induced diabetes in rats. Concentration of IL-6 in plasma and colon were determined by ELISA. Expressions of IL-6 α-receptor and IL-6 β-receptor in colon tissues were determined by immunohistochemistry or Western blot analysis. The non-diabetes rats treated with IL-6 and the untreated diabetes rats showed increased contraction of distal colon, whereas the diabetes rats treated with anti-IL-6 antibody showed decreased contraction of distal colon compared with the untreated diabetes rats. The IL-6 levels of plasma but not colon increased in diabetes rats. The expression of IL-6 α-receptor increased in diabetes rats. These results indicate that diabetes rats show an increase in the contractions of distal colon partly via the IL-6-IL-6 receptor pathway.
PMCID: PMC4503013  PMID: 26191141
Diabetes mellitus; colon motility; IL-6; IL-6 receptor
4.  G6PD Deficiency and Hemoglobinopathies: Molecular Epidemiological Characteristics and Healthy Effects on Malaria Endemic Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123991.
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and hemoglobinopathies were the inherited conditions found mostly in African. However, few epidemiological data of these disorders was reported in Equatorial Guinea (EQG). This study aimed to assess the prevalence and healthy effects of G6PD deficiency and hemoglobinopathies among the people on malaria endemic Bioko Island, EQG.
Materials and Methods
Blood samples from 4,144 unrelated subjects were analyzed for G6PD deficieny by fluorescence spot test (FST), high-resolution melting assay and PCR-DNA sequencing. In addition, 1,186 samples were randomly selected from the 4,144 subjects for detection of hemoglobin S (HbS), HbC, and α-thalassemia deletion by complete blood count, PCR-DNA sequencing and reverse dot blot (RDB).
The prevalence of malaria and anemia was 12.6% (522/4,144) and 32.8% (389/1,186), respectively. Overall, 8.7% subjects (359/4,144) were G6PD-deficient by FST, including 9.0% (249/2,758) males and 7.9% (110/1,386) females. Among the 359 G6PD-deficient individuals molecularly studied, the G6PD A- (G202A/A376G) were detected in 356 cases (99.2%), G6PD Betica (T968C/A376G) in 3 cases. Among the 1,186 subjects, 201 cases were HbS heterozygotes, 35 cases were HbC heterozygotes, and 2 cases were HbCS double heterozygotes; 452 cases showed heterozygous α-thalassemia 3.7 kb deletion (-α3.7 kb deletion) and 85 homozygous - α3.7 kb deletion. The overall allele frequencies were HbS 17.1% (203/1186); HbC, 3.1% (37/1186); and –α3.7 kb deletion 52.4% (622/1186), respectively.
High G6PD deficiency in this population indicate that diagnosis and management of G6PD deficiency is necessary on Bioko Island. Obligatory newborn screening, prenatal screening and counseling for these genetic disorders, especially HbS, are needed on the island.
PMCID: PMC4411145  PMID: 25915902
5.  RACK1 modulates NF-κB activation by interfering with the interaction between TRAF2 and the IKK complex 
Cell Research  2013;24(3):359-371.
The transcription factor NF-κB plays a pivotal role in innate immunity in response to a variety of stimuli, and the coordinated regulation of this pathway determines the proper host responses to extracellular signals. In this study, we identified RACK1 as a novel negative regulator of NF-κB signaling, NF-κB-mediated cytokine induction and inflammatory reactions. RACK1 physically associates with the IKK complex in a TNF-triggered manner. This interaction interferes with the recruitment of the IKK complex to TRAF2, which is a critical step for IKK phosphorylation and subsequent activation triggered by TNF. By modulating the interaction between TRAF2 and IKK, RACK1 regulates the levels of NF-κB activation in response to different intensities of stimuli. Our findings suggest that RACK1 plays an important role in controlling the sensitivity of TNF-triggered NF-κB signaling by regulating IKK activation and provide new insight into the negative regulation of inflammatory reactions.
