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1.  Experimental chronic hepatitis B infection of neonatal tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri chinensis): A model to study molecular causes for susceptibility and disease progression to chronic hepatitis in humans 
Virology Journal  2012;9:170.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection continues to be an escalating global health problem. Feasible and effective animal models for HBV infection are the prerequisite for developing novel therapies for this disease. The tree shrew (Tupaia) is a small animal species evolutionary closely related to humans, and thus is permissive to certain human viral pathogens. Whether tree shrews could be chronically infected with HBV in vivo has been controversial for decades. Most published research has been reported on adult tree shrews, and only small numbers of HBV infected newborn tree shrews had been observed over short time periods. We investigated susceptibility of newborn tree shrews to experimental HBV infection as well as viral clearance over a protracted time period.
Forty-six newborn tree shrews were inoculated with the sera from HBV-infected patients or tree shrews. Serum and liver samples of the inoculated animals were periodically collected and analyzed using fluorescence quantitative polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Southern blot, and immunohistochemistry. Six tree shrews were confirmed and four were suspected as chronically HBV-infected for more than 48 (up to 228) weeks after inoculation, including three that had been inoculated with serum from a confirmed HBV-infected tree shrew.
Outbred neonatal tree shrews can be long-term chronically infected with HBV at a frequency comparable to humans. The model resembles human disease where also a smaller proportion of infected individuals develop chronic HBV related disease. This model might enable genetic and immunologic investigations which would allow determination of underlying molecular causes favoring susceptibility for chronic HBV infection and disease establishment vs. viral clearance.
PMCID: PMC3511180  PMID: 22913805
Tree shrew (Tupaia); Hepatitis B virus; Chronic infection
2.  High fidelity computational simulation of thrombus formation in Thoratec HeartMate II continuous flow ventricular assist device 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:38025.
Continuous flow ventricular assist devices (cfVADs) provide a life-saving therapy for severe heart failure. However, in recent years, the incidence of device-related thrombosis (resulting in stroke, device-exchange surgery or premature death) has been increasing dramatically, which has alarmed both the medical community and the FDA. The objective of this study was to gain improved understanding of the initiation and progression of thrombosis in one of the most commonly used cfVADs, the Thoratec HeartMate II. A computational fluid dynamics simulation (CFD) was performed using our recently updated mathematical model of thrombosis. The patterns of deposition predicted by simulation agreed well with clinical observations. Furthermore, thrombus accumulation was found to increase with decreased flow rate, and can be completely suppressed by the application of anticoagulants and/or improvement of surface chemistry. To our knowledge, this is the first simulation to explicitly model the processes of platelet deposition and thrombus growth in a continuous flow blood pump and thereby replicate patterns of deposition observed clinically. The use of this simulation tool over a range of hemodynamic, hematological, and anticoagulation conditions could assist physicians to personalize clinical management to mitigate the risk of thrombosis. It may also contribute to the design of future VADs that are less thrombogenic.
PMCID: PMC5131309  PMID: 27905492
3.  Long-Term Application of Bioorganic Fertilizers Improved Soil Biochemical Properties and Microbial Communities of an Apple Orchard Soil 
Soil biochemical properties and microbial communities are usually considered as important indicators of soil health because of their association with plant nutrition. In this study, we investigated the impact of long-term application of bioorganic fertilizer (BOF) on soil biochemical properties and microbial communities in the apple orchard soil of the Loess Plateau. The experiment included three treatments: (1) control without fertilization (CK); (2) chemical fertilizer application (CF); and (3) bioorganic fertilizer application (BOF). The high throughput sequencing was used to examine the bacterial and fungal communities in apple orchard soil. The results showed that the BOF treatment significantly increased the apple yield during the experimental time (2009–2015). The application of BOF significantly increased the activities of catalase and invertase compared to those in CK and CF treatments. The high throughput sequencing data showed that the application of BOF changed the microbial community composition of all soil depths considered (0–20 cm, 20–40 cm, and 40–60 cm), e.g., the relative abundance of bio-control bacteria (Xanthomonadales, Lysobacter, Pseudomonas, and Bacillus), Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Ohtaekwangia, Ilyonectria, and Lecanicillium was increased while that of Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi, Gp4, Gp6 and Sphaerobacter was decreased. The increase in apple yield after the application of BOF might be due to increase in organic matter, total nitrogen and catalase and invertase activities of soil and change in the bacterial community composition by enriching Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Lysobacter, and Ohtaekwangia. These results further enhance the understanding on how BOFs alter soil microbial community composition to stimulate soil productivity.
