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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Non-destructive estimation using digital cameras is a common approach for estimating leaf area index (LAI) of terrestrial vegetation. However, no attempt has been made so far to develop non-destructive approaches to LAI estimation for aquatic vegetation. Using the submerged plant species Potamogeton malainus, the objective of this study was to determine whether the gap fraction derived from vertical photographs could be used to estimate LAI of aquatic vegetation. Our results suggested that upward-oriented photographs taken from beneath the water surface were more suitable for distinguishing vegetation from other objects than were downward-oriented photographs taken from above the water surface. Exposure settings had a substantial influence on the identification of vegetation in upward-oriented photographs. Automatic exposure performed nearly as well as the optimal trial exposure, making it a good choice for operational convenience. Similar to terrestrial vegetation, our results suggested that photographs taken for the purpose of distinguishing gap fraction in aquatic vegetation should be taken under diffuse light conditions. Significant logarithmic relationships were observed between the vertical gap fraction derived from upward-oriented photographs and plant area index (PAI) and LAI derived from destructive harvesting. The model we developed to depict the relationship between PAI and gap fraction was similar to the modified theoretical Poisson model, with coefficients of 1.82 and 1.90 for our model and the theoretical model, respectively. This suggests that vertical upward-oriented photographs taken from below the water surface are a feasible alternative to destructive harvesting for estimating PAI and LAI for the submerged aquatic plant Potamogeton malainus.
Nutrition-related health issues have emerged as a major threat to public health since the rebirth of the economy in China starting in the 1980s. To meet this challenge, the Chinese Academy of Sciences established the Institute for Nutritional Sciences (INS) at Shanghai, China ∼8 y ago. The mission of the INS is to apply modern technologies and concepts in nutritional research to understand the molecular mechanism and provide means of intervention in the combat against nutrition-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and many types of cancers. Through diligent and orchestrated efforts by INS scientists, graduate students, and research staff in the past few years, the INS has become the leading institution in China in the areas of basic nutritional research and metabolic regulation. Scientists at the INS have made important progress in many areas, including the characterization of genetic and nutritional properties of the Chinese population, metabolic control associated with nutrient sensing, molecular mechanisms underlying glucose and lipid metabolism, regulation of metabolism by adipokines and inflammatory pathways, disease intervention using functional foods or extracts of Chinese herbs, and many biological studies related to carcinogenesis. The INS will continue its efforts in understanding the optimal nutritional needs for Chinese people and the molecular causes associated with metabolic diseases, thus paving the way for effective and individualized intervention in the future. This review highlights the major research endeavors undertaken by INS scientists in recent years.
Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) can reduce liver fibrosis. Apart from the paracrine mechanism by which the antifibrotic effects of BMSCs inhibit activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), the effects of direct interplay and juxtacrine signaling between the two cell types are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to explore the underlying mechanisms by which BMSCs modulate the function of activated HSCs.
We used BMSCs directly and indirectly co-culture system with HSCs to evaluate the anti-fibrosis effect of BMSCs. Cell proliferation and activation were examined in the presence of BMSCs and HGF. c-met was knockdown in HSCs to evaluate the effect of HGF secreted by BMSCs. The TLR4 and Myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88(MyD88) mRNA levels and the NF-kB pathway activation were determined by real-time PCR and western blotting analyses. The effect of BMSCs on HSCs activation was investigated in vitro in either MyD88 silencing or overexpression in HSCs. Liver fibrosis in rats fed CCl4 with and without BMSCs supplementation was compared. Histopathological examinations and serum biochemical tests were compared between the two groups.
BMSCs remarkably inhibited the proliferation and activation of HSCs by interfering with LPS-TLR4 pathway through a cell–cell contact mode that was partially mediated by HGF secretion. The NF-kB pathway is involved in HSCs activation inhibition by BMSCs. MyD88 over expression reduced the BMSC inhibition of NF-kB luciferase activation. BMSCs protected liver fibrosis in vivo.
BMSCs modulate HSCs in vitro via TLR4/MyD88/NF-kB signaling pathway through cell–cell contact and secreting HGF. BMSCs have therapeutic effects on cirrhosis rats. Our results provide new insights into the treatment of hepatic fibrosis with BMSCs.
The goal of the present study was to investigate the potential correlation between the expression level of upregulator of cell proliferation (URGCP/URG4) and the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and to examine the biological function of URGCP/URG4 in the progression of HCC, to better understand its underlying molecular mechanism in hepatic tumorigenesis.