PMCID: PMC3945882  PMID: 24323043
IKK complex; inflammatory reactions; NF-κB; RACK1; sensitivity
6.  Joint analysis of three genome-wide association studies of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in Chinese populations 
Wu, Chen | Wang, Zhaoming | Song, Xin | Feng, Xiao-Shan | Abnet, Christian C. | He, Jie | Hu, Nan | Zuo, Xian-Bo | Tan, Wen | Zhan, Qimin | Hu, Zhibin | He, Zhonghu | Jia, Weihua | Zhou, Yifeng | Yu, Kai | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Yuan, Jian-Min | Zheng, Wei | Zhao, Xue-Ke | Gao, She-Gan | Yuan, Zhi-Qing | Zhou, Fu-You | Fan, Zong-Min | Cui, Ji-Li | Lin, Hong-Li | Han, Xue-Na | Li, Bei | Chen, Xi | Dawsey, Sanford M. | Liao, Linda | Lee, Maxwell P. | Ding, Ti | Qiao, You-Lin | Liu, Zhihua | Liu, Yu | Yu, Dianke | Chang, Jiang | Wei, Lixuan | Gao, Yu-Tang | Koh, Woon-Puay | Xiang, Yong-Bing | Tang, Ze-Zhong | Fan, Jin-Hu | Han, Jing-Jing | Zhou, Sheng-Li | Zhang, Peng | Zhang, Dong-Yun | Yuan, Yuan | Huang, Ying | Liu, Chunling | Zhai, Kan | Qiao, Yan | Jin, Guangfu | Guo, Chuanhai | Fu, Jianhua | Miao, Xiaoping | Lu, Changdong | Yang, Haijun | Wang, Chaoyu | Wheeler, William A. | Gail, Mitchell | Yeager, Meredith | Yuenger, Jeff | Guo, Er-Tao | Li, Ai-Li | Zhang, Wei | Li, Xue-Min | Sun, Liang-Dan | Ma, Bao-Gen | Li, Yan | Tang, Sa | Peng, Xiu-Qing | Liu, Jing | Hutchinson, Amy | Jacobs, Kevin | Giffen, Carol | Burdette, Laurie | Fraumeni, Joseph F. | Shen, Hongbing | Ke, Yang | Zeng, Yixin | Wu, Tangchun | Kraft, Peter | Chung, Charles C. | Tucker, Margaret A. | Hou, Zhi-Chao | Liu, Ya-Li | Hu, Yan-Long | Liu, Yu | Wang, Li | Yuan, Guo | Chen, Li-Sha | Liu, Xiao | Ma, Teng | Meng, Hui | Sun, Li | Li, Xin-Min | Li, Xiu-Min | Ku, Jian-Wei | Zhou, Ying-Fa | Yang, Liu-Qin | Wang, Zhou | Li, Yin | Qige, Qirenwang | Yang, Wen-Jun | Lei, Guang-Yan | Chen, Long-Qi | Li, En-Min | Yuan, Ling | Yue, Wen-Bin | Wang, Ran | Wang, Lu-Wen | Fan, Xue-Ping | Zhu, Fang-Heng | Zhao, Wei-Xing | Mao, Yi-Min | Zhang, Mei | Xing, Guo-Lan | Li, Ji-Lin | Han, Min | Ren, Jing-Li | Liu, Bin | Ren, Shu-Wei | Kong, Qing-Peng | Li, Feng | Sheyhidin, Ilyar | Wei, Wu | Zhang, Yan-Rui | Feng, Chang-Wei | Wang, Jin | Yang, Yu-Hua | Hao, Hong-Zhang | Bao, Qi-De | Liu, Bao-Chi | Wu, Ai-Qun | Xie, Dong | Yang, Wan-Cai | Wang, Liang | Zhao, Xiao-Hang | Chen, Shu-Qing | Hong, Jun-Yan | Zhang, Xue-Jun | Freedman, Neal D | Goldstein, Alisa M. | Lin, Dongxin | Taylor, Philip R. | Wang, Li-Dong | Chanock, Stephen J.
Nature genetics  2014;46(9):1001-1006.
We conducted a joint (pooled) analysis of three genome-wide association studies (GWAS) 1-3 of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in ethnic Chinese (5,337 ESCC cases and 5,787 controls) with 9,654 ESCC cases and 10,058 controls for follow-up. In a logistic regression model adjusted for age, sex, study, and two eigenvectors, two new loci achieved genome-wide significance, marked by rs7447927 at 5q31.2 (per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 0.85, 95% CI 0.82-0.88; P=7.72x10−20) and rs1642764 at 17p13.1 (per-allele OR= 0.88, 95% CI 0.85-0.91; P=3.10x10−13). rs7447927 is a synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in TMEM173 and rs1642764 is an intronic SNP in ATP1B2, near TP53. Furthermore, a locus in the HLA class II region at 6p21.32 (rs35597309) achieved genome-wide significance in the two populations at highest risk for ESSC (OR=1.33, 95% CI 1.22-1.46; P=1.99x10−10). Our joint analysis identified new ESCC susceptibility loci overall as well as a new locus unique to the ESCC high risk Taihang Mountain region.
PMCID: PMC4212832  PMID: 25129146
7.  Effects of Benzo[a]pyrene Exposure on Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Angiogenesis, Metastasis, and NF-κB Signaling 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;123(3):246-254.
Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is a common environmental and foodborne pollutant. Although the carcinogenicity of high-dose B[a]P has been extensively reported, the effects of long-term B[a]P exposure at lower environmental doses on cancer development are less understood.
We investigated the impact of B[a]P on human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression at various levels of exposure and identified a potential intervention target.
We used a model based on human HCC cells exposed to various concentrations of B[a]P (i.e., 0.01, 1, or 100 nM) for 1 month to examine the effects of B[a]P on cell growth, migration, invasion, and angiogenicity. A bioluminescent murine model was established to assess tumor metastasis in vivo.
Chronic B[a]P exposure did not alter HCC cell growth but promoted cell migration and invasion both in vitro and in vivo. There was an negative association between B[a]P exposure and the survival of tumor-bearing mice. In addition, B[a]P-treated HCC cells recruited vascular endothelial cells and promoted tumor angiogenesis, possibly through elevating vascular endothelial growth factor secretion. Furthermore, the NF-κB pathway may be an adverse outcome pathway associated with the cumulative effects of B[a]P on HCC metastasis.