PMCID: PMC5125012  PMID: 27965631
bioorganic fertilizers; soil microbes; apple yield; soil depth; composition
4.  Predicting malignant transformation of esophageal squamous cell lesions by combined biomarkers in an endoscopic screening program 
World Journal of Gastroenterology  2016;22(39):8770-8778.
To determine the association of p53, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CA19-9 protein expression with esophageal carcinogenesis.
An iodine staining endoscopic screening program of esophageal lesions was carried out in the high-incidence area of Feicheng County, China. Seventy-seven patients with basal cell hyperplasia (BCH), 247 with low-grade dysplasia (LGD), 51 with high-grade dysplasia (HGD), 134 with invasive cancer, and 80 normal controls diagnosed by mucous membrane biopsy pathology were enrolled. Immunohistochemical detection of p53, CEA and CA19-9 proteins was performed. In the ROC curve analysis, the expression of a single biomarker and the expression of a combination of biomarkers were used to predict the risk of these four esophageal lesions.
The positive rates of p53 protein expression in invasive cancer, HGD, LGD, BCH and the normal control groups were 53.0%, 52.9%, 35.6%, 27.3% and 20.0%, respectively; the positive rates of CA19-9 protein expression were 44.0%, 33.3%, 16.5%, 9.2% and 6.2%, respectively; the positive rates of CEA protein expression were 74.6%, 60.8%, 23.3%, 23.7% and 16.2%, respectively. The positive rates of the combined expression of the three biomarkers were 84.3%, 76.5%, 47.6%, 42.9% and 27.5%, respectively. In the receiver operating characteristic curves of the combination of the three biomarkers, the specificity was 88.8% for the normal controls, and the sensitivity was 58.2% for invasive cancer, 25.5% for HGD, 11.2% for LGD, and 6.5% for BCH.
p53, CEA and CA19-9 protein expression was correlated with esophageal carcinogenesis, and testing for the combination of these biomarkers is useful for identifying high-risk patients with precancerous lesions.
PMCID: PMC5075551  PMID: 27818592
Esophageal squamous cell cancer; Esophageal squamous cell dysplasia; p53; Carcinoembryonic antigen; CA19-9; Immunohistochemistry; Prediction
5.  High-speed visualization of disturbed pathlines in axial flow ventricular assist device under pulsatile conditions 
Objective: To investigate
potentially pro-thrombotic flow patterns within an axial flow ventricular assist device under clinically relevant pulsatile hemodynamic conditions.
A transparent replica of the HeartMate-II was visualized using a high speed camera at both low and high frame rates (125 and 3000 fps). Three steady-state conditions were studied: nominal (4.5 lpm), low flow (3.0 lpm) and high flow (6.0 lpm). Time-varying conditions were introduced with external pulsatile pump which modulated the flow rate by approximately +/−50% of the mean, corresponding to a pulsatility index of 1.0.
At nominal and high flow rates, the path lines within the upstream region were generally stable, well attached, and streamlined. As the flow rate was reduced below 3.8 lpm, a rapid transition to a chaotic velocity field occurred exhibiting a large toroidal vortex adjacent to the upstream bearing. The pathlines in the downstream stator section were consistently chaotic for all hemodynamic conditions investigated. It was common to observe tracer particles trapped within recirculation bubbles and drawn retrograde, causing repeated contact with the bearing surfaces. The addition of pulsatility caused the flow field to become periodically chaotic during the diastolic portion of the cardiac cycle depending on the instantaneous flow rate and acceleration.
The contribution of pulsatility by the native heart may induce a periodic disturbance to an otherwise stable flow field within an axial flow VAD, particularly during the diastolic and decelerating portion of the cardiac cycle. Potentially pro-thrombotic flow features were found to occur periodically in the region of the upstream bearing.
PMCID: PMC4591189  PMID: 26208892
6.  Study of blood flow in several benchmark micro-channels using a two-fluid approach 
It is known that in a vessel whose characteristic dimension (e.g., its diameter) is in the range of 20 to 500 microns, blood behaves as a non-Newtonian fluid, exhibiting complex phenomena, such as shear-thinning, stress relaxation, and also multi-component behaviors, such as the Fahraeus effect, plasma-skimming, etc. For describing these non-Newtonian and multi-component characteristics of blood, using the framework of mixture theory, a two-fluid model is applied, where the plasma is treated as a Newtonian fluid and the red blood cells (RBCs) are treated as shear-thinning fluid. A computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation incorporating the constitutive model was implemented using OpenFOAM® in which benchmark problems including a sudden expansion and various driven slots and crevices were studied numerically. The numerical results exhibited good agreement with the experimental observations with respect to both the velocity field and the volume fraction distribution of RBCs.