URGCP/URG4 expression was analyzed in 15 HCC cell lines, in 278 archived paraffin-embedded HCC sections, and in 10 pairs of fresh HCC tumor and para-tumor non-cancerous tissues using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and Western blotting analysis (WB). The effect of URGCP/URG4 on cell proliferation and tumorigenesis was examined in vitro and in vivo. WB and luciferase reporter analyses were performed to identify the effects of URGCP/URG4-overexpression or -knockdown on expression of cell cycle regulators and transcriptional activity of FOXO3a.
IHC results revealed an upregulation of URGCP/URG4 in all HCC cell lines and fresh HCC samples as compared with normal liver cells and para-tumor tissues, respectively. URGCP/URG4 was also expressed at a high level in 122 of the 278 (43.8%) archived HCC specimens. The expression level of URGCP/URG4 was significantly correlated with clinical staging and poor patient survival of HCC in the study cohort, and in various clinical subgroups. Strikingly, ectopic expression of URGCP/URG4 induced proliferation and anchorage-independent growth of HCC cells, while silencing of URGCP/URG4 had the opposite effect. Furthermore, URGCP/URG4 overexpression in HCC cells increased cellular entry into the G1/S transitional phase, associated with downregulation of p27Kip1 and p21Cip1 and upregulation of cyclin D1. These effects were accompanied by enhanced Akt activity and reduced FOXO3a transcriptional activity.
URGCP/URG4 plays an important role in promoting proliferation and tumorigenesis of HCC and may represent a novel prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target for this disease.
Many biological processes recognize in particular the importance of protein complexes, and various computational approaches have been developed to identify complexes from protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks. However, high false-positive rate of PPIs leads to challenging identification.
A protein semantic similarity measure is proposed in this study, based on the ontology structure of Gene Ontology (GO) terms and GO annotations to estimate the reliability of interactions in PPI networks. Interaction pairs with low GO semantic similarity are removed from the network as unreliable interactions. Then, a cluster-expanding algorithm is used to detect complexes with core-attachment structure on filtered network. Our method is applied to three different yeast PPI networks. The effectiveness of our method is examined on two benchmark complex datasets. Experimental results show that our method performed better than other state-of-the-art approaches in most evaluation metrics.
The method detects protein complexes from large scale PPI networks by filtering GO semantic similarity. Removing interactions with low GO similarity significantly improves the performance of complex identification. The expanding strategy is also effective to identify attachment proteins of complexes.
This study examined the factor structure of a scale based on the four-dimensional gender identity model (Egan and Perry, 2001) in 726 Chinese elementary school students. Exploratory factor analyses suggested a three-factor model, two of which corresponded to “Felt Pressure” and “Intergroup Bias” in the original model. The third factor “Gender Compatibility” appeared to be a combination of “Gender Typicality” and “Gender Contentment” in the original model. Follow-up confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) indicated that, relative to the initial four-factor structure, the three-factor model fits the current Chinese sample better. These results are discussed in light of cross-cultural similarities and differences in development of gender identity.
Computational evolutionary biology, statistical phylogenetics and coalescent-based population genetics are becoming increasingly central to the analysis and understanding of molecular sequence data. We present the Bayesian Evolutionary Analysis by Sampling Trees (BEAST) software package version 1.7, which implements a family of Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms for Bayesian phylogenetic inference, divergence time dating, coalescent analysis, phylogeography and related molecular evolutionary analyses. This package includes an enhanced graphical user interface program called Bayesian Evolutionary Analysis Utility (BEAUti) that enables access to advanced models for molecular sequence and phenotypic trait evolution that were previously available to developers only. The package also provides new tools for visualizing and summarizing multispecies coalescent and phylogeographic analyses. BEAUti and BEAST 1.7 are open source under the GNU lesser general public license and available at http://beast-mcmc.googlecode.com and http://beast.bio.ed.ac.uk
Bayesian phylogenetics; evolution; phylogenetics; molecular evolution; coalescent theory
Years of education are inversely related to the prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD), but the relationship between the clinical features of MDD and educational status is poorly understood. We investigated this in 1970 Chinese women with recurrent MDD identified in a clinical setting.