These findings a) indicate that B[a]P has effects on HCC progression; b) identify a possible adverse outcome pathway; and c) contribute to a better understanding of the adverse effects of chronic exposure of B[a]P to human health.
Ba Q, Li J, Huang C, Qiu H, Li J, Chu R, Zhang W, Xie D, Wu Y, Wang H. 2015. Effects of benzo[a]pyrene exposure on human hepatocellular carcinoma cell angiogenesis, metastasis, and NF-κB signaling. Environ Health Perspect 123:246–254;
PMCID: PMC4348747  PMID: 25325763
8.  Quantitative Hepatitis B Core Antibody Level Is a New Predictor for Treatment Response In HBeAg-positive Chronic Hepatitis B Patients Receiving Peginterferon 
Theranostics  2015;5(3):218-226.
A recent study revealed that quantitative hepatitis B core antibody (qAnti-HBc) level could serve as a novel marker for predicting treatment response. In the present study, we further investigated the predictive value of qAnti-HBc level in HBeAg-positive patients undergoing PEG-IFN therapy. A total of 140 HBeAg-positive patients who underwent PEG-IFN therapy for 48 weeks and follow-up for 24 weeks were enrolled in this study. Serum samples were taken every 12 weeks post-treatment. The predictive value of the baseline qAnti-HBc level for treatment response was evaluated. Patients were further divided into 2 groups according to the baseline qAnti-HBc level, and the response rate was compared. Additionally, the kinetics of the virological and biochemical parameters were analyzed. Patients who achieved response had a significantly higher baseline qAnti-HBc level (serological response [SR], 4.52±0.36 vs. 4.19±0.58, p=0.001; virological response [VR], 4.53±0.35 vs. 4.22±0.57, p=0.005; combined response [CR], 4.50±0.36 vs. 4.22±0.58, p=0.009)). Baseline qAnti-HBc was the only parameter that was independently correlated with SR (p=0.008), VR (p=0.010) and CR(p=0.019). Patients with baseline qAnti-HBc levels ≥30,000 IU/mL had significantly higher response rates, more HBV DNA suppression, and better hepatitis control in PEG-IFN treatment. In conclusion, qAnti-HBc level may be a novel biomarker for predicting treatment response in HBeAg-positive patients receiving PEG-IFN therapy.
PMCID: PMC4279186  PMID: 25553110
quantitative anti-HBc;  chronic hepatitis B; PEG-IFN treatment; treatment response prediction; pretreatment biomarker.
9.  Rapid identification of apolipoprotein E genotypes by high-resolution melting analysis in Chinese Han and African Fang populations 
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene polymorphism can affect APOE gene transcription, serum lipid levels and repair of tissue damage, which could place individuals at serious risk of cardiovascular disease or certain infectious diseases. Recently, high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis was reported to be a simple, inexpensive, accurate and sensitive method for the genotyping or/and scanning of rare mutations. For this reason, an HRM analysis was used in the present study for APOE genotyping in the Southern Chinese Han and African Fang populations. A total of 100 healthy Southern Chinese Han and 175 healthy African Fang individuals attended the study. Polymerase chain reaction-DNA sequencing was used as a reference method for the genotyping of these samples. The six APOE genotypes could all be rapidly and efficiently identified by HRM analysis, and 100% concordance was found between the HRM analysis and the reference method. The allele frequencies of APOE in the Southern Chinese Han population were 7.0, 87.5 and 5.5% for ɛ2, ɛ3 and ɛ4, respectively. In the African Fang population, the allele frequencies of APOE were 24.3, 65.7 and 10.0% for ɛ2, ɛ3 and ɛ4, respectively. A statistically significant difference was found between the allele frequencies between the populations (P<0.05). In conclusion, the present study revealed the molecular characterization of APOE gene polymorphism in the Han population from the Chaozhou region of Southern China and the Fang population from Equatorial Guinea. The findings of the study indicated that HRM analysis could be used as an accurate and sensitive method for the rapid screening and identification of APOE genotypes in prospective clinical and population genetic analyses.
PMCID: PMC4280925  PMID: 25574218
apolipoprotein E; genotype; high-resolution melting; Chinese Han; African Fang
10.  Turion morphological responses to water nutrient concentrations and plant density in the submerged macrophyte Potamogeton crispus 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7079.
Asexual propagules are the dominant means of propagation in most submerged macrophytes. To improve the understanding of how water nutrient concentrations and population density influence the turion production of Potamogeton crispus L., the turions were planted in mesocosms with three water nutrient conditions (ambient lake water, high P and high N) and two plant density levels (4 and 15 turions m−2). After a 9-month experiment, the +P in the water column significantly increased the total turion number per plant under both of the plant density treatments. However, the +N in the water column did not affect the turion number per plant under low plant density. The +P in the water and high plant density significantly reduced the turion individual biomass. An examination of 3210 turion individuals from all treatments revealed that the increased water nutrient concentrations and plant density impacted the turion size by producing different stem diameters of individual turions. Most of the scale leaf morphological traits of the turions were significantly increased under higher water nutrients, but these traits were similar between the different plant density treatments. These results demonstrate that the water P concentration interacts with plant density, affecting both the production and traits of turions.