PMCID: PMC4521229  PMID: 26240438
Blood; micro-channels; two-component flow; mixture theory; shear-thinning; crevices
7.  Quantitation of the Rank-Rankl Axis in Primary Biliary Cholangitis 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0159612.
There is substantial data that suggests an abnormality of innate immunity in patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) which includes the transcription factor nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) and well as downstream inflammatory signaling pathways. In addition, ImmunoChip analysis has identified a novel PBC-associated locus near the receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANKL) gene. Based on these observations, we investigated the role of the RANKL axis in the liver of patients with PBC compared to controls. We used immunohistochemistry to quantitate liver expression of RANKL, its receptor (RANK), and importantly the decoy receptor osteoprotegerin (OPG), including a total of 122 liver samples (PBC = 37, primary sclerosing cholangitis = 20, autoimmune hepatitis = 26, chronic hepatitis B = 32 and unaffected controls = 7). In addition, we studied RANKL-RANK-OPG co-localization in CD4 and CD8 T cells, B cells, dendritic cells, macrophages, NK, NKT cells, hepatocytes, and cholangiocytes. We report herein that RANK is constitutively expressed by cholangiocytes in both unaffected and diseased liver. However, cholangiocytes from PBC express significantly higher levers of RANK than either the unaffected controls or liver diseased controls. CD4, CD8 and CD19 cells with in the portal areas around bile ducts in PBC express significantly higher levels of RANKL compared to controls. Importantly, the overall hepatic RANKL level and the ratio of hepatic RANKL/OPG correlated with disease severity in PBC. In conclusion, our data indicate a role of RANK-RANKL axis in the innate immune activation in PBC and we hypothesize that the damaged cholangiocytes, which express high levels of RANK, lead to the recruitment of RANKL positive cells and ultimately the classic portal tract infiltrates.
PMCID: PMC5025177  PMID: 27631617
8.  Erratum to: Socioeconomic status as a moderator between frailty and mortality at old ages 
BMC Geriatrics  2016;16(1):161.
PMCID: PMC5016875  PMID: 27609022
9.  Overexpression of Catalase Enhances Benzo(a)pyrene Detoxification in Endothelial Microsomes 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0162561.
We previously reported that overexpression of catalase upregulated xenobiotic- metabolizing enzyme (XME) expression and diminished benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) intermediate accumulation in mouse aortic endothelial cells (MAECs). Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the most active organelle involved in BaP metabolism. To examine the involvement of ER in catalase-induced BaP detoxification, we compared the level and distribution of XMEs, and the profile of BaP intermediates in the microsomes of wild-type and catalase transgenic endothelial cells. Our data showed that endothelial microsomes were enriched in cytochrome P450 (CYP) 1A1, CYP1B1 and epoxide hydrolase 1 (EH1), and contained considerable levels of NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1) and glutathione S-transferase-pi (GSTP). Treatment of wild-type MAECs with 1μM BaP for 2 h increased the expression of microsomal CYP1A1, 1B1 and NQO1 by ~300, 64 and 116%, respectively. However, the same treatment did not significantly alter the expression of EH1 and GSTP. Overexpression of catalase did not significantly increase EH1, but upregulated BaP-induced expression of microsomal CYP1A1, 1B1, NQO1 and GSTP in the following order: 1A1>NQO1>GSTP>1B1. Overexpression of catalase did not alter the distribution of each of these enzymes in the microsomes. In contrast to our previous report showing lower level of BaP phenols versus BaP diols/diones in the whole-cell, this report demonstrated that the sum of microsomal BaP phenolic metabolites were ~60% greater than that of the BaP diols/diones after exposure of microsomes to BaP. Overexpression of catalase reduced the concentrations of microsomal BaP phenols and diols/diones by ~45 and 95%, respectively. This process enhanced the ratio of BaP phenol versus diol/dione metabolites in a potent manner. Taken together, upregulation of phase II XMEs and CYP1 proteins, but not EH1 in the ER might be the mechanism by which overexpression of catalase reduces the levels of all the BaP metabolites, and enhances the ratio of BaP phenolic metabolites versus diol/diones in endothelial microsomes.
PMCID: PMC5015903  PMID: 27607467
10.  NDRG1 attenuates epithelial-mesenchymal transition of nasopharyngeal cancer cells via blocking Smad2 signaling 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2015;1852(9):1876-1886.