Clinical and demographic features were obtained from 1970 Han Chinese women with DSM-IV major depression between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Analysis of linear, logistic and multiple logistic regression models were used to determine the association between educational level and clinical features of MDD.
Subjects with more years of education are more likely to have MDD, with an odds ratio of 1.14 for those with more than ten years. Low educational status is not associated with an increase in the number of episodes, nor with increased rates of co-morbidity with anxiety disorders. Education impacts differentially on the symptoms of depression: lower educational attainment is associated with more biological symptoms and increased suicidal ideation and plans to commit suicide.
Findings may not generalize to males or to other patient populations. Since the threshold for treatment seeking differs as a function of education there may an ascertainment bias in the sample.
The relationship between symptoms of MDD and educational status in Chinese women is unexpectedly complex. Our findings are inconsistent with the simple hypothesis from European and US reports that low levels of educational attainment increase the risk and severity of MDD.
Major depressive disorder; Education; Socio-economic status; Symptom
Post partum depression (PPD) is relatively common in China but its clinical characteristics and risk factors have not been studied. We set out to investigate whether known risk factors for PPD could be found in Chinese women.
A case control design was used to determine the impact of known risk factors for PPD in a cohort of 1970 Chinese women with recurrent DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD). In a within-case design we examined the risk factors for PPD in patients with recurrent MDD. We compared the clinical features of MDD in cases with PPD to those without MDD. Odds ratios were calculated using logistic and ordinal regression.
Lower occupational and educational statuses increased the risk of PPD, as did a history of pre-menstrual symptoms, stressful life events and elevated levels of the personality trait of neuroticism. Patients with PPD and MDD were more likely to experience a comorbid anxiety disorder, had a younger age of onset of MDD, have higher levels of neuroticism and dysthymia.
Results obtained in this clinical sample may not be applicable to PPD within the community. Data were obtained retrospectively and we do not know whether the correlations we observe have the same causes as those operating in other populations.
Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the despite cultural differences between Chinese and Western women, the phenomenology and risk factors for PPD are very similar.
Postpartum depression; Major depressive disorder; Neuroticism; Anxiety disorder
Diagnostic information for psychiatric research often depends on both clinical interviews and medical records. Although discrepancies between these two sources are well known, there have been few studies into the degree and origins of inconsistencies.
We compared data from structured interviews and medical records on 1,970 Han Chinese women with recurrent DSM-IV major depression (MD). Correlations were high for age at onset of MD (0.93) and number of episodes (0.70), intermediate for family history (+0.62) and duration of longest episode (+0.43) and variable but generally more modest for individual depressive symptoms (mean kappa = 0.32). Four factors were identified for twelve symptoms from medical records and the same four factors emerged from analysis of structured interviews. Factor congruencies were high but the correlation of factors between interviews and records were modest (i.e. +0.2 to +0.4).
Structured interviews and medical records are highly concordant for age of onset, and the number and length of episodes, but agree more modestly for individual symptoms and symptom factors. The modesty of these correlations probably arises from multiple factors including i) inconsistency in the definition of the worst episode, ii) inaccuracies in self-report and iii) difficulties in coding medical records where symptoms were recorded solely for clinical purposes.
Rehmannia is a medicinal plant in China. Autotoxicity has been reported to be one of the major problems hindering the consecutive monoculture of Rehmannia. However, potential autotoxins produced by the fibrous roots are less known. In this study, the autotoxicity of these fibrous roots was investigated. Four groups of autotoxic compounds from the aqueous extracts of the fibrous roots were isolated and characterized. The ethyl acetate extracts of these water-soluble compounds were further analyzed and separated into five fractions. Among them, the most autotoxic fraction (Fr 3) was subjected to GC/MS analysis, resulting in 32 identified compounds. Based on literature, nine compounds were selected for testing their autotoxic effects on radicle growth. Seven out of the nine compounds were phenolic, which significantly reduced radicle growth in a concentration-dependent manner. The other two were aliphatic compounds that showed a moderate inhibition effect at three concentrations. Concentration of these compounds in soil samples was determined by HPLC. Furthermore, the autotoxic compounds were also found in the top soil of the commercially cultivated Rehmannia fields. It appears that a close link exists between the autotoxic effects on the seedlings and the compounds extracted from fibrous roots of Rehmannia.
The personality trait of neuroticism is a risk factor for major depressive disorder (MDD), but this relationship has not been demonstrated in clinical samples from Asia.