PMCID: PMC4233331  PMID: 25399866
11.  Iron Metabolism Regulates p53 Signaling through Direct Heme-p53 Interaction and Modulation of p53 Localization, Stability, and Function 
Cell reports  2014;7(1):180-193.
Iron excess is closely associated with tumorigenesis in multiple types of human cancers, with underlying mechanisms yet unclear. Recently, iron deprivation has emerged as a major strategy for chemotherapy, but it exerts tumor suppression only on select human malignancies. Here, we report that the tumor suppressor protein p53 is downregulated during iron excess. Strikingly, the iron polyporphyrin heme binds to p53 protein, interferes with p53-DNA interactions, and triggers both nuclear export and cytosolic degradation of p53. Moreover, in a tumorigenicity assay, iron deprivation suppressed wild-type p53-dependent tumor growth, suggesting that upregulation of wild-type p53 signaling underlies the selective efficacy of iron deprivation. Our findings thus identify a direct link between iron/heme homeostasis and the regulation of p53 signaling, which not only provides mechanistic insights into iron-excess-associated tumorigenesis but may also help predict and improve outcomes in iron-deprivation-based chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4219651  PMID: 24685134
12.  Pulmonary resection in the treatment of 43 patients with well-localized, cavitary pulmonary multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Shanghai 
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), defined as tuberculosis resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampicin in vitro, poses a significant challenge to the control of TB worldwide. Despite global efforts to control tuberculosis, it remains the leading cause of death from an infectious agent. Although modern tuberculosis treatment relies on chemotherapy, surgery is accepted as adjuvant treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
In a retrospective cohort study, 43 MDR-TB patients (28 males and 15 females: mean age 45.3 years) who underwent pulmonary resection between January 1993 and December 2011 were reviewed. Every patient with well-localized, cavitary lesions showed sputum-positive preoperatively. Individually tailored treatment regimens were selected at a once-weekly staff conference following review of the patient's case history and drug susceptibility results. The variables that affected treatment outcomes were identified through multivariate regression analysis.
There was no surgical mortality. Forty (93.0%) patients demonstrated sputum conversion and/or remained negative after surgery. Each patient had completed treatment, and during a mean of 81 follow-up months (range 18–214 months), 1 patient relapsed. This patient was cured after another course of treatment. Operative procedures included 30 (69.8%) lobectomies, 2 (4.7%) bilobectomies, 8 (18.6%) pneumonectomies and 3 (6.98%) lobectomies plus segmentectomy. There were no operation-related deaths, and there were five major postoperative complications (11.6%). Overall, 40 of 43 (93.0%) MDR-TB patients remained free of TB following surgery. The duration of chemotherapy before surgery had correlation with postoperative outcome (P = 0.001).
The proper selection of the patients and early decision for surgical intervention can achieve a high success rate of pulmonary MDR-TB with well-localized pulmonary cavities.
PMCID: PMC3745155  PMID: 23748869
Surgery; Tuberculosis; Multidrug resistant; Pulmonary cavity
13.  Oxytocin decreases colonic motility of cold water stressed rats via oxytocin receptors 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(31):10886-10894.
AIM: To investigate whether cold water intake into the stomach affects colonic motility and the involvement of the oxytocin-oxytocin receptor pathway in rats.
METHODS: Female Sprague Dawley rats were used and some of them were ovariectomized. The rats were subjected to gastric instillation with cold (0-4 °C, cold group) or room temperature (20-25 °C, control group) saline for 14 consecutive days. Colon transit was determined with a bead inserted into the colon. Colonic longitudinal muscle strips were prepared to investigate the response to oxytocin in vitro. Plasma concentration of oxytocin was detected by ELISA. Oxytocin receptor expression was investigated by Western blot analysis. Immunohistochemistry was used to locate oxytocin receptors.
RESULTS: Colon transit was slower in the cold group than in the control group (P < 0.05). Colonic smooth muscle contractile response to oxytocin decreased, and the inhibitory effect of oxytocin on muscle contractility was enhanced by cold water intake (0.69 ± 0.08 vs 0.88 ± 0.16, P < 0.05). Atosiban and tetrodotoxin inhibited the effect of oxytocin on colonic motility. Oxytocin receptors were located in the myenteric plexus, and their expression was up-regulated in the cold group (P < 0.05). Cold water intake increased blood concentration of oxytocin, but this effect was attenuated in ovariectomized rats (286.99 ± 83.72 pg/mL vs 100.56 ± 92.71 pg/mL, P < 0.05). However, in ovariectomized rats, estradiol treatment increased blood oxytocin, and the response of colonic muscle strips to oxytocin was attenuated.
CONCLUSION: Cold water intake inhibits colonic motility partially through oxytocin-oxytocin receptor signaling in the myenteric nervous system pathway, which is estrogen dependent.