N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) has been implicated in tumorigenesis and metastasis in different cancers. However, its role in nasopharyngeal carcinoma remains unknown. We found that NDRG1 expression level was high in nasopharyngeal cancer 5–8F cells but low in 5–8F-LN cells with lymphatic metastasis potential. Knockdown of NDRG1 by shRNA promoted 5–8F cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro and its tumorigenesis in vivo. Moreover, NDRG1 deficiency induced an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of 5–8F cells as shown by an attenuation of E-cadherin and an induction of N-cadherin and vimentin expression. NDRG1 knockdown also enhanced Smad2 expression and phosphorylation. Smad2 signaling was attenuated in 5–8F cells but was significantly activated in 5–8F-LN cells. Knockdown of Smad2 restored E-cadherin but attenuated N-cadherin expression in NDRG1-deficient 5–8F cells, suggesting a reduction of EMT. Consistently, blockade of Smad2 in 5–8F-LN cells increased E-cadherin while diminishing N-cadherin and vimentin expression. These data indicate that Smad2 mediates the NDRG1 deficiency-induced EMT of 5–8F cells. In tumors derived from NDRG1-deficient 5–8F cells, E-cadherin expression was inhibited while vimentin and Smad2 were increased in a large number of cancer cells. Most importantly, NDRG1 expression was attenuated in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma tissues, resulted in a lower survival rate in patients. The NDRG1 was further decreased in the detached nasopharyngeal cancer cells, which was associated with a further reduced survival rate in patients with lymphatic metastasis. Taken together, these results demonstrated that NDRG1 prevents nasopharyngeal tumorigenesis and metastasis via inhibiting Smad2-mediated EMT of nasopharyngeal cells.
PMCID: PMC4561576  PMID: 26071641
N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; proliferation; Metastasis; epithelial-mesenchymal transition
11.  Stem Cells in Musculoskeletal Regeneration: From Benchtop to Bedside 
Stem Cells International  2016;2016:8432314.
PMCID: PMC5002300  PMID: 27597872
12.  Identification of Novel Fusion Inhibitors of Influenza A Virus by Chemical Genetics 
Journal of Virology  2016;90(5):2690-2701.
A previous screening of more than 50,000 compounds led to the identification of a pool of bioactive small molecules with inhibitory effect on the influenza A virus. One of these compounds, now widely known as nucleozin, is a small molecule that targets the influenza A virus nucleoprotein. Here we identify and characterize two structurally different novel fusion inhibitors of the influenza A virus group 1 hemagglutinin (HA), FA-583 and FA-617, with low nanomolar activities. Escape mutants that are highly resistant to each of these compounds were generated, and both were found to carry mutations localized in close proximity to the B-loop of the hemagglutinin 2 protein, which plays a crucial role in the virion-host cell fusion process. Recombinant virus, generated through reverse genetics, confirmed the resistance phenotype. In addition, the proposed binding pockets predicted by molecular docking studies are in accordance with the resistance-bearing mutation sites. We show through mechanistic studies that FA-583 and FA-617 act as fusion inhibitors by prohibiting the low-pH-induced conformational change of hemagglutinin. Our study has offered concrete biological and mechanistic explorations for the strategic development of novel fusion inhibitors of influenza A viruses.
IMPORTANCE Here we report two structurally distinctive novel fusion inhibitors of influenza A virus that act by interfering with the structural change of HA at acidic pH, a process necessary for successful entry of the virus. Mutational and molecular docking studies have identified their binding pockets situated in close proximity to the B-loop region of hemagglutinin 2. The reduced sensitivity of FA-583- or FA-617-associated mutants to another compound suggests a close proximity and even partial overlap of their binding sites on hemagglutinin. Amino acid sequence alignments and crystal structure analyses of group 1 and group 2 hemagglutinins have shed light on the possible binding mode of these two compounds. This report offers new lead compounds for the design of fusion inhibitors for influenza A viruses and further shows that analysis by forward chemical genetics is a highly effective approach for the identification of novel compounds that can perturb the infectivity of viruses and to probe new druggable targets or druggable domains in various viruses.
PMCID: PMC4810722  PMID: 26676787
13.  Tunneling-injection in vertical quasi-2D heterojunctions enabled efficient and adjustable optoelectronic conversion 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:31475.
The advent of 2D materials integration has enabled novel heterojunctions where carrier transport proceeds thrsough different ultrathin layers. We here demonstrate the potential of such heterojunctions on a graphene/dielectric/semiconductor vertical stack that combines several enabling features for optoelectronic devices. Efficient and stable light emission was achieved through carrier tunneling from the graphene injector into prominent states of a luminescent material. Graphene’s unique properties enable fine control of the band alignment in the heterojunction. This advantage was used to produce vertical tunneling-injection light-emitting transistors (VtiLET) where gating allows adjustment of the light emission intensity independent of applied bias. This device was shown to simultaneously act as a light detecting transistor with a linear and gate tunable sensitivity. The presented development of an electronically controllable multifunctional light emitter, light detector and transistor open up a new route for future optoelectronics.