We examined a large-scale clinical study of Chinese Han women with recurrent major depression and community-acquired controls.
Elevated levels of neuroticism increased the risk for lifetime MDD (with an odds ratio of 1.37 per SD), contributed to the comorbidity of MDD with anxiety disorders, and predicted the onset and severity of MDD. Our findings largely replicate those obtained in clinical populations in Europe and US but differ in two ways: we did not find a relationship between melancholia and neuroticism; we found lower mean scores for neuroticism (3.6 in our community control sample).
Our findings do not apply to MDD in community-acquired samples and may be limited to Han Chinese women. It is not possible to determine whether the association between neuroticism and MDD reflects a causal relationship.
Neuroticism acts as a risk factor for MDD in Chinese women, as it does in the West and may particularly predispose to comorbidity with anxiety disorders. Cultural factors may have an important effect on its measurement.
Major depressive disorder; Anxiety disorders; Neuroticism
Individuals with early-onset depression may be a clinically distinct group with particular symptom patterns, illness course, comorbidity and family history. This question has not been previously investigated in a Han Chinese population.
We examined the clinical features of 1970 Han Chinese women with DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD) between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Analysis of linear, logistic and multiple logistic regression models was used to determine the association between age at onset (AAO) with continuous, binary and discrete characteristic clinical features of MDD.
Earlier AAO was associated with more suicidal ideation and attempts and higher neuroticism, but fewer sleep, appetite and weight changes. Patients with an earlier AAO were more likely to suffer a chronic course (longer illness duration, more MDD episodes and longer index episode), increased rates of MDD in their parents and a lower likelihood of marriage. They tend to have higher comorbidity with anxiety disorders (general anxiety disorder, social phobia and agoraphobia) and dysthymia.
Early AAO in MDD may be an index of a more severe, highly comorbid and familial disorder. Our findings indicate that the features of MDD in China are similar to those reported elsewhere in the world.
Major depressive disorder; Age at onset; Symptom; Comorbidity
In European and US studies, patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) report more stressful life events (SLEs) than controls, but this relationship has rarely been studied in Chinese populations.
Sixteen lifetime SLEs were assessed at interview in two groups of Han Chinese women: 1970 clinically ascertained with recurrent MDD and 2597 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
60% of controls and 72% of cases reported at least one lifetime SLE. Fourteen of the sixteen SLEs occurred significantly more frequently in those with MDD (median odds ratio of 1.6). The three SLEs most strongly associated with risk for MDD (OR > 3.0) preceded the onset of MDD the majority of the time: rape (82%), physical abuse (100%) and serious neglect (99%).
Our results may apply to females only. SLEs were rated retrospectively and are subject to biases in recollection. We did not assess contextual information for each life event.
More severe SLEs are more strongly associated with MDD. These results support the involvement of psychosocial adversity in the etiology of MDD in China.
Major depressive disorder; Stressful life event; Social adversity; Symptom
Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF or CCN2) is a secreted protein that belongs to the CCN [cysteine-rich CYR61/connective tissue growth factor/nephroblastoma overexpressed gene] family. These proteins have been implicated in various biological processes, including stimulation of cell proliferation, migration, angiogenesis and tumorigenesis. In a previous study, we found that CTGF mRNA was elevated in primary gliomas and a significant correlation existed between CTGF mRNA levels versus tumor grade, histology, and patient survival. In the present study, the role of CTGF in glioma tumorigenesis was explored. Forced expression of CTGF in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells accelerated their growth in liquid culture and soft agar, stimulated cells migration in Boyden chamber assays and significantly increased their ability to form large, vascularized tumors in nude mice. CTGF induced the expression of the anti-apoptotic proteins, Bcl-xl, Survivin, and Flip. Over-expression of CTGF caused the U343 GBM cells to survive for longer than 40 days in serum-free medium and resist anti-tumor drugs including tumor necrosis factor (TNF), TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), VELCADE (Bortezomib, Proteasome Inhibitor), and Temozolomide. Our data suggest that CTGF plays an important role in glioma progression, by supporting tumor cells survival and drug resistance.