PMCID: PMC4138467  PMID: 25152590
Intragastric cold water stress; Colonic motility; Estradiol; Oxytocin; Oxytocin receptor; Irritable bowel syndrome
14.  Preparation of bufalin-loaded pluronic polyetherimide nanoparticles, cellular uptake, distribution, and effect on colorectal cancer 
A large number of studies have shown that bufalin can have a significant antitumor effect in a variety of tumors. However, because of toxicity, insolubility in water, fast metabolism, short half-life, and other shortcomings, its application is limited in cancer therapy. In this study, we explored the anti-metastatic role of bufalin-loaded pluronic polyetherimide nanoparticles on HCT116 colon cancer-bearing mice. Nanoparticle size, shape, drug loading, encapsulation efficiency, and in vitro drug release were studied. Also, cellular uptake of nanoparticles, in vivo tumor targeting, and tumor metastasis were studied. The nanoparticles had a particle size of about 60 nm and an encapsulation efficiency of 75.71%, by weight. The in vitro release data showed that free bufalin was released faster than bufalin-loaded pluronic polyetherimide nanoparticles, and almost 80% of free bufalin was released after 32 hours. Nanoparticles had an even size distribution, were stable, and had a slow release and a tumor-targeting effect. Bufalin-loaded pluronic polyetherimide nanoparticles can significantly inhibit the growth and metastasis of colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC4149445  PMID: 25187707
colon cancer; nanoparticles; tumor target; bufalin
15.  An Invasive Clonal Plant Benefits from Clonal Integration More than a Co-Occurring Native Plant in Nutrient-Patchy and Competitive Environments 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97246.
Many notorious invasive plants are clonal, however, little is known about the different roles of clonal integration effects between invasive and native plants. Here, we hypothesize that clonal integration affect growth, photosynthetic performance, biomass allocation and thus competitive ability of invasive and native clonal plants, and invasive clonal plants benefit from clonal integration more than co-occurring native plants in heterogeneous habitats. To test these hypotheses, two stoloniferous clonal plants, Alternanthera philoxeroides (invasive), Jussiaea repens (native) were studied in China. The apical parts of both species were grown either with or without neighboring vegetation and the basal parts without competitors were in nutrient- rich or -poor habitats, with stolon connections were either severed or kept intact. Competition significantly reduced growth and photosynthetic performance of the apical ramets in both species, but not the biomass of neighboring vegetation. Without competition, clonal integration greatly improved the growth and photosynthetic performance of both species, especially when the basal parts were in nutrient-rich habitats. When grown with neighboring vegetation, growth of J. repens and photosynthetic performance of both species were significantly enhanced by clonal integration with the basal parts in both nutrient-rich and -poor habitats, while growth and relative neighbor effect (RNE) of A. philoxeroides were greatly improved by clonal integration only when the basal parts were in nutrient-rich habitats. Moreover, clonal integration increased A. philoxeroides's biomass allocation to roots without competition, but decreased it with competition, especially when the basal ramets were in nutrient-rich sections. Effects of clonal integration on biomass allocation of J. repens was similar to that of A. philoxeroides but with less significance. These results supported our hypothesis that invasive clonal plants A. philoxeroides benefits from clonal integration more than co-occurring native J. repens, suggesting that the invasiveness of A. philoxeroides may be closely related to clonal integration in heterogeneous environments.
PMCID: PMC4016286  PMID: 24816849
16.  BEAST 2: A Software Platform for Bayesian Evolutionary Analysis 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(4):e1003537.
We present a new open source, extensible and flexible software platform for Bayesian evolutionary analysis called BEAST 2. This software platform is a re-design of the popular BEAST 1 platform to correct structural deficiencies that became evident as the BEAST 1 software evolved. Key among those deficiencies was the lack of post-deployment extensibility. BEAST 2 now has a fully developed package management system that allows third party developers to write additional functionality that can be directly installed to the BEAST 2 analysis platform via a package manager without requiring a new software release of the platform. This package architecture is showcased with a number of recently published new models encompassing birth-death-sampling tree priors, phylodynamics and model averaging for substitution models and site partitioning. A second major improvement is the ability to read/write the entire state of the MCMC chain to/from disk allowing it to be easily shared between multiple instances of the BEAST software. This facilitates checkpointing and better support for multi-processor and high-end computing extensions. Finally, the functionality in new packages can be easily added to the user interface (BEAUti 2) by a simple XML template-based mechanism because BEAST 2 has been re-designed to provide greater integration between the analysis engine and the user interface so that, for example BEAST and BEAUti use exactly the same XML file format.
PMCID: PMC3985171  PMID: 24722319
17.  Processing Uncertain RFID Data in Traceability Supply Chains 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:535690.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is widely used to track and trace objects in traceability supply chains. However, massive uncertain data produced by RFID readers are not effective and efficient to be used in RFID application systems. Following the analysis of key features of RFID objects, this paper proposes a new framework for effectively and efficiently processing uncertain RFID data, and supporting a variety of queries for tracking and tracing RFID objects. We adjust different smoothing windows according to different rates of uncertain data, employ different strategies to process uncertain readings, and distinguish ghost, missing, and incomplete data according to their apparent positions. We propose a comprehensive data model which is suitable for different application scenarios. In addition, a path coding scheme is proposed to significantly compress massive data by aggregating the path sequence, the position, and the time intervals. The scheme is suitable for cyclic or long paths. Moreover, we further propose a processing algorithm for group and independent objects. Experimental evaluations show that our approach is effective and efficient in terms of the compression and traceability queries.