PMCID: PMC4979038  PMID: 27507171
14.  Socioeconomic status as a moderator between frailty and mortality at old ages 
BMC Geriatrics  2016;16:151.
Despite the well-established power of frailty to predict mortality, and the known associations of socioeconomic status (SES) with mortality, it is largely unknown whether the linkage between frailty and mortality varies across different SES groups. This study aims to investigate whether SES moderates the association between frailty and mortality.
We relied on the 2008/2009 and 2011/2012 waves of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey, a nationwide sample of 13,731 adults aged 65 or older in China. Frailty was constructed using a cumulative index of 38 items (with 39 deficits) reflecting different dimensions of health; the index or the proportion of deficits ranges from 0 to 1, with greater scores indicating poorer health condition. SES was measured by a socioeconomic vulnerability index (SEVI) also from a similar cumulative approach consisting of 6 deficits; the proportion of deficits ranges from 0 to 1 with higher scores indicating lower SES. Eight Weibull hazard regression models were performed to examine how SES moderates the linkage between frailty and mortality.
We found that a one percentage point increase in the frailty index was associated with an increased hazard ratio (HR) by 2.7 % (HR = 1.027, 95 % CI: 1.025–1.027); a one percentage point increase in SEVI score was associated with an increased hazard ratio by 0.6 % (HR = 1.006, 95 % CI: 1.004–1.008) controlling for demographics. When interactions between SEVI and frailty index were modeled, the increased mortality risk associated with frailty was weaker among people with lower SES than among people with higher SES (HR = 0.983, 95 % CI: 0.967–0.992). However, the moderating role of SES was diminished when interactions between SES and age and between frailty and age were modeled. With increasing age, the increased mortality risks associated with frailty and socioeconomic vulnerability weakened.
Frailty was a stronger predictor of mortality among individuals with higher SES than those with lower SES. The increased mortality risks associated with socioeconomic vulnerability and frailty weakened with age. Public health programs aimed at improving SES and promoting healthy longevity should start early in old age, or even earlier, and target poor and frail older adults for maximum impact.
PMCID: PMC4979157  PMID: 27506542
Frailty; Frailty index; Mortality; Socioeconomic status; Socioeconomic vulnerability; Older adults; China; Moderator
15.  Predictability of frailty index and its components on mortality in older adults in China 
BMC Geriatrics  2016;16:145.
Frailty represents an increased vulnerability to external stressors due to decreased physiological reserve and dysfunction in multiple bodily systems. The relationship between frailty and mortality has been well-documented in the literature. However, less is known about the predictive powers of frailty index and its components on mortality when they are simultaneously present. This study aimed to examine the predictive powers of frailty index and its multiple components on mortality in a nationally representative sample of older adults in China.
We used a sample of 13,731 older adults from the 2008/2009 and 2011/2012 waves of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS). Frailty was measured using the cumulative deficit approach, and was constructed from 38 health variables (39 deficits). We selected 8 major sets of components: activities of daily living (ADL) (6 deficits), instrumental ADL (IADL) (8 deficits), functional limitations (5 deficits), overall cognitive functioning (1 deficit), chronic disease conditions (11 deficits), self-reported health (2 deficits), hearing and vision impairment (2 deficits), and psychological distress (1 deficit). Survival analysis was used to examine the roles of the frailty and its components in mortality.
Results showed that almost all the components of the frailty index (except chronic diseases) were significant predictors of mortality when examined individually. Among the components, ADL and IADL disabilities remained significant when considering all the components simultaneously. When the frailty and its components were simultaneously analyzed, the frailty remained a robust predictor of mortality across the age and sex groups, while most components lost their significance except ADL, IADL, and cognitive function components in some cases.
Frailty measured by cumulative deficits has a stronger predictive power on mortality than its all individual components. ​ADL and IADL disability play a greater role in mortality than other components when considering all the components of frailty.
PMCID: PMC4960861  PMID: 27455962
Frailty index; Frailty components; Mortality; Older adults; CLHLS; China
16.  Iron overload by Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles is a High Risk Factor in Cirrhosis by a Systems Toxicology Assessment 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:29110.