CTGF; CCN; Drug resistance; Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)
Th cells that produce IL-17 (Th17 cells) are a distinct subset of Th cells implicated in several autoimmune diseases. Although CD28–B7 interaction has been shown to be involved in Th17 differentiation in vitro, the role of CTLA-4 in controlling Th17 development is completely unknown. We report in this paper that blocking the CTLA-4–B7 interaction potentiates Th17 cell differentiation in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, blocking CTLA-4–B7 interaction in vivo confers the susceptibility of experimental autoimmune myocarditis to CD28−/− mice or increases the severity of experimental autoimmune myocarditis in wild-type mice. The enhanced disease susceptibility is mediated by heightened Th17 responses. With these results, we are the first to demonstrate that CTLA-4–B7 interaction inhibits Th17 differentiation in vitro and in vivo and suppresses Th17-mediated autoimmunity.
Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (ESCC) is a major subtype of esophageal cancer causing significant morbility and mortality in Asia. Mechanism of initiation and progression of this disease is unclear. Tumor initiating cells (TICs) are the subpopulation of cells which have the ability to self-renew, as well as, to drive initiation and progression of cancer. Increasing evidence has shown that TICs exist in a variety of tumors. However, the identification and characterization of TICs in esophageal carcinoma has remained elusive.
to identify TICs in ESCC, ESCC cell lines including two primary cells were used for screening suitable surface marker. Then colony formation assay, drug resistant assay and tumorigenicity assay in immune deficient mice were used to characterize TICs in ESCC. We found that just the CD44 expression correlated with tumorigenicity in ESCC cell lines. And then induced differentiation of ESCC cells by all-trans retinoic acid treatment led to decreased expression of CD44. The FACS isolated cell subpopulations with high CD44 expression showed increased colony formation and drug resistance in vitro, as well as significantly enhanced tumorigenicity in NOD/SICD mice, as compared to the low expressing CD44 ESCC cells.
our study has discovered a novel TIC surface marker, CD44, which can be utilized to enrich efficiently the TICs in ESCC. These findings will be useful for further studies of these cells and exploring therapeutic approaches.
TGF-β has been known to play an important role in various liver diseases including fibrosis and alcohol-induced fatty liver. Smad7 is an intracellular negative regulator of TGF-β signaling. It is currently unclear whether endogenous Smad7 has an effect on liver function and alcoholic liver damage.
We used Cre/loxP system by crossing Alb-Cre mice with Smad7loxP/loxP mice to generate liver-specific deletion of Smad7 with loss of the indispensable MH2 domain. Alcoholic liver injury was achieved by feeding mice with a liquid diet containing 5% ethanol for 6 weeks, followed by a single dose of ethanol gavage. Deletion of Smad7 in the liver was associated with increased Smad2/3 phosphorylation in the liver or upon TGF-β treatment in primary hepatocytes. The majority of mice with liver specific deletion of Smad7 (Smad7liver-KO) were viable and phenotypically normal, accompanied by only slight or no reduction of Smad7 expression in the liver. However, about 30% of Smad7liver-KO mice with high efficiency of Smad7 deletion had spontaneous liver dysfunction, demonstrated as low body weight, overall deterioration, and increased serum levels of AST and ALT. Degeneration and elevated apoptosis of liver cells were observed with these mice. TGF-β-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) was accelerated in Smad7-deleted primary hepatocytes. In addition, alcohol-induced liver injury and steatosis were profoundly aggravated in Smad7 deficient mice, associated with upregulation of critical genes involved in lipogenesis and inflammation. Furthermore, alcohol-induced ADH1 expression was significantly abrogated by Smad7 deletion in hepatocytes.
In this study, we provided in vivo evidence revealing that endogenous Smad7 plays an important role in liver function and alcohol-induced liver injury.
This study was conducted to investigate the expression of CXCR4 in portal vein tumor thrombus (PVTT) tissue and its possible role in the invasiveness of tumor thrombus cells.
We detected differential expression of CXCR4 between PVTT and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by an immunohistochemical assay. Lentivirus-mediated RNA interference and a migration assay were performed on human primary cells derived from PVTT to study the impact of CXCR4 on the invasiveness of HCC.
The expression of CXCR4 in tumor thrombus tissue was higher than that in HCC tissue. The invasion ratio of PVTT cells was significantly decreased (P < 0.05) after being infected with a CXCR4-targeting siRNA lentivirus, indicating that downregulation of CXCR4 by lentivirus-mediated RNA interference significantly impaired the invasive potential of PVTT.
These results indicate that CXCR4 is an effective curative target for hepatocellular carcinomas with PVTT.