PMCID: PMC3967727  PMID: 24737978
18.  TGF-β-miR-34a-CCL22 Signaling-Induced Treg Cell Recruitment Promotes Venous Metastases of HBV-Positive Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Cancer cell  2012;22(3):291-303.
Portal vein tumor thrombus (PVTT) is strongly correlated to a poor prognosis for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we uncovered a causative link between hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and development of PVTT. Mechanistically, elevated TGF-β activity, associated with the persistent presence of HBV in the liver tissue, suppresses the expression of microRNA-34a, leading to enhanced production of chemokine CCL22, which recruits regulatory T (Treg) cells to facilitate immune escape. These findings strongly suggest that HBV infection and activity of the TGF-β-miR-34a-CCL22 axis serve as potent etiological factors to predispose HCC patients for the development of PVTT, possibly through the creation of an immune-subversive microenvironment to favor colonization of disseminated HCC cells in the portal venous system.
PMCID: PMC3443566  PMID: 22975373
19.  Critical Roles of p53 in Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and Metastasis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72846.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most malignant tumors and the biggest obstacle in curing HCC is its high metastasis potential. Alteration of p53 is the most frequent genetic change found in HCC. Although the biological function of p53 in tumor initiation and progression has been well characterized, whether or not p53 is implicated in metastasis of HCC is largely unknown. In this study, we analyzed the potential functions of p53 in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and metastasis of HCC cells. Both insulin- and TGF-β1-induced changes of critical EMT markers were greatly enhanced by p53 knockdown in HCC cells. The insulin- and TGF-β1-stimulated migration of HCC cells were enhanced by p53 knockdown. Furthermore, in vivo metastasis of HCC cells using different mouse models was robustly enhanced by p53 knockdown. In addition, we found that p53 regulation on EMT and metastasis involves β-catenin signaling. The nuclear accumulation and transcriptional activity of β-catenin was modulated by p53. The enhanced EMT phenotype, cell migration and tumor metastasis of HCC cells by p53 knockdown were abrogated by inhibiting β-catenin signal pathway. In conclusion, this study reveals that p53 plays a pivotal role in EMT and metastasis of HCC cells via its regulation on β-catenin signaling.
PMCID: PMC3759437  PMID: 24023784
20.  miR-126 and miR-126* repress recruitment of mesenchymal stem cells and inflammatory monocytes to inhibit breast cancer metastasis 
Nature cell biology  2013;15(3):284-294.
The tumour stroma is an active participant during cancer progression. Stromal cells promote tumour progression and metastasis through multiple mechanisms including enhancing tumour invasiveness and angiogenesis, and suppressing immune surveillance. We report here that miR-126/miR-126*, a microRNA pair derived from a single precursor, independently suppress the sequential recruitment of mesenchymal stem cells and inflammatory monocytes into the tumour stroma to inhibit lung metastasis by breast tumour cells in a mouse xenograft model. miR-126/miR-126* directly inhibit stromal cell-derived factor-1 alpha (Sdf-1α) expression, and indirectly suppress the expression of chemokine (C–C motif) ligand 2 (Ccl2) by cancer cells in an Sdf-1α-dependent manner. miR-126/miR-126* expression is downregulated in cancer cells by promoter methylation of their host gene Egfl7. These findings determine how this microRNA pair alters the composition of the primary tumour microenvironment to favour breast cancer metastasis, and demonstrate a correlation between miR-126/126* downregulation and poor metastasis-free survival of breast cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3672398  PMID: 23396050
21.  Identification of a small molecule 1,4-bis-[4-(3-phenoxy-propoxy)-but-2-ynyl]-piperazine as a novel inhibitor of the transcription factor p53 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2013;34(6):805-810.
To identify novel small compound inhibitor of p53 protein.
Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) and mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells were tested. Cell proliferation rate was determined using a Cell Proliferation Kit. The mRNA and protein levels of p53-related genes were measured using real-time PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Global response in the p53 signaling network was analyzed using Illumina whole-genome expression BeadChips.
Treatment of MEF cells with a small molecule 1,4-bis-[4-(3-phenoxy-propoxy)-but-2-ynyl]-piperazine (G5) at 10 μmol/L for 24 h markedly reduced the mRNA and protein levels of the p53 downstream genes MDM2 and p21. In G5-treated ES cells, a total of 372 differentially expressed genes were identified, and 18 among them were direct downstream genes of p53; 6 out of 9 p53-repressed genes were upregulated, and 5 out of 9 p53-activated genes were downregulated. In both MEF cells and ES cells, treatment of with G5 (10 μmol/L) up to 48 h neither affected the proliferation rate nor caused morphological alterations.
G5 inhibits p53 activity and simultaneously preserves the normal growth and proliferation of cells, therefore is a new compound for studies of p53-mediated cell manipulation.
PMCID: PMC3674519  PMID: 23736005
1,4-bis-[4-(3-phenoxy-propoxy)-but-2-ynyl]-piperazine; tumor suppressor protein; p53; p53 inhibitor; embryonic fibroblast; embryonic stem cell; proliferation
22.  Identification of 5-Iodotubercidin as a Genotoxic Drug with Anti-Cancer Potential 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62527.