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) as a contrast agent have been widely used in magnetic resonance imaging for tumor diagnosis and theranostics. However, there has been safety concern of SPIONs with cirrhosis related to excess iron-induced oxidative stress. In this study, the impact of iron overload by SPIONs was assessed on a mouse cirrhosis model. A single dose of SPION injection at 0.5 or 5 mg Fe/kg in the cirrhosis group induced a septic shock response at 24 h with elevated serum levels of liver and kidney function markers and extended impacts over 14 days including high levels of serum cholesterols and persistent low serum iron level. In contrast, full restoration of liver functions was found in the normal group with the same dosages over time. Analysis with PCR array of the toxicity pathways revealed the high dose of SPIONs induced significant expression changes of a distinct subset of genes in the cirrhosis liver. All these results suggested that excess iron of the high dose of SPIONs might be a risk factor for cirrhosis because of the marked impacts of elevated lipid metabolism, disruption of iron homeostasis and possibly, aggravated loss of liver functions.
PMCID: PMC4928111  PMID: 27357559
17.  In vitro-activated tumor-specific T lymphocytes prolong the survival of patients with advanced gastric cancer: a retrospective cohort study 
OncoTargets and therapy  2016;9:3763-3770.
Conventional tumor managements have limited survival benefits and cause severely impaired immune function in patients with advanced gastric cancer (GC) whereas immunotherapies could restore antitumor immunity. This prospective cohort study was aimed at investigating the efficacy of in vitro-activated tumor-specific T lymphocytes combined with chemotherapy on the survival of patients with advanced GC.
Patients and methods
Two hundred and seventy-four postoperative patients were enrolled in this study to receive either activated T lymphocytes immunotherapy combining chemotherapy (71 patients) or only receive postoperative chemotherapy (203 patients). Overall survival was analyzed by the Kaplan–Meier with log-rank test and Cox’s regression methods.
The immunotherapy prolonged 9.8-month median survival for advanced gastric cancer (29.70 vs 19.70 months, P=0.036). Furthermore, immunotherapy significantly benefited the survival of patients who underwent radical, palliative resection, and stage III malignancy. No serious adverse effect was observed in the immunotherapy group.
In vitro-activated tumor-specific T lymphocytes prolonged survival in patients with advanced GC.
PMCID: PMC4922768  PMID: 27382313
T lymphocytes; immunotherapy; survival; gastric cancer
18.  Comparative testis proteome dataset between cattleyak and yak 
Data in Brief  2016;8:420-425.
Cattleyak are hybrid between cattle and yak, which exhibit equivalent adaptability on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau as yak and much higher capability in economic traits. However, the F1 males of cattleyak are infertile due to spermatogenic arrest and this greatly restricts the effective utilization of this hybrid. In this data article, differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) were identified from testis proteome of cattleyak and yak using high-performance liquid chromatography–electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (LC–ESI-MS/MS). All the DEPs were subjected to functional classification by Gene Ontology (GO) analysis and gene-pathway annotation by Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG). The comparative testis proteome dataset here can shed new light on the molecular characteristics of male infertility of cattleyak on proteome level, “Comparative iTRAQ proteomics revealed proteins associated with spermatogenic arrest of cattleyak” [1].
PMCID: PMC4910294  PMID: 27366779
19.  Dandruff is associated with the conjoined interactions between host and microorganisms 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:24877.
Dandruff is an unpleasant scalp disorder common to human populations. In this study, we systematically investigated the intra- and inter-associations among dandruff, physiological conditions such as sebum of the scalp, host demographics such as gender, age and the region of the scalp, and the microorganisms on the scalp. We found that the physiological conditions were highly relevant to the host age and varied in different regions of the same scalp. The sebum quantity and water content were negatively correlated with the formation of dandruff and had significant relationships with the two dominant but reciprocally inhibited bacteria on the scalp (Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus). The dominant fungus (Malassezia species) displayed contrary roles in its contribution to the healthy scalp micro-environment. Bacteria and fungi didn’t show a close association with each other, but the intramembers were tightly linked. Bacteria had a stronger relationship with the severity of dandruff than fungi. Our results indicated that the severity of dandruff was closely associated with the interactions between the host and microorganisms. This study suggests that adjusting the balance of the bacteria on the scalp, particularly by enhancing Propionibacterium and suppressing Staphylococcus, might be a potential solution to lessen dandruff.
PMCID: PMC4864613  PMID: 27172459
20.  Draft Genome Sequence of Bacillus megaterium BHG1.1, a Strain Isolated from Bar-Headed Goose (Anser indicus) Feces on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau 
Genome Announcements  2016;4(3):e00317-16.
Bacillus megaterium is a soil-inhabiting Gram-positive bacterium that is routinely used in industrial applications for recombinant protein production and bioremediation. Studies involving Bacillus megaterium isolated from waterfowl are scarce. Here, we report a 6.26-Mbp draft genome sequence of Bacillus megaterium BHG1.1, which was isolated from feces of a bar-headed goose.
PMCID: PMC4866837  PMID: 27174262
21.  Cell-Permeable Peptide Targeting the Nrf2–Keap1 Interaction: A Potential Novel Therapy for Global Cerebral Ischemia 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2015;35(44):14727-14739.
The current study examined efficacy of a small Tat (trans-activator of transcription)-conjugated peptide activator of the Nrf2 (nuclear factor-E2-related factor-2) antioxidant/cell-defense pathway as a potential injury-specific, novel neuroprotectant against global cerebral ischemia (GCI). A competitive peptide, DEETGE-CAL-Tat, was designed to facilitate Nrf2 activation by disrupting interaction of Nrf2 with Keap1 (kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1), a protein that sequesters Nrf2 in the cytoplasm and thereby inactivates it. The DEETGE-CAL-Tat peptide contained the critical sequence DEETGE for the Nrf2–Keap1 interaction, the cell transduction domain of the HIV-Tat protein, and the cleavage sequence of calpain, which is sensitive to Ca2+ increase and allows injury-specific activation of Nrf2. Using an animal model of GCI, we demonstrated that pretreatment with the DEETGE-CAL-Tat peptide markedly decreased Nrf2 interaction with Keap1 in the rat hippocampal CA1 region after GCI, and enhanced Nrf2 nuclear translocation and DNA binding. The DEETGE-CAL-Tat peptide also induced Nrf2 antioxidant/cytoprotective target genes, reduced oxidative stress, and induced strong neuroprotection and marked preservation of hippocampal-dependent cognitive function after GCI. These effects were specific as control peptides lacked neuroprotective ability. Intriguingly, the DEETGE-CAL-Tat peptide effects were also injury specific, as it had no effect upon neuronal survival or cognitive performance in sham nonischemic animals. Of significant interest, peripheral, postischemia administration of the DEETGE-CAL-Tat peptide from days 1–9 after GCI also induced robust neuroprotection and strongly preserved hippocampal-dependent cognitive function. Based on its robust neuroprotective and cognitive-preserving effects, and its unique injury-specific activation properties, the DEETGE-CAL-Tat peptide represents a novel, and potentially promising new therapeutic modality for the treatment of GCI.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The current study demonstrates that DEETGE-CAL-Tat, a novel peptide activator of a key antioxidant gene transcription pathway in the hippocampus after global cerebral ischemia, can exert robust neuroprotection and preservation of cognitive function. A unique feature of the peptide is that its beneficial effects are injury specific. This feature is attractive as it targets drug activation specifically in the site of injury, and likely would lead to a reduction of undesirable side effects if translatable to the clinic. Due to its injury-specific activation, robust neuroprotection, and cognitive-preserving effects, this novel peptide may represent a much-needed therapeutic advance that could have efficacy in the treatment of global cerebral ischemia.
PMCID: PMC4635127  PMID: 26538645
cardiac arrest; cognitive defect; hippocampus CA1 region; neuroprotection; peptide; reactive oxidative species
22.  Kaiso represses the expression of glucocorticoid receptor via a methylation-dependent mechanism and attenuates the anti-apoptotic activity of glucocorticoids in breast cancer cells 
BMB Reports  2016;49(3):167-172.
Kaiso is a Pox Virus and Zinc Finger (POZ-ZF) transcription factor with bi-modal DNA-binding specificity. Here, we demonstrated that Kaiso expression is inversely correlated with glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression in breast carcinomas. Knockdown of Kaiso increased GR expression, while overexpression of Kaiso inhibited GR expression in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, Kaiso repressed GR proximal promoter-reporter activity in a dose-dependent manner. Remarkably, ChIP experiments demonstrated that endogenous Kaiso was associated with the GR promoter sequence in a methylation-dependent manner. Since glucocorticoids inhibit chemotherapyinduced apoptosis and have been widely used as a co-treatment of patients with breast cancer, we assessed the role of Kasio in GR-mediated anti-apoptotic effects. We found that overexpression of Kaiso attenuated the anti-apoptotic effects of glucocorticoids in breast cancer cells. Our findings suggest that GR is a putative target gene of Kaiso and suggest Kaiso to be a potential therapeutic target in GC-combination chemotherapy in breast cancer. [BMB Reports 2016; 49(3): 167-172]
PMCID: PMC4915231  PMID: 26424557
Breast cancer; Epigenetics; Glucocorticoid receptor; Kaiso
23.  miR-155-5p inhibition promotes the transition of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells to gastric cancer tissue derived MSC-like cells via NF-κB p65 activation 
Oncotarget  2016;7(13):16567-16580.