Tumor suppressor p53, which is activated by various stress and oncogene activation, is a target for anti-cancer drug development. In this study, by screening panels of protein kinase inhibitors and protein phosphatase inhibitors, we identified 5-Iodotubercidin as a strong p53 activator. 5-Iodotubercidin is purine derivative and is used as an inhibitor for various kinases including adenosine kinase. We found that 5-Iodotubercidin could cause DNA damage, verified by induction of DNA breaks and nuclear foci positive for γH2AX and TopBP1, activation of Atm and Chk2, and S15 phosphorylation and up-regulation of p53. As such, 5-Iodotubercidin induces G2 cell cycle arrest in a p53-dependent manner. Itu also induces cell death in p53-dependent and -independent manners. DNA breaks were likely generated by incorporation of 5-Iodotubercidin metabolite into DNA. Moreover, 5-Iodotubercidin showed anti-tumor activity as it could reduce the tumor size in carcinoma xenograft mouse models in p53-dependent and -independent manners. These findings reveal 5-Iodotubercidin as a novel genotoxic drug that has chemotherapeutic potential.
PMCID: PMC3646850  PMID: 23667485
23.  Genotypic variants at 2q33 and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in China: a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies 
Abnet, Christian C. | Wang, Zhaoming | Song, Xin | Hu, Nan | Zhou, Fu-You | Freedman, Neal D. | Li, Xue-Min | Yu, Kai | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Yuan, Jian-Min | Zheng, Wei | Dawsey, Sanford M. | Liao, Linda M. | Lee, Maxwell P. | Ding, Ti | Qiao, You-Lin | Gao, Yu-Tang | Koh, Woon-Puay | Xiang, Yong-Bing | Tang, Ze-Zhong | Fan, Jin-Hu | Chung, Charles C. | Wang, Chaoyu | Wheeler, William | Yeager, Meredith | Yuenger, Jeff | Hutchinson, Amy | Jacobs, Kevin B. | Giffen, Carol A. | Burdett, Laurie | Fraumeni, Joseph F. | Tucker, Margaret A. | Chow, Wong-Ho | Zhao, Xue-Ke | Li, Jiang-Man | Li, Ai-Li | Sun, Liang-Dan | Wei, Wu | Li, Ji-Lin | Zhang, Peng | Li, Hong-Lei | Cui, Wen-Yan | Wang, Wei-Peng | Liu, Zhi-Cai | Yang, Xia | Fu, Wen-Jing | Cui, Ji-Li | Lin, Hong-Li | Zhu, Wen-Liang | Liu, Min | Chen, Xi | Chen, Jie | Guo, Li | Han, Jing-Jing | Zhou, Sheng-Li | Huang, Jia | Wu, Yue | Yuan, Chao | Huang, Jing | Ji, Ai-Fang | Kul, Jian-Wei | Fan, Zhong-Min | Wang, Jian-Po | Zhang, Dong-Yun | Zhang, Lian-Qun | Zhang, Wei | Chen, Yuan-Fang | Ren, Jing-Li | Li, Xiu-Min | Dong, Jin-Cheng | Xing, Guo-Lan | Guo, Zhi-Gang | Yang, Jian-Xue | Mao, Yi-Ming | Yuan, Yuan | Guo, Er-Tao | Zhang, Wei | Hou, Zhi-Chao | Liu, Jing | Li, Yan | Tang, Sa | Chang, Jia | Peng, Xiu-Qin | Han, Min | Yin, Wan-Li | Liu, Ya-Li | Hu, Yan-Long | Liu, Yu | Yang, Liu-Qin | Zhu, Fu-Guo | Yang, Xiu-Feng | Feng, Xiao-Shan | Wang, Zhou | Li, Yin | Gao, She-Gan | Liu, Hai-Lin | Yuan, Ling | Jin, Yan | Zhang, Yan-Rui | Sheyhidin, Ilyar | Li, Feng | Chen, Bao-Ping | Ren, Shu-Wei | Liu, Bin | Li, Dan | Zhang, Gao-Fu | Yue, Wen-Bin | Feng, Chang-Wei | Qige, Qirenwang | Zhao, Jian-Ting | Yang, Wen-Jun | Lei, Guang-Yan | Chen, Long-Qi | Li, En-Min | Xu, Li-Yan | Wu, Zhi-Yong | Bao, Zhi-Qin | Chen, Ji-Li | Li, Xian-Chang | Zhuang, Xiang | Zhou, Ying-Fa | Zuo, Xian-Bo | Dong, Zi-Ming | Wang, Lu-Wen | Fan, Xue-Pin | Wang, Jin | Zhou, Qi | Ma, Guo-Shun | Zhang, Qin-Xian | Liu, Hai | Jian, Xin-Ying | Lian, Sin-Yong | Wang, Jin-Sheng | Chang, Fu-Bao | Lu, Chang-Dong | Miao, Jian-Jun | Chen, Zhi-Guo | Wang, Ran | Guo, Ming | Fan, Zeng-Lin | Tao, Ping | Liu, Tai-Jing | Wei, Jin-Chang | Kong, Qing-Peng | Fan, Lei | Wang, Xian-Zeng | Gao, Fu-Sheng | Wang, Tian-Yun | Xie, Dong | Wang, Li | Chen, Shu-Qing | Yang, Wan-Cai | Hong, Jun-Yan | Wang, Liang | Qiu, Song-Liang | Goldstein, Alisa M. | Yuan, Zhi-Qing | Chanock, Stephen J. | Zhang, Xue-Jun | Taylor, Philip R. | Wang, Li-Dong
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(9):2132-2141.
Genome-wide association studies have identified susceptibility loci for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). We conducted a meta-analysis of all single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that showed nominally significant P-values in two previously published genome-wide scans that included a total of 2961 ESCC cases and 3400 controls. The meta-analysis revealed five SNPs at 2q33 with P< 5 × 10−8, and the strongest signal was rs13016963, with a combined odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of 1.29 (1.19–1.40) and P= 7.63 × 10−10. An imputation analysis of 4304 SNPs at 2q33 suggested a single association signal, and the strongest imputed SNP associations were similar to those from the genotyped SNPs. We conducted an ancestral recombination graph analysis with 53 SNPs to identify one or more haplotypes that harbor the variants directly responsible for the detected association signal. This showed that the five SNPs exist in a single haplotype along with 45 imputed SNPs in strong linkage disequilibrium, and the strongest candidate was rs10201587, one of the genotyped SNPs. Our meta-analysis found genome-wide significant SNPs at 2q33 that map to the CASP8/ALS2CR12/TRAK2 gene region. Variants in CASP8 have been extensively studied across a spectrum of cancers with mixed results. The locus we identified appears to be distinct from the widely studied rs3834129 and rs1045485 SNPs in CASP8. Future studies of esophageal and other cancers should focus on comprehensive sequencing of this 2q33 locus and functional analysis of rs13016963 and rs10201587 and other strongly correlated variants.
PMCID: PMC3315211  PMID: 22323360
24.  SOX7 is down-regulated in lung cancer 
SOX7 is a transcription factor belonging to the SOX family. Its role in lung cancer is unknown.
In this study, whole genomic copy number analysis was performed on a series of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines and samples from individuals with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations using a SNP-Chip platform. SOX7 was measured in NSCLC samples and cell lines, and forced expressed in one of these lines.
A notable surprise was that the numerous copy number (CN) changes observed in samples of Asian, non-smoking EGFR mutant NSCLC were nearly the same as those CN alterations seen in a large collection of NSCLC from The Cancer Genome Atlas which is presumably composed of predominantly Caucasians who often smoked. However, four regions had CN changes fairly unique to the Asian EGFR mutant group. We also examined CN changes in NSCLC lines. The SOX7 gene was homozygously deleted in one (HCC2935) of 10 NSCLC cell lines and heterozygously deleted in two other NSCLC lines. Expression of SOX7 was significantly downregulated in NSCLC cell lines (8/10, 80%) and a large collection of NSCLC samples compared to matched normal lung (57/62, 92%, p= 0.0006). Forced-expression of SOX7 in NSCLC cell lines markedly reduced their cell growth and enhanced their apoptosis.
These data suggest that SOX7 is a novel tumor suppressor gene silenced in the majority of NSCLC samples.
PMCID: PMC3648366  PMID: 23557216
CNAG; SNP-Chip; Lung cancer; SOX7; Promoter methylation
25.  Higher Blood 25(OH)D Level May Reduce the Breast Cancer Risk: Evidence from a Chinese Population Based Case-Control Study and Meta-Analysis of the Observational Studies 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e49312.
Experimental data suggest a protective effect of vitamin D on breast cancer; however, epidemiologic results remain inclusive. With a Chinese population-based case-control study and meta-analysis of the observational studies, we here systematically evaluated the association of blood 25(OH)D level and breast cancer risk. With 593 breast cancer cases and 580 cancer-free controls from Shanghai, China, we found that 80% of the normal women had severe vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 ng/mL) and 15.2% had mild deficiency (20 to 30 ng/mL) and only 4.8% of women had sufficient vitamin D level (>30 ng/mL) while the proportion was 96.1%, 3.2% and 0.7% respectively for the breast cancer patients. Compared to those with the lowest quartile of plasma 25(OH)D level, women with highest quartile 25(OH)D level showed a significant decreased breast cancer risk (Q4 vs.Q1: OR = 0.10, 95% CI = 0.06–0.15) and every 1 ng/ml increment of plasma 25(OH)D level led to a 16% lower odds of breast cancer (OR = 0.84, 95% CI = 0.81–0.87; P<0.001). From the meta-analysis of the observational studies, we found that women with highest quantile of blood 25(OH)D level was associated with a significantly reduced breast cancer risk compared to those with lowest quantile of blood 25(OH)D level for the 11 nested case-control and retrospective studies (pooled OR = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.75–1.00) and 10 case-control studies (7 population based, OR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.24–0.52; 3 hospital based, OR = 0.08, 95% CI = 0.02–0.33). These results suggest that vitamin D may have a chemo-preventive effect against breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3559701  PMID: 23382798

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