Gastric cancer tissue-derived MSC-like cells (GC-MSC) share similar characteristics to bone marrow MSC (BM-MSC); however, the phenotypical and functional differences and the molecular mechanism of transition between the two cell types remain unclear. Compared to BM-MSC, GC-MSC exhibited the classic phenotype of reactive stroma cells, a stronger gastric cancer promoting capacity and lower expression of miR-155-5p. Inhibition of miR-155-5p by transfecting miRNA inhibitor induced a phenotypical and functional transition of BM-MSC into GC-MSC-like cells, and the reverse experiment deprived GC-MSC of tumor-promoting phenotype and function. NF-kappa B p65 (NF-κB p65) and inhibitor of NF-kappa B kinase subunit epsilon (IKBKE/IKKε) were identified as targets of miR-155-5p and important for miRNA inhibitor activating NF-κB p65 in the transition. Inactivation of NF-κB by pyrrolidine dithiocarbamic acid (PDTC) significantly blocked the effect of miR-155-5p inhibitor on BM-MSC. IKBKE, NF-κB p65 and phospho-NF-κB p65 proteins were highly enriched in MSC-like cells of gastric cancer tissues, and the latter two were correlated with the pathological progression of gastric cancer. In GC-MSC, the expression of miR-155-5p was downregulated and NF-κB p65 protein was increased and activated. NF-κB inactivation by PDTC or knockdown of its downstream cytokines reversed the phenotype and function of GC-MSC. Taken together, our findings revealed that miR-155-5p downregulation induces BM-MSC to acquire a GC-MSC-like phenotype and function depending on NF-κB p65 activation, which suggests a novel mechanism underlying the cancer associated MSC remodeling in the tumor microenvironment and offers an effective target and approach for gastric cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC4941335  PMID: 26934326
mesenchymal stem cells; gastric cancer; microRNA; tumor microenvironment
24.  Functional Connectome before and following Temporal Lobectomy in Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:23153.
As mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) has been recognized as a network disorder, a longitudinal connectome investigation may shed new light on the understanding of the underlying pathophysiology related to distinct surgical outcomes. Resting-state functional MRI data was acquired from mTLE patients before (n = 37) and after (n = 24) anterior temporal lobectomy. According to surgical outcome, patients were classified as seizure-free (SF, n = 14) or non-seizure-free (NSF, n = 10). First, we found higher network resilience to targeted attack on topologically central nodes in the SF group compared to the NSF group, preoperatively. Next, a two-way mixed analysis of variance with between-subject factor ‘outcome’ (SF vs. NSF) and within-subject factor ‘treatment’ (pre-operation vs. post-operation) revealed divergent dynamic reorganization in nodal topological characteristics between groups, in the temporoparietal junction and its connection with the ventral prefrontal cortex. We also correlated the network damage score (caused by surgical resection) with postsurgical brain function, and found that the damage score negatively correlated with postoperative global and local parallel information processing. Taken together, dynamic connectomic architecture provides vital information for selecting surgical candidates and for understanding brain recovery mechanisms following epilepsy surgery.
PMCID: PMC4802388  PMID: 27001417
25.  More Severe Extratemporal Damages in Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy With Hippocampal Sclerosis Than That With Other Lesions 
Medicine  2016;95(10):e3020.
Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text
Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis (mTLE-HS) presents different clinical presentations from that with other lesions (OL). It is significant to investigate the neural mechanism underlying the different clinical presentations using neuroimaging study.
Thirty mTLE patients with mTLE-HS, 30 mTLE patients with other lesions (mTLE-OL), and 30 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were involved. Amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) analysis-based resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) based morphometric MRI were employed to describing functional and structural imaging alterations in mTLE. Imaging parameters of ALFF and gray matter volume (GMV) were compared among groups and correlated with clinical variables and cognitive scores.
For parameter of ALFF, both patient groups of mTLE-HS and mTLE-OL showed decrease in the frontal cortices relative to the healthy controls; mTLE-HS showed more decrease in the prefrontal and brain default regions relative to mTLE-OL. For GMV, both patient groups showed decrease in the frontal cortex, thalamus, and cerebellum; mTLE-HS showed more GMV decrease relative to the mTLE-OL, also mainly in the prefrontal and brain default regions. In both patient groups, the prefrontal regions showed negative correlation between GMV and epilepsy duration.
This work revealed distinct alteration patterns of functional and structural brain organizations in mTLEs with different forms. MTLE-HS, despite with smaller lesion size of the pathological focus, presented more severe functional and structural damages in the extratemporal regions than mTLE-OL. The findings provided imaging evidence to support the proposal that mTLE-HS is a special epilepsy syndrome.
PMCID: PMC4998901  PMID: 26962820